JAIMIE VERNON – Hey, Now, You’re A Rock Star

Had an interesting conversation with a dear friend of mine this week who has had his fair share of fame and fortune and everything that goes with it. He continues to write and record in the seclusion of his home studio and is effectively retired from both live performing and trying to nail groupies.


It’s not his thing. In fact, it was never his thing. His 1970s band was the antithesis to stardom. They focused on the music and left it to the masses to figure out what the band looked like. No magazine covers, no ridiculous promo photos in kimonos and windswept moustachioed visages denoting both the excesses and cartoon nature of being a Rock Star. He finds the words Rock Star offensive when applied to artists just trying to write songs and have people appreciate music.

DAVID BOWIE PENDANT SA TOURNEE MONDIALE 1976Rock Stars are mythical creatures created by record companies and marketing teams to make audiences believe that the sounds they hear are being performed by beings from another world. We marvel at these Gods as if they’ve invented gravity or a new fangled toenail clipper. What they’ve actually done is manipulated the emotions and the genitals of music listeners. They are giants on the world stage commanding the attention of mere mortals by dangling trinkets and shiny baubles in the form of million dollar stage shows, costumes and delivering perfectly formulated pop ditties with swagger and charisma.

We have attached a significant amount of emotional baggage to Rock Stars. We live bi-curiously and vicariously through them. We want to be them and/or fuck them. It’s a form of narcissism as we see something of ourselves in them – not as heroes but as slightly broken alter-egoes.


The Supermen to our Clark Kents. They put on the cape and take to the skies. We continue mopping floors and driving for Uber while they have the adventures. We watch them through fisheye lenses and distort their personas to fit our own empty hopes and dreams. Why go out and be a Rock Star when you can lazily let someone do it for you.

madonna_britneyAnd then when they let us down it’s some vicious personal assault on our lives. How could Madonna kiss Britney Spears? Doesn’t she know she prefers older women? How could she betray me? It’s imagined drama in an imagined world of imagined chess pieces. We get upset when the Rock Stars move around the board on their own volition. We’ve been convinced that we control the narrative. We decide if they become stars. We decide if they have success. We decide if they get married or have kids or shed their skin and change musical direction.

elton-johnThey do everything we do at the end of the day. Shit in a toilet. Eat Cheerios in a bowl with milk. And walk their kids to school (c/f Paul McCartney and Elton John). What they usually don’t do like us is die in ordinary ways. Gods go out with a massive bang (see Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane crash or Kurt Cobain’s shotgun fellatio) or if they slip away silently it’s at the end of a drug overdose or an alcohol fuelled death by misadventure. They live up to their own legends right to the bitter end and there’s nothing you, the fan, the listener can do about it.

rick-astleyWhen we move from spectator to participant and the other players in the game don’t acknowledge it that’s a significant blow to our egos. Rock Stars have egos too which are fed by the massive energy and wallets of the fan base. Cut off one of these two food sources and the Rock Star starves and withers and eventually fades away. Just look at Rick Astley. Number One records in the 1980s turned to unemployment after people got tired of him. But another generation that mocked him re-ignited his name, his legend to the point where he is now touring on his first Number One album in 30 years.

betty-moonMeanwhile, there are millions of musicians out there who can’t get arrested because they don’t wear spandex, kabuki make-up or blow up drum kits. They don’t wear meat suits or fight with the members of their band publicly. They don’t throw temper tantrums on TV or beat their significant others. They don’t overdose or fall off stages due to dehydration and they don’t fly prop planes into the Pacific Ocean because they’re stupid rich and bored. We call these people starving artists. How about feeding them your energy and the contents of their wallets? I bet none of them will use that gift to drink themselves to death or OD in a bathtub for their art. They’ll be grateful and hand you their bleeding hearts on their sleeves. Stop building Rock Stars and start building art. http://www.bettymoon.com/
Send your CDs for review to:
Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA


Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

dbawis-button7cemetery-copJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 16 years. He is also the author of the recently released Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ is now available at Amazon.com http://gwntertainment.wix.com/jaimievernon 

One Response to “JAIMIE VERNON – Hey, Now, You’re A Rock Star”

  1. kaptain beyond Says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: