Not With The Band: About This Old Delusional Idea We Can Separate The Art From the Artist
There is this general consensus among people that we always should separate the art from the artist, and if I agree with the idea, I find myself always struggling with it in the music world. There are a few rockstars for whom it is very difficult to obstruct personal life, personal problems, personal ethics,… I simply can’t listen to their music without thinking about a few things that bother me deeply. I know I’m probably bias, who isn’t?, But here is my list of rockstars who enters in this category:
– Courtney Love: She is always in the news and very often for things unrelated to her music. She has a big mouth, she just can’t shut up and is always looking for some publicity for herself, even bad one. Who can forget her Twitter rants and who can understand them? She is apparently writing a book, but based on her capacity to write anything that makes sense, she is probably not writing it herself. Anyway it’s impossible to see Love and not think about her history, her countless lies, and her possible involvement in her husband’s death (ask Tom Grant and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, who said ‘There are plenty of people around Kurt who think he was murdered’). ‘How do you know when Courtney Love is lying? Her lips are moving,’ said Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, and this sums up everything. It is now well known that Kurt Cobain wanted a divorce before he died, she hates Dave Grohl because she thinks she owns Nirvana’s music, she has even recently accused Grohl of having an affair with her daughter Frances, based on made-up stuff that her crazy mind can produce, and her own daughter doesn’t want to have anything to do with her anymore. Frances Bean has filled a restraining order against her mother in 2009 and has even suggested that Twitter should ban her. People in the music business have said the most terrible things about Love: Trent Reznor said’ If she died tomorrow, I wouldn’t she a single tear. She’s a very evil person’, Albini described her as a ‘Psycho hose-beast’ and James Moreland, her ex-husband, declared ‘Courtney is a violent person who, even in the midst of our anonymous, crummy, poverty-stricken little marriage, threatened to have me beaten up for two hundred dollars when I didn’t do what she wanted. I was so scared of her i caved in immediately. In those days, she was just this junkie stripper and prostitute, but give somebody like that a couple million and you cant overestimate how dangerous they might be.’ Do you need more? This is a person I will never see in concert.
– Kanye West: He too is always in the news, when it is not to make statements showing that his ego has reached the height of the Himalaya, he beats up paparazzi in airport or proclaims himself God or Jesus. It’s not at the same level than Courtney Love, she is crazy evil, he is just ego-crazy, but we know now he is a complete fame whore like his girlfriend Kim. He likes to get the attention, has grabbed the mic a few times to make grandiose declarations – I am referring to the ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’ and the Taylor Swift incidents – and these wouldn’t be bad at all if the guy wasn’t such an egomaniac and a control freak. The fool is so full of himself he has recently declared in an interview he hated YouTube because ‘the player is so ugly, and it’s presented in such a terrible manner. I want everything I do to be presented in an art context, as this is a form of sonic art’… sorry Monseigneur, then come up with you own player with croissants on the side! This guy is way too much for me, I wouldn’t be able to stand half of his self-serving rants in concert.
– Chris Brown: Does anyone need an explanation for this one? A woman beater-abuser, a guy who has been involved in violent brawls more often than he has lost sponsors (and he has lost a few). You’re gonna say, it’s easy for me to say I boycott Brown because I despise his music. Sure, but he could be the last Beatle that I wouldn’t listen to his music. Definitely on my no-concert list and I have already spent too much time on this desperate hateful character.
– Michael Jackson: Sorry for you all Jackson lovers, of course there is no more concert ever, but listening to Jackson’s music is quite impossible without all these stories jumping in your face: the series of trials, the child molestation allegations, the endless plastic surgery transformations, the dangling baby, the out-of-control spending, the propofol and the sad end, the constant freak show, it’s too much baggage, nobody in his/her right mind can put everything aside and listen to the music without at least thinking about this ever disappearing nose, and this spoils everything. In his last years, way too much attention was on his personal life and the scandals associated with it, and this destroyed Jackson’s career. It’s impossible for me to admire the music of a guy who said a lot of lies – remember when he denied having had lots of cosmetic surgery in this Martin Bashir documentary? That was so ridiculous! When all these stories surfaced, I realize that the amount of potential lies surrounding Jackson’s life was too impressive and his music has never sounded the same since.
Whatever you think about this, it has never been easy for me, as the internet has made us way too aware of artists’ every move and the fact that there are more Kanye West TMZ posts than Kanye West songs has changed everything in the game, so it’s been delusional to think we can completely achieve a separation between the art and the artist.