Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How much longer?

Ya wanna know why I'm not real excited by a lot of the upcoming releases? Watch this. Break down what Trent is saying, and it becomes this: he wants to be a big rock STAR again. Whether you're talking about Trent Reznor, or Amanda Palmer, I'm seeing that thing emerge again. I hate it. It's a disease, and I know this as much as I know that cars need fuel, cats hate bananas, and my wife loves me. I hate it so much that I hated the whole "kill rock stars" thing because it made my hatred  "cutesy". No, I'm rabid on this topic, so all caps like an internet crazy troll: THE DESIRE FOR FAME IS A DISEASE LIKE AN ADDICTION. You can play with fire a bit- just like you can have a few drinks or tokes, and you'll probably be ok, but only stupid bastards go all in. Part of how I came to this is Trent Reznor, himself. A quick story- it's 1991. The first big American "Alternative" Festival. It really won't take much for you to guess. Of the several bands playing that day, I like the music of most, but hate the band members of most as well. I'd done sound for most of them for club dates, and I hadn't fully formed my philosophy, yet. But I knew that there was a difference between them and the other, equally well-selling bands. None more different than Nine Inch Nails.  They brought their own sound crew, and, well, have you seen Spinal Tap? Where the lead singer brings in his girlfriend to manage the band? Same thing, only Trent brought in his own sound crew. These jackasses had no background, and no business doing professional sound. Fletch and I both tried to warn them that they were wiring everything wrong, but Trent, himself, shooed us away. We were trying to literally save his life, and Fletch did, a little while later. Because during the set opener, with the dry ice pumping, and the moist stage literally crackling with shorting wires, Trent goes in for his big dramatic rock star move on the keyboard, which could just as well have been a prop because everything was loops and sequences, and you could see the arc of electricity at least 30 metres away. If we didn't cut the power right then and there, that would've been the end of Trent right there. Should he have been grateful? I'll let you decide, but He, his sound crew, and some other jackass are immediately pissed off that we cut the power, even though trent had just been sent into the drum riser, so powerful was the jolt. Eventually, we relented, and they played about another song and a half before the mains started popping out. The promoter went on stage, ended their set with an angry tirade about how NIN were not going to be paid, or were kicked off the Tour, or whatever.
But, in that story, you have the perfect metaphor for the kind of fame addiction that Trent, and others have- even when it's clearly demonstrated that what they want will kill them, they still want it, and they want it in precisely the way they envisioned it, and will fight to get it. The only other thing I've seen like that is hardcore drug addiction. Add to that things like the Butthole Surfers and their 15 grand guarantee , or Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro literally trying to kill each other for the spotlight mid-gig and, in retrospect, I don't see how i could have missed it, but that really was a turning point- that desire to see your section at the record store, the desire to recruit fans like you're building brand loyalty to a kind of tissue paper, to have your gig advertised to the exclusion of other bands? Yeah, that is precisely the symptoms of a disease that I want to see gone.

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