Fishof Schools The Suits

Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp founder David Fishof has a plan to whip corporate America into shape with rock ‘n’ roll.

Fishof had barely caught his breath following the August 13-17 camp in New York City when he talked to Pollstar about his latest vision for the event. The idea came from business execs who said the Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp experience was life-changing in more ways than one.

“The first executive said to me, ‘David, I’m running my company differently. I realized that in order to run a successful company, I have to learn to listen to my executives, that it’s not all about me,'” Fishof said. “I figured I could create a camp for corporate America and show them how they can create better teams.”

The corporate Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp, which can accommodate 25 to 250 people, will travel to the client’s location and can be geared toward a specific company objective. Imagine learning “team building skills” from artists that match the caliber of past camp counselors – George Thorogood, Dr. John, Dickey Betts, Max Weinberg, Dee Snider, Jon Anderson, Levon Helm, Mark Farner and Joe Satriani, to name a few.

“My pitch to corporate America is this: You’ve been buying The Beach Boys, you’ve been buying K.C. & The Sunshine Band and you’ll continue to buy all these major stars. But one year, just try to realize that within your company there’s an amazing amount of talent that we will draw out,” he said. “The benefits of having the Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp will be so much greater than just booking an act.

“If the CEO is up there playing guitar, I guarantee the room is not going to empty out.”

No corporate dates had been set at press time but the industry vet said he’d been getting inquiries.

This latest brainstorm is a far cry from the longtime promoter’s first attempt to bring a taste of the rock ‘n’ roll life to the general public.

The first camp in 1997 lost so much money that Fishof scrapped the entire idea. It wasn’t until he attended the 2002 Concert Industry Consortium in Los Angeles that he realized he should reconsider.

“I think it was the night before the awards and [delegates] were playing a game, ‘The Weakest Millionaire,’ with Tommy Lee, Tommy Shaw and Sammy Hagar,” he explained. “One of the questions was ‘Who created the Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp? David Byrne, David Bowie or David Fishof?’ And Tommy Shaw said ‘It was Fishof.’ I was so amazed. I couldn’t believe all these people remembered.”

Since relaunching the camp four years ago, the event has branched out in many directions including a version in London where campers record at Abbey Road studios. Fishof said plans to go to Russia in May are under discussion, as well as camps in New York City, Hollywood and possibly Las Vegas.

Another of Fishof’s experiments is a one-day Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp in Columbus, Ohio, September 10th with an added twist. The traditional Battle of the Bands, normally held at a club, will be the opening act for Def Leppard/Journey‘s concert at the Germain Amphitheater.

“We’re going to expand the brand. We’re looking to do tours, we’re looking to do corporate,” Fishof said. “As long as I’m changing people’s lives and making them happy, I’m going to keep doing this.

“Every day [I] open e-mails and people are thanking me. And the counselors, the rock stars, are enjoying it. That’s the magic.”

– Tina Amendola