Thursday, September 9, 2010

07 Sept 10 - Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp

...we're all fans... ~ Rudy Sarzo

Hey, blogspot readers, want to experience the ultimate backstage life as a celebrity rock musician? Or did you once have a dream of performing on stage in front of a crowd of screaming fans? If the answers to SouthSide's questions are both a "yes", then she invites you to participate in the Midwest session of Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp held during the weekend of November 19 thru 21. This camp session dubbed as the "Weekend Warrior" will be a mini version of what campers experience at the week-long camp session held at Los Angeles. Yet this one in November will be held at the legendary House of Blues. This is Chicago's first time hosting a fantasy camp though other locations, besides Los Angeles, also include New York, Las Vegas and Abbey Road Studios in London.

Since holding the first camp session back in 1997, founder David Fishof has been making many campers' fantasies become a reality regardless of their musical abilities. Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp gives the avid rock fan the chance of a lifetime to be and live as a rock musician. Plus, each camper who attends gets to jam with their favorite rock musician such as Slash, Roger Daltrey, Ringo Starr as well as rehearse and ask them questions. Sounds like a dream come true, doesn't it, blogspot readers? Campers attending the session in November can expect the following: 1)admission to the three-day camp session with featured camp counselors Rudy Sarzo (Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne), Mark Hudson (Aerosmith), Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad) to name a few with co-founder of The Allman Brothers, Dickey Betts, as head counselor; 2) two lunches as well as opening night cocktail party/dinner and a ticket to the final night concert; 3) a swag bag with surprise goodies inside; and 4) learning and playing along with their famous counselors. And there are few other extras too such as a DVD of the final concert (with you, the fan, in it performing on stage!), the opportunity to write and record an original song at a historic studio ...and plenty more. Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp is billed as what a "REAL" VIP package is like with the promise of true rock star interaction any fan can imagine.

SouthSide had the extreme privilege to sit down and interview ...more like chatting with an old friend, Rudy Sarzo, one of the many counselors scheduled to appear at Chicago's "Weekend Warrior" session to discuss RRFC as well as his career. Rudy Sarzo has an illustrious career performing as bassist for artists/bands like Ozzy Osbourne, DIO, Whitesnake, Blue Oyster Cult for over 20 years. However, ask him about RRFC and there's a certain twinkle in his eyes. According to him, RRFC also fulfills a fantasy "...of hanging with people from other bands he admires..." since he doesn't approach the camp session as a celebrity bassist. As you see, blogspot readers, fantasy camp not only makes ordinary rock fans' dreams come true but also the rock celebrities' dreams. Yet, he doesn't view himself as a "rock star" ...he's more of a rock fan. "Rock stars are those who live 24/7 doing their personal best," says Rudy. The bassist even considers the guy at his local Home Depot who knows the aisle where the nuts and bolts are located a rock star. But on the flipside to the rock star persona is the "rock casuality". "They," according to Rudy, "wonder when and where's the next party is happening." These people work so hard being focused on making it big that they don't have an idea on what to do next. "There's a time to party ...and a time for [real] life..." says Rudy ...and that, blogspot readers, is sage advice for all of us to follow.

Rudy believes there's a rock star inside everyone and that at Fantasy Camp, it's his pleasure to awaken and unleash it during the finale concert. He enjoys helping campers search for that next magical moment in their lives ...helping them discover that belief and faith in themselves as musicians. During the course of this conversation, SouthSide learned that the bulk of the campers are individuals successful at some level of their career. Whether it's being a mother (yes, motherhood is the world's toughest career, blogspot readers), attorney, CEO, etc., Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp attracts all walks of life from all over the world to its sessions. Yet, the difference between them and Rudy is that he was too focused on his dream ...never giving up. Please, realize, blogspot readers, this wasn't said in a negative tone because you must understand where he was about 30 years ago before becoming a world famous bassist. He shared with SouthSide about the time of his life back in 80s when he was literally sleeping on a sheet on the floor in which he did some soul searching ...even had an epiphany about his career and then was taken into the home of Ozzy and Sharon thus beginning his career.

