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So you wanna be a star? - A Personal Rant and Realization

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Everyone wants to be a rock star.

They want to be the one up on the stage that all the ladies are throwing their bras at; the one that everyone is destroying their vocal cords and hearing capabilities for. They want to be the lead singer or the lead guitarist - the one in the spotlight.

What happened to just being a part of the band? People used to form music groups for the sake of playing together and sharing musical ideas and inspirations. There was no shame in being "just a bass player." There was no shame in not being able to sing - being a musician doesn't require you to be a master vocalist.

I've worked in the music industry for over 5 years. I've worked as a vocalist, a bass player, a guitar player, a producer, a manager, and a promoter. Why so many different fields? Because I, unlike so many in the world right now, understand that being successful in the industry is not simply a matter of talent. There is a whole army of people for every band or artist to make that talent progress.

Fewer and fewer people these days seem to understand that. Everyone wants to be the star. I know more guitarists and "singers" in my life than I've known anyone else. Everyone plays the guitar. Everyone sings. I can count on one hand how many people I have known in my life who were just bass players. The number, by the way, is three. Three people, in 25 years on this planet, who felt no shame in being just the bass player. And I've only ever known two drummers. The reason it's so hard for a band to make it anywhere these days is because nobody is content with sharing the spotlight anymore.

In my opinion, the source of all this is the term "frontman." Now, I suppose you're wondering: "How can a word be the cause of a problem?" It's because, somewhere along the way, we started singling out one person from a group of 4 or 5 musicians as the "leader", the "spokesman", the "representative." We created a rift with simple, harmless terminology. We stopped looking at them as one whole unit and, instead, as separate entities. In recent years, it's far more common for people to base their like or dislike of a band simply because of one member.

  • Oh, I don't like Paramore's music, but I love them anyway because Hayley Williams is hot...Oh, I think Staind writes such fantastic music, but their lead singer is so ugly so I don't listen to them...Arin Illejay has a different playing style than Jimmy Sullivan so I don't think I like them anymore because he's just not Jimmy.

When did music become so superficial? When did it become a popularity contest? When did it stop being about the music itself and, instead, all about who was in charge?

A band used to be a cohesive unit of 4 or five individuals who each had a unique role to play in creating the music they loved. Nowadays, it's all about who can get noticed the most on stage. It's about time we took a step back and sorted out our priorities when it comes to the music we play - do it for the fans, not for your ego.

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