Band: Rock Band Camp
Date: Dec. 16-18 (Adult), Dec. 20-23 (Youth Session 1), Dec. 27-30 (Youth Session 2)
Venue: Mobtown Music, 651 Dauphin St., 251-463-8136
Tickets: $250 by calling Mobtown Music
When it comes to the holidays, many people want nothing more than to give that special someone the perfect present. The internet is filled with an overabundance of gift ideas for people of all ages. However, sometimes picking the right gift can be a challenge. One local music store is giving the denizens of the Azalea City a chance to give the gift of rock ’n’ roll for the holiday season.
Mobtown Music will be holding three sessions of its Rock Band Camp later this month. The Adult Rock Band Camp will be held this weekend with two sessions of the youth-oriented Rock Band Camp following over the next two weeks. Even though this will be the first Rock Band Camp held at Mobtown Music, owner John Cochran is serving as the head of this sonic experience.
Not only is Cochran hoping campers will enrich their respective musical knowledge, but he also hopes future local bands will take shape. Taking inspiration from personal experience and the silver screen, Cochran hopes Rock Band Camp will encourage attendees to get off the couch and onto the stage for a lasting rock band experience.
“Rock Band Camp came about the first time I saw ‘School of Rock’ with Jack Black, but when I was younger, we just played in the garage,” Cochran explained. “So, it’s the idea of getting some kids together and instructing them and keeping them focused.”
Adult Rock Band Camp will begin on Friday, Dec. 16. The number of slots available for this run will allow for three bands consisting of a five-person maximum lineup. From the moment camp starts, Cochran said, participants will be split into respective bands. Afterward, the bands will collaborate on a list of possible songs to perform. The remainder of the first day will be filled with learning song structure and rehearsing the music chosen by the bands.
Cochran said the second day will be an intensive session of sorts. While rehearsal will fill most of the day, a large portion of Saturday will consist of naming the bands as well as working on any original songs participants might have. This session will also cover the different aspects and subtleties of being a member of a musical collaboration. Cochran feels the band aspect of Adult Rock Band Camp will be one of the biggest benefits for participants.
“Going from a beginner to immediate or immediate to advanced player, there are a lot of adult musicians who are not comfortable playing in front of crowds,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to get away from playing on the couch and get together with other musicians in a band setting.”
Sunday will be a very special day at the Adult Rock Band Camp. Campers will retreat to Dauphin Street Sound to track the songs the bands have been rehearsing. While technology has allowed musicians to track in closets and bedrooms, recording in a professional studio setting can be a different experience. Dauphin Street Sound’s extensive lineup of quality gear and experienced engineers will give campers the opportunity to lay tracks in one of the Gulf Coast’s premier studios.
Throughout the weekend, Cochran said, campers will have some impressive assistance from the local music scene. Adult Rock Band Camp will feature a lineup of “Mobile’s finest musicians” who will be assisting in instruction. A respected instructor in his own right, Cochran will be giving advice on guitar techniques.
Modern soul and R&B band Yeah, Probably will be sending three members to Adult Rock Band Camp. Phillip Baggins will lend his expertise on drums. Quentin Ayers will give some insight into his bass grooves. Ike Keesee will bring his experience as a keyboardist.
Mobtown Music’s Brett Harrington’s legacy as a brass player will be instrumental in this facet of Adult Rock Band Camp. Jenna McClelland will show campers how to make the most of their vocals. Cochran said drummer John Milham and singer-songwriter Johnny Hayes might even pay a visit to Mobtown Music sometime over the weekend.
The kids will have a totally different experience from the adults. While the same foundation of creating a band is maintained, Cochran said the youth sessions will focus more on “the music industry and the different degrees and fields of study and areas of the music industry where they [campers] can make money.”
Much like the Adult Rock Band Camp, bands will be formed on the first day. However, this will be the only aspect the sessions will share. After the bands are formed, the campers will have a crash course in the history of rock ’n’ roll. Afterward, the bands will have respective rehearsals. These rehearsals will concentrate on song forms as well as how to structure songs. Next, the bands will pick names before a break that will detail the early days of the blues and the genre’s influence on rock ’n’ roll. Monday afternoon will be filled with band rehearsals. Tuesday will feature a lineup of instructors who will provide individual sessions for campers. The day will also concentrate on band life behind the scenes.
“We’ll talk about the music business and how to come up with a band name and how to start booking gigs and do contracts and how to form an LLC,” Cochran said. “They’ll also learn about management, marketing, branding and merchandise.”
Tuesday will end with the staff of Dauphin Street Sound discussing the recording side of the business with the campers. On Wednesday, Cochran said, campers will “hit it real hard.” After extensive rehearsals, they will go through the process of preparing for a studio recording session. Thursday will begin with tracking at Dauphin Street Sound and end with the bands taking the stage at Moe’s Original BBQ later that evening.
The rock band experience does not end with Rock Band Camp. Cochran is hoping the sessions will result in fully formed bands that are ready for weekly practice at Mobtown Music. Local up-and-comers Backseat Drivers emerged from a past Rock Band Camp. Even if solid projects do not form from Rock Band Camp, Cochran said he is rewarded by the reactions campers have playing rock ’n’ roll.
“For me, it’s seeing kids light up and really lose themselves in the moment,” Cochran said. “Kids today have so much on them. I can’t imagine coming up in a world of social media at 14 or 15. So, it’s cool to see them put their phones down and be engaged with other kids their age and experience the spirituality of music that comes from creating music. It’s also seeing kids from Rock Band Camps from years ago that are still doing it or gigging or pursuing an education in music.”
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