Cory Procter gets musical at camp
Compared to the Rock 'N Roll Fantasy Camp Cory Procter went through in Los Angeles in April, football training camp was a mental breeze for the Miami Dolphins lineman.
Instead of strapping on a helmet and a pair of shoulder pads, the 6-foot-4, 311-pound guard/center spent a week playing drums for a makeshift band at a camp created 14 years ago by music producer and former sports agent David Fishof.
Procter is one of 15 musicians from various backgrounds featured in the reality show "Rock 'N Roll Fantasy Camp," which premieres on VH1 Classic Oct. 16. His size couldn't help him the same way it does on the football field, but it was an experience Procter couldn't pass up when Fishof invited him to be on the show, even though he already has his own band.
"They knew of me and initially they invited the whole band out," said Procter, who formed "Free Reign" along with fellow linemen Marc Colombo and Leonard Davis when he was with the Dallas Cowboys. "It was before we started offseason training and the rest of the band passed on the invite so I jumped on it. It was an awesome opportunity to have a lot of fun and also to become a better musician."
Colombo is the band's lead singer, and plays guitar, Davis plays bass, and Davis' friend Justin Chapman is the lead guitarist. When the invite came, Procter was still with the Cowboys, though he was released in the middle of May. The Dolphins signed him May 24.
Having represented professional football players like former Giants quarterback Phil Simms and former Giants tight end Mark Bavaro, Fishof was hoping to tie sports into his camp. He heard about "Free Reign" and wanted to learn more.
"There was a concern that just because he was good at football that didn't necessarily mean he'd be a good rock musician," Fishof said. "But he was great and he was a big inspiration for everybody. At this camp, I treat these guys like Bill Parcells used to treat his players at training camp because I want them to come away having learned something. It was great to see Cory go through it and improve as a drummer. He took it real serious and took direction."
Procter was teamed with a female keyboardist who owns her own communications business, a bassist who is a realtor and a father, a personal chef, and a salesman. His "counselor" was Kip Winger, who had his own band called Winger and played in Alice Cooper's band. Winger dubbed Procter's band "Firecracker Institute" and they competed against a band led by bassist Rudy Sarzo, formerly of Quiet Riot, Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne's band, and a band led by record producer and songwriter Mark Hudson.
Not only did Procter and the others learn from Winger and play the Alice Cooper classic "School's Out," but they got to meet and play with Van Halen and Chickenfoot bassist Michael Anthony, former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley and former Poison lead singer Bret Michaels.
"I talked to David before I went out there and the big thing was I didn't want to go out there for a week to waste my time," Procter said. "He pretty much assured me that we'd be practicing and playing for 12 hours a day, and from the auditions they picked bands. I was lucky to get with a group that was pretty advanced. They know what they're doing."
As Fishof, Winger and the show's executive producer Mark Burnett found out, so does Procter.
Andy Kent is a freelance writer for and co-owner of Sports Media Exchange, a national freelance writing network.