Many are willing to go to bat for a significant cause. Yet how many would go so far as to change their name—all in the name of bettering another’s life?
Kris Kancler and his twin brother started the Rockstar Superstar Project three years ago with modest goals but a full commitment—so much so that Kris is now Super Star (yes, legally) and his brother is now Rock Star.
Since launching their effort to “rebrand sobriety,” as they put it, the 37-year-old brothers have released a CD (with no record label and little formal music background), Kris has published a book, and the project is booking visits to schools as well as concerts featuring prominent rock musicians.
“I created this in an effort for me to stay sober,” says Super Star, who sold possessions and curtailed his work as a computer technician to follow a different dream. “I knew that one of the factors I would need in my world was accountability.”
Super Star’s twin was the sober family member who managed to avoid the path to addiction in a family with a substance abuse history. Together the two now are creating awareness among a target audience of young people, though they say their rock-tinged message is resonating with the youths’ parents as well.
Margi Taber, a former member of the Adolescent Specialty Committee for NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals, serves as the project’s school and community liaison. She says Kris, an avowed fan of “bands of flash” such as KISS when he was a child, has a stage presence that rivals that of some of his idols.
A Skype presentation he offered to health classes has led to numerous live bookings at schools, to which he carries a message about believing in oneself and following one’s dreams.
“Kids gravitate to Kris; they’re captivated by his message,” says Taber. “You can’t fake emotions with kids.”
Kris says he tries to take his experiences and place them in the context of the challenges youths face today. He says he talks of a process that started in his life long before he lit his first cigarette, with much of it centering on feelings of inadequacy. “Kids connect to the feeling that they’re not good enough, especially today,” Taber says.
Taber says the brothers have been helped in their effort by numerous individuals and organizations. Their CD, “Serenity,” features guest appearances by musicians who have worked with groups such as Heart, the Goo Goo Dolls and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra—quite an accomplishment for brothers who themselves had merely dabbled in drums and the guitar before becoming recording artists themselves.
For more information about the Rockstar Superstar Project, visit www.rockstarsuperstarproject.com.