Find out how to register, vote early, research a candidate and more in AARP's midterm election guide.
by Billy Coulter, February 12, 2008
Day Two: In Which a Giant Sucking Sound Is Heard Across Midtown Manhattan
The rock ’n’ roll starts right after breakfast. Our band, which we have dubbed Captain Kirke and the Final Frontier, is assigned to rehearse the Bad Company hit "Can’t Get Enough." We practice it to perfection, painfully aware that we will be backing the camp’s resident superstar, Paul Stanley, in a performance of the tune just 48 hours from now at "Campapalooza," as the staff now calls it. Apparently, political correctness found its way here, and it’s no longer a "battle of the bands."
The conversation then turns to the only assignment of the camp experience—writing and playing an original song. Band member Gordon suggests we listen to my own 2003 CD that I'd brought, so we sample a few tracks. (My secret ambition: that I will get to sing one at the big show.) To my relief, the first one does not get panned, but before I can play another, the camp director distracts us with an announcement that the guest-artist visit will be delayed. (Watch Billy confront his ego and keep on rockin' in the Day Two video.)
Any more talk about my own songs might appear pushy, I realize, so I reconcile myself to playing whatever the band wants. (That giant sucking sound was my ego going out the window.) Having witnessed the radical difference in quality of the camp bands that performed last night, I decide I’d rather play rhythm guitar in this first-rate band than try to re-position myself as a lead singer in any of the others.
Over the next few days I get to meet—and occasionally jam with—some living icons of the classic rock era: Leslie West of Mountain, still "The Great Fatsby," but newly curmudgeonly at 62; Scott Ian of Anthrax, shorter than when viewed from the mosh pits of years past; and Max Weinberg, the also-short, affable but time-constrained veteran of Springsteen’s E Street Band.
In the evening, I attend a master class led by Glenn Hughes, the charming former bassist for Deep Purple. For a skinny white guy from the midlands of England, he sure can sing like his hero, Stevie Wonder. Hughes provides tips on keeping your voice in shape (don’t smoke or get too close to fans during flu season); explains the downside of fame at a young age (substance abuse, money squandering); and trumpets the positive changes he has made in his life (clean living, devotion to teaching, and leaving a legacy).
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save on tickets to select shows and events. Conditions apply.
Members save 15%-20% on tickets to select shows.
Members save 15% on in-store purchases of frozen yogurt, treats and apparel.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at