TUE, AUG 8, 2006 at 11:24 AM

February Sidewalk: PAPER OR PLASTIC

Pardon me for being a school matron but I thought with my own brain that the
February edition of the sidewalk would serve nicely as a tutorial: A tutorial
on rock stardom and its tenuous hold on your imagination. People ring Sub Pop
and email us and fax us and visit us with the same non-question in question
form: “I WANT?” (It’s okay because I know what people want, besides to live inside the TV…)

They want to be an engineer, a producer, superstar model-dating A&R representative,
a miserable creep with a rehearsal room full of christmas tree lights. A hell-yes
west-coast promotions guy with a bald spot; a hand shaker in the seat next to
religious zealots; a guitar player with a 4-track and poems; a five-star record
writer; a hanger on-er; a mouse making monkey-money; a rapper; an unwrapper; an
answer-er of interview questions at Spin.com, and lastly, someone with a badly
researched “message.” In short, what they want is to be adhered gently to the
hefty shoulders of the music industry. Yes I think people would mostly just
like to be glued-in for the ride, because everyone knows the best job is not
always exactly the one you happen to have.

I honestly don’t know any math that equals all these things that people
want. I don’t doubt for a second that there is a lot in the world to WANT,
but I personally just want to get back to the task of wanting to be a
superstar author who can afford Italian furniture. So to expedite matters
I will tell you what all the poor sods I know did, to get what they want:
Nothing. A very big load of basically nothing you can think of. We’re all
underachievers who got caught in the sticky goo of the music industry whilst
minding our own business dropping out of college and working in a record store.
We’re playing in a band and basically walking around being a both poor and
ignorant; spooning out unqualified opinions at other people just like us;
wielding around indie-cred until our skin tightens around our fat asses and
we retire to a fixer-upper with substantial record collections. It’s really
not very complicated. It’s like the tar pits: we all got our shoe stuck in
the mire and now we’ll probably die here. Cool isn’t it?

Posted by Harry Dean Hudson