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Thursday, 1 May 2008

Portrait Of The Artist, Albeit A Commercial One

When we last left our hero, he was a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown, true John Cassevettes style, spouting nonsensical rants about wanting a cat. I’d like to say things have changed, but I would be lying. I’m just a helluva of a lot busier, there’s no time for depressive musings. All business the past couple weeks – video & photo shoot, showcases for Television executives, rehearsing ridiculous Whitesnake cum Barry White (Barry Whitesnake anyone?) covers for a Radio 2 showcase the middle of this month. I can’t complain.

This time last year I was playing in the corner of a Hotel Bar, peddling tunes for tips and wine, scamming salads and tuna steaks, loading up on instant espresso. Actually, reading that last sentence, it doesn’t sound half bad! Maybe I’ll pick up and go back home, resurrect my romantic, bohemian NYC lifestyle……nahhhh!

The prospect of becoming a Rock Star, while more demanding, is much more appealing. Still the frenzied push to plaster my mug across the United Kingdom (and soon elsewhere) gives me pause. During an interview the other day, I was asked how it feels to have a “Big Push” from a “Major Record Label”. I responded in an irreverent yet charming way, dismissing the question, disarming the bomb. But it did light a fire in my brain: am I an Artist? Do I make Art? It may sound ridiculously pretentious, but it’s a good question.

People come to a show, they watch a singer sing, a band rock. They see someone in the unconscious act of performance and lose their own consciousness, become one with the music (I am getting poetic here, apologies). And then a funny thing happens. People say to themselves, “Man, that looks like a lot of fun! What a great thing to be a Rock Star! What a way of life!” And right there they buy it, hook, line and sinker. They embrace the illusion. People are blending the wonderful selflessness that is music with a lifestyle that simply does not exist (note: some acts do live the life, but those are few and far between, and don’t tend to last long. Keith Richards is a legend).

Until signing to a major label, I was one of these people. Now each day my reality is redefined. Rock Stars don’t get up @ 5:30am. Rock Stars don’t have to stick to Cranberry and Soda cause they have 5 gigs in a week plus 10 promo appearances. Rock Stars don’t go to the Mac Store and buy copies of Civilization IV because they crave total mindlessness (okay most Rock Stars don’t do this. I am a nerd). Being a Rock Star is a job like any other, whether it’s playing Piano in a club, to running IT for a large investment-banking firm. Well maybe not like any other job. It IS a lot of fun. And you get a lot of free cabs. And, it’s the only job I was ever cut out for. Though I think I woulda made a good video store clerk. Rent Turkish Delight sometime. It’s one of Paul Verhoven’s first movies, Rutger Hauer as well. Saw it last night, raunchy but good.


margaret in manhattan said...

I hear you!!! and I heard you on radio2 thanks to my UK knitting buds ...

yo mama

kirt said...

nice post. both honest and poetic, a rare thing. ghosts in the water creates that illusion of a rock star for me, from all the way in an isolated australian town to an opening in berlin, everytime i listen to it. but musta been somebody, that’s timeless. its more than what people perceive a rock star to be. its art in its purest form because its one of the those rare moments when people just stop, and enjoy. i would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for that one, and regardless of what the industry will give/do to you, you’re an artist.