Friday, November 18, 2011

Licking It Up at Fantasy Camp

Story and photo by Chris Epting

In a small rehearsal on the fringes of North Hollywood, a band is working hard. Feeling their way several times through the Bo Diddley staple, 'Road Runner,' they're finally getting comfortable with each other. Then the band's leader decides to crack the whip.

She stops the band and issues a few orders. "You, come in harder after the first verse," she tells one of the two drummers. "And you," she tells the singer, "I want you to start singing up around here," before hitting the note she wants him to tackle.

The singer has a suggestion after that. "Tonight, I'm thinking of ripping my jacket off and kind of throwing it at a certain point." The boss thinks about it. "Okay," she says. "Do that."

Just another band rehearsal? Not really. The two drummers, two guitarists, bass player and vocalist, have just met a few days earlier. And the bandleader? The woman whose playing styles is as distinctive as her blonde hair and striking good looks: Lita Ford.

Welcome to Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp, where average, everyday people can live out their rock and roll dreams in the span of just a few days.

The brainchild of producer David Fishof, this is the camp's 14th year.

With years of experience producing rock tours throughout the world, Fishof first got the idea for the camp as a way to give music fans the opportunity to see their rock dreams become reality by learning from some of the most influential artists in the industry. That dream first crystallized in 1997 and over the years, he has delivered some of the world's top rockers to mentor, teach, perform and just plain hang out with fans.

For this most recent edition, Paul Stanley from KISS served as head counselor and was joined by Ford, Vinny Appice, Nils Lofgren, Rudy Sarzo, Bruce Kulick, and a host of other industry heavyweights.

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