Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp – Behind the Scenes in Sin City
Have you ever thought about being a rock star? You don’t need to answer that – of course you have! Who hasn’t dreamt of selling out Madison Square Garden or Wembley Stadium or holding court like Lemmy at the Rainbow? Well, now you can be one – even just for a day. After scattered camps around the globe since the late nineties, Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp has made its permanent home in Las Vegas – in collaboration with the MGM Grand hotel – and the inaugural camp at the new Sin City home base was held October 10-14, 2012.
In true Vegas fashion, the purple neon sign at headquarters is so bright it can be seen from the Strip, which is several blocks away. Offering three and five day camp packages and ‘Rockstar for a Day’experience packages on monthly basis (No camp in December 2012 though), as well as corporate team building events (picture your boss rocking the stage like a member of Kiss or Motley Crue!) and you don’t even need to have any musical talent to sign up! The only restriction is, they would really prefer you to be over the age of 21, just because this IS Vegas. Campers are grouped by experience level, but if you claim Expert level? Be ready to cough up an audition video to prove it. If Kip Winger doesn’t think you’re an Expert player? You get bumped down to Intermediate or Beginner.
Past campers have learned from and worked alongside counselors such as Zakk Wylde, Gene Simmons, Slash, Ace Frehley, Lita Ford, Steven Tyler, Bruce Kulick, and Vince Neil, among other notables. Future headliner counselors include John Popper from Blues Traveler, Warren Haynes from the Allman Brothers, and Jack Bruce from Cream in November, Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Roger Daltrey in January, Alice Cooper and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater, Adrenaline Mob) in February, and the Red Rocker himself, Sammy Hagar (and the Wabos) in March. (Let’s not even discuss the plethora of other counselors who come in! Rudy Sarzo. John Moyer. Vinny Appice. Eddie Trunk. The list goes on!) This isn’t a situation where you get a few minutes of watch and learn and then you’re on your own. You spend full days with your counselors, learning some of the stuff that made them famous, or rewriting lyrics to one of their tunes, or just playing alongside them. Founder and CFO David Fishof told a story of how campers rewrote lyrics to an Aerosmith tune with the songwriter’s help. If you think this whole thing is akin to jamming in someone’s garage, you need to think again. The headquarters boasts twelve separate practice studios outfitted with state of the art equipment from companies such as Roland and Cakewalk. (DW drum kits were also seen in the practice rooms and the performance studio.) If you have your own axe, they’re cool if you bring it. Just make sure it is clearly labeled with your info.
After you spend all day learning from your counselors, you get to start out just the way most rockstars did too – playing a gig in a club! Okay, it’s not the local dive bar down the block, the nightly showcases are at Rouge nightclub in the MGM Grand hotel. (Next stop? The Whisky a Go-Go?) But if your stage fright is SO bad that breathing into a paper bag won’t save you, you won’t be left out….Whats rock ‘n’ roll without groupies? Every band needs them! According to CEO David Clontz, the October camp had about 20% of their attendance as groupies.
Think you have what it takes? Go to www.rockcamp.com or call 888-762-2263 and sign up. Packages start at $299 for Rockstar for a Day and the multi-day packages include your hotel room. Who knows? You might turn out to be the Next Big Thing.