08/02/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT
In the past, when I've tried to put a band together, it's never worked out," sighs keyboardist Daniel Feinberg—with all the weariness of his 10 years on earth. But this summer Daniel has found gig heaven at Camp Jam Atlanta, a Georgia summer camp that teaches kids the rock numbers that ruled long before Britney was born. "Now," says Daniel, "I know what it's like to play and not sound terrible."
For baby boomer parents, there's a bonus: Their kids learn the music they love ("I was a Deadhead," brags Daniel's oncologist father, Bruce Feinberg, 49, "before I went into medicine"), and Mom and Dad get to look cool. Rummaging through the old records of his father, Lew, 47, a VP for Cingular, bass player Corey Walker, 13, found a secret cache of cred. "My dad," he boasts, "was part of the Kiss army. I found all the stickers and pictures."
Camp cofounder Jeff Carlisi, 52, former guitarist for the rock band .38 Special, was mulling the idea of an adult rock retreat when his pal Dan Lipson, 47, who runs promotions aimed at kids, suggested skewing younger. The pair recruited such pros as Rolling Stones tour keyboardist Chuck Leavell to speak at the $495 one-week camp, held at a Jewish day school. (Its motto: "No canoes. Lots of rock.") "We do an open mike to get them used to being on a stage," says Carlisi. "Once they do it and they hear that applause, they carry that with them all week."
Campers jam with peers and study the tricks of the trade, such as the element of surprise. "Like Jimi Hendrix when he lights his guitar on fire," explains guitarist Chris Iorio, 13. "He didn't say, 'Okay, now I'm going to light my guitar on fire.' Like, he just does." Let's see Britney try that.