The Rantiest Rant About Becoming A Rock God
Back in the days of arena rock, the idea of becoming a rock god was an impossible dream. People made epic movies about it, dreamed about it, at least for those who went to Led Zeppelin shows and the like. There stood the band above an arena of thousands and thousands of people, decreeing their awesome message upon the faces of frightened concertgoers with their heavenly riffs and wicked thirteen hour drum solos. There were the lights, the wind, the groupies offering up their mothers. It was like heaven on earth, some said…and they were lucky if only to catch a glimpse of it from the twelve-thousandth row….
We’ve certainly come a long way since then. Now, any dork can be a rock god in their mom’s basement. Here’s why:
1.) Thank god for karaoke. Karaoke is the training camp for millions of budding rock gods all over the planet. In Japan, they have karaoke bars where you can rent a room just for your friends, like in Lost in Translation, and that’s where all the young people are. All of them. You think they’re hiding? They’re giggling and having hidden karaoke parties.
2.) Iggy Pop, and feminist punks, and really all of punk rock. They changed it for everyone. They made songs with three notes that anyone could play. Nirvana, too. And Jim Morrison. Madonna, too. These people did things on stage that made the crowd swear never to invite them to a party. In fact, the rock god is not above me, he is much, much below me. In the gutter. Really, it was awesome. They were taking one for the team. You might say punk rockers are the Jesus of rock. Think about it. Think about it. There are two kinds of bands: bands who soar and bands who roll in the dirt. U2? Soars. Mickey Avalon? He rolls in all kinds of shit. I like Arcade Fire, because they soar while coming from the same place as the audience. Or play from within the audience. Someone from Spin said that, I think.
3.) Internet. The reason internet affected things is so vast, it’s like defining “and.” You figure it out.
4.) More specifically, Napster and free downloading software. This not only gave us access to everything, and took power away from the fat labels. This cheapened music, making the level of what we seek “lower” in the spectrum of high and low art. Which is fine by me. For example, if I wanted to throw on an Ace of Base song at a party to make my drunk friends giggle, I used to have to go out and BUY the entire album. So I wouldn’t. With downloading, it was much easier. I actually acquired more crappy music. Now it’s easier to play good music, because the bar is set lower.
5.) Myspace. Ohhh, Myspace. Who would’ve thought? As a music journalist, I use Myspace more than any other tool to find bands and get in contact with them. Myspace creates a truly egalitarian space for bands to put their music, so that a garage band has the same exposure as the Beatles. In fact, I’m wrong. It’s not egalitarian. Nowadays, the techno geeks are the elite. Because they’re better at designing a site that makes their crappy emo band called Fear88 look better than the Beatles. Who’s running the Beatles Myspace profile, do you think?
6.) That video game Guitar Hero.
7.) And finally, most importantly: the art of air guitar. A noteworthy volume worth checking out breaks down the art form for the novice into Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced moves with warmup, stretching, and a complete history of the art. It’s called How to Play Air Guitar: All the Greatest Moves from your Guitar Heroes by Ian West and Steve Gladdis. It highlights the importance of beer “aka music oil,” tuning up your air guitar, facial expressions (“the nonchalant,” “the pout,” “the overbite,” and “the sneer,”), and moves (“kneeling at the altar of rock.”)