I was thinking of doing this post in a few different formats. I wanted to talk about how it seems like those nitty-gritty rock stars of your childhood, and maybe before, have lost their edge. While this has been more than evident for years, it has really been coming across to me even more recently. Years ago you had these guys who were considered the godfather of rock and roll, but recently, through collaborations and reality t.v., they no longer retain that allure of rock and roll past. Now they appear to be half-baked, money-hungry, media whores who are desperate to make a buck. Here are a few examples:
Steven Tyler: It’s hard to imagine what going to an Aerosmith show was like back in the day. I can remember watching some of those Aerosmith videos that featured Alicia Siverstone. They seemed like a band on the brink of destruction. Tyler has well documented cases of battles with drugs and alcohol. He was a crazy good singer who added in a lot of theatrics and really was considered a bad boy. I think he may have started to decline when Aerosmith’s biggest song was a ballad coinciding with one of the sappier movies to come out. However, he has gone into full on meltdown since then. Performing at the Superbowl with boy bands and pop singers definitely didn’t help that image at all either. Now he works on American Idol and has almost replaced Paula as the crackpot on the show. He is flamboyant and out there. Can you even imagine him commanding a rock and roll stage anymore?
Ozzy Osborne: I think everyone saw this one coming. I feel like maybe he is the epitome of this problem with rock and roll stars. He was at one time considered the darkest and craziest lead vocalist in the scene. He bit the head off bats, he performed complete out of his mind on drugs, and he was banned from performing certain places for different issues. He not only now seems like your eccentric grandfather, but he also is more like the long-lost half-brother of darkness instead of the king. The old show he was a part of did nothing for his image, but really he has done very little to repair that image either. You don’t hear from Ozzy too much anymore. His family is still out and about in the public eye, but none of them convey the old bad-boy image the show tried to make you believe existed either. I feel like this is on par with Marilyn Manson hosting the Bachelor. How could someone so feared for what he would do back in the day fall to such an innocent character?
Mick Jagger: This is definitely the latest of all of the rock stars to become neutered by mass media. At first it didn’t seem like it was his fault, but I think his newest collaboration with Will I Am says differently. This is one of the original bad boys of rock and roll. If Elvis was scary to parents, I think Mick took it to another level. He danced like a crazed peacock, and he always kept you guessing with what he would do next. Although he isn’t at the forefront of his image being tarnished, he is allowing it to be reduced to a gimmick. Moves Like Jagger seemed like a fun song to get people moving. It almost had an homage quality to it. I think this changed for me when I heard one of my students singing it. I asked them if they knew who Mick Jagger was and they told me he was a member of The Beatles. I said guess again, and I was informed it was actually AC/DC. The eventual destruction of the image of Jagger became real apparent with the release of Will I Am’s song. Jagger once again struts about and provides vocals that sound awful when mixed with the song. To top it off, it also features JLo. How could he allow his image to be tarnished in this way?
There are countless other examples of rock stars who have been declawed. Turn on reality tv and you’ll realize these guys have to have run out of money somewhere along the line. Brett Michaels, Tommy Lee, Sebastian Bach, and countless others have killed their image. I don’t know if all of them are in the hall of fame or not, but I think we need to start rescinding the offer based on how badly you’ve killed your image. I may be slightly elitist here; however, when you work in a middle school, you see kids latching onto all of the things that occur in the media. They will never realize the influence these artists had on the development of music, but they will realize that these old rock stars are insane. I think for the good of rock and roll we need to find an island for these aging musicians. If they will potentially harm their image, we need to send them there to save them from themselves. I wonder who will be next to go off the deep end?