“No one wants to hear
What you dreamt about
Unless you dreamt about
—Built To Spill
I woke up early this morning to write my diary, since ideas weren’t exactly flowing after last night’s barbecue for the band (we had the night off), avec les accoutrements obligatoires of a decent barbecue: plenty of meat, beer, and herbal supplements.
I had a horrible five hours of sleep, with strange dreams that I am having trouble remembering, and besides, they weren’t about you.
A vegan came to the barbecue and made me feel guilty for not having any vegan-friendly options. “Got any pickles? Chips?” I don’t get vegans—especially those who attend barbecues. Of course, I don’t get a lot of things. Maybe someone will harp at me about it in the Fray. At the barbecue, L, the girlfriend of a college friend of mine, told me that she is casting for a reality TV show about electing someone for president. The production company she works for is called something like True Reality. Not far off from the title of the last Les Sans Culottes (my faux French band, for those just tuning in) album, Faux Realism.
I told her she should cast me, obviously. “It’s a 22-page application, and you need to do a video to introduce yourself,” she told me.
My interest waned.
But we did get into a conversation about what they were looking for. How could I transform myself into the ultimate character for their reality TV show? A faux French rock star for president? Probably not.
I thought, I could just be an angry Republican rocker. It was too obvious to be a liberal rocker (U.S. out of Iraq! Decriminalize drugs!). But a better, more interesting character would be a rock boy with a right-wing conservative agenda. It made me think about Family Ties, the non-reality TV show from the ‘80s. Idealistic hippie parents have a conservative, uptight son. Irony. Get it? I think this show was a bad role model for people I grew up with in Denver—they became conservatives. Alex P. Keatons, all.
(Side note: If liberal is such a bad word, why don’t liberals start labeling conservatives as reactionaries. According to dictionary.com, reactionary is defined as “characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative.” “George W. Bush is just a Texas reactionary,” could be Kerry’s retort to Bush’s “Massachusetts liberal” smear campaign.)
The reality TV talk also got me thinking about The Breakfast Club. A watershed film as far as I am concerned in that it was THE archetypal film about type. I remember when it came out, my friends and I would figure out percentage breakdowns of who we were in the film: I was 60 percent Judd Nelson, 30 percent Anthony Michael Hall, and 10 percent Molly Ringwald. I wanted to be a little Ally Sheedy, but I was too social. This film got an entire demographic thinking about what character they could most easily be broken down into.
Right now, I feel a little more Ally Sheedy and definitely less Molly Ringwald.
Reality TV is just The Breakfast Club recreated in different locales. Sometimes I wish I were more The Donald (sans the comb-over, or hairpiece, or whatever that is). Then I got to thinking about how a successful musician is someone who creates an identity, or type, in which people see themselves reflected. Maybe this is obvious, but it doesn’t really help the faux French band, I have come to realize. Though we have all created our own fake French identities, I am not sure they truly inspire empathy. People tend more to laugh at us. I mean, I am called Jean Luc Retard, after all.
I met a guy a few months ago who manages a very successful band from Iceland called Sigur Ros. He asked me if I really thought there was a market for an American band singing in, and pretending to be, French.
“Is there a market for a symphonic rock band singing in Icelandic?” I replied, much later, in my mind.
What makes a band marketable? Isn’t being a successful band (artist, TV show) about creating a fake reality in which viewers can place themselves?
Is true art about creating dreams that people can live in?
Why do I sound like Carrie Bradshaw?
Tonight the band will drive to Fresno to play at a venue called Club Fred. I look at their schedule online and see bands with names like Rasta Pasta, Toxic Sunset, and Bean Dip. We are listed on their Web site under the genre, “ART ROCK.” Yeah, that should really bring out the kids.
Why are we not playing decent venues, I wonder? Are there decent venues in Fresno? I realize I don’t have any idea where Fresno is; though a friend told me Fresno is the crystal meth capital of California. I am forecasting a rough night.