News & Insights 13 April 2009

Whatever happened to the rockstars?

The LYs making an exhibition of themselves - when really they should be out changing the worldSean Adams, editor of the website DrowedInSound, claimed in a Sunday Times article yesterday that today’s “rockstars” are a pale, diluted imitation of their ’60s and ’70s forebears, “hopping into bed with the media, the Man and the Establishment” to inflate their own fame, ticking the boxes of rebellion rather than actually rebelling, seeking attention and notoriety for its own sake rather than plugging the cause of the avant-garde and using their music to change the world.

D’you know, I think he has a point. Winehouse is a formidable vocalist but as a rockstar she’s a bit of a shambles. The Libertines were ground-breaking but since their split Doherty has essentially been clumsily resuscitating his rockstar status by crashing in and out of rehab (as well as in and out of bed with Miss Moss) and smacking up in public. Martin and Bono promote admirable causes but they’re not exactly revolutionaries – everybody agrees that Fair Trade is a good thing and so the pair of them are really just mouth-pieces for the liberal middle-classes.

These days the term “rockstar” is applied as often to comedians (such as Brand and Boosh) and politicians (OK, perhaps only Obama gets this particular treatment) as it is to musicians and as a result the epithet is beginning to lose its meaning, argues Adams. When will a new breed of musical renegade step in to fill the shoes of legends gone by? And, more importantly, will the desperate, profit-seeking music industry allow them to shine?

As for The Lightyears, well, I wouldn’t want to appear hypocritical and we are certainly doing everything we can to keep the rockstar spirit alive. Last week I stayed up past midnight TWICE and one of those times I didn’t even brush my teeth before bedtime. 

Live the dream people. Live the dream.

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