- - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Summer camp can be exciting for a child. You’re away from home, out of your comfort zone and on your own for the first time meeting new people. It’s a magical time of growth and discovery. Once adulthood hits, many of those feelings are gone forever. After all, no one offers a camp for adults. 

Or do they?

Super promoter David Fishof, the man behind the Monkees reunion and Ringo Starr’s All Star Band tours, has created the ultimate getaway for adults, Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. This four-day intensive outing in Los Angeles offers folks from all walks of life a chance to live their rock star dreams, allowing campers to jam with real-life musical legends.

“Counselors” for this summer’s session Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne) Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers) Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot), Gary Hoey, Lez Warner (The Cult) and Vinnie Appice (Black Sabbath) discussed why this camp rocks.

Question: Why do you like coming to Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp?

Zakk Wylde: It’s a good chance to catch up with people I know, the rock counselors, and you meet a lot of supercool people. To me it’s a win-win situation.

Warren Haynes: Everybody is excited to be here. Music is such an important part of everybody’s lives. Being here reminds me of why we all started playing music in the first place.

Gary Hoey: This is like my 15th camp. I just fell in love with it, the whole concept. When you are a professional musician and all you do is tour and make records, I don’t want to say it takes the fun out of it, but it becomes a job. These camps take us out of our comfort zone. We have to go in and mentor these people. We see the passion they have for the music.

Lez Warner: I think it’s really good for musicians to be able to give back. We’re in a blessed profession, very lucky to be able to do what we do. As soon as I started doing it, I realize the campers are having such a fun time. That is very infectious.

Rudy Sarzo: I thought it was a really good event to have these great musicians all gathered together to share information and experiences with these people who at one point in their lives had aspirations about becoming musicians, and they went on to be lawyers, doctors and whatever. At some point, 20 years later, they rediscover their guitars and want to reconnect with that musician magic that they had before.

Frankie Banali: It’s a really wonderful way to give back to [other] musicians. I’ve been very successful, but I’m also a fan. I get it from that perspective.

The guys I played with in my original garage band all took different roads in life. And that is how I see some of the campers. This gives them a chance to see what it is like for real. And I make it real for them. They become my band. By the time we are done, it is a real band. For me that’s the greatest gift.

Q: What advice do you have for folks trying to make it as musicians?

ZW: Obviously you have to have passion for what you do. Love what you do. That’s all. If it’s in your blood, that’s what you’re gonna do.

WH: If you’re not obsessed with it, and if it’s not gonna be the thing that drives your life, then just do it for the fun and enjoyment. Those of us that are obsessed are kind OF stuck with it.

GH: Stay true to what you really love. Put the hours in. Don’t follow trends. Have that mentality and [be] willing to go through the ups and downs of the business and are willing to grind it out. Stay busy. People want to hire someone who is busy. If you really love it, it’s gonna happen.

LW: Be seen by as many people as possible. Get out there and show your talent. Get on YouTube. If you get lots of hits and go viral, then record companies are gonna be looking at you.

Vinnie Appice: Everybody always asks, “How do I make it?” I don’t know. The business has changed. Years ago I thought it was easier. You would get a band together, write songs, play out and hope to get a record deal.

FB: Have realistic expectations. Be educated. When I first started playing, the economy and music industry were completely different. You could actually make a record, sell it and get paid something. All of that has disappeared. Do it because you love it.

Q: What would you have done if you had not made it as a musician?

WH: I probably would have gone into some creative writing or journalism. Maybe teaching.

GH: I’m a martial artist, a third-degree black belt. I was going to go into martial arts professionally, open a school. But music took over and became my passion. Music was my destiny.

RZ: Once I decided to become a musician, there was no turning back. I did go to college for broadcasting and mass communications. I wanted to be in television working behind the scenes. Any storytelling vocation I would have been OK with. But not as much as being a musician.

VA: As a kid I would say, “I wanna be a fireman.” Lots of kids said that. I got into computers heavily in ‘95. In 2000, when I came off the road with Black Sabbath, there was nothing going on. I started taking courses and building my own computers. Teaching. They actually offered me a job at Verizon.

FB: An architectural draftsman. I was studying that in school. My father being Italian said, “You gotta have something to fall back on!” I figured out early that if I had a safety net, the first time I got a disappointment I would have left music.

The next Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, featuring Paul Stanley, is June 23-26. Check out RockCamp.com for more info.

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