David Fishof - Interview
by Lisa Torem
published: 7 / 10 / 2012
Lisa Torem speaks to Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp founder organiser David Fishof about his new book, 'Rock Your Business'
‘Rock Your Business’ is a riveting read which far exceeds the scope of the typical “how to” book. In fact, it actually reads somewhat like a memoir. In it author, David Fishof, writes very openly and honestly about his success as founder of Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, becoming an influential music promoter and strategist after establishing himself as a sports agent. With so many schools of knowledge at his disposal, he has acquired many reliable tricks of the trade. Consequently, his colourful insights bring the sometimes-disparate worlds of business and entertainment closer than ever. The RRFC concept originated because Fishof wanted to make dreams come true for rock stars and their fans. During the traditional course of a tour, artists have little opportunity to interact with the fans once the concert is over and often end up feeling isolated from the very people who brought them success. In addition, fans often romanticize what it’s like to be in an actual band setting; yet they don’t always understand the work involved or the level of commitment it takes to pull off an outstanding show. RRFC provides an opportunity for both parties to work on a creative project during a concentrated period of time and then perform their material at a popular venue. Camps are held across the US and London, and, this year, a permanent residence will be set up in Las Vegas. I met David when RRFC came to Chicago for a weekend several years ago, and, believe me, he is not one to stand on the sidelines. On a blustery, Saturday afternoon, he was either racing Dickie Betts and his ten-gallon hat into the rehearsal room to greet campers, loading equipment, chatting with a guitar tech or securing hotel room reservations. The ventures that he began forging at the age of nineteen are beyond incredible and RRFC is just one. In a business where names like Roger Daltry, Rudy Sarzo, Jack Bruce and Lita Ford fill in the blanks of everyday discourse and where “campers” learn bass lines and barre chords from their idols, anything can happen. David Fishof stopped long enough to elaborate on some of the book’s theories and to tell us why his new book is a must read. PB: In your new book, ‘Rock Your Business’, you talk about the importance of finding the right business partner. How similar do both parties have to be? What kind of person would be a poor choice? DF: It’s hard to describe the right partner because it’s really a heart decision. You really just have to feel it. The key here is to think of everyone and any one who can help you with your business, not just investors, as a partner. Different people bring different strengths and assets to the table, so treat everyone – from your assistant to your sales team to your marketing department – as partners. I would say one quality that’s not a great fit in a partner is someone who talks big and over promises. It’s much better in the long run to work with people who set realistic expectations, but always work hard and often over-deliver. PB: Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp will soon be in Las Vegas. Do you expect any challenges? DF: Every new move certainly has its challenges, but this is a really positive transition for Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp. We’re excited to have a home base. Being in Las Vegas, campers get to play on the best equipment, in the finest studios, and they fulfill the ultimate fantasy of performing at the MGM Grand. An added bonus is that Vegas is a big draw for our rock stars. I’ve never met a rock star – or anyone for that matter – who turns down a trip to Vegas. PB: We’re jealous. How can we encourage you to come to our own cities? DF: We’re optimistic about our new adventure in Vegas, but in the future, we certainly plan to take it on tour. PB: In Chapter 11 you say: “You have to look at your competition.” How do you determine what that competition is? What if, for example, your invention or idea is so extraordinary that it’s never been done before? DF: There’s always competition! Even if your idea is completely revolutionary. Sometimes your only (and biggest) competition is yourself, as you’re struggling with other demands in your life to make your project or idea a success PB: Why are some people in the music business reluctant to take the business side seriously and what can your book do for them? DF: The music business today gives people more of an opportunity than ever before to make it on their own. With so many platforms and venues to create music, perform, and produce and sell merchandise, artists no longer have to rely on managers, record companies and agencies to be successful. But, as it always has, success requires a lot of hard work. ‘Rock Your Business’ has tons of tips for musicians to promote their work and partner with the right people, and my hope is that it really inspires them to make great music and share it with the world. . PB: You’ve worked with many rock stars and I imagine you have learned a great deal from each other, but whose words of wisdom would you be willing to share? DF: Roger Daltrey of The Who has been a huge inspiration to me. He has kept his career going strong, selling out arenas after decades of performing. But more importantly, he’s been able to parlay his success into helping others, generously supporting the charity, Teenage Cancer Trust. People like him, who are on top of their game while giving back to society, motivate me everyday. PB: Thank you.
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