As we all know, there is much more to being a “rock star” than simply having musical ability. Often (if Pete Doherty is anything to go by) musical ability isn’t even a requirement. Being a rock star can involve behaving in a way that, in any other walk of life, would define you as an utter twat, frankly. But in the rock ‘n roll sphere, you will be lauded as a genius is you follow these simple rules…
- Turn up late: Probably one of the most important things you can do to establish your credibility. A tried & tested ploy used by artists like Prince and Axl Rose, through to plenty of guys I have been in bands with over the years. It doesn’t matter whether you’re keeping a stadium full of fans waiting, or just your band-mates at the rehearsal room. Showing up a minimum of one hour after the agreed time will tell everyone just how seriously they should take you.
- Turn up wasted: Again, another important skill to master if you want win friends and gain respect. Who would want to be in a band with, or pay money to see, someone who attempts to play music when they’re sober? So what that the performance might not be the best it could be? Being “professional” is for people who wear suits, right? Downing that Special Brew and nostril-hoovering a couple of lines of Colombian marching powder before a performance will show the world you’re an “artist”.
- Nothing is ever your fault: If a song unravels because you go to the bridge after the 1st verse instead of the 2nd, then it’s obviously the fault of the other guys in the band for “not feeling your vibe, man!” I mean, honestly… they learn the song, and play it the way it was agreed… weeks ago? They should know you’re a free spirit and refuse, on principle, to be tied down to anything as mundane as an “arrangement”. Be sure to tell the audience it was the band’s fault, not yours. Your fellow performers will thank you later for calling them out on the error of their ways.
- Trash stuff: When on tour, you should destroy anything, and everything, you can – hotel rooms, dressing rooms, equipment, tour-buses etc. This will be deducted from what the band earns, and impact on the money your colleagues get paid. But, hey… the shock headline of “rock star behaves like a brat” will set you apart and enhance your reputation no end. Your fellow musicians will be secretly overjoyed when they have to sleep in the van because no hotel will let “you lot” over the threshold.
- You are too musically gifted to carry any equipment: This is another important one. Upon arrival at the venue, find the bar and start drinking (see item no. 2 on the list). It is not your job to carry your own amp, instruments or other paraphernalia (let alone anyone else’s) from the van to the stage. The band know they are lucky to have you and will gladly hump your gear up the many flights of stairs if it means you can use the time to focus and “get in the zone” before showtime. Any comments to the contrary are a sign of jealousy towards your obviously superior talent.
- An artiste of your calibre should be paid accordingly: You have a certain lifestyle to maintain and the rest of the guys will be more than happy for you to take a higher cut than them. Or at least, they would be happy if they knew. Probably best not to encumber them with such sordid details, though.
- Argue: It doesn’t matter what the issue might be, just argue. Is the stage not high enough? Argue with the promoter. Is the dressing room not spacious enough? Argue with the venue. Are the peanuts dry roasted when you prefer salted? Argue with the caterer. Refuse to go on stage until it’s all been sorted. It’s the only way they’ll learn. At the next gig demand the exact opposite just to keep them on their toes. Once again, everyone else in the band will be looking to you to create the right impression with people who may want to book you again. And don’t worry…catering staff on minimum wage won’t spit in anyone’s after-show lasagne for being called “pond life”. Probably.
- Hog the limelight: You may be first on the bill with half a dozen other bands between you and the big name “headline” act, but the crowd is there to see you… specifically you, personally. Ignore all attempts to get you to wrap up and play an extra twenty minutes of songs that, even though the audience don’t know, you’re certain they’re desperate to hear. The silence you hear after each number is a mark of the stunned appreciation of your genius. As is that bottle of piss that just got thrown at you from the front row.
- Blame the sound guy: If the gig went badly, don’t forget… nothing is EVER your fault (see item 3). The reason there was no applause, the reason the crowd all went off to the bar, the reason you sang/played off key is because the person on the desk doesn’t know his/her job. Be sure to argue with them at length after the show (see point no.7). This will ensure they try really hard next time to give your show the treatment it deserves.
- Take all the credit for stuff that goes right: If you’re the singer, make sure EVERYONE knows that the great solo the guitarist/bass-player/drummer just did was your idea, and yours alone. Sure it wasn’t you who actually played it, but it was clearly inspired by you and the vibe you, alone, created on stage… every note of it. Even if they didn’t previously know this to be the case the musician(s) in question will be happy for you to point this out to the audience and any members of the press who happen to be around after the show. In the unlikely event they do take issue with you… it’s jealousy again. Some people will stop at nothing to wreck your karmic well being. Pathetic, really. Make sure you argue with them too.
So there you go. How to be a rock star in ten easy steps. Been in a band with any “rock stars”? I have 🙂