Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I know, it's only Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp...

...but I like, I like it...

Actually, that's a lie. In truth, I would loathe Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp, which sounds pretty much like a guy thing, but I couldn't resist checking it out once my brother-in-law Rick  saw an ad for it in the Wall Street Journal and alerted me.

You've already missed the one that was held in LA this February, but there's still room to get on board for May's London edition. The dollar's faring poorly against the pound, so it won't be cheap, but for $13,999 (+ 1,999 for spouse) you get 5 days and nights jamming with the likes of the Stones' Bill Wyman, Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, and Jack Bruce of Cream. (I don't think hotel is included in this fee, but "you can stay at the trendy Mayfair Hotel where Rockstars are a daily fixture!" Exclamation point courtesy of R'R Fantasy Camp.)

For a few extra bucks, you can tack on an extra day's sidetrip to Liverpool and the opportunity to play some Beatles' covers at The Cavern.  Gear! Fab! (Exclamation points courtesy of me.)

Much as I enjoy a good celebrity spotting myself, this has very little appeal to me, probably because I didn't like loud music when I was young, and I like it even less now. (For whatever reason, I was a modest fan of Cream, however. Must have been those scintillating lyrics: "I'm so glad, I'm so glad, I'm glad, I'm glad, I'm glad.")

No, if I were going to attend Fantasy Camp, it would be Folk Song Fantasy Camp, where there'd be no expensive leather jackets but plenty of Birkenstocks and elastic-waist LL Bean khaki shorts. We'd all sit around the campfire strumming acoustic guitars and signing Blowin' In the Wind.

But I know there are a lot of guys my age who were in garage bands and beyond, even, who would really enjoy the chance to jam with Bill Wyman.

If you miss the London Camp, there's one in New York City over Labor Day that features someone from Kiss and Ted Nugent. Let the head banging commence!

What really interested me, however, is the Corporate Camp that this outfit also runs. Led by a member of Bad Company - and could there be a better band name for the head counselor of a corporate camp? - this camp promises "immeasurable, numerous, lasting benefits", including:

  • Engaging and motivating your employees in a way that no traditional training event or incentive program has ever achieved
  • Breaking through organizational hierarchy and boundaries by placing all levels of your company together as equals in a band and opening up communication channels by the equity created within the rock band environment.
  • Strengthening teamwork and collaboration skills as the bands work to utilize the varying skills of all band members, and then further utilize these skills on a daily basis.
  •  Igniting the creative thought process as bands work to select and perform material (especially original material), which will carry over to their work.
  •  Building exceptional presentation skills by having employees perform in front of hundreds of people, the high profile client’s board room doesn’t seem so intimidating any more!
  •  Building lasting employee networks through the high energy/intensity team environment, generating greater loyalty to the organization as well as to each other.

Ghastly as all this sounds to me, it would actually be more fun than tooling around in Formula One Racing Cars (which I fortunately and blessedly was able to avoid at one company) or the Medieval Manor Dinner that was forced on me at one point (trust me, you don't want to see a fellow-employee walking around swinging a loaf of French bread between his legs).

It would be a nice break from the team building off-sites that featured little more than flip-charts, although it wouldn't be as much fun as  my personal preference: the pop-psychology off-sites where everyone takes a personality test and you get to figure out how to get along with everyone better. (I was at sales conference where they grouped us by color and the Reds  - where virtually all the sales people landed -  turned on the Blues and Greens and started jeering and hooting in a menacing way. One sales guy who found himself stuck in the Blue group kept muttering, 'There must be some mistake." This was actually a wonderful learning experience, as I figured out for the first time why I actually despised most of our sales team, those Flaming Reds.)

At Corporate Rock 'n Roll Camp, it's not enough to have counselors from Bad Company, Grand Funk Railroad, Kiss, and Alice Cooper:

You can also “super size” the package and add a Mega Star
to join in the festivities.

Who's on that roster of Mega Stars?

Roger Daltry (The Who)
Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead)
Levon Helm (The Band)
Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees)
Dr. John (The Nighttrippers)

That's who. (Or Who.)

I like the thought of reworking Grateful Dead songs to fit the corporate mold. Get rid of those "high on cocaine" lines, and "Casey Jones" would do:

Trouble ahead, trouble behind. And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

Although you'd probably want to change that "Trouble" to something like "Profits ahead, losses behind."

How about, "In the next fiscal year, we intend to keep truckin' like the do-dah man."

A brochure quote from Roger Daltrey - well, it almost but not quite brought a tear to my eye ."I like interacting with real people who have a passion and a dream. I was lucky with my passion and dream so it’s great to be able to give back.”

Giving back by participating in Corporate Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp. What a guy! And here was a fellow who just forty short years ago was singing lyrics like :

People try to put us down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation) Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Well, giving back sure sounds like a lot more fun than dying before you get old. (And how among us hasn't lived to regret some of the things we said and did...)

And  'talkin' 'bout my generation, these rock 'n roll stars are all a bit long in the tooth, aren't they?

Not that they can't still rock on, but it seems that the appeal of rubbing guitar strings with these guys would be mostly to Baby Boomers. What about corporate folks in their thirties or early forties? Wouldn't getting down with Mickey Dolenz and Levon Helm be the equivalent of having a corporate retreat twenty-five years ago that featured the Andrews Sisters and Tommy Dorsey?We could have bonded singing "You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative..." and had our morale lifted with "Don't fence me in." 

I guess that Cold Play and U2 have better things to do.

Maybe twenty years from now, they'll be Fantasy Camp headliners.

Until then, it'll be the Baby Boomer idols, and all those successful Baby Boomers who can afford the price of R'nR camp, or who work for companies that spring for corporate camp, will have their day.

And, alas, their rock 'n roll moment will stay in the realm of fantasy. (Yeah, they 'keep getting richer, but they can't get their picture, on the cover of Rolling Stone.')


David fishof said...

Dear maureen,
please be my guest and visit the Rock camp on Labor day. I loved your comments.

David Fishof

Maureen Rogers said...

David - Thanks. I'd love to visit camp. (I'll be the Baby Boomer who looks like she belongs at the Pete Seeger concert.) See you in NY in September.

Mike D said...

An absolute SCAM! Stay away from the Rock and Roll fantasy camp. They herd you in like cattle and the rock stars could care less about you! Save your money there are better things to waste your money on!!

-april said...

If you enjoyed the Camp, then check out the new book, "Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls" by Chronicle Books. It published this month and is like a "camp-in-a-book" in which girls can learn self-esteem and how to rock.