Being famous: pros and cons

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Being famous: pros and cons

Postby CassFan1 » Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:22 pm

Okay, so we all saw what happened to the White Stripes. They were the blue collar heroes of Detroit rock and the next thing I know, I'm seeing "Fell in Love with a Girl" on MTV. Then everything happened all wierdly:
1.) They start being on covers of magazines. Great. No prob. Actually cool
2.) They actually tour around the US. Great. i moved. Convenient.
3.) They get their two cents in when they can. Awesome. Jack's one smart man

then the bad stuff starts happening

4.) After shows, you can no longer really talk to them. they aren't as approachable anymore (that is, unless you're within the lines of Wayne County)
5.) Every move they make is documented like some National Geographic show. Jack gets in a bar fight. Everyone knows about it. Who really gives a flying f**k about it?????
6.) The rumours! 'Jack and Meg aren't brother and sister..." "Did you hear what actress Jack's dating??? *gasp*"

so, my question is this: is becoming famous really all that much of a good thing? I would LOVE for the Dirtbombs to tour and get played on the radio/TV, but I'm afraid of the consequenses of being a "rock star". I really don't wanna know what toilet paper Pat bought at Krogers last weekend! what do you think?

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Postby Jake » Tue Feb 10, 2004 5:41 pm

I think it's hard for both the artist and the fan when the artist "breaks out."

Good things for the fan: more availability of recordings, videos, interviews, outtakes, etc. Bad things for the fan: bigger venues, annoying new fans.

Good things for the artist: more money (presumably), hot chicks, get to meet heros. Bad things for the artist: people scrutinizing your every move, lack of privacy, expected to be role model, expected to be larger than life, expected to kiss corporate ass, etc.

These are things I can think of off the top of my head. All I want for my favorite artists is for them to sell enough records that they'll be able to record more music. Anything beyond that just gets in my way, ha ha.

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Postby gauzy » Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:25 pm

not saying I wouldnt mind being famous for a few minutes...but I dont think I would want more people knowing me than I know people...does that make sense..just my opinion

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Postby nobodygirl » Tue Feb 10, 2004 6:26 pm

i also think that some of this goes back to the oft-maligned, quasi-defined concept of "selling out." yes, i want the white stripes, and death cab, and the walkmen, and spoon, and etc., and etc., and etc. to do well. but who can really say when you cross over the line, as an artist? every band has a loyal fan base that's gonna be slightly disappointed if they show up on the grammys/video music awards/golden globes/awardies. part of the joy of music, at least for me, is that i feel like i have a secret that nobody else knows about except for the select group of friends that i sit at coffeehouses and get geeky over bass lines with. and if the girl ahead of me in the ambercrombie shirt who's at the show cause her boyfriend took her is talking about them too and comparing jeff tweedy to JAKOB DYLAN (this actually happened) i feel... exposed. and angry. so angry...
but my secret doesn't pay their rent. and i am fully aware of this. i guess what i'm trying to say, and i know i haven't said it very well yet and have probably crossed several lines of stereotype, is that i rarely hold it against the artist for becoming popular. fame is a good thing as long as they themselves are comfortable with it. if they set out to take over the world and accomplish that, i'm not going to begrudge them anything. it is sad that you can't talk to them after shows anymore. but i never did in the first place, as i prefer to keep the line between myself and the performer well drawn. i just let them do their thing and secretly and vociferously hate the rare stupid people who like them that i come across.

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Postby Herb Tarlek » Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:10 pm

I have no problems with bands/artists becoming "famous" as long as in the end the music doesn't suffer. Fame is all relative too. If you're talking fame on the level of bands like Wilco, The Shins, The Jayhawks, or Guided By Voices, I'm GUESSING (I can't say for sure) that it wouldn't necessarily be that difficult to stay somewhat grounded. They pretty much have creative control over everything they do also, which bodes well for their music. But if you're talking fame on the level of bands like Nickelcrack (who had shitty music to start with, but I'm just using them as an example - not too many ridiculously famous rawk bands left), it seems to me that it would be very difficult to stay grounded, when every song you release is a radio hit, you sell out all your shows, you've got as much money, drugs, and groupies as you can handle, etc. You've created this huge money making machine, and there is so much pressure from all sides (the label, agents, promoters, fans, etc.) to just keep it going. As a result your (already shitty) music gets shittier.

