A Novel Idea? Not So Much.
Photo Credit: Me.
Hello you beautiful readers!
I’m back at the grind to conceive and produce content for your entertainment. But to be honest, this for MY entertainment. And so far, I’m having the time of my life! Side note: I’m kinda effete about this. Holding my nose at a slightly elevated angle when I say around friends: “Well, you do know.. that I am a..ahem..rock.. journalist now. Don’t you?”
But I digress.
Doing this has really got me thinking differently about music in a major way. And has made me think about being an artist & fan in a very different light. That means that I’ve come to realize that assembling, being a part of a band & conceiving/playing your own tunes is A LLLLOT of work. How much? Trust me, as I’ve dug deeper into this, it’s a lot more work than even I anticipated. Ever. I say, respect the struggling musician on his quest for fortune and glory…and tone.
We all know that Art is a demanding bitch. She always wants something from you. Yet, we love her sooo much that we are willing to drive hundreds of miles just to play a show that will maybe have 25 people in the audience (with maybe 2% of said 25 people who will actually drop by your merch table) with $3,000 of equipment in the backseat.
She’s opaque too. Never once is she absolutely clear on what said art is supposed to mean. This applies to the cut-rate bloggers, content creators and burnt out art instructors at community colleges and tapping away on computers across this nation who don’t exactly know themselves.
Art can and always will mean different things to different people. And who doesn’t like a bit of art every now and then? Personally, I know what looks good to me. (Vibrant colors/Theme/Location & voluptuous, scantily-clad maidens) And I’m pretty sure that you know what type of art you like.
Recently, it appears that (unfortunately) a lot of bands have decided to make the graphic novel their next cash cow. Y’know, like DC and Marvel but with frames of dudes (Eg: Lemmy, Rob Halford and Jim Morrison) forming their respective bands then making it big and snorting lines of c-c-cocaine off a hookers’ ass in a private jet. Then losing their mansion on the hill and their trophy wives along with everything else…until their music is cool again. And hopefully by this time they did not sell off their publishing rights at bargain basement prices. The classic rise/fall/rise story of redemption but with guitars and amplifiers.
In a sense, rock stars are comic book heroes. They lead lives we can only dream about but do not want for ourselves. Their mucho ballyhooed deeds/songs/albums have evolved into a form of modern mythology. Does that mythology deserve to be immortalized? I’ll say yes. But not in this form. I say let the mythology tell its own tale. It does not to need to be drawn out and have word bubbles. That is the chosen medium for another type of superhero- Deadpool. Thor. Batman. And yes, even Squirrel Girl.
There’s a reason that comic books are still being produced. That the audience prefers to watch the mythology evolve right before their very eyes. No re-interpretations from multiple, sometimes unreliable, sources to muck up the view. The art and story are well thought out. The pages show the reader exactly what the writers/illustrators/inkers wanted us to see all along.
The mythology of a rock n’ roll band thrives in a telephone game-like atmosphere. Details become enlarged or obfuscated depending upon the storytellers’ perspective or preferences. These tales demand that the story selling skills of the person relating said tale enthrall the audience that is before them. The audience might not like said tale but that is just fine. One member of the audience might hear it an entirely different way. And that is cool as well.
For instance, as a young lad in Junior High School, the tale of Led Zeppelin fishing out of their hotel rooms and inserting their catch (Purported to be a shark but was really a par level Catfish) into a willing groupies sub-pelvic nether regions grew more onerous each time it was told. So most likely by the time it got to me, the catfish must have evolved into a blue whale.
This is just one example of many.
As the days go by like wild groupies over the hills, more bands are deciding to put out a graphic novel. And why not? I’m sure the publishers are going to make the band members bank accounts a wee bit heavier. Rest assured that the almighty dollar has gone into full influencer mode and made it so. I really can’t blame the artists on both sides of this coin. I’m very sure that they all have bills to pay/mistresses to obfuscate and spoil/drug habits to keep afloat/vintage guitars and amps to buy at public auctions.
It is my fondest wish that this trend will go away quickly. But we shall see. Hopefully there will never, ever be a Rock Graphic Novel Convention in the future. My fingers are crossed.
Now I’m Done.