Requiem for Michael: The Last Rock Star

Amid the past two weeks of Michael Jackson worship, the details of his drug use were slowly leaked out. The man had done enough painkillers and random legal narcotics that would make all-star druggies like Keith Richards and Lemmy Kilmister shudder and cower away.

It's funny that this small and sprightly man, who enchanted everyone with his dancing and vocalizations, would be a walking pharmacy. In hindsight his erratic, yet meticulous behavior can now be chalked up to hard partying and narcissism.

Rocks Off loved Michael Jackson, and we are not belittling his legend or his place in the history of mankind as an entertainer and a humanitarian. But we loved him a little more the day we found out exactly what he was putting into his body, because it showed how human he actually was. He could be addicted to poisons just like any of us. To think the whole time we had all thought that he was just a lunatic with a monkey and an amusement park, drunk on fame and luster.

But he wasn't some weirdo named "Jacko" in tabloids and various courtrooms. Our celebrity culture made him, through and through. Sure we can sit back and look at his life and scoff. But this guy was thrust into the spotlight so young, and at just the right time for the first solar flares of what would become a cultural firestorm of things like Inside Edition and People magazine.

As pop stars in the past have proven, some can take it in and deal with it and some cannot. Michael held on for dear life and didn't bow out. For better or worse, he was our world's creation. When we got sick of him, we sadly discarded him. Behind everything, he was someone's father, son, grandson, brother, and best friend. We forgot that along the way as he acquired new noses and facial features.

Looking back at his antics and putting them into the perspective of a severe drug addict, they all make Dadaistic and maniacal sense. He was a man unhinged, and that's something we can all admire and enjoy. He lived his personal life like a Hunter S. Thompson character: full of drugs and swagger, with an irascible persona. His largesse spoke unspeakable and crazed volumes about his mania. Only a childhood spent abused and emotionally neglected coupled with drug use could make a Michael Jackson.

The menagerie in his backyard, the idolatrous statues he paraded around in military garb, the copious jewelry, the black garbage bags of cash, Moonwalker, hyperbaric chambers, tearing down his public image into a new and somewhat gruesome visage.

The latter harkens to the character "Pink" in Pink Floyd's The Wall, shutting himself off from the world and reimagining himself as another alien being. Somehow we think that his body transformation was him trying to become some new amorphous and indefinable figure. That's straight-up drug use for you right there. Even Klaus Nomi took off his make-up at the end of the day.

For all his supposed faults, we will always love Michael. We mourn our nation's first truly Gonzo pop star. It's your move, musicians of the world. Beat it.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty