A typical night before a show goes something like this: print out set list, play Tetris with the equipment to fit all of it into our cars, figure out how far the venue is and if we each have enough gas to get there. Of course we don’t, so off to the gas station. We get the last FB posts and texts out there: “Tonight!! Harmful if Swallowed is performing live at the (fill in a club here) Don’t miss out! Carlos will buy your first round! Cheers!” Then, drive fast to make sound check, find parking, unload equipment, argue over how many drink tickets we get and if we can squeeze out more from the promoter, drink PBRs and finally hit the stage.
What’s the use? Why go through all that trouble to play 20-45 minutes and then go home? Is it all even worth it? You bet it is! Yes, it’s hard work but that hard work is what drives you to be a better performer every day. You have a lot at stake as a performer, countless hours of rehearsal, countless dollars invested in instruments and countless relationships put on hold. You have a responsibility to justify all those sacrifices, so that they are not in vain. So you step into the role of a performer and if you play your cards right, you become a “Rock Star”… the mythical bad boy/girl of music, the reason all your fans want to go out and pay money to see you. Hell you’ll even start making money at it!
But there is always the other side of the coin, Lindsay Lohan, a train wreck of a performer. She started out as a promising actress and became that “Rock Star.” Then somewhere, somehow it all went downhill. We wrote a song about her on our new EP, about the love/ hate relationship we, as performers, share with celebrities. Andy Warhol once said, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” We all want our 15 minutes of fame, that validation for all the hard work and sacrifices we make as artists. When we see a celebrity start to destroy what they have become, it angers us because they are taking for granted what we are working so hard to achieve. We want to mock them, and say, “Hey, either clean up your act or get outta the lime light for the long line of performers who deserve to be here!” Believe us it’s a long line.
So what happens between making it big and crashing hard? It’s being grateful…it’s remembering what you have achieved as a performer and how you got there. It’s the need to justify all that you have spent and sacrificed, by not screwing it up. For Lindsay, she reached a point at which she forgot what it was like to have that hunger to perform. Perhaps because she had already reached stardom and money, and sacrifices were no longer an issue for her. No one can say for sure, but her actions suggest that she just didn’t care about how she spent her money, how the media viewed her and more importantly, how the public viewed her. She just wanted to party!
In contrast take for instance the Rolling Stones, the oldest and hardest working band in Rock ‘N Roll history. The reason I say hardest working, is because, as long as they have been at it, they still put in the work in rehearsal time, in stage performance and traveling. Despite all the money and distractions that are thrown at them, their work ethic is strong. They put on a great performance and really live up to the role of “Rock Stars.”
Being a Rock Star isn’t just being a larger than life character for the public, it is hard work, dedication and most of all loving what you do!
You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets to see Harmful If Swallowed right here.
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