Howdy, ya’ll! Welcome back to Living Like a Rocker, Part 3. If you missed the first two Parts, I am so sorry. Frankly, I don’t know how you have survived these last few weeks. They are, and I say this humbly, mandatory reading for all Americans in 2017. OK, that’s a slight overstatement, but just a slight one. Anyway, I saved some of the best stuff for last, and I’m anxious to get at it. You, too? Hold on tight and keep your seatbelt secure across your lap:
Addict the Kids/Grandkids: This one is more of a brainwashing exercise, and I learned its secrets while I worked at the Pentagon in the 80s (that’s true, I did work there, but it’s not true that I learned brainwashing there – that happened later in corporate America). Look, we all know that modern pop/rap/hip-hop is slightly phlegm-worthy, and you don’t want to hear that smut blasting out of your kid’s rooms while you are at home, right? You didn’t go completely in hawk with a mortgage the size of Gibraltar only to come home and stew while listening to that crap. So use subtle subjugation techniques mastered over the centuries by the Catholic Church to hook your kids on rock, and put the fear of God into them should they venture very far from two guitars, drums and a bass. For instance, buy this Disney toy and put it prominently where your kids will see it.
Put on the Replacements while they play with their toys – I did this with my own kids, and they were singing “Kiss Me On The Bus” as they boarded the yellow school bus on the first day of kindergarten.
Get them loving it. Here’s a true modern story in this vein. My grandson (he’s 4) really likes guitars and music, but he is also kind of shy. When he went to preschool recently, the Director saw him and engaged him in conversation. The Director asked what he liked, and my grandson said he liked the guitar. The little guy continued by saying that he really like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmie Page. Yes, that’s all true. And yes, he is 4! He even has a Jimi Hendrix poster in his bathroom, and his sister, who is 2, wants one of Jimmie Page put up. Again, it’s true. I’m so proud my buttons are flying across the room as I write this. How did they get this knowledge? Well, Dad and Mom showed the YouTube videos of these rockers at their craft, and it clicked. That, my friends, is how you do it.
Rules of the Car: If you’re going to go rock star, you should have a cool car. Now wait a damn minute, you are saying, because in feigning the lifestyle of a celebrity, you also have watched award shows and know how deeply all these rockers care about climate change. How is a hot ride consistent with your core beliefs? Because, damn, you are a celebrity, the rules apply to those who are not celebrities, and how cool is that Maserati? And don’t forget that rock ‘n roll as a profession is totally dependent upon the electrical grid, private jets and the next gas station.
So how can you truly bitch about climate change? You can’t. Thus, it’s back to the cars. How about a convertible?
OK, not everyone owns a convertible. And that’s a goddamn national disgrace! Trust me, you should, as it’s fantastic. But if you are in the market for a new ride of whatever type, recognize that certain rock rules apply to you once you become an owner. First, regardless of the car you own, you have to drive fast, like a rocker would do. It’s simply appropriate rocker behavior. Next, you need to play great driving tunes as you drive fast. It helps to circulate the blood and the adrenaline rush gives you the strength in your leg to push the accelerator all the way to the floor. And, more importantly, to hold it there. Finally, you need to turn up the music loud. No, not that loud, LOUDER. You’re not doing it for attention – get on TV like Mama June, Sugar Bear and Honey Boo Boo if you want attention.
You’re doing it because it is a healthy lifestyle choice. Oh, and cranking the tunes is particularly impressive if you have a convertible and are riding with the top down. On snowy days. With sunglasses on.
That’s commitment to the art, baby. And playing loud rock music as you drive into work sets the standard for appropriate business behavior at your company. There is a well-known study by Accenture that shows that those companies that rock loud and hard also have higher shareholder returns and pay substantially higher wages than those companies that forego rock. Just watch The Big Short for proof. So there you have it.
Lie About What You Read. Let’s face it, most interviews with rock ‘n rollers are like reading interviews with federal judges or bad high school kids (there’s a difference?). There are not a lot of college educated people in the rock crowd, which is cool. But many are wannabes, and feel compelled to lie about what they read and who they are influenced by because they are artists and artists are nothing if not smart. Thus, Jack Kerouac is a favorite. A boring prig to anyone who’s actually read him, but one that the bad high school kids like to cite.
