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Jewish entrepreneur David Fishof premiers ‘Rock Camp’ film in Jerusalem

CM 29/07/2021


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If you have fantasies of being a rock star –  and who doesn’t – there’s a movie just for you. 

Called Rock Camp, it’s a fun, engaging and ultimately moving film about ordinary people who live out their dreams of rocking out with their idols and it’s showing on August 5 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque in a benefit for Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal. 
The movie, which was directed by Doug Blush and Renee Barron (and produced by Blush and Jeff Rowe), is an outgrowth of the Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camps, the brainchild of David Fishof, who tells the story of the how he created these camps – he has held 69 camps and more than 5,000 people have participated in them – in the movie. Fishof is in Israel to attend the benefit screening and, well, just because he loves coming to Israel. Following the cinematheque screening, he will take part in a Q&A moderated by Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod and former consul-general in Los Angeles. 
There are plans underway for more showings in Israel, the details of which will be posted on the website rockcamp.com 
Fishof, an Orthodox Jew from New York, became a sports agent and then a music promoter who created the Ringo Starr & His All-Star Band and ran its tours and the Monkees 20th Anniversary Reunion tour, as well as working with dozens of other acts. If you want to find out what your favorite stars are really like, Fishof is your guy. But by 1997, weary of life on the road with the stars – even the most straitlaced of whom required a lot of attention – he thought up the idea of the rock camp, where aspiring musicians could rehearse and perform with real rock stars. Participants spend several days jamming and rehearsing with the stars and then perform with them. The camps have attracted major talent. Over the years, artists who have taken part as mentors have included Roger Daltrey of The Who, Slash of Guns N’Roses, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Alice Cooper, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Jeff Beck, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones and many others. 

The idea of bringing top-tier musicians together with fans who love to play was a new one and, according to Fishof, it brought out the best in the performers.
“Artists love to give back. They realize that their success is based on the fans. And that’s how I came up with the idea of Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy camp,” he said during a recent interview in Jerusalem. Artists were drawn to the rock camp idea. “Nancy Wilson told me, ‘It started being all about the music, then it became all about the business, and your camp is pure music.’” 
Other musicians, such as Tony Franklin, speak in the film about how working at the camp has helped them stay sober. Fishof is positively evangelical about the power of rock music to transform people’s lives for the better. He grew up going to concerts with his brother and loved rock. He does not see any contradiction between being an observant Jew and hanging out with rock musicians.
For him, running Rock Camp is a better fit than going on tour with performers. “That’s why I created the Rock Camp so I wouldn’t have to go on the road anymore but I didn’t throw out the good stuff of using all my contacts to have the best of both worlds and to use all my connections to help change lives,” he said. He is full of stories of people who transformed their lives after attending the camps, including one about the bestselling author Lauren Rowe (a pen name), who quit a corporate job to devote herself to full-time fiction writing following her experience at one of his camps. “I love to give this experience to people,” he said. “Then they take it  home and improve their lives.”
The first camp was actually a financial flop – “There were more journalists than campers,” he recalled – but he was persistent and it caught on. Perhaps there can be no better illustration of how Rock Camp became part of the culture than the fact that by 2002, Rock Camp was featured in an episode of The Simpsons, as Homer gets to become a camper, with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello and Brian Setzer voicing themselves.
Amateur rockers come from all walks of life, as the film shows in profiles of several participants in a recent Las Vegas camp. Tammy Fisher, who lives with her family in a small town in New Jersey, is a vice president at a realty trust corporation and attends the camps regularly, playing drums and eventually becoming a singer. She seems like that incredibly efficient co-worker to whom everyone turns when there is a problem and at home she is a doting wife and mother. But she is a Kiss superfan and part of her heart is always playing rock ’n roll. 
Scott “Pistol” Crockett, a network specialist in optical systems and a drummer, is the rare participant who has gotten some paid gigs following the camp. 
Two families with special-needs children make the film especially moving. Bill Meinhardt has been sending his son, Blake, to the camp for years. Blake, a musical genius with an encyclopedic knowledge of music, has autism. He did not speak until the age of five but showed interest when Bill played guitar and asked to learn to play the instrument at age 10. The film details how taking part in Rock Camp has helped Blake come out of his shell and brought the father, who accompanies Blake each time, and the son closer together. 
Scott Keller, a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, has also been attending the camps for years with his son Lachlan, an aspiring rocker. But the movie shows his family’s extraordinary story with another son, Jackson, who was born with severe brain damage. Keller and his wife turned their family into a kind of “boot camp,” with an intensive home program and now, against all odds, Jackson is able to participate in the camp as well. 
Seeing Blake and Jackson flourishing at Rock Camp is thrilling. 
During the worst of COVID, of course, Rock Camp was on hold, but Fishof did organize over 160 master classes with musicians and music lovers. One Q&A with Cooper went very long, but Cooper didn’t mind. “I got nothing else to do,” he admitted. 
Several more camps, including one women’s-only rock camp in Los Angeles, will be held during the next year. 
Fishof said he has plans for other, similarly themed camps, such as a comedy camp. Asked whether he would ever consider running a rock camp in Israel, Fishof said, “Sure. For an American Jew, Israel is fantasyland. And the rock camps are all about bringing fantasies to life.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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