I first discovered Camp Freddy about six years ago when I first moved to LA, and the show made me feel like I had finally arrived in Hollywood. I had to pinch myself as some of my favorite musicians from the 80’s and 90’s just showed up to play their own songs as well sing cover songs at the tiny venue The Roxy on Sunset Blvd. Only a couple feet away, my childhood musical stars were appearing one after the other to jam together and show that they still ‘got it.’ I marveled at Macy Gray, ZZ Top, Mark McGrath, Perry Ferrel, Chris Chaney, and Dave Navarro from Jane’s Addiction, Kid Rock, Jewel, Fred Durst, and the list goes on.
“CAMP FREDDY is not just a band, but it is also way more than a jam session. CAMP FREDDY is an Occasional Happening, a freak of (Hollywood) nature. What happens when we get together and play is anyone’s guess. Surprise guests, lounge singers turned heavy rock superstars, some of the world’s greatest guitarists playing three chord punk tunes. I mean, who knows what will happen at the next show? It’s not about money, or managers, or agents, but about motivation and fun. What we all got into the business for originally. We play some of the greatest rock and roll songs ever written, have a real laugh doing it, and invite artists that we respect to play them with us. It’s the real spirit of Rock and Roll.” —Billy Morrison, Guitarist/Camp Freddy
So, when I had the chance to get tickets for the sold out show (in less than 5 minutes) again this year that happens only on 3 Fridays in December in LA, I was beyond excited. The Friday night show was so stellar, I brought my friends back Saturday night and a friend of mine in Jane’s Addiction brought us backstage (where I saw all the magic happen or maybe not happen). This year’s Friday night line up included OMG, Billy Idol! Yes, Billy freaking Idol! Rebel Yell had us screaming “More, More, More!!” He sang White Wedding just like he was on my record player in the 80s.
Other highlights included Billy Ray Cyrus donning the stage, Moby, Mark McGrath (of course, he hosts the lineup) and Courtney Love who came along for the ride both nights. Apparently she left dinner at Spago to come sing Friday night. Both nights she jammed taking her shoes off, and all I could think about was Kurt Cobain.
One of my favorite all time performances is the passionate singer Franky Perez. I saw him sing insanely a few years back at an Eco Oscar event and at Camp Freddy and have always been enamored by his energy. Joining Mr. Perez on Saturday, was the gorgeous long blond haired singer Julie Mintz, who has music coming out soon produced by Moby. We spotted her backstage Friday night because she looks a bit like Carolyn Bessette.
What Camp Freddy show would be complete without Dave Navarro sweating on the crowd and taking his shirt off in less than two songs. Slash, who I have seen play privately several times before, made an appearance Saturday night too, although I saw his wife Perla at the Roxy Friday night. Drummer Matt Sorum shook things up Friday evening as he smashed some sh** up because apparently he didn’t like how the crowd was responding. Talented guitarist Chris Chaney and Billy Morrison played the full show every night with every musician involved. The impressive jam session with all the guitar players and musicians on stage at one time just doing their thing was beyond incredible! At one point, there were over ten rockstars jamming together creating something so special that I thought how this could never ever be replicated.
The energy of so many musical talents is an electric one of a kind show that will last in my memory for a long time.
Who exactly makes up this Camp Freddy and where did the name come from?
CAMP FREDDY, headed up by Billy Morrison (The Cult), Dave Navarro (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, The Panic Channel), Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Cult), Donovan Leitch (son of legendary folk singer Donovan), and Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction, The Panic Channel), was created for the sole purpose have having a good time. They have, in the six years they have been together, played an ever-growing list of shows, from the bizarre to the fabulous. Opening the world’s biggest strip club, through shows for Blender magazine, Sony Playstation, Vanity Fair, Grey Goose Vodka and many others, and on to charity shows to help Tsunami and Hurricane Victims, and low key, secret shows in their Los Angeles hometown, the band continue to play the greatest rock and roll songs in their own beautifully chaotic way.
Camp Freddy JAM – Billy Ray Cyrus, Slash, Franky Perez, Dave Navarro, Billy Morrison. (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)
The list of guests that have joined CAMP FREDDY onstage grows longer and more outrageous with each concert. So far, artists such as Moby, Robbie Williams, Ronnie Wood, Lou Reed, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mark McGrath, Slash, Perry Farrell, Wes Scantlin, Billy Duffy, Fabrizio Moretti, Stephen Perkins, Twiggy Ramirez, Duff McKagan, Sebastian Bach, Kid Rock, Steven Tyler, Chad Smith, Jerry Cantrell, Jonathan Davis, Cypress Hill, Xzibit, Rob Zombie, Brandon Boyd, Richard Patrick, Lemmy, Steve Jones and many more have played with the band. They have performed such classics as ‘Paradise City’, ‘Whole Lotta Love’, ‘Pretty Vacant’, ‘Jean Genie’, ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’, ’20th Century Boy’, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ … in fact, at last count, the band have had over 100 guest artists appear with them to play over 100 songs.
CAMP FREDDY, whose name was derived from a character in the classic Michael Caine movie, ‘The Italian Job’ formerly hosted a radio show on L.A.’s once hottest radio station INDIE 103.1FM. The radio show was nominated for Best Radio Show by the LA Weekly in 2005, and Camp Freddy Radio was an extension of the bands live performances with drop-in guests, live on-air calls to the ‘ladies of the night’ and a great selection of music. Jam band, covers band, party band, or just a great night out.
Camp Freddy continued the madness in 2008 at the Roxy with a five show residency every Thursday in May and a four show residency Tuesdays in December, as well as performing for the Hilfiger Sessions in NYC, Galpin Auto Sports, another X-Games gig, John Varvatos, and many other shows. Recently, Camp Freddy has played at the East Coast Guggenheim Partners holiday party held in a ballroom on the East Side of Manhattan to 2000 party goers, and Camp Freddy flew to Washington DC for a special Halloween party at the 9.30 Club. The event was a fundraiser for veterans at the Boulder Crest retreat.
As a freelance travel and food writer, Melissa's articles have been published on AAA World Magazine, Lonely Planet, Zagat Stories, Roadtrippers, Canadian Traveller, Business Insider, MoneyInc, Resident Magazine (NYC), JohnnyJet, Heart of the Hotel, World Footprints, and many more. Some of her favorite travel articles can be found in Darling Magazine. She also writes for local print magazines such as SoCal Life Magazine, Malibu Coast Lifestyle Magazine, Conejo Valley Lifestyle Magazine, LA Travel Magazine, and LA Downtowner. Her love of adventure and learning was fueled while traveling around the world at age 20 on Semester at Sea. She received a Master's degree in Education, taught in England on a Fulbright scholarship, and has been an educator for over 20 years. Over the last decade, she has worked with high-profile families in the Los Angeles area.
After growing up in Connecticut and a decade in Washington, DC, west coast living has won her over. Living in LA for the last 15 years has brought Melissa so much joy - thus why LaLaScoop was born. A desire to cover and discover the Best of LA became a shared passion that expanded to numerous guest writers bringing the 'LaLaScoop. Besides writing and helping children learn on Zoom during the pandemic, Melissa spends her free time seeking out the next adventure, savoring the Malibu coastline, discovering new hikes, and looking for unique finds for her new Palm Springs home. Contact her at Melissa@lalascoop.com.
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