Say, didn’t Sting have to throw the name Nabakov into a song? Of course he did because Sting is a pretentious butt wipe. Zeppelin wrote many songs about literature, particularly the Hobbit, hahaha. Oh, and don’t forget political revolutionaries like Malcolm X, Castro or Mao. Only the Beatles did Mao the right way, btw (“If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.” That doesn’t quite explain 1.4 billion Chinese, but it sounded good with a fuzzed out guitar).
Anyway, it’s not hard. Just do what the rockers do: google the name of an author, read a Wikipedia blurb, and then go spouting off some nonsense like you actually went to school and studied things (which, if you are reading this blog, you probably did). And don’t stop at authors. Cite other crap that people with way too much time and drugs on their hands can do, and then talk about it like you’re an expert. You know, the newest raw food diets, Bigfoot, tiny exclusive resorts on St. Barts, private jets or some other silliness. It’s all about the appearance, the style, the braininess of singing “gabba gabba, hey.” Got it? Of course you did, you large-brained mammal, you!
Buy Instruments and Leave Them Around Your House. Now, I’m not going to lie to you. Instruments are expensive. But they are cool props even if you don’t know how to play them. How do I know? Well, go to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and check out the displays. They are all either costumes, instruments, or pictures. Go to a Hard Rock Café, and check out what they have hanging on the walls. It’s sort of like the faux surf bars with surfboards hanging up. They are props to signify that on the scale of coolness, you are so cold that visitors get frostbite. Ante up and go!
Get A Police Record. No, I don’t mean buy a record by the 70s band The Police. You should already have their early stuff in your collection and their later work in the trashcan, so why would I recommend duplicating what you already have? No, I mean the REAL kind of police record. Yup, you need to get arrested.
Hey, if you’re as old as me and haven’t ended a night or two in the back seat of a police car, well, I am very disappointed with how you have chosen to lead your life thus far. But don’t despair! There is still time to correct things. And remember, most rockers have been arrested. Usually for drugs, which is kind of boring, but sometimes for beating the crap out of someone, driving waaaaaaaaaaaay too fast, smashing up a hotel, or some other such high-brow behavior. You might not enjoy the actual arrest and trial process, although it will be an interesting criminal justice lesson, but you will most likely thoroughly enjoy the behavior that lead to your brush with the law. I mean, who doesn’t walk into a chain hotel, look around at the same drab room you can find anywhere, and just want to go nuts and rip the hell out of it? Or maybe set it on fire? Do it!
Or drive around like a maniac at a very high rate of speed in a car designed to go at a high rate of speed? I mean, if you weren’t pre-ordained to drive 185 miles per hour in a 35 zone, why are you sitting in a Maserati anyway? Do it!
So do something crazy, get arrested, create some memories. Your mom will be so proud. And me, too.
Do Up Your Hair. You knew I had to get to this one, right? Rockers, college professors and government employees can wear whatever hair style they want and not suffer the consequences. They can go huge beard, Mohawk, long down-the-back-or-in-a-ponytail, massive curly fro’s, bangs completely covering the face, colors of the rainbow, whatever.
And why not you? Don’t you think your boss will be impressed when you show up with sidewalls and a purple 5 inch Mohawk and explain it all by saying “you told me to think outside the box.” Yes, there are hairdo’s that you can wear that are acceptable in the business world, such as the pompadour (an all-time BRP favorite), but think bigger than that. After all, you want to emulate behavior that will lead to people saying, “wow, now THAT’s cool.” What better way than a flash hair style? One caution: the Flock of Seagulls hair is verboten because people will never say “now THAT’s cool” with those ridiculous locks.
Hmmm, so are you living like a rocker yet? I am. I don’t follow all of my rules, but I do abide by many, including all of the really bad ones. You don’t believe me? Oh ye of little faith! C’mon, there’s magic in the night, let’s go have some fun, turn up the tunes, and party like a rock star. Test me out. Haha, did I just scare you? Do you want me to?
And with that, I put this little 3 part rules of the rocker to rest. I’ll be back soon with a couple of live music reviews and other entertaining drivel. As always, thanks for reading, rockers.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.