Rock and roll fantasies

by Mark Sherman
February 17, 2011 11:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I have never really understood the appeal of being a rock star. How could any young guy in his right mind want creative success doing what he loves, the adulation of crowds, beautiful women seeking him out, and possibly a lasting place in the history of music? Of course, there may also be the drugs, which I’m told feel really good until they destroy your life.

Actually, since being a rock star is the pinnacle of life experience, it has been applied to fields having nothing to do with music. Thus you have “rock stars” in law, medicine, and even academia (although I have not yet heard the term applied to dentists). Still, I doubt that for most people -- men, at least -- any of this can compare with the original: being a genuine star in rock and roll.

But it turns out that you don’t have to be an actual rock star to enjoy the experience. About five months ago CBS Sunday Morning aired a segment about “rock and roll fantasy camp.” It showed middle-aged guys going to England to jam with the likes of Spike Edney, a world-class musician, who has recorded with such bands as Queen.

The campers seemed to be having a great time, and it got me thinking: Perhaps rock and roll fantasy camp would be something I’d like to do. After all, music has been an important part of my life, and for a while in the 1970s I played with a couple of other musicians. It’s true that in our rise to stardom we never got further than Rosendale, but still, I had my dreams.

So I looked up “Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp” on the Internet, to see if maybe this was something I could do. On its website I looked at FAQs, and, of course, the first one to check out was cost. The guys featured in that CBS segment included a vascular surgeon and a highly successful computer consultant, so I had a feeling that this camp would not be cheap.

But even finding this question on the list took a bit of searching, and when you clicked on it, you were directed to another link, which took a long time to load. After my computer whirred and clicked for a minute or so, up came the price: $7,999. By my figuring, that is very close to $8,000, and that is a lot of money. And it doesn’t include airfare or the cost of the hotel where you’ll be staying.

So what do you get for your eight big ones? Well, you get to jam for 10-12 hours a day with other campers and staff, coaching from over-the-hill rock stars, meals (and for all that money, they’d better be good), and “a DVD of the final night’s ‘Campalooza’ performance.”

Yeah, okay, but what about autograph seekers? groupies? drugs and alcohol? stalkers? Don’t you think that for $8,000 you should be getting the full rock star experience?

Perhaps in these still difficult economic times, the camp is having trouble filling its slots because I see that for their upcoming session, in the Bahamas, you can go for a mere $4,999.99. But it’s only four days, which means you’ll be paying more than $1200 a day for the privilege of hanging out with such past-their-prime luminaries as Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Lita Ford of The Runaways, and Ace Frehley of KISS.

However, if you want an autographed guitar and a couple of dinners with these guys, you’re going to have to spring for another thousand.

Now some of you may be wondering: Am I a good enough musician to go to this camp? If I’m just a beginner, can I still be a happy camper? The camp makes it clear that any level of musicianship is acceptable, from beginner -- “someone with little or no experience” -- to advanced -- “someone who knows their instrument well enough to where the song itself is second nature and their musical/artistic personality can shine threw [sic].” Obviously, the spelling abilities of the camp personnel do not exactly shine through. Maybe they might enjoy a spelling bee fantasy camp.

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