These next few days may be Taylor’s last chance to appear in front of the national audience that American Idol provides. Details of that appearance still aren’t clear and spoilers are few and far between. My coughsourcecource remains incommunicado on this issue so we’re simply left to speculate. What though, do you want from this appearance and is there a gap between your expectation and reality? Do you expect Taylor to be able to kick out the jams with his full band in house or is it more likely that he’ll be saddled with a pointy pose sing along?
Me, I’d like to see a duet with Jordin in which she gets to sing Melanie’s part of “Dancing Queen”, young and sweet only 17. Ah, the rapture of it all. Those of you who subscribe to “Variety” have probably seen the full page “For Your Consideration” ad I took out to submit to Nigel on this very topic. (And, yes, Dave White has seen the video as well)
For further consideration, this article in the New York Times entitled “Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog” yields some interesting analysis of a rock and roll life lived, at least partially, online. What happens to musicians when the internet removes at least part of the shroud of secrecy of rock and roll?
Yet Kubler sometimes has second thoughts about the intimacy. Part of the allure of rock, when he was a kid, was the shadowy glamour that surrounded his favorite stars. He’d parse their lyrics to try to figure out what they were like in person. Now he wonders: Are today’s online artists ruining their own aura by blogging? Can you still idolize someone when you know what they had for breakfast this morning? “It takes a little bit of the mystery out of rock ’n’ roll,” he said.
So Kubler has cultivated a skill that is unique to the age of Internet fandom, and perhaps increasingly necessary to it, as well: a nuanced ability to seem authentic and confessional without spilling over into a Britney Spears level of information overload. He doesn’t post about his home life, doesn’t mention anything about his daughter or girlfriend — and he certainly doesn’t describe any of the ill-fated come-ons he deflects from addled female fans who don’t realize he’s in a long-term relationship. (Another useful rule he imparts to me: Post in the morning, when you’re no longer drunk.)
There’s something particularly weird, the band members have also found, about living with fans who can now trade information — and misinformation — about them. All celebrities are accustomed to dealing with reporters; but fans represent a new, wild-card form of journalism. Franz Nicolay, the Hold Steady’s nattily-dressed keyboardist, told me that he now becomes slightly paranoid while drinking with fans after a show, because he’s never sure if what he says will wind up on someone’s blog. After a recent gig in Britain, Nicolay idly mentioned to a fan that he had heard that Bruce Springsteen liked the Hold Steady. Whoops: the next day, that factoid was published on a fan blog, “and it had, like, 25 comments!” Nicolay said. So now he carefully polices what he says in casual conversation, which he thinks is a weird thing for a rock star to do. “You can’t be the drunken guy who just got offstage anymore,” he said with a sigh. “You start acting like a pro athlete, saying all these banal things after you get off the field.” For Nicolay, the intimacy of the Internet has made postshow interactions less intimate and more guarded.
and even better . . .
Will the Internet change the type of person who becomes a musician or writer? It’s possible to see these online trends as Darwinian pressures that will inevitably produce a new breed — call it an Artist 2.0 — and mark the end of the artist as a sensitive, bohemian soul who shuns the spotlight. In “The Catcher in the Rye,” J. D. Salinger wrote about how reading a good book makes you want to call up the author and chat with him, which neatly predicted the modern online urge; but Salinger, a committed recluse, wouldn’t last a minute in this confessional new world. Neither would, say, Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, a singer who was initially so intimidated by a crowd that she would sit facing the back of the stage. What happens to art when people like that are chased away?
It is also possible, though, that this is simply a natural transition point and that the next generation of musicians and artists — even the avowedly “sensitive” ones — will find the constant presence of their fans unremarkable. The psychological landscape has arguably already tilted that way for anyone under 20. There are plenty of teenagers today who regard themselves as “private” individuals, yet who post openly about their everyday activities on Facebook or LiveJournal, complete with camera-phone pictures. For that generation, the line between public and private is so blurry as to become almost nonexistent. Any teenager with a MySpace page is already fluent in managing a constant stream of dozens of semianonymous people clamoring to befriend them; if those numbers rise to hundreds or even thousands, maybe, for them, it won’t be a big deal. It’s also true that many recluses in real life flower on the Internet, which can famously be a place of self-expression and self-reinvention.
Rambling as ususal eh? Dear readers, this isn’t some “stunt” that Shelley and I cooked up so please don’t misread. Shelley didn’t feel up to posting for awhile but realized that a loyal group of folks gather here that would want to continue discussing AI/Taylor for the next few days. I volunteered to help mostly because I know how to use WordPress and because I wanted to do something for my friend. I’ll leave it to her to say more about her personal situation. I’m not trying to be mysterious so I apologize if it comes off that way. As I said, she and her family all remain healthy. She is still employed etc. Let’s stay on topic, send an email if you must. Thanks
For old times sake, how about this Morlock vs. Eloi thread