Friday, July 9, 2010

On rock star personas

Okay, I'm FINALLY getting to this.

A week or so ago, I talked about rock stars having stage names.  Well, even more often than crazy names, they have crazy personas, these augmented, exaggerated or completely fictional versions of themselves.  This isn't just limited to rock stars, of course - pop stars have them, DJs have them and even pianist Tom Waits has one.  Again, these images vary from real to unreal, but regardless of truth, they're there.

I thought about this while remembering a pop singer I'd seen on a British talk show.  She seemed to be imitating Lady Gaga, from the silly dress to the crazy hairstyle.  Her band was carefully chosen to ALL look like Keanu Reeves.  Even her offhanded comment, "Most of my songs are about murder, actually... I'm not a psychopath, I swear!" seemed calculated to subtly shape the public's perception of her.  Why did I remember and consider all of this?  Because I'm working on doing it, too.

Lately, along with contemplating a good stage name (see last week's post on the matter), I've realized that I'm thinking about an entire look to go along with it.  After all, like I said, I need to be as over-the-top as I can with as much as I can to distract from my lack of musical complexity.  I'm planning an outfit to wear, a style of music to play and a stage demeanor.

Here's the thing, though.  I'm doing all of it for fun.  I'm not doing it because my record label thinks that I'll attract more fans if I allude certain things about myself.  I'm not doing it because it's "in" at the moment (in fact, what I'm doing is silly as hell).  Instead, I'm doing it because I like the things involved:  the list of possible names mostly borrowed from titles of old-school video games, the ridiculous shades, the musical style itself.  I'm not using any of these things ironically, like hipsters who lack the courage to step up and say that they like something uncool.  Nor am I doing it subtly; all aspects of my image are rather garish and obvious.  I'm just creating a character that I like and running with it.

Isn't that really what it's all about?  Everyone wants to be "the guy" (or girl, of course), but everyone has their own personalized opinion of what that is.  Why shouldn't we all be the artist we want to see out there?

Today's song:  These guys are going to be playing in Cambridge on Tuesday.

We Are Scientists - The Great Escape

Today's thing:  More lyrical work, woo.

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