I think a slow and steady rise to "fame" is always better than a rocket to number 1. But then what the hell do I know.......

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Postby miss carol » Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:05 am

With fame comes responsibility. The rock n roll lifestyle gets out of hand if you're stupid. What once was your gimmick becomes your identity. Of course I don't know the answer except don't be an asshole. But that goes for life anyway. Every little scene has its "stars", its big fish in a small pond. When these fish take the bait...well you have headlines.

It's all rather stupid. mean they're NOT related?? geeez! ;)

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Postby Dreamin » Wed Feb 11, 2004 12:43 am

Herb Tarlek wrote:I think a slow and steady rise to "fame" is always better than a rocket to number 1. But then what the hell do I know.......

I read an interview where Michael Stipe said the very same thing. R.E.M. is a great example of just what you're talking about. Of course, when they made the move to WB, it was all downhill from there (with the exception of Automatic For The People).

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Postby DrinkinOxygen » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:01 am

My take on this is that, although I think most people would like to do things they way that they did (I know that I would with my band), there can only be one Fugazi, y'know? It sucks, because not everybody can operate in the way that they do, with complete creative control, artistic integrity and amazing record and show sales that allow them to not have day jobs, all without the support of the record industry. Essentially, they are famous on their own terms, without the intervention of the media or even merchandise, which I think is something that almost any musician would love to be able to say for themselves. And the best part is, the fact that they are famous (sure, perhaps not on the Justin Timberlake scale, but famous nontheless) has basically no bearing on how they operate. They do what they do when they do it.

Okay, sorry I turned this into a rant about Fugazi, but I guess when it comes to subjects such as this, they are the best example, for me, of what it really means to be both a musician and an artist.

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Postby miss carol » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:45 am

DrinkinOxygen wrote:Okay, sorry I turned this into a rant about Fugazi, but I guess when it comes to subjects such as this, they are the best example, for me, of what it really means to be both a musician and an artist.

Good points, but Fugazi were not and still aren't as famous or at the same level as White Stripes. I'm not sure, given the nature of their music, they would be. Their control mechanisms certainly won't allow it (for good or ill). Comparing their level of fame with, say, Godspeed (ie control, politics, DIY punk ethos) is fair; you can't make the same comparison with The Strokes, or White Stripes etc.

Don't get me wrong, I like Fugazi, but you stop Joe Blow on the street and he'll likely have NO idea who they are.

Ok. I'm going back to work now. :)

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Postby steve-o » Wed Feb 11, 2004 11:49 am

Another discussion on what's "selling out"?
I think it doesn't have to be either way. It may in the long-run sacrifice a lot of bands' chances, but it seems if you get big on your own terms you have a lot more control over what people are saying about you. Two good examples: Radiohead and New Order. New Order was huge during the eighties, but they hardly ever conducted interviews and overall managed to stay out of media scrutiny. Radiohead still manages to do that. They sell millions of albums, they're Producer still gets put up for Grammys, and they're all frigging millionares. But unless you know him personally, I doubt you would be able to find out, or care, who Thom Yorke is dating. They've managed to stay on the right side of that all-too-important line between being a "rock star" and being just a "celebrity." Jack White,as much as I still respect the White Stripes, seems to have walked into celebrity status, where we hear more about his barfights and who he's banging than say, a White Stripes tour or plans for a new album. Whether that was his own doing or not I won't say, but I think that's the main difference.
Of course there's also the difference between US and European press that has a lot to do with it, but I've bored you all enough already.

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