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Live the Rock Dream

Barbara Tannenbaum
From the Print Edition:
Antonio Banderas, Nov/Dec 2005

Fantasy camps flatter every bygone sports aspiration from playing baseball with your idols to steering a racecar around an oval track. But what of us who nurtured rock'n'roll dreams, not visions of sports glory? For that desire, Bill Zabit, of Sonoma Mountain Entertainment, has created the Star Experience Records division in his $12 million Sonoma Mountain Studio Estate in the oak-shaded hills of Northern California, where you can get your ya-yas out in a professional recording setting.

Zabit lived out his own rock'n'roll dream, playing bass and singing in the Beatles tribute band Sergeant Pepper straight out of college and later and doubled for Paul McCartney in a music video. Now for a base price of $500,000 he offers other would-be mop tops the use of his studio, plus a recording team for 10 days. The producer is the legendary David Kershenbaum, who has worked with Tracy Chapman, The Jacksons, Duran Duran and Cat Stevens. The chief engineer is Scott Church, who counts Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Cher and Pat Benatar among artists he has recorded. At your disposal is a Neve 8048 soundboard console, a Grotrian grand piano, vintage and custom guitars and a drum set.

And you needn't rely solely on your own talent. For an additional price (and based on availability) bona fide rock stars will play on your tracks. Zabit will dip into his "lifetime worth of connections" to procure big names: "If it's your fantasy to have Ringo play drums on your song, we will do everything to make that happen. It all depends on availability and your budget. We call it 'touching the glitter.' "

Standard glitter includes the use of the three-story, 1760-era, colonial mansion and guest houses, the chef, the limo on call, and access to a 45-foot sport yacht. Extra glitter, such as having Cher sing the songs you wrote or recording your tracks with Mick Taylor, late of the Rolling Stones, can bump the price tag to $1.5 million. At the end of the experience, you have your recording, plus 250 copies of a graphically designed CD package and photos and a DVD that capture highlights of your brush with stardom.

"All we ask is that you sign a contract promising not to use the CD in any professional manner," Zabit adds. "It's not like Sting wants you to release his next album."

Visit www. www.studioestate.com

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