Living in New York City you never know who you might see. I was about to write a blog entry about how video killed the radio star and the internet killed the rockstar all completely. All the smoke and mirrors in the business created such rockstar legends such as Slash, Tommy Lee, and Ozzy. We heard stories about them and saw only the coolest photos in magazines and posters. Then a long came videos and all of a sudden the world is paying more attention to music videos rather than the actual songs. Labels started forking over millions of dollars to make videos that make their artists look cool and interesting. Then came the internet and all of a sudden the cool factor and all the mystery disappeared. Now we see what bands actually sound like before we go to a show. Based on that video we decide if it is worth spending the ticket price to see that band.
Some guys are so trashed on stage that they forget lyrics to their own songs and forget how to play their own parts. Some can’t sing live. We are seeing videos and photos of guys that we imagined slept and bathed with their top hats and leather pants still on wearing things we ourselves wouldn’t be caught dead wearing. Clothes that are too preppy. Clothes you would never think they would be wearing. We are seeing videos and photos of these rockstars with their families pushing baby strollers, we see how old they really look with out the photoshop, we see them as regular people and POOF! Just like that the rockstar is dead. Now all there is on stage is a regular person who is a musician. We see this and we think… I play better than this guy and I sing better than that guy… I’m going to go home and use my garageband to record an album and release it. Then using the internet I’m going to book myself a tour because I don’t need an agent to go on tour.
All these rockstars know it too. That’s why they release books about their life stories. They are hoping that by telling the truth they will sell tons of these books and make up for the money they aren’t making in the music business anymore. I read Slash’s book twice. YES! TWICE! It was that good and that honest that I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t believe how unhealthy the poor guy is. His liver is a mess. He’s been to jail and rehab more than most in the business. He needs a machine to keep him a live. A machine that is permanently in his chest and shocks his heart to keep it from exploding. The most secretive things that made these guys mysterious and cool to us are no more.
Last night I bought tickets to see the singer from The Cribs. I was never a big fan of The Cribs but my g.f. listened to them on her iTunes so I decided to get us the tickets. To my surprise the place was not as packed as I expected. In fact even with the club sending out an email about the fact that this is Ryan Jarman, the singer of The Cribs, first ever solo performance there was still about 30 of us in the crowd who showed up. My mind was blown because Ryan had invited special friends to perform with him. There was the original keyboard player from Here We Go Magic (a popular indie band). There was an awesome comedian who is pretty known among the indie circles I guess… but I had no idea who he was but then again I had no idea the last guy on stage was a famous actor from Gossip Girl.
Ryan owned the night and the stage. He was out of key a few times due to him being extremely intoxicated but he really connected with the audience. Everyone except the comedian played electric guitars even though they were performing solo. You can tell the songs that were The Cribs singles and those Ryan wrote for his solo project. The ones that were written for The Cribs just sounded like singles and he sang them with so much confidence. For his last song he had the former keyboard player from Here We Go Magic come on stage and play lead guitar and sing back ups while a drummer sat behind the kit with no cymbals and held down a solid rhythm. The song they performed was absolutely well crafted and silenced the crowd. It was mesmerizing to see. What made it so beautiful and enjoyable was that Ryan made a really special connection with the crowd of 30 something. His performance was sincere and real. It was RAW! He wasn’t a rockstar… he was just a musician with something very personal to share that the crowd, including myself, related to. Ryan got off the stage and no one asked him for autographs or for opportunities to take photos with him. They told him he did a nice job. No one saw him as a rockstar even though he is one. In fact I think with out his full band some of the people who attended the show might not have even known who he was or who The Cribs were….
What blew my mind next was how excited my g.f. got when she realized who the final performer was. It was Penn Badgley who plays Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl on WB. What made it really exciting for her was the fact that Penn was on a show with Blake Lively and dated her in real life for a few years. (My g.f. is a big Blake Lively fan apparently) He was also in a bunch of commercials and movies. I can’t say I have ever seen this guy anywhere other than sitting beside me on a bar stool eating his dinner while I was enjoying my draft beer. I’ve never even seen him on any shows and fortunately for me and him I don’t read PEOPLE or any of those magazines. What got me excited was when he started singing. His vocal reminded me so much of Jeff Buckley. His guitar playing was a little similar too. I was in awe with this guy’s vocal. It was something very unexpected. Penn was a little awkward on stage but it was due to the fact that this was his first time ever on stage performing songs. I think they were originals… I couldn’t really tell…. (I later found out he did a Jeff Buckley cover Lilac Wine) I was mesmerized with his vocal. Unfortunately to me the songs he said were original weren’t great. This was his first time though and I’m going to guess that no one has taught him on how to write a song properly. I’m sure he’s been taught to act cause he must be damn good if he’s the lead on a popular TV show. He got off the stage after doing three songs and no one bothered this young man for any photos or autographs. It seems the internet is also slowly killing our interest in movie stars as well…. Now is the time where you can make a career for yourself if you have real talent that so many lack, otherwise people just don’t care. The mirrors have been broken and all the smoke has slowly exited through all the cracks in the foundation that developed over the years…. Embrace the new music industry!
Penn Badgley on Gossip Girl:
Penn Badgley performing original material first time ever in a club: