Friday, June 21, 2013

the last book I ever read (Richard Hell's I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp, excerpt two)

from Richard Hell's I Dreamed I Was A Very Clean Tramp:

I didn’t buy into the mythology of rock and roll bands though. As I said, the music was just a common feature of the environment. I wasn’t a “fan.” The style of some of the groups was exciting, but the musicians were people who had taken a chance into music. (I still prefer that angle on it, the way it is when a band starts out.) Half the beauty of rock and roll is that “anyone can do it” in the sense that it’s not about being a virtuoso but about just being plugged in in a certain way, just having an innocent instinct and a lot of luck. That’s why it’s the art of teenagers. There wasn’t anything awe-inspiring or even especially interesting to me about bands. (It’s only since I’ve had a fair amount of firsthand contact with pop musicians that I’ve come to see that they actually are, or, more precisely, have become a breed apart. I’m still not susceptible to the fascination with them, but “sacred monster” is definitely the job description, at least for the front person, the singer in a band. Being a pop star, a front person, takes indestructible certainty of one’s own irresistibility. That’s the monster part. If that ego confidence doesn’t eventually come so naturally that living at all is to flaunt it, you won’t have what’s necessary to give your audience the show, the stimulation, it needs. The audience needs it from the performer in order to identify with it, to give themselves the sense of their own power, to get the full effect and function of rock and roll. It starts off natural and even cute, in the beginners, but is fed and tested on the way to stardom until it’s grotesque in every dimension except that of performance, where it is thrilling and uplifting, which is the sacred part. It’s also usually a monster of stress on its adepts; not really a fate to be desire. Which is another reason the stars are so cranky. They hate everyone for making them into what they’ve turned out to be, so they rub everyone’s faces in it.)

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