Paul Davis, 45, has played the guitar since he was 13. He joined bands throughout high school and college and played small gigs before settling down into a stable career and raising a family.
Six years ago, Davis was invited to attend a local four-day camp and jam with rock stars Slash, Roger Daltrey, Joe Walsh and others.
“I walked out of the camp with my head spinning; it was crazy,” Davis said. “It was an amazing experience.”
Davis now helps run Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, 3485 W. Harmon Ave., which allows individuals to attend a four-day camp to rehearse, record and perform with legendary rock stars.
“I created the company about 17 years ago,” said CEO David Fishof. “I was touring on the road (as a producer and manager) a lot, and I wanted to give the fans a chance to jam with their favorite rock stars.”
For many years, Fishof hosted two or three camps a year across the world, including the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and Abbey Road Studios in London.
After retiring from the touring industry, Fishof pursued the camps full time and made the business a permanent home in Las Vegas in 2012.
“The world of rock isn’t against Las Vegas,” Fishof said. “With the history of Elvis and Wayne Newton and the residencies of Def Leppard and Guns N’ Roses, there is a market here.”
Each four-day camp has up to 80 campers divided into groups of four or five. These smaller groups receive a rock star counselor who helps them rehearse, record and perform as a band.
Throughout the day, campers learn about the music industry, chat with rock stars and rehearse. At night, the campers — and occasionally the rock stars — perform live at Crossroads at the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay.
“It’s not just a meet-and-greet package,” Davis said. “This is a chance to actually get to play an Aerosmith song with someone who wrote the majority of their songs or do a Q-and-A with Jeff Beck or Judas Priest.”
The camps typically attract former musicians, Davis said.
“A lot of our campers had to put their music on the back burner while they’ve gone out and started a career and family,” Davis said. “Coming to camp gives them the opportunity to reconnect with their passion. It sort of awakes the sleeping giant.
“It also allows the campers, and even the rock stars, to see where they could have ended up had they taken the other path.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp is set to feature artists such as Joe Perry, Judas Priest, Gene Simmons, Jonny Lang and Wynonna Judd this year.
Davis said many artists have told him they don’t attend the camps only for the money.
“A lot of them have been playing for 20 or 30 years,” Davis said. “Then, it was about taking from the fans and receiving love and admiration. Now, they want a chance to really give back to the fans.”
Camps are set for Feb. 13-16, Feb. 27-March 2 and March 27-30. A country camp is scheduled April 3-6, and a blues camp is planned April 10-13. Camps start at $4,995.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp also offers beginner camps for $1,699, corporate camps for $250 per person and “rock star for a day” packages for $299.
For more information, visit rockcamp.com or call 888-762-2263.
Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0403.