Cutting Edge Rock

Anyone looking to form a band is unlikely to team with a couple of surgeons and a financial expert, but anything is possible at Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp.

Billed as “the ultimate music experience,” it gives aspiring rockers the chance to “jam with legendary rock stars, play in a band with famous musicians, perform live at major concert venues and live the rock-n-roll dream. No experience necessary.”

Doctors, lawyers, sports reporters and real estate agents have been known to jam with clergymen.

Fourteen-year-old student and guitarist Spencer Smith found himself trading licks with three musicians three times his age. Jeff Matthews (a stomach surgeon from Chicago) was also on guitar, Tim Fazio (a financial expert from Philadelphia) was on bass, and the drummer – the heartbeat of the band – was New Jersey vascular surgeon Jon Weiswasser.

The vocalist was Xavi Vidal, a Spanish music journalist from Barcelona, and the whole thing was held together by Kip Winger, the former vocalist and guitarist with New York hard rock band Winger.

The 44 participants met at the London camp Nov. 4-9, the first time it’s been held outside the U.S.

They were split into groups directed by real rock stars including Winger, former David Bowie and John Lennon guitarist Earl Slick, former Mott The Hoople and Bad Company guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Chris Slade, who has played with Paul Rodgers, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, Uriah Heep, Manfred Mann and had six-year stints with AC/DC and Asia.

The time was split between John Henry’s north London studio and rehearsal complex and the city’s Abbey Road studio, where campers got the chance to record in the same rooms as The Beatles and walk across the same zebra crossing.

On the last evening, everyone decamped to Liverpool, where the bands had another chance to rub shoulders with history by playing at the city’s world-famous Cavern Club.

Other famous musicians to drop by the London camp for mentoring sessions, a jam and a chat included Bill Wyman and Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason.

Previous camps have been visited by Roger Daltrey, Brian Wilson, Slash, Joe Walsh, Paul Stanley, Micky Hart and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp is the brainchild of David Fishof, the sports agent and impresario who produced The Monkees reunion tour.

The next camp is April 29 to May 3 in Hollywood, Calif.

Campers will record at Capitol Studios in the Capitol Records building, play live at the Whiskey A Go Go on the Sunset Strip, and jam with rock legends.

It’s expected to return to London next autumn.