Ever dreamed of being a rock star on a gigantic stage with a killer band behind you and adoring fans in front of you? Sure you have. Most people at least fantasize about singing well, and many enjoy the idea of being worshiped by a crowd of 80,000 people.Although I never played to a crowd that large and didn’t enjoy international success as a rock star, I have an idea of what it feels like to be onstage and have rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the business thirty years ago, when I was a rock singer. Although I never grilled George Harrison or Alice Cooper on how it feels to be them, I have been around them at parties. Enough to know the person you see on stage performing is very different from the one you see at the grocery store.
And from my own experience as a singer and actress, I have always been fascinated with the idea of the rock star as a real person. Here’s some of my observations over the years I was an entertainer...
Fact 1: Smoke and Mirrors - The expression ‘it’s all smoke and mirrors’ is one that must be clarified to understand the strange relationship between rock star and audience member. The stage, the lights, the music, the costume, the makeup (in Alice Cooper’s case) all contributes to the moment they are the rock star, not the guy or gal at the DMV lineup. Rock stars only exist on stage or when they believe they are being watched by someone who expects the rock star image.
Fact 2: Drugs – Although Ozzy Osbourne is famous for this behavior, many rock stars or performers are not tolerant of drugs and have a firm anti-drug policy among their crew. Do you hear me, Justin Bieber?
Fact 3: Trashing hotel rooms – When the show is over, many celebrities go home to wash the dishes, put their feet up, or at least call their kids and wife from the hotel room. The trashing of hotel rooms, entertaining groupies and having wild parties is counter-productive for a year-long tour and most of those stories of bad behavior were/are for publicity sake. Ever hear the phrase “no bad publicity”?
Fact 4: Taking care of the Voice – Lead singers baby their voices, coddle the vocal chords and aren’t about to jeopardize their ability to sing. Thus, rest and silence are key when on tour.
Fact 5: Costumes – Very few rock stars (except maybe Tommy Lee and the lead singer of Poison) actually walk around with the rock star look 24/7. Before tattoos, piercings, black leather and long hair, they posed for class pictures with collared shirts.
Fact 6: Female Rock Stars – Although we associate the phrase ‘rock star’ with crazy, wild, irresponsible men, there are many women rock stars out there who go backstage to diaper their baby on set breaks, call their husbands when the show is over and worry about bloating in their tight leather and chains costume. Pat Benatar, Patty Smyth, Ann Wilson, Joan Jett, Lita Ford even Pink, Fergie and Madonna have earned their places as women in rock with their talent, hard work, and perseverance. It’s a rough life for a woman who also wants to parent, have a garden, live some semblance of normality.
Although we love to adore, worship and revere them, Rock Stars put their pants on one leg at a time, worry about their children’s grades, get pimples, take vitamins. They are people too, ordinary folk who have relatives, love Christmas, spill food on their clean white shirts-- except for that moment on stage when they become the image they’ve worked so hard to create, the rock God, the amazing singer, the larger-than-life character who feeds our need to adore someone on a pedestal. For the duration of their show, they are ROCK STARS but after the show, they are just like us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Hornsby is the author of Necessary Detour, the Amazon Best Selling Novel about a retired female rock star who hides from the media when she retires and can’t stop spying on the strange family across the bay. In this novel Goldy, the internationally beloved rock star, shows us a real person with insecurities alongside her amazing talent. Check it out to get inside the head of a rock star!