So you think being a big successful rock star is all fun and games, eh? Well, it probably is…I know one or two rockstars and I’d say their lives seem a lot like fun and/or games, for the most part. Funny thing though, and I’m not just saying this the way all plebians say shit like this to make themselves feel better about the crappy straw they all drew in life, but they really don’t seem any happier than me. In fact, the old adage that fat hillbillies tell each other over mayonnaise sandwiches and unwanted teen pregnancies is actually true. Money does not equal happiness. Not that rock stars have money. I mean, listen…MC hammer went broke. That motherfucker sang “Can’t Touch This.” That was one thousand times the hit that “Cute without the e (cut from the team)” was, or whatever…the dudes in Skid Row went broke too, even after I remember you, youth gone wild, 18 and Life, piece of me, monkey business etc. Bret Michaels has to go on VH1 and pretend he’s got hair/tan/not wearing a girdle/not wearing eyeshadow/still desirable to rabid fame skanks….Rock and roll doesn’t pay the bills forever. Not for most people. For every rolling stones, there’s about a zillion Creeds. BIG HUGE bands that do not have enough money to retire on.
Here’s the other funny thing. When I was young, I was pretty sure that I didn’t care about that shit anyway. I was like, “yeah, bro, I know the stats, but I don’t give a fuck. I’ll just rock ‘til I can’t rock no more then I’ll figure something else out.” This was a solid plan, but what I didn’t bother to consider, what almost no one who lives a peter pan fantasy of rock and roll bothers to consider is that when it spits you out on the other side, you’re not a good looking, vivacious kid anymore. You’re thirty six. You’re forty five. You’re fat, you’re bald, you’re ugly. Chicks don’t look at you the same way, at least not the young ones. You’ve got no money and no prospects and you know what’s pathetic? Getting your pizza delivered by Dave “Snake” Sabo from Skid Row or buying protein powder from the dude from Samiam down at the GNC.
I mean, I know dudes who have sold hundreds of thousands of records, and they’re forty, they’ve never had a job and they’re out of money and no one likes their band anymore. They’re not still on busses. Now they’re a bunch of dads riding around in a van like teenagers. That’s not very rock and roll, you know. It’s a little gross. God forbid these guys get laid on the road. EEEEEEEEWWWW.
SO, I guess the early talking point here, simply, is that youthful idealism is great and awesome, but as you age, it starts to look an awful lot like a combover…pathetic. I’ve talked confidence before in this space, and let me tell you what saps a motherfuckers confidence and makes them the most unfuckable dude in the world: competing against younger, stronger more talented people who don’t even realize they’re competing with you. Just saying. Not that I know anything about that myself. I mean, have you seen me? Sheeit.
Anyway, my point was that money doesn’t equal happiness. Profound, I know. But then I think I realized that that wasn’t really my point at all. My famous friends have cool jobs, but they still have crappy girlfriends, senses that they’re wasting their time, apprehension about the future, all the same crap that bums out my drug abusing friends who live with their parents. There’s no way out.
Let me tell you briefly about some of the grossest places I’ve ever slept, just to paint, with a fine, delicate brush, the picture of rock and roll greatness as clearly as I can:
Miami FL: 1995- The Rabbi’s House-
Let’s ignore that we played with a band called “who killed Bambi” that was a bunch of forty year olds…We got back to the promoter’s house, who was a Miami rasta jew named “the Rabbi”. Someone had spit loogies all over the counter, and there was shit on the floor, which made the rabbi go “that’s strange. I don’t have any pets.”
When I woke up in the morning, my face was burning. I went to wipe it and my hand came back covered in blood. My entire face had been smothered SMOTHERED in mosquitoes. I was sleeping under the kitchen table and as I looked around there was a couple and a baby sitting above me having breakfast. Apparently it was their house too. Gross.
Lublijana, Slovenia- Probably around 2001. The actual room we slept in was just a carpeted room that was pretty unremarkable, but down the stairs was a methadone clinic and outside the door were tons of human shit logs and hypodermic needles…It was like a Japanese garden, but instead of sand and round pebbles…yup. Shit and needles.
Tennessee- I don’t remember if these were both in Nashville or both in Memphis or what, but I do KNOW they were both in Tennessee. First (1994) we stayed with a Nazi skinhead and his wife in a house with no furniture except for a television and watched porn while huge rotwiellers patrolled us…We didn’t know they were Nazis and by the time we found out, we were already amongst their dogs AND we were seventeen. It wasn’t gross in the “oh there’s a shit stain on the toilet seat” sort of way…That was the other Tennessee instance. This was in probably 2000. We stayed with this band where every single dude was morbidly obese and had dreadlocks. Our roadie got scabies from the couch and there were (sorry ladies) crusty jizz patches on EVERYTHING. I don’t exactly know what their scene was, but it involved pizzas and whacking off…that’s for sure.
Chris’s and my apartment- It was called the Lawrence Arms…It was on Lawrence Avenue and it was a shitty, shitty slum of a building. We had a four bedroom apartment that was somewhere in the neighborhood of four and a half thousand feet for six fifty a month. They took down the back porches because they were condemned, but then our back door just went out to space. Thirty feet straight down. AND, they didn’t put the porches back up for six months. SO, since there was no more taking out the garbage, we did what any reasonable human beings would do: we threw the garbage in the spare bedroom and forgot about it. When Marcus moved in, we told him he could live there rent free if he cleaned out the garbage room, which he did…also, that’s where he lived. Our next apartment was even grosser, actually, because we left it for months at a time to go on tour. We literally just threw our trash on the floor. It was the most remarkably gross social experiment of all time…Also, we were young and didn’t care and the garbage everywhere didn’t stop us from meeting girls and stuff…SO, full circle, what’s absolutely fine when you’re twenty one, not so much when you’re thirty one. Fair thee warned be thee says I. Have a nice weekend.