Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy Camp

'One time, at CEO fantasy band camp'

April 3, 2012: 5:00 AM ET

Forget Maui. When execs want to unwind, some are heading to band camp, where they form acts and trade hot licks. They also, apparently, come home with new management skills.

By Pete Gerstenzang, contributorrock_n_roll_fantasy_camp

FORTUNE -- If you've watched any of the highly charged, heavily edited episodes of "Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp" on VH1, you're not really getting the complete picture. You may be imagining that the camp is primarily peopled with combative, longhaired, chain wallet-wearing dudes, who look like they should be roadying for the Allman Brothers.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. But these five-day camp programs hosted in several locations across the country -- where "civilians" get to jam with their rock heroes -- are now fairly filled with CEOs, CMOs, and execs of all stripes.

Forget Maui. When upper-management wants to unwind, some of them are heading to band camp, where they form acts and trade hot licks with artists like Ozzy's (as in, Osbourne) lead guitarist. And, perhaps surprisingly, they return to their companies with new management skills.

"I've been an attorney for 30 years and now have my own firm," says Frank Pawlak, 58. "I've been involved in a variety of court cases, such as unlawful discrimination and employee wage compensation. It's wonderful work, but stressful. Going to The Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp is the best remedy for this I know."

Pawlak, who has attended the camp twice, says he's not sure what's more impressive about the rock getaways, which average $6,000 for the week, or $8,000 if you choose the recording studio package: whether it's the way it makes you a better musician, or how it sharpens your skills so you can become a more intuitive manager.

MORE: Do you really want to make partner?

"Certainly, by playing with guys like Warren Haynes [of The Allmans], your skill level rises and you become more confident on your instrument," says Pawlak, who plays guitar. "I mean, try to imagine the best guitar teachers in the world, showing you how to play a riff they invented. But, if you pay attention to the group interaction, you also come away from Fantasy Camp as an improved executive." More

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