Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rock & Roll Fantasy

OK Rock Stars, sit down. You & I need to have a serious chat. There's something very wrong here and we need to get some things straight.

The disconnect began when I (very much against my will, but being a good spouse) went to see Iron Maiden. The show was what it was & I spent most of my time trying to figure out what the last song was going to be, which was no mean feat when you consider (a) I knew recognized about 2 1/2 Maiden songs in the first place and (b) there's not a lot of what you would call "Top 10 hits a band would close their show with" in the second place. ANYWAY...

Bruce Dickinson, Maiden's lumpy lead singer, made a huge point at the beginning of the show to point out that, "We're Iron Maiden. We don't date supermodels...we're all about the music!" I don't know if you've ever actually looked at Iron Maiden, but supermodels not wanting to date them didn't really surprise me. The look like they escaped from a Lord of the Rings reenactment. They looked very working class British. Basically, they're kinda homely.

But what threw me off was that Bruce was saying that they had no interest in dating supermodels. Quite frankly, if you don't want to date supermodels, what's the point of becoming a rock star in the first place?

And this attitude has spread. There was a time when the biggest press rock stars got was when they were partying hard, trashing hotel rooms & generally behaving badly. This scandalous behavior was noticed by 14 year old boys who seemed to think, rightly or wrongly, that it looked like a lot of fun & they wanted to do it so they formed a band & bang! Another generation of rock stars was born.

But today, most rock stars are talking about the causes they support or their efforts to save the environment or what we can do to enact change and make a difference. These are all noble & well intentioned and rock stars, let me say from the bottom of my heart, you need to knock it off.

Seriously...when you & your buddies got together and decided to become famous (whether you could play your instruments or not,) you entered into a social contract with me. The contract basically goes like this: You live the life that I can't & I'll buy your music.

It's that easy. I don't want to hear a lead singer tell me about recycling. I can recycle. What I can't do is party with strippers 6 nights a week. You're supposed to be doing all the stuff that we all secretly would do if we could. I'm aware that there's lots of bad stuff in the world, but the fact that you can destroy a room in the Dayton, Ohio Radisson and not go to jail for it somehow balances that out for me.

So please, I'm begging you, stop taking Sting or Bono's calls when they want you to make a video about the plight of the Western Sea Otter. Fight the urge to make your tour bus solar powered. And for goodness' sake, if your Crib has a compost heap & a windmill, keep it to yourself.

Remember, when one of you dates Heather Locklear, we all date Heather Locklear.


On My Feet said...

You 'struck a chord' here. When I was 14 I was exploring all kinds of music, feeling like these new sounds were unlocking untold worlds to me. Living in Portland OR in the late seventies was not exactly having ones finger on the pulse of the new-music scene, but it was all new to my friends and I.
"We" started a band. I say "we" because it soon became clear that my general lack of musical ability made me The Manager.
The bands we loved (until we discovered Rush) were notorious and wild and...everything we wanted to be. The long hair, the tight pants, the crazy lifestyles, the beautiful girls....what more could teenage boys want?
I think that part of the deal with the Rock & Roll membership should be signing a pledge to "grow older but not up" and to live by the "better to burn out than fade away" motto.
I don't want my rock icons to be thoughtful activists any more than I want my activists to party like rock stars.
Keep it pure! Party on, Chris!

Chris Ayers said...

Thanks. I've written in other posts how improv saved my sanity. That's been a recent development. What kept me sane in high school was Bruce Springsteen.

"Born In The USA" & "Live 75-85" saved me from Duran Duran, The Thompson Twins & that blight on the musical landscape that is Phil Collins. Bruce was, well, all mine. I was the only one in my high school in suburban Chattanooga listening to The Boss. I had no idea what a lot of what he was singing was actually about, but it spoke to me down deep like good rock & roll should.

So Bruce gets a lifetime pass from me.