In the late 1990s, music business entrepreneur David Fishof had the idea of giving fans the opportunity to not only meet their rock star idols but play beside and learn from them as well. Since then, over 5,000 people have attended 69 monthly events, and lives have been touched by the rock ‘n’ roll gods. Directors Doug Blush and Renee Barron tell the story of this unique experience with their captivating documentary Rock Camp: The Movie.
Immediately, Fishof comes off as a loveable eccentric. Before pairing fans with rock stars, he worked behind the scenes for The Monkees, Ringo Starr, and several notable football and baseball players. His years in the industry gave him access to the music elite, and apparently, they liked him and trusted him. It’s easy to see why—known to be a bit of a showman himself, he comes off as a happy guy, always smiling. Granted, it’s one thing to pack the fans in, but it’s entirely another to get professional musicians who have spent their lives touring the world to agree to do this. The thing is, they showed up.
After meeting Fishof, the narrative bounces between several campers, who are normal, everyday people with families and jobs who just happen to love rock ‘n’ roll. For a couple of them with special needs children, it’s extremely personal. Music is the common language they share with their kids, and this is an opportunity to experience a lifelong dream with them. Some of the stories are quite emotional, and you feel the pride when a dad is rocking out with his son or watching him play on stage with Paul Stanley.
“…giving fans the opportunity to not only meet their rock star idols but play beside and learn from them as well.”
Perhaps the most surprising thing we see here is how humble and honest these musicians are when interacting with their fans. Rather than arrogant “golden gods,” they’re ready to share their knowledge, experience, and war stories with the campers. Suddenly, it’s less about ego and more about fun, whether it’s Heart’s Nancy Wilson admitting she made a major mistake or Rob Halford and Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) laughing about how they mess up onstage all the time. Even Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons from KISS, two guys who are certainly not known for their humility, come off as gracious participants in this journey. There’s a reason folks like Roger Daltrey (The Who), Alice Cooper, Tony Franklin (Roy Harper/ The Firm), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Teddy “Zigzag” Andreadis (Guns N’ Roses), and Lita Ford keep returning for more.
Thanks to directors Blush and Barron, we get an in-depth look at the program. Whether rock star, camper, or Fishof himself, everyone seems completely comfortable in front of the camera. Of course, Rock Camp: The Movie is one long ad for the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp brand, but it’s so chock full of enthusiasm, passion, and fun you don’t care. By the end, you’re ready to sign up and have the experience for yourself.
The past year has been difficult for everybody. Isolation, job loss, and civil unrest have become the order of the day. We could all use a good pick-me-up, and Rock Camp: The Movie fulfills that role. If you’ve ever played an instrument, be in a band, been to a concert, or you’re just an avid rock ‘n’ roll fan, you’ll escape into the fantasy and have some well-deserved fun.
"…the most surprising thing we see here is how humble and honest these musicians are when interacting with their fans."