GUSWORLD
Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 27/04/98

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

So you want to be a rock and roll star?

"Sharon Lawrence has written the official guidebook to rock and roll and in this business everybody needs all the guidance they can get!" - Stevie Wonder

With that ringing endorsement (presumably he read the braille edition), the 1978 paperback edition of Lawrence's So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star kicks off on its journey. And what an obscure and bizarre journey it is. Broadly speaking, the guiding principles offered are:

The most disconcerting thing about this (presumably long out of print) volume is that it jumps bizarrely from tips for the rank beginner through to guidance on how to appoint a public relations firm. It also has a whole chapter on doing your laundry on the road. Very strange. But that's not going to stop me presenting a selection of the book's more useful highlights, should you need them.

LOOKING GOOD, FEELING GREAT

"A one-pound glitter belt picked up at an inexpensive shop can add some flash. So can a vest made out of leftover fabric scraps." (p. 126)

"If you have very straight hair, you may want to consider joining one of today's most popular hair trends and getting yourself a permanent." (p. 132)

SYNTH? WHAT SYNTH?

"If you have a keyboard player, he may dream of having a full array of instruments: electric piano, organ, clavinet, Moog. That's something for the entire band to work towards; but first, settle for what you have." (p. 18)

DO NOT BE THE EAGLES

"Does your band sound just like Led Zeppelin or Genesis or the Eagles? Then you're in trouble. That's right: trouble will be your middle name if you sound just like someone else." (p. 23)

"And when you are rehearsing and wondering if your style is too different or freaky or experimental, remember that it really is all right to develop a band sound that is unique." (p. 23)

THAT'S WHAT CHICKS ARE FOR

"Choosing a set is like seducing a girl -- it's all a matter of timing." (p. 37)

"As any good feminist or just plain honest lady will tell you, it's not easy being a female in the business world." (p. 55)

"As a woman in the male-oriented rock world, you will start to use language you were taught wasn't 'nice', you will probably drink more and you will be propositioned a lot. How you handle these things depends on your own sense of values. A lot of chauvinists think women are in rock because, 'Ah, they just want to get laid all the time.' There will be plenty of male groupies out to score with you and a number of male fans who feel one night with you is the answer to their prayers. You'll probably go through some lonely and insecure times handling all this." (p. 57)

"Sometimes on the road you'll encounter young men who can only be described as 'male groupies'. Most of them are not after your body, although a few are. (Let your manager or roadies get rid of this category of fan.)" (p. 55)

"It can get very lonely on the road, and all those little chickies who are thrilled to be in the company of a bona fide rock and roll musician can be very enticing. Early in the rock and roll game it is important to decide how sexually active you feel it is wise to be with virtual strangers . . . There are hard corps of groupies in cities across America just waiting to get their clutches into the new blood of rock and roll. Sometimes they're genuinely nice girls who are bored, lonely and eager for the excitement they think surrounds rock and roll musicians. Some of the girls are not so nice. They're mixed up, unhappy, amoral and determined to score for a number of reasons, out of physical needs or just plain sick minds." (p. 165)

SUCH LANGUAGE!

"If a rock fan has the choice of buying the new LP by a musician who told him, 'Thanks for the compliment, glad you like our music', or of an animal who snarled, 'Fuck off, I'm not in the mood for small talk,' there's no question who gets the sale." (p. 99)

DRUGS ARE EVIL

"No matter how impressive a manager's credentials may be, your meetings with him shouldn't include watching him snort cocaine, no matter how much you like him." (p. 71)

"Some artists make the mistake of expecting their record company to act as drug suppliers. This is a no-no. Okay, young people all experiment with drugs, but if you're concentrating on your music, drugs only confuse you, and if you think you must have some -- say, grass -- talk to your roadie or your manager. Let your record company worry about selling records." (p. 71)

DECORATOR TIPS

"Musicians who get to despise the impersonally furnished hotel rooms will often bring along favourite photographs of their families, girlfriends, boyfriends or whoever, portable sound systems and, in the case of Mick Jagger, lovely shawls and cushions to throw around the room and lend it some personality." (p. 97)

"Would a large custom-designed banner with the group's name or logo onstage, perhas above the drum kit, add something to the look of the stage and perhaps serve as a talisman for the band? (p. 122)

GET UP, GET DOWN

"'Let's get up for the gig!' must be the battle cry of every band who wants to strut their stuff so well onstage, musically and visually, that at the end of the evening the audience can come to only one conclusion: 'What a dynamite band!'" (p. 143)

GRATUITOUS MOLE REFERENCES

"Far too many people make a mountain out of a molehill. If you've got a great molehill, record it but don't try to make a mountain out of it." (p. 48)

IT'S THAT ASS AGAIN

"Leaders are people like Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, or Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. They're asskickers who hold the band together." (p. 16)

"A strong lead singer -- be he Paul Rodgers, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey or Rod Stewart -- knows that he must work his ass off onstage and that rehearsals are essential." (p. 21)

"When you pour onto that stage, be ready to kick ass!" (p. 144)

"If you've worked your ass off, had the right guidance, some inspiration and a lot of luck, by now your band may be on its way to gaining a national reputation." (p. 171)


MAILClick here to contact Gus

HORGo back to recent rants

GUSWORLDReturn to Gusworld Central