Legendary Bassist Rudy Sarzo Loves Being a Counselor at Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp
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When it comes to hard rock world, you would be hard pressed to find someone as hard working as Rudy Sarzo. The Cuban bassist has been a touring member of the Ozzy Osbourne band, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio, and many other great acts, not to mention his endless list of recording session credits. It's a wonder that the ubiquitous musician finds enough time to even do it, but one of the projects he's most passionate about is Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp.
Founded in 1997, the yearly event attracts hundreds of amateur to expert leveled musicians that want to live out their rock dreams alongside some of their favorite stars. Sarzo is one of the program's mentors he recently chatted with Noisecreep and asked him about his role there and his hectic schedule. "I'm currently on tour playing bass in Blue Öyster Cult and I'm in the bus as we do this interview. So yes, I'm always working," laughs Sarzo. "Around four years ago I was introduced to David Fishof [the founder of Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp] and he told me about the camp and it sounded like a great idea. After I agreed to be part of it, I wasn't sure what to really expect, but after the first day, it all hit me. It reminded me of the reason I played music in the first place. I picked up an instrument out of the pure joy of it and the people that come to the camp have share that same feeling," says the veteran bassist.
Sarzo says that being around all of the average Joe camp attendees reinvigorated him. "Being around their enthusiasm and sense of wonder is infectious. It's child-like in a sense. It was a revelation to me. Here are these nice people that just want to play music and have a moment where they can escape everything else in their lives. I'm so glad to be a part of that with them."
Noisecreep asked Sarzo what one could expect in a typical day at the camp. "If I can encapsulate it, as a counselor I try to help them to re-identify themselves with their own music/musician identity. A lot of them have lost that. Let's face it, these are people that considered themselves musicians at some point in their lives, but things got in the way of that. Whether they became doctors, lawyers, soldiers, whatever – they lost the connection they once had with their instrument. What I always try to put across to them is that music isn't really a vocation, it's a language. Just because you don't make a living as a professional musician doesn't mean you're not one.
"Let's put it this way, for many years before I was a so-called "professional working musician," I was a starving one [laughs]. But that didn't mean I still wasn't a musician. Making a living has nothing to do with it. Music is just a language."
If you want to rock alongside Rudy Sarzo, or any of the other celebrity coaches, check out the official Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp website for upcoming camps and events. VH1 Classic's second season of 'Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp' premieres on Saturday, August 20th.