According to Rudy, "...being a musician in a common denominator ..." since music is the universal language spoken by everyone whether its vocal and/or music. SouthSide and Rudy discussed passionately how music is also an universal form of communication. For example, most musicians cannot convey their thoughts/feelings easily with ordinary words but through their music/lyrics, they can convey the same thought/feeling to everyone listening. It merely takes a willing ear to listen to what the musician has to say. Another fine example, blogspot readers, is when Rudy's advising campers about performing covers. He tells them while performing a particular cover they should always consider the following thought "what does the song personally mean to them". That song has to mean somthing in order to perform it ...and not just played as it was originally recorded. Believe SouthSide, she has heard some horrible covers by artists/bands who didn't personalize the cover songs within their own style or music. Rudy did bring up a fine point about Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones) and his classic hit, Satisfaction in which Mick will it differently during each show performed than it was originally covered because it might mean something to him now than then.

However, blogspot readers, as a Fantasy Camp counselor, Rudy, is all about bringing out the personal best in each camper. This is what has him coming back each year. According to him, camp takes individuals once as strangers and turns them into a band ...cohesive family jamming on stage together during the finale concert. And he relayed to this reviewer that many friendships form at camp doesn't end once the show is over ...campers, both male and female, do stay in touch with each other creating lasting friendships. What's Rudy's Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp fantasy? Well, blogspot readers, it's performing with other rock greats such as Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad) who in Rudy's opinion is singing better now than before, Kip Winger (Winger) an old friend and other wonderful people he finally gets that special chance to perform with while at camp.

SouthSide then asked Rudy if could give some in sight on what viewers will see during the VH1-Classic reality series about RRFC. Hoping for a scoop, she was told it was somewhat hush hush. Rudy did mention that the reality show is NOT scripted but with drama about the camp experience. However, in reality, RRFC sessions are actually drama-free, blogspot readers. The goal of RRFC is giving all campers the best rock-n-roll experience possible. And here's another fact about Fantasy Camp - all campers and counselor co-mingle ...counselors are accessible at all times of the day. How cool is that? So if you have a burning question at midnight or 11a, your counselor is there for you. But during the taping of the reality series, campers and counselors didn't co-mingle plus counselors weren't accessible to campers.

This reviewer had Rudy explain in more detail what the "Master Classes" are which take place during camp session. As a bassist, he accesses the skill level of the bassists within his group and then caters to their musical needs. Though it's a group setting, he's actually giving one-on-one individual help to each musician in the room. So while Rudy's teaching one person, the others in the group are also learning, following along and watching as well. For fun, this reviewer asked Rudy which artist and/or band would he like to have the opportunity to work with and why. He answered thoughtfully Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds) because his guitar playing scares him it (the guitar) talks to him. Also he mentioned Roger Daltrey (The Who) who will be at the New York Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp session.

Lastly, SouthSide asked him about what the motivation behind his book "Off the Rails - Aboard The Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz". Spending a year and half writing it, the motivation came from fans who've always asked him "what's it like play with Ozzy and Randy Rhoads (the late guitar wizard of the Ozzy's band)". There are, blogspot readers, some amazing stories to tell that sometimes Rudy found himself forgetting to tell one story or two. Also it was his way of thanking Randy for giving Rudy his big break back in the 80s as well as saving their lives. Oh on a SouthSide personal note - this reviewer did get the REAL story behind the infamous bat rumor! Yes, blogspot readers, the bat was real because Rudy saw it land on stage but Ozzy thought it was a fake rubber one. Well, let's just say he (Ozzy) had to take a series of rabies shots after they couldn't find the bitten bat when it was tossed into the audience pit.

Final words by Rudy Sarzo - he LOVES Chicago! He say the city is clean ...way cleaner than New York, Los Angeles and even San Francisco ...loves the weather here but not during the wintertime ...and remembers working at [Original] Mother's back in the day (made SouthSide feel so young during that moment).

SouthSide would like to thank Rudy Sarzo for taking time out of his busy schedule for chatting and giving this reviewer the interview of a lifetime. Also she would like to thank David Fishof and Randy Alexander (of Randex PR) for setting this opportunity up.

For more information and details about Rock-N-Roll Fantasy Camp, visit or call 888-762-2263 X2. Who knows ...perhaps SouthSide will get to the chance to live out her rock-n-roll fantasy...

Until next time, support your local scene,

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