The modern day mythology of sex, drugs, & rock’n’roll is as unquestionably accepted as any other role we pigeonhole ourselves into. I suppose much of this can be attributed to rock music’s rise with 60s hippie culture. But I always asked myself, how can bands full of junkies and alcoholics get anything done? How do they organize shows? How do they write songs?
The ascetic rock musician often goes unspoken. Angus Young is a teetotaller, which was probably helpful when it came to getting Bon Scott to a show. I know from personal experience that a lot of bands we’re friends with end of firing the addicts because they can’t show up to places on time or remember songs.
However, there is no denying that many of rock’s most loved have members suffering from substance dependence and addicted to partying. But at the same time most of the bands have a few quiet members steering the ship. It’s the Ying and Yang of music. For every Michelangelo there is a Donatello, for every Flavor Flav there is a Chuck D. Listen to Chuck D lay down some wisdom, to be followed by Flavor Flav explaining why he “doesn’t praise the dollar, but raises the dollar”:
Being in a band is always a compromise because you are sharing your creative ideas with others and no one has complete control. Bands often spend there existence in a state of conflict (the Ramones, Guns & Roses), the breakup being the realization that the differences cannot be reconciled. It’s quite incredible how the music can unite people who at their core are so different, and in many ways diametrically opposed.
Modern popular rock and roll seems to not have as much of the Hendrix’s or Jim Morrison’s as it did before. Perhaps in the age of American Idol the tragedy of rock and roll has no place in the public consciousness. We might be worse off for this, as the radio is sounding stale as ever in our present conditions.