Connecting fans to artists through Online Masterclass Sessions

We caught up with industry veteran and founder of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, David Fishof, who talked to us about his experience with connecting fans to artists, how to adapt in time of Covid-19, and more. Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp launched their Masterclass series in June due to Covid suspending live performances in 2020. The sessions allow musicians and music enthusiasts to learn from and speak with artists from the comfort of their own homes. These sessions are more interactive and attendees are typically able to spend 60-90 minutes with the guests, hearing intimate stories and asking questions. RRFC Masterclasses are for anyone who loves music and there is no required level of skill necessary. Since its launch, there have been over 90 classes with artists like Alice Cooper, Joey Kramer, Kathy Valentine, Steve Howe, Nels Cline and more.

 

MC:

Tell me the 30,000 ft view of your career and how you got to be doing what you’re doing currently.

 

DF:

Well, I started in the Catskills booking talent and then I met my first athlete and decided “You know what? I wanted to be a sports agent” because I was a sports fan, and I saw the way athletes attracted people. Did that for many years and represented many of the New York Giants, including Phil Simms. I had Lou Piniella and Randy Myers, had about 30 ballplayers, and it was great. I decided to move into the music business and picked up my first client association which got me to create the Happy Together Tour with The Turtles. That tour did great. I did that ‘84, ‘85, and in ‘86. I came up with the idea to do The Monkees and add them in the package. Unbeknownst to me, MTV was on the seventh floor and Bob Pittman said to me, “Hey, promote my new fledging network, MTV, and all your ads, and I’ll promote The Monkees on television” because they were airing The Monkees TV series 24 hours and it blew up and we sold thousands and thousands of tickets that year and did it again. I followed that by doing Dirty Dancing as a live tour because I started in the Catskills so I went to see the movie and I said, “Wow, I could make this into a musical” and I toured it with Bill Medley and Eric Harmon and The Contours and Merry Clayton, and a bunch of dancers toured all around the world. That followed up with coming up with the idea to go to Ringo and create the All Star Band and he’s still touring and doing that now. From all my years with Ringo of 15 years on the road, I saw how amazing of an experience was a little talent. I kept thinking, “Wow, what if I could give a musician or fan the opportunity to hang out with these awesome musicians?” and that’s when I came with the idea of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy camp. So that’s been my passion for the last 25 years and in the world of Covid all of a sudden live music stopped and I just kept thinking, “How can I connect these artists with the fans and the musicians and talent?” So at Rock Camp, we do a series of masterclass series every night, and I just went to talent and said, “Hey, let’s do master classes on Zoom” and it’s been a big hit.

 

MC:

So you’re getting musicians and music business people. From your vantage point, having worked with people prior to the master class and during the masterclass, is there something you can drill down on that all of these successful people have in common?

 

DF:

Yes. The one thing they all have in common is passion. Every night I get off that Zoom call and I walk away and say “wow” and I call the hostess and I say “Britt, can you imagine they said that? Can you imagine this?” The materials that are coming out nightly from these artists who are basically sitting home and are sharing their lives and their careers. And there’s one thing that’s coming out. It’s their passion to do what they do and what they’ve done to share with the fans and with the musicians. So, yeah, it’s definitely passion. It’s definitely the song. I mean, everyone is saying to everybody, it’s about songwriting and it’s about writing the song. So I think that those two have been really great and the knowledge that these people are giving away. We advertise 60 minutes, then we’re going on 90 minutes, 2 hours, everybody is just loving the experience.

 

MC:

What are some of the most commonly asked questions by your audience of these successful music people?

 

DF:

I think the biggest questions people have asked now are like to Eddie Kramer and how they could record at home. Mike Clink discussed how he’s recording bands from all around the world in his home. The musicians are getting asked about slide guitar, they’re asking about licks, can you show me that lick, how you play that on the record, and the business people like Jason Flom are being asked about how to get music out. Shep Gordon is doing a class on branding. How could  I brand my band and so they’re all asking questions that they’ve always wanted to ask these artists. People called in! We had Tom Hamilton once, and they were crying. They can’t believe they are able to talk to an artist or executive one on one and just get their questions answered.

 

MC:

What are you finding that the patrons of your master classes are doing during covid? Or are you finding that they’re looking for advice or are there success stories there?

 

DF:

Yes. I would say 90% of looking for advice and 10% of the fans who want to reconnect with them. They’ve met the artists before, they’ve done a meet and greet, or they’ve been on a cruise with them but I think really what people are looking for is strength during this time. Steve Howe gave two classes and they sold out very fast and hearing his wisdom was just incredible. Alice Cooper talked about how you’re one person on that stage but when you get off that stage, you got to be a normal person and it’s about friendships, and it’s about your responsibilities as a person and Steve Howe said the same thing. He said, “Just because you’re a musician doesn’t mean you don’t have to be a good husband. Doesn’t mean you don’t have to be a good wife or a good person. You still have all those same obligations”, so I think that and giving people hope that following Covid there is going to be a world out there. Go write. This is the perfect time to write music, and it’s a perfect time to stop your life and find your happiness and find and find your passion.

 

MC:

That’s great. What is the advice you give a modern musician right now in terms of the business side of things?

 

DF:

Well, the thing I learned most from all these musicians is listening. Listen instead of soloing. It’s about listening and coming together as a band. That’s number one and number two, it’s your passion. Don’t ever give it up because people say to me, “Oh, aren’t these aren’t rock n roll fans like baseball fans?” Not one bit because, at 30 and 35, you go to a baseball camp, you’ll never be a major league athlete. You’ll never play against Michael Jordan, but as a musician you can write a song till 70, you can perform on tour like Ringo at 80. It never ends to be a musician. It never ends to write a song. It never ends to be in a tribute band. It never ends to record and make an album. So that’s a great passion about being a musician and today they’re selling more guitars than ever. People have times at home. They want to take lessons, they want to learn, and they want to be given direction.

 

 

To learn more about David and Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp please visit:

https://www.rockcamp.com

 

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