Put on the spotlights one and all
Our arrival at The Whisky A Go Go was accompanied by the strangest feeling—it was so… empty. After a moment, we were refueled by the realization that in a short time it would be packed to the brim with spectators there to be entertained. I probably spent five minutes just staring at the stage itself, reminding myself that this was where Otis Redding recorded In Person. It was pretty cool getting to walk around the place in silence, wondering what idols had sat in those comfy leather booths, and how many times Motley Crüe had gotten wasted at the bar upstairs.
When the time finally came, we were ready. The set started off just as we’d planned, ripping into “Helter Skelter,” and boy was it a rush! When I looked up after slamming that G-chord after the intro, memories of all four days rushed together all at once. It felt freaking awesome. I recall some of the shows I’ve played with my own bands as high points in my life, and this one most certainly ranked up there with them. When we closed the set with our original and then “Highway to Hell,” we knew had owned that stage, if only for a short while. Just when the moment couldn’t have gotten any more amazing, I looked up and saw ToddRundgren on stage playing with us. I mean, come on! Does it get any cooler than that? Jamie sang the closing tune and ended it with the line, “Bruce Kulick rode me to Hell!” which was hilarious. Bruce had worked Jamie pretty hard in practice, and he had to get this one in on him. It was a sign of respect and showed that he hadn’t taken it personally—he’d still had fun.
The feelings of respect and joviality were definitely shared among all the other campers, too. There were some great performances that night from all of the bands. Some of the highlights were Share Ross’s band, “Share’s Band on the Run,” whose members were all 18 or younger. Olympic ice-skating legend Scott Hamilton played some mean drums opening the event in Rami Jaffee’s (Foo Fighters) band. Teddy Andreadis’s group, affectionately named AIG (Agitators International Group), was on fire. John Martin was their vocalist and lead axeman, and this guy slayed every time I saw him play during the camp—be on the lookout for him and his trusty Les Paul in the future. All of the bands put on a great show, and really showed their confidence in the material. Watching from the balcony above the stage was Steven Tyler, observing what we had all been working on so hard since we’d jammed with him. Capping off the night was an all-star jam that filled the stage with the counselors from the show, and several of the campers dancing to the tunes alongside them. It seemed that even after five grueling days of traveling, meeting and greeting, recording, and practice, practice, practice that the campers weren’t ready for the ride to be over. If anything, the looks on their faces gave the impression that if given the opportunity, they’d have stayed another day or two.
| Jordan Wagner, Anthony Hixon and Bruce Kulick layin’ it down. Photo by: Alan M. Poulin / alanpoulinphoto.com.
I love the music. And I love to see the crowd.
| Todd Rundgren and Mark Hudson.
Photo by: Alan M. Poulin / alanpoulinphoto.com
It’s difficult to sum up the experience that I had at Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, but take it from me: everybody and anybody can walk away from this camp with something new and inspiring, no matter what your skill level is. One of Fishof’s goals is to makeeasier for anybody to participate, and he’s currently working on plans to make the event more affordable and convenient to attend. Fishof explained that one of the biggest obstacles in getting people into the camp is fear: people are afraid of the unexpected and doubt their own abilities. Hearing Bruce Kulick talk about how incredible it had been for him to share a stage with Jack Bruce, I realized at that moment what I’d gotten out of this was the confidence that I could indeed work with anyone, that I didn’t have to be intimidated. All the things I got to do during those days, with the amazing people there—that’s more overwhelming than any single moment the camp had to offer. We met the challenges of working as a band in only a few days, recorded at one of the most famous studios in the world, and played on a legendary stage with some of the greatest musicians alive today. Upcoming camps will be held this fall, also in Hollywood, and next spring in London, where campers will get to record at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
| Rock ‘n’ roll master chef Guy Fieri and David Fishof. Photo Credit: Alan M. Poulin / alanpoulinphoto.com.