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Author Topic: 10 Commandments To Become Rock Stars  (Read 2650 times)


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10 Commandments To Become Rock Stars
« on: August 19, 2007, 05:56:41 pm »

10 Commandments To Become Rock Stars
(without ever learning your instruments)

How many Make It Big in the Music Biz books are sold every year to pimply-faced Axel wannabes? After all, do you really want to have your creative drug use splashed across the cover of all the slicks, newscasters shoving microphones into your face while you're relieving yourself, journalists digging through your trash and Paparazzi photographing you through your windows while you're performing illicit activities? Yeah, I guess we do too. But the point is, do you want to be a tired, burnt-out rocker or do you want to go out in a blaze of glory?

The most important thing in "10 Commandments To Become Rock Stars" achieving the dubious status of rock star is to begin immediately assuming that you already are famous, and that your crazy life is destined to be legend. Make it known to your friends that they are lucky enough to know you in the early years and can be part of the myth if they're willing to play along.

1. Call the cops on yourself.
So if you're supposed to perform at a party and it looks like you might actually have to play your instruments. Never fear, remember: 911 is your friend. Don't forget that when the cops get the call, they leave enough time for the crime to run its course; it's safer that way.

For your purposes, it's the perfect amount of time to call the local TV stations. If the media won't come, tell them there's a fire, a racial incident or better yet, a heartwarming story about puppies. The beauty of the chaos is that the police inevitably leave the band members alone. This can be remedied, of course, when the media arrive.

2. Play ridiculous shows.
Anybody can play a packed bar if they pay enough of their friends to come. The real challenge is to play YMCAs, old folks' homes, mental institutions (like the Cramps did) and the Burnsville Youth Center (like we did). These are the places where you will be truly despised, but you have to act as if they are dying for more until you have to be physically removed. Hey, why not play elementary schools? There's nothing like concerned parents to raise a ruckus.

3. Churn the rumor mill.
Never deny or admit anything, just suggest. If you say the words "might be," they are understood as "is" and become glorified by the listeners' imagination each time the story is retold. But be careful, people won't bother spreading rumors unless they involve celebrities, sex, violence or money (preferably all together), so make it juicy.

4. Avoid recording contracts, but make record companies believe they are actually fighting for you.
Who wants to waste their time, anyway, sitting in a stale-aired studio for weeks getting some pathetic guitar solo to have the right "feel." If you really need to do a record and reveal your petty emotions, at least make sure there are public record burnings upon its release.

5. Cancel tours.
Ahh, the glorious life on the road. What a sham! Why leave home to sit in a van all day then move heavy equipment around just to perform at some dingy bar when you can play an even worse place right in your own town? You can, however, use "touring" to get a little publicity simply by calling a club in another town and setting up a show. If they want a demo tape, look through your LP collection, record your favorite little-known album and drop it in the mail. The club will announce the date in their advertisements and press releases. So far, you've barely lifted a finger and your name is already in lights.

Now, bombard the press of the town with letters from "concerned citizens" requesting they don't publicize the concert and actually demand that City Hall prohibit the show. They day of the big gig, call in bomb scares and death threats to the manager of the club. Give a call the the press of the town canceling your tour due to a price put on your heads from the local Nazis. Claim that the town is a reactionary haven of knee-jerk conservatives and that all bands should avoid the town like the plague. Just think, all this commotion without stepping out of your house!

6. Film anti-videos.
Let's face it, videos suck. The Replacements realized this, but bowed down to corporate pressure and did the anti-video "Bastards of Young" entirely of a guitar amp playing the song. Some fans tried to beat them up at Northern Lights downtown Minneapolis for "selling out." The lesson? Do an even more self-damaging video, filmed undercover supposedly by one of the many enemies you've harvested.

The music, of course, is irrelevant as long as it's offensive and riddled with innuendo. Actually, there needn't be any swearing at all but rather censoring bleeps during every sentence, leaving the rest to the imagination. The video should then be "leaked" to TV stations, calling for this band to be banned.

7. Pay your friends to beat you up preferably on stage in front of cameras.
Even if you just get a bloody nose, an ambulance is mandatory. Plan ahead and bring some blood packs in case you just get bruises, which make for only mediocre publicity. Be sure to take full advantage of the situation by staying in the hospital as long as possible and calling for press conferences from your bed, after asking for some extra slings and bandages. Which brings us to the next commandment (did someone mention malpractice?).

8. Sue yourself.
Sue anybody. Do anything to get into court. This is where stars are made. Be sure to extend the process as long as possible for maximum coverage, and make sure there are talent scouts in the audience. The media loves tears and outbursts; if you're whacked on crack and wearing indecent outfits it can only add to the fun. Even if you only get a speeding ticket, invite the press, make it an event.

Some old favorites to get into court are: breach of contract (quick, sign one between band members), copyright infringement (inform copyright holders via a "third party"), property damage (just like the Rolling Stones) and sexual abuse (why not sue your parents and split the profits from the insurance?).

9. Make enemies.
Anybody who is stupid enough to be offended can be used to your advantage. If someone refuses to be insulted, accuse them of being insensitive. The best people to make hate you are people that will actually do something about it. Imagine all the energy of the pro-life movement propelling you to stardom. With any luck, every performance will be violently picketed. Smoke bombs and tear gas are available at most army surplus stores and can only add to the excitement.

Between shows, get these people mobilized in a letter writing/phone calling campaign to your government representatives to get your music banned. Why not use all three branches of government? You've used executive (the police), judicial (court cases) and now legislative. God bless America! Maybe you can even get a referendum on the next ballot to get you kicked out of the state. All you need is 100,000 signatures, just open up the phone book for names and use different colored pens. Do you think they actually check the signatures?

10. Die.
Before you fake your death, stage numerous farewell/reunion shows (in between exotic trips to Bali and Italy to get away from it all) and record your one album since post mortem sales will sky rocket (payable to you in Argentina). Although dying is horribly cliche, it seems to work.

Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

Hank Alrich

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Re: 10 Commandments To Become Rock Stars
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2007, 09:15:17 pm »

Wow, lots of great tips there, Harvey. Thanks, man. I only see a couple of minor problems.

The first is that in order to sue yourself effectively you gotta hire a lawyer and pay all those court costs and stuff and if you're not already really famous you probably can't afford that. Oh, sure, you could go to small claims court all by yourself, but when is the last time you saw a small claims court case reported on the front page?

Secondly, that thing about using all three branches of government - I guess you missed that we now have but a single branch of government and it's as effective at anything as is a tree stump at growing leaves. Maybe we could replace government with one of those plastic Christmas trees and have lots more branches to work with.

Nonetheless, this is very helpful info and with a little work on points 8 and 9 could have a major impact on the number of rock stars among us.

Thanks again.


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Re: 10 Commandments To Become Rock Stars
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2007, 01:56:14 pm »

Don't forget to get the amps that go to 11.
Nov schmoz kapop


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Re: 10 Commandments To Become Rock Stars
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2007, 04:10:52 am »

You also forgot to mention the technique of retiring, then coming back, then retiring, then coming back, then retiring...

Maybe you could have a "split" Commandment: 10.A and a 10.B.  Great stuff.

Actually, in rereading your post, you probably covered this with "numerous farewell/reunion shows".  I should have known you can't rewrite the 10 Commandments.  
Michael Aarvold
Audio Engineer
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