Saturday, March 3, 2012

Don't Do's

You're not [insert historic band here]:

Don't try to live the way you think they lived.
Don't do drugs.
Don't fuck your fans (this is hugely important)
Don't be an asshole.

Stars used to be able to get away with all this, but no more. Sure, you're gonna send me an email with a list of current Important Artists who do all the above, much of it seeming to contribute to their success. But that's the PR machine lying to you.

There's too much at stake now. By the time you start doing something anyone's gonna care about, you've got a hundred people in your camp working for you. That's a hundred people PLUS your fans directly invested in your success.

Fans are fickle. There are too many good places to spend one's time. One misstep, and suddenly Skyrim seems a lot more fun than braving traffic and god knows what else on to get to your show.

Don't do Drugs:

For a long time, there was probably a safe space carved out of the culture for artists to indulge (privately) in recreational substance use. Ample historical documentation suggests this privilege was abused.

For a million small reasons, some of them having to do with mandatory seizure laws, you really don't want to take a drug habit on the road. In fact, you really don't want to take a drug habit anywhere near a career in the music biz. Used to be the drugs killed you before they killed your career. Now, the inverse is true.

I know that marijuana, caffeine, and nicotine are the Golden Trinity of Artisan Equilibrium, but each of these is addictive, and carry new legal and societal penalties that are hobbling your career. Right now.

Add up how much money you spend at Starbucks in a year. You don't think that's a habit??

Don't Fuck Your Fans:

In the 80's (and probably into the 90's to some degree), it was possible (even preferable!) to engage in sex with your fans. Heck, that was the reward!

No more. A band/artist that's fucking their fans is rolling the dice on a sex-offense conviction. In most states, that's a death sentence. I know some of you are going to attempt to defend this as some kind of 'tradition' or even 'rite of passage.' Do so at your own (and your bandmates') peril.

And this goes DOUBLE for the professionals that surround and support us. And because just about everyone around you is invested in you (in some way), you can't fuck anyone.

Welcome to the new music biz.

Don't Be An Asshole:

You haven't earned it, and you're not going to. Not in the cards anymore. Everyone is one paycheck from destitute homelessness right now. Remember that. ONE PAYCHECK.

Our job is to heal souls. That's it. The reward on the table now is that we get to do it at all.

If that's not good enough for you, go do something else.

We've got to be kind to people. Maybe in the past we could earn the privilege of flex, even if it was just a tiny bit.

No more. It can't sustain. (btw, I'm not saying we aren't supposed to draw lines within our own professional purview - all day baby. But when we leave the studio/gig, etc, and go back in the Real World, we're just one more ant trying to get through our day.) We are not special anymore. Even the best of us are terrifyingly normal.