Five Ways Rock Stardom Is Like Your Boring Office Job
The Beach Boys are mired in a controversy resulting from accusations that they lip-synced at an Australian concert last Saturday. That just goes to prove something we've known all along. Namely, that being a rock star isn't all that different from being one of the regular old cubicle mice. For instance...
5. Everyone Coasts Sometimes: You know how sometimes you show up after a three-day weekend hung over, with the feeling that a baby dragon has been wearing your mouth for a diaper? Rock stars do the exact same thing on tour. The life of a rock star basically involves sitting around for hours either in a bus, a plane or at the venue itself doing absolutely nothing.
Then they get a lunch break, and maybe they drink or do some drugs to kill the sheer monotony. Sound familiar?
So we don't find it at all suprising that some acts can't get it together onstage, even though that's their job. Hell, we can't even get it together to sell sheet music some days when the call of the wine bottle and free episodes of The Maxx on MTV.com tempted us late into the previous night. Speaking of touring...
4. You Still Have to Commute: Imagine that instead of your 15- to 30-minute drive to the same place every day, you had to travel hundreds of miles to places you'd never been to before. That's the glory of the road that so many bands lie about. Sure, it's an adventure for a bit. You're getting to see the world, after all! It doesn't take long before you realize the world you're seeing is basically an undending horizon, rest stops and, if you're really lucky, discount prosthetic stores.
Man, we loved playing Austin!
Maybe one day we'll Skype all the concerts, just like how more and more people are starting to work from home. It's likely, though, that this endless commuting from gig to gig is here to stay for a while.
3. The Man Still Owns Your Ass: Not everyone, of course, but the vast majority of rock stars are in the same position you're in at your job. That is, they have to answer to someone who is fronting the money for their music. Some people are their own boss, and if you work hard and have a little luck, you can usually strike out on your own and make a decent living, just like any other career.
Make no mistake, though, whether it's a record-label exec, a concert promoter or the producer of your album, you are going to have to beg and wheedle every bit as much as a desk jockey does to get a raise, time off or even a key to the toilet.
2. You Better Keep Your Mouth Shut: In the real-world workplace, all kinds of rules exist for behavior. You are limited on what kind of jokes you can tell, and whether or not you can inter-office date, display religious symbols, discuss politics, or a host of other things that a lot of people have been sued for over the years.
But those kinds of silly rules aren't for rock stars! Nah, they say and do whatever they want without any backlash or reper...
What's that, Mr. West? You're going to let me finish, but you think Hlavaty's articles are the best there is? Well, that's nice. I'll tell him, and you can pick up your career in the garbage can by the door. Send the Gallagher brothers in on your way out, would you?
1. God, The People You Work With...: So you come home every day to tell the Wife With One F how the ultra-right-wing guy in the next cubicle feels the need to give you a never-ending stream of badly written, Snopes.com-debunked, paranoid and slightly racist emails. She tells you all about the girl she works with who doesn't understand that you cannot text a .pdf to someone.
And that's your job. Imagine the music industry, where everyone's not only a business-person, but also "creative." Throw in drugs, alcohol, antisocial tendencies and loud music, and you'll find yourself wishing for a desk gig.
Whether it's unscrupulous or lazy promoters, door people drunk with power, or even the dysfunctional family of your bandmates, you're going to be bitching just as much about people stealing your guitar picks as you would be if they were stealing your stapler.
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.