Despite having troops in battle around the globe and various other ailments, life is pretty good for us Yanks. In fact, for some people, the prime dilemma is, "How the hell am I going to spend this money? I've got a Hummer. I'm spending as much money as they'll allow me on my cell phone/cable tv/internet package. I've got floor seats for the Lakers. Last year I went snorkeling in New Zealand and yet I'm still bored!" The "haves" are burdened with an itch they just can't seem to scratch.
Enter the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. An entertainment endeavor that offers more than its name suggests. We caught up with Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp employee, Ben Sturgis, to get the lowdown. Go Metric: You are Ben Sturgis and you work for... Ben Sturgis: The Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, which is five days of people paying in the neighborhood of $8,000-$9,000 to learn from, perform next to rock stars. At the same time meeting and learning from even larger rock stars. In the past there's been Roger Daltrey, Sheila E., Brett Michaels (Poison), Vince Neil (Motley Crue), George Thorogood, Marky Ramone, Leslie West (Mountain)...
And a former member of Kiss, too, right? Bruce Kulick, as a normal counselor. And at one of the upcoming camps, Paul Stanley, that is not yet announced to the public. He's coming for L.A. Joe Walsh will be coming for L.A. Jack Bruce will be coming for London. Jon Anderson of Yes will performing in New York in August along with Dickie Betts (The Allman Brothers) and Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad.
Or does he prefer Grand Funk? He prefers, due to a legal dispute, Mark Farner, in one size font, and then I believe 50% of that font, "formerly of Grand Funk Railroad." That's what he prefers.
At one point in that list of rock stars it sounded like you made a distinction among the stars, like there are different tiers among counselors. There are what we like to call the rock star counselors and then our all-star talent. Those are the two designations. The all-star talent is the likes of a Roger Daltrey, of a Dickie Betts, of a Joe Walsh. And then your counselors are guys who have been in bands with years of experience and platinum records under their belts, but not as big, like a Kip Winger, a Mark Slaughter, a Jack Blades of Damn Yankees and Night Ranger. Who was credited at one point as "head counselor." You're touching on a very touchy subject that we need to avoid for right now. His status is up in the air. He will not be the head counselor for New York. We've also had counselors like Doug Fieger from the Knack, bands with platinum selling albums but not necessarily in the mainstream's consciousness right now. Mark Farner has acted as all-star talent... I'm sorry, would that be Mark Farner, formerly of Grand Funk Railroad"? Correct, only in print, though, you don't have to do that in conversation. He's been a regular counselor and an all-star counselor, and he sold out Shea Stadium faster than the Beatles. To read the rest of this interview, pick up a copy of Go Metric issue 21, available now from these fine retailers: Atomic Books, LittleType, Quimby's, Razorcake.
It is a little known fact that Dick Rowe, the Decca Records PR man who famously dismissed the Beatles in 1962 because "guitar groups (were) on the way out," had a substantial career as a literary agent whose acumen for spotting great works of literature somehow exceeded his ability to spot up and coming beat groups.
Mr. Rowe passed away in early 2006 and his estate presented his archives to Columbia's Harnick School of American Studies. GM was granted a sneak preview of Rowe's correspondence with legendary authors. Here is the first in a series of Overlooked Letters of Rejection.
October 12, 1952
Dick Rowe c/o Charles Scribner's Sons 56 Cooper Square New York City, New York
Ernest Hemingway Grand Hotel et de Milan Via Manzoni 29 Milan
Dear Mr. Hemingway,
Thank you for submitting your promising work The Old Man and the Sea. As a man of some experience in the literary field, allow me to say that I believe you to be on the right track, though, clearly, the book is not yet ready for publication.
A couple of questions for your consideration: Why an old man? Market research shows that 81% of new novels are purchased by those in the 25-40 age bracket. It's the Eisenhower era, after all, be mindful of contemporary icons such as the ever-gaunt Marlon Brando and James Dean. (Did you see his promotional work for the Traffic Safety Council? Outstanding!) I recommend making the protagonist younger and more accessible. Second, why a sea? Don't get me wrong, we have had great success with fishing books in recent years (notably Lance Wedlick's 60 Ways to Fool a Muskellunge and The Happy Armchair Angler's Guide to the Magic of Bait Fishing in Utah), but our nation is bordered by two oceans (the Atlantic and the Pacific). Further, I am reluctant to ostracize our many readers in the middle regions of the country. Perhaps a river or an inlet would be more appropriate.
In closing, do not be discouraged. I am certain you will enjoy a flourishing career as long as the noble General Batista reigns over Cuba.