ROCK & ROLL FANTASY CAMP
It’s More Than You Think
You’ve heard about it, read about it or maybe even watched a segment on TV about it. You think it’s all about inexperienced, rocker wannabes and dreamers who pay to play with rock stars and legends. Well let me tell you, Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp offers much more than you realize. Here is the inside scoop.
Okay, first it is true, the camp is offered to individuals of all levels of musical talent or even lack thereof. But within that offer come many musicians from all around the country, the world even, who are experienced, gigging musicians in their own local areas. The RRFC was held in Las Vegas, July 14-17 and featured the band YES. It included individuals who had never played an instrument, sang or performed in front of an audience. Yet in just a few days, long 10-12 hour days, of mentoring and rehearsing, they were up on stage performing with the likes of Jon Davidson, Geoff Downes, Chris Squire and Alan White of YES. Also they experienced a personal, intimate concert and conversation with master guitarist Steve Howe. Additionally there were also extremely talented, working musicians in attendance, such as a guitarist from Texas who performs regularly in a Tool tribute band, a smokin’ bassist from Australia and Jacksonville area’s own drummer, Jim Mitchell.
The camp is tough, but the time flies by. Once the RRFC shuttle transports you from the MGM Grand to their nearby state of the art facility, you enter a non-stop world of music. Rehearsing, discussing music theory, and mentoring by some of the most famous rock legends of our time. During lunch you get to converse not only with fellow attendees, but also one on one with the rock star counselors. You’ll learn quickly how reserved but sincere bassist Rudy Sarzo can be. How funny and forthcoming drummer Joe Vitale is. How humble and compassionate Gary Hoey is towards everyone in attendance – novice or pro. Kane Roberts you will find, takes a highly technical and detailed approach to a song, dissecting it, and is an extremely educated music producer and writer. Mike Pinera is a colorful storyteller with inside tales of behind the scene antics with John Bonham and members of Iron Butterfly. There were also very accomplished Las Vegas musicians who were counselors, such as drummer Johnny Lust and singer A.J. Johnson. This combination of counselors, with their own instrument expertise and personalities, rounds out the entire musical experience.
Included in each day’s schedule are Master Classes. These are informal discussions and question and answer sessions with each of the rock star counselors and featured band members. The comfortable atmosphere allows for an easy exchange which broadens your knowledge of not only the music business and new techniques, but the pros and cons these individuals faced during their careers. Additionally, suggestions on what to do and not to do when producing your own material, how to protect your work, etc. are discussed. Again, they were very open and candid.
The highlight of course, was that each musician got to share the stage and perform with the incomparable band YES. For Jim Mitchell of Jacksonville, sitting side by side and playing simultaneously with Alan White was definitely the “fantasy” part of the camp! What drummer wouldn’t think so? Even with the intense schedule, time was provided for photo ops with the counselor rock stars and the members of YES.
Rehearse, rehearse and rehearse some more. In no time, your particular group of one time strangers evolves into a band. A tight knit, supportive band with various levels of abilities and a common goal – to kick butt on stage! The July camp with YES was a RRFC three and a half day program. Day one is a half day where you basically meet the members of your band and your counselor. This is when you decide what songs you will perform on stage – just two days later! The YES camp started on Sunday and at 9PM Tuesday night the bands took the stage at The Rouge Lounge inside the MGM Grand Hotel. The place was packed and the bands more than rocked the house! Each band performed three songs. Jim’s band performed Come as You Are by Nirvana, Rebel Yell by Billy Idol and of course, because their counselor was Kane Roberts, the famed guitarist for Alice Cooper, they played School’s Out for Summer. An encore performance of the whole show was held the next night, again to a standing room only crowd. Amazing!
Is it a ‘fantasy’ for individuals who have little or no experience on stage or performing? Absolutely! Is it a highly educational, fine tuning, music business experience for skilled musicians? Absolutely! Jim Mitchell is an experienced drummer, gigging with bands both in New Jersey and now in the Jacksonville, Florida area. In his words, “I had heard people state that the RRFC is life changing and I wondered how that could be. I can now say that I completely understand, and it’s true. The program changes how you view music and your art.”
So whether you are a shower singer, bedroom guitarist or a professional, working musician, The Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp offers a once in a lifetime experience.
To quote counselor Johnny Lust:
” A true musician never stops learning and should never bar him or herself from experiencing every aspect of music. RRFC was created for musicians and people in general too. Playing dive bars or stadiums is great and is a goal we all share in common. The goal is to entertain and perform music live on stage and to record said music to reach the masses. RRFC is an avenue for all to experience the level of the professional musician. No matter what we may think as being professional in certain levels, RRFC is clearly on the mark on what and how a pro “rock-star” musical situation may be. The staff, counselors and techs are all beautiful people and are there to help excel and propel you as a musician. If any musician has the means or opportunity to take advantage of this life-changing experience, they totally should do so.”
RRFC offers one, three and five day programs in various locations, plus Corporate Team Building events. Check it out at http://www.rockandrollfantasycamp.com for more details and dates.
Submitted by LS Emm
We at Standing Room Only Magazine would like to thank LS Emm for the guest article, we love it! LRS! \m/ \m/