CBC Takes Canadian Idol to School TELEVISION

CBC Takes Canadian Idol to School TELEVISION
It's the anti-Canadian Idol. Just ask 19-year-old singer Krystal Gibbon, who made it to the top 100 CI hopefuls, only to be cut for being "too rock." "Everybody was a product," she says of that audition process. "As soon as I was cut, no one talked to me — people who were so nice the day before ignored me. But I'm happy because [the show] sucked anyway."

Just days after getting cut, Gibbon crashed the auditions for CBC reality show Rock Camp, which chronicles two weeks of teenage rock'n'roll schooling, with professors like Joel Plaskett, Ian McGettigan (Thrush Hermit), Tom Thacker (Gob), Jose Contreras (By Divine Right), and Darrin Pfeiffer (Goldfinger). Eighteen aspiring rockers, aged 14 to 18, are thrust into bands and learn rock basics like packing the van, restringing a guitar, and writing cheesy love songs.

According to Gibbon, the show — shot last August in Halifax at a pace of almost an episode a day — is eerily realistic to many musicians' first band experiences. "We spent an entire weekend arguing over the band name," she laughs. "Like, ‘Oh God, I can not be in a band called the Silver Mile!'" Gibbon and her four band-mates finally settled on Jackstay. "We were all really tired of fighting."

With 18 teenagers from across Canada, all put in bands on the first day, some conflicts were bound to arise — some seemingly on purpose. "Our guitarist, Alan Nagelberg, told [the producers] he didn't want to be in a band with girls. His band had two girls in it. We're friends now, but he could be a jerk — he didn't seem to enjoy being in a band with us." The after-school hijinks are also captured by the students themselves, who were given digital "band cams" and free reign to shoot whatever they wanted.

This may seem tailor-made for good reality TV, but Rock Camp has taken place in Halifax for 18 years, and the lessons learned seem to be doing the trick. According to Gibbon, now in college, she wants to apply Rock Camp's lessons as soon as possible. "In five years, I want to be in a van with my band, touring Canada."
Rock Camp airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. on CBC starting April 5.