Monday, June 20, 2011

These summer camps rock

By Timothy Malcolm
Times Herald-Record
Published: 2:00 AM - 06/20/11
Summer camp is now in session in the Catskills — and the ones happening in Big Indian aren't exactly for the kiddies.

Instead, they're for adults hoping to break into the music industry, or to simply learn the ins and outs of rock stardom from their idols.

From Crimson to Zappa, here in the Hudson Valley, there are several summer camp options that cater to one's inner rock star.

It starts this week with Todd Rundgren's camp, his Musical Survival Camp.

This isn't about learning a mean guitar solo or trashing a hotel room; instead, head counselor Rundgren is hoping to spread knowledge about a changing music industry to his campers.

"We're covering all sorts of things," said Rundgren. "We have video panels about how to make your own videos, how to put them out on the Web, do simulcasts to make extra money for your gigs — covering the whole range of aspects, so even if you're not an artist, it'll be entertaining."

Rundgren and other rockers will host their camps at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian.

The resort initially hosted a camp led by Dweezil Zappa, called Dweezilla, which continues this year and instructs campers on how to be better musicians.

Full Moon — a year-round resort that uses the camps to grow summer business — approached Rundgren about hosting a camp, and the former Woodstock resident responded by creating his own template, one that focuses on panels and workshops.

Other local musicians are in on the act. John Medeski and his Medeski, Martin and Wood bandmates are hosting Camp MMW for the seventh year.

"We like to call it MMW boot camp," said Medeski, laughing.

"We mostly perform and do our thing. And this is our chance to pass something on," Medeski added. "We all teach. We run ensembles, master classes and workshops. We each have an ensemble, and at the end, on Thursday night, there is a performance."

Some of Full Moon's camps — including one hosted by Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto of King Crimson — will include a Thursday night performance by the host at the Bearsville Theater.

"It's kind of a convenient, sort of meshing of an actual music event with this series of presentations that are all about the life of a musician," said Rundgren. "All of the details you have to know and get into."

Jorma Kaukonen, formerly of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, will also host a guitar camp with David Bromberg.

On stage at Bethel Woods
In the spirit of Woodstock, a New York City camp has partnered with the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for a pretty nice prize. Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp's New York Weekend will bus its campers to Bethel Woods to close out its program.

There, campers will see the Museum at Bethel Woods and even get to open for the Aug. 14 Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Family Stone and Tommy James & the Shondells concert.

-- DB Leonard contributed to this report.

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