by Ujesh Desai

Does a 39-year old have a recent band camp story to tell? This one does.

For my birthday, my wife packed me off to LA for Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp. Yes, the same one that was featured on The Simpsons. Laugh all you want, as a life-long music lover and drummer, I was stoked!

Signing in that first day, I met another “camper” – Olympic Gold Medal figure skater, Scott Hamilton. I recognized him immediately, and said, “Hey. You’re Scott Hamill!” “Uh, it’s Hamilton,” he politely corrected me. Somehow I had munged Scott Hamilton and Dorothy Hamill the female Olympic figure skater into one person. Doh!

Ujesh and Scott Hamilton at Band Camp

With that great start exhibiting a lot more outer geek and a lot less inner rock star, I moved forward to meet the “counselors.” They were predominately men from bands I had worshipped as a scrawny, mullet-wearing teenager. Guys from KISS, Quiet Riot, Ozzy, Guns & Roses, and even Kip Winger. Hey, that guy is crazy talented no matter what Beavis and Butthead say.

In between long jam sessions, I befriended Rudy Sarzo, former base player for Ozzy, Quiet Riot and Whitesnake. I pummeled Rudy for stories about Ozzy and the rock star life. What did Rudy want to talk about? He was really excited about some new animations he was creating in SoftImage. Here I was, dying to let out my inner rock star and he was dying to let out his inner geek. Go figure.

Ujesh and Rudy Sarzo at Band Camp

After camp, Rudy and I kept in touch. I met up with him in San Francisco where he was playing a show with Blue Oyster Cult. He took me backstage and introduced me to the lead singer, Eric Bloom. Yes this is the Eric Bloom that the Saturday Night Live skit “More Cowbell” is based on!

When Eric found out where I worked, all he wanted to talk about was the NVIDIA SLI laptop he bought and World of WarCraft. Rudy told me if they ever play a short set, you know their hotel has a good internet connection and Eric is rushing back to meet up with his Guild mates!

So here I was looking to unleash my inner rock star and I found myself surrounded by rock stars that were really geeks! It was awesome! : ) Anyway if you don’t believe my story here’s a final video of me and my fellow campers recording the original song we wrote in one day at Capitol Records. Enjoy!