Trading my Mac for a Gibson

“You wanted the best, you got the best—the hottest band in the world … KISS!”

I don’t think I have to tell anyone that the above quotation introduces Kiss Alive II —perhaps one of the best live albums ever released. Last year, I got to experience the thrill of performing live in front of an audience at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp alongside such luminaries as Who lead singer Roger Daltrey. The response to last year’s tales of rock ’n roll excess was positive, so I thought I’d update you on how a once-in-a-lifetime rock camp turned into a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

As you read this, I’m winging my way to Los Angeles where I’ll strap on my Gibson Les Paul Zakk Wylde Bullseye guitar and take the stage with Paul Stanley, the lead singer from Kiss. I will be a rock star one more time.

One of these two men is the lead singer for The Who. Hint: it’s not the guy on the right.

Auditions are this Thursday. And the audition process isn’t as easy as it might sound—the camp organizers pick the bands and then you get up on stage and play a predetermined song from a list they put out in December. Getting a bunch of strangers together for the first time and playing a song isn’t easy, but it’s lots of fun.

To add to the pressure, you audition in front of the camp counsellors—better known as the celebrities, so you want to do your best.

This year features a ton of good talent including Brian Wilson (Beach Boys co-founder); Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers); Paul Stanley (Kiss); Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead); Bret Michaels (Poison); Steve Vai; Jane Wiedlin (Go-Gos); Scott Ian (Anthrax); Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd); Gary Burr (Ringo Starr & Carole King); Spike Edney (Queen); Jeff Foskett (Beach Boys); and Teddy Andreadis (Guns ’n Rose), among others.

The counsellors pick their bands from the pool of talent and we spend every waking moment in the studio rehearsing for the grand finale four days later.

On the final night, February 19, all of the bands head to the House of Blues for the Battle of the Bands—a head-to-head clash where all the bands play vintage Kiss songs onstage with Paul Stanley.

So, if you’re around LA on February 19, feel free to stop by and say hi. I’ll be easy to recognize—just look for the rock star.

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