Rock This Way! You, Too, Can Be a Music Star at Fantasy Camp

He's quick to add that his own pursuit of the rock-star dream was fueled by a drive born of his pre-Who days as a factory worker. "Believe me, this (musician's) life takes a lot of dedication," Daltrey says.

So there was never any other fantasy job looming on his career horizon? "No, I was the same as the obsessed man in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, building that mountain out of mashed potatoes," Daltrey says. "I wanted a life in music. There was no Plan B."

Most of us did take that non-rock fork in the road. But the passion for it dies hard.

"I was a singer in a band as a kid, but the conservative side took over and I got an education," says Doyle Letson, 50, of Detroit, the chief designer of the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. A few weeks ago, he mounted his comeback with a band called Homebrewed. "One woman I know said, 'I can't look at you the same way anymore.' It's wild."

For Gwen Frederick, a "fortysomething" IT specialist from Ashburn, Va., who is the drummer of an all-girl band called Wicked Jezabel, playing rock is all about "forgetting what happened at work that week. … Your day job leaves you drained of energy, but you go on stage, and that instantly changes."

If there's one common misperception about the rock 'n' roll life, it's about the notion of work, says Howard Kramer, curatorial director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

"What lures us to the rock fantasy is the powerful human desire to be loved and admired," Kramer says. "But the public never sees what it takes to master an instrument, to write songs, to perform in the studio and live. Just know that between 1960 and 1964, The Beatles barely had a day off."

But one life coach is counting on the fact that people have a healthy regard for the effort that goes into creating that rock star persona.

"Rock stars epitomize the notion of walking your own path toward a dream," says John Battaglia, a former image consultant to the likes of Usher and Beyoncé who now runs "I don't use rock as a metaphor. At their core, rock stars strive to live a life in which they don't settle."

Rock stars also enjoy a rush that comes with getting instant, aural feedback. "There is just nothing like you being you, and having people respond to that," says Ryan Lesser, who toured with a band before becoming an art director at video game company Harmonix. He helped design Guitar Hero II and, more recently, Rock Band.

"As an art form, rock really lets you express yourself physically, emotionally and musically," he says. "The fantasy stays with people because (we're) introduced to it at an impressionable age."

Carter Oosterhouse remembers the first rock tune that made an impression on him. "It was a Quiet Riot song," says the hot-enough-to-be-a-rock-star host of HGTV's Carter Can. Ads for the show feature Oosterhouse saying that as a kid he wanted to be a rock star, then grabbed a hammer instead of a guitar. "The lyric said, 'Love's a bitch,' but I thought it was 'Love's a fish.' Whatever. I was hooked."

But the guitar never became his companion. "Wasn't any good," he says with a sigh. Today, he contents himself with "playing Guitar Hero III with my girlfriend until 2 a.m."

And what if the Rock Fairy offered up a trade, TV show for stage chops? Oosterhouse laughs. "I would take it in a heartbeat."

Such talk makes Slash smile.

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