Live and Let Something by Jonny Steiner

Posted: August 18, 2008 by Maximum Mike in The Rocking Chair Blog
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To truly be a Rockstar you have to live like one. Being a famous artist is a career that comes with among other things a lot of money, so the real rockers back up their lyrics by leading appropriately hedonistic lifestyles. Whether you buy and crash Ferarri’s like Leif Garrett, or snort your height in lines of coke ala Motley Crue, if you are a famous artist you are guilty of some hedonism and here is the proof: Paul McCartney has been quoted as saying “Somebody said to me,’ But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.’ That’s a huge myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, ‘Now, let’s write a swimming pool.” If The Beatles did it, everyone has. Rockstars need to make people believe that they are gods performing on stage and creating an almost magical level of energy in the crowd, One of the best ways to do that is to spend money like crazy showing us normies just how pathetic our lives truly are.

It starts with possessions, the biggest of which is the house. I have seen most, if not all the episodes of Cribs and it always make me laugh at how no one on the show ever shows off their library. There is never a lack of ridiculous things that people put in their homes. The most amusing is the 52 room mansion in Connecticut owned by rapper 50 Cent. Aside from the movie theater and the recording studio (which for an artist is not such a bad idea) the house’s former owner was none other than, you guessed it, Mike Tyson. If there is a better crazy celebrity to take lessons on high-living from I would love to know. The house also has no less than 4 kitchens and a heli-pad. The really disappointing artists are celebrities like Sully Erna of Godsmack, and David Draiman of Disturbed. These two guys are the frontmen for two of the biggest bands in the world, and their homes do not reflect that. Sully’s Boston pad is nice, tastefully decorated save for the swords hung up all over the living room. The same is true of Draiman’s LA residence. The house itself is big but tame looking like a dark Martha Stewart decorated it. Where is the excess? These are just big houses. Brad and Angelina just threw down 70 million on an estate in France. Let’s go rockers pick up the pace.

Surely cars are a great way to cash in all that platinum album bonus money. 50 Cent once again sets the bar with his collection of rare Ferraris he never drives. You will argue with me that he is a Rapper not a Rocker. Fair enough, then let’s look at some rocker rides and see what they have. Sully Erna has a couple of Mercedes and motorcycles, and Travis Barker of Blink 182 is obsessed with Cadillacs. Sebastian Bach, of Skid Row has a couple of classic Camaros, and Robbie William’s has a Bentley. Whoop de do. Where are the insane customized cars you see at the houses of Ja Rule and Nelly? Where is the overindulgence that Rock music has come to symbolize?

There was a time when Rock music was the epitome of excess. Jim Morrison’s decadent drug fueled ways, Mick Jagger’s rumors of sexual experimentation with David Bowie. It almost seems like the last truly larger than life Rock band was Guns N Roses. Known for trashing hotels and rampant drug use, they truly embodied the lifestyle of the music they created. A famous story involving them took place in Montreal in 1991. The band had been on tour with Metallica and Faith no More in one of the biggest tours in history. The night of the Montreal show James Hetfield of Metallica was seriously burned in a pyrotechnics accident and the band was forced to cancel. G’N’R could have come on played a three hour set and been heroes. This is not their way. About forty minutes into the concert Axel Rose decided he had had enough and walked off stage taking the band with him. Then he sat backstage smoking and drinking champagne while complaining about how his throat was bothering him and he could not sing. While that was going on the angry crowd was rioting, overturning cop cars, and burning the city.

It is this attitude that is almost a necessity in Rock. The solid band Papa Roach, has a very charismatic frontman named Jacoby Shaddix, (great name I know) who off stage is known as one of the most engaging and friendly people around. I am not saying that Rockstars should be assholes, but part of their mystique is the attitude that by performing nightly in front of thousands of people they are somehow better than them. Especially now when we worship our celebrities like never before one would think that they would despise the people that put them on that pedestal.

Times have changed. In the past people used to camp out at Elvis Pressly’s Graceland ranch, hoping for a glimpse of their idol. Elvis usually obliged riding his horses down to chat with people, and even sending his cooks down with hot chocolate in the winter. These days that would not happen, but with the internet and the breakdown of the record label’s stranglehold over the consumer, artists are having to make themselves more available to grassroots marketing campaigns. This brings Rockers ever closer to the fans who not only put them up on the pedestal of fame, but are ever more responsible for that fame. For example, My Chemical Romance started out giving out free tracks on Myspace, and Pure Volume, the word of mouth and devotion won from those early fans guided them to a platinum record and a major label contract.

That they live larger than we can imagine is a given, but today’s artists are a new breed devoted to their art and to their fans. Sully Erna has a Godsmack quilt made by their fans as a gift when his daughter was born. Hollywood actors are on the screen, as far away from us as possible pretending to be other people. If we are taken on an emotional journey with them it is not a real connection because at the end of the day they are only acting. With our Rockers the connection is in person and shared on a communal emotional level. Even the most hardened dead to the world Rockstar feels that connection on stage, unless its Axel Rose, that dude hates everyone.

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