Saturday, October 08, 2005

Asshole Rock

So I've been thinking about the seperation between an artist and their music a lot lately. I sorta have trouble making this distinction- If I know that [Artist X] is a real prick, it's difficult for me to really enjoy their music.

I know a friend back in California who hates Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse. Seems Mr. Brock was crashing at his place one night, and they were talking about music. My buddy asked him what he thought was a good way to improve one's musical composition skills. After an awkward silence, Isaac purportedly goes "...well maybe you should just accept the fact that you're not very good at it." Wow, asshole, right? Oh, he also totally hit on my friend's girlfriend, right in front of him.

But shit, man, Modest Mouse have released some of the best indie rock ever recorded! And as much as I love their stuff, every time "Trailer Trash" comes up on random shuffle, there's this little voice in the back of my head going "aaaaassssshooooollleeeee..."

So I try to make the distinction, seperate the guy from the guy's music. But it's tough! I want people whose music I admire to be people I can admire, too. The thing is though, we put talented musicians up on this pedestal. They're somehow supposed to be *better* than the rest of us because they write these incredible songs that so many people respond to. But they're not better, or even different from us- they're regular dudes and ladies just tryin' to make a living by making good sounds. Rock stars poop just like the rest of us, you know?

And when you meet someone whose work you admire so much after a show, and you're all "Oh man that was the best show EVER! You guys rock so hard!" and they just go "uh...thanks..." and it's all awkward, it's (probably) not because they're jerks, or operating on a different plane of existence, or misanthropic geniuses or whatever. They're probably tired from playing a show and not sleeping the night before because they were stuck in a van that smelled like farts and a drummer. They're probably thinking about all the times they fucked up their songs and how the club didn't honor their rider (Heineken, not fuckin' Natty Ice!). They're drained and bummed out, and they WANT to be nice, but shit, man. They don't know what to say to someone who is freaking out a little because OMG THEY'RE TOTALLY TALKING TO THIS GUY IN THIS AWESOME BAND.

And you think "man, was that guy a prick or what? I was totally saying how awesome he was and he blew me off!" That's not how it is, man.

At least, I don't think that's how it is. Maybe the guy from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was a little weirded out when I hugged him.