- Title: USA: Music fans pay big bucks to make rock 'n roll dreams a reality
- Date: 17th August 2006
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEFF "SKUNK" BAXTER OF STEELY DAN AND THE DOOBIE BROTHERS SAYING: "This is like the real thing, you know. Only these guys can play way more better than most of the bands I've worked with. These guys are awesome."
- Embargoed: 1st September 2006 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Entertainment,Lifestyle
- Reuters ID: LVABXUM81E3IL5JEGVUQ1KF8SD27
- Story Text: While most people dream about becoming a Rock 'n Roll star, some aspiring musicians are taking the leap to make their dreams become a reality.
It's not quite the School of Rock, but Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp is the ultimate tutorial for a wannabe rock star. In the course of five packed days and nights, students are guided by some of the world's most renowned musicians, like Joe Satriani and Jeff Baxter, receiving tips and techniques as well as dining and drinking in Rock 'n Roll fashion.
On their first day, students split into bands and then start band practice at New York's legendary Gibson studios. The halls are lined with photographs of music greats from The Who to The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, but students don't have to look far for inspiration. Each band works with a celebrity musician or "counsellor" to hone their skills and polish their sound. The band have to vote on a name for themselves and prepare for the first of their performances, the late night jam scheduled to take place after dinner and drinks.
David Fishof, founder of Rocker 'n Roll Fantasy Camp, has been in the music business for over 15 years, working with the reunited The Monkees and producing 8 tours for Ringo Starr's All Starr Band. Fishof said he wanted to give people the chance to live out their dreams and have a life-changing experience.
"Everyone always asked me what these rock stars are like, so I said let me create an opportunity to meet them and jam with them because they're really amazing people
"Everyone always asked me what these rock stars are like, so I said let me create an opportunity to meet them and jam with them because they're really amazing people," he said.
Students don't need to play instruments or be of a certain age. In fact, while some rockers are as young as 16, most are in their 40s and 50s. Their professions are as varied as their ages, including doctors, lawyers, private investigators and CEOs.
It's easy to see that the students are genuinely eager to be around legendary musicians like Joe Satriani, Jeff Baxter of The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, Spencer Davis of the Spencer Davis band, Mark Slaughter of Slaughter, Teddy Andreadis of Guns N Roses and Alice Cooper, Bruce Kullick of Kiss and drummer Carmine Appici.
After jamming with his still unnamed band, student rocker Jon Bello, says by attending Rock 'n Roll camp he's fulfilling one of his long-time dreams.
"I always wanted to be a Rock 'n Roll star but was a little short on talent. So you go with what you know and what you can do. So you work hard, and you get to a place where you can come and do your thing. You know life is short and you just have some fun, the beauty of this camp is the people you meet. And actually, you can really do things that you never thought you could do before," said Bello, an entrepreneur and the CEO of South Beach Beverage Company.
But there is a steep price tag on this kind of availability 8,500 US dollars. The fee gets campers one-on-one time with the rockers, a live stage performance at B.B. King's in New York, a televised performance on VH-1, participation in a song writing contest at Sirius Satellite Radio Studios and a recording session at Gibson's Hit Factory Studio.
The cost hasn't deterred music teacher Asha Mevlana, who is on her second tour at the camp. The 30-year-old plans on making Rock 'n Roll her life in the near future. In the meantime, her electrifying violin solos steal the show.
During her first Fantasy Camp experience, Asha performed on stage with The Who's Roger Daltry.
"I think the most incredible experience I ever had. And I just had to come back again. So, yeah, there's new people here and I have different counsellors. It's amazing, and everyone, all the counsellors, you can talk to any of them, you can ask them questions, they just are so open and available and so helpful. And, it's just awesome," she said.
Jeff Baxter gives his students pointers and says teaching at the camp is about being a mentor and "paying forward" what he's learned throughout his career.
"This is like the real thing, you know. Only these guys can play way more better than most of the bands I've worked with. These guys are awesome," Baxter said.
Not bad for just two hours of practice and a dream.
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