Friday, November 14, 2008

Be My Elvis, Baby

There seems to be another character sneaking into the series I'm working on -- someone who's been a fan of the band for ages, and who in later years comes to a new appreciation of, not just the music, but of the musicians as human beings. How she moves, over the couple of decades the series spans, from idolizing the rock gods of her dreams to seeing them as human beings & still loving them, loving what they do. How she listens to songs she first heard when she was fifteen, and how they mean something different and deeper now.

Which, of course, basically gives me a voice in the project. I'm not sure, in the end, if that's a good thing or a bad thing -- but we'll see what happens.

More and more, this is feeling like a book-length project. Scary!

I'm doing some research for it, too. Trying to imagine what it's like to be a struggling (and then not so struggling) rock musician. Trying to imagine what the relationships between band members are like, how the shared experience of playing & performing & traveling together, the success & the failure, changes the interpersonal dynamic. Also just plain trying to stay in touch with what it is I have always loved about rock & roll, because in some ways I see this project as my little love letter to rock & roll itself. So I'm listening to lots of music. Ah, the sacrifices we make for poetry. *grin*

I don't want this project to ignore the crassness & corruption of the music industry, but that's not at all a primary focus; of course the tension between art & commerce is something that inevitably comes into play with popular music maybe more than with any other art, but I'm more interested in the human stories, and in the great thunderous machine that is a rock band in full voice. The grand gesture of the stage, and the little human failings underneath the surface of that performance, and what happens when a huge room full of people comes together singing the same song. How a rock concert with its cheering and its standing and its fist-pumping and its singing along is an audience/performer experience entirely unlike the passive consumption of sitting quietly & applauding politely when the song is over, and what it's like when the song is one you've listened to over & over alone in your room & now you're sharing it with hundreds or even thousands of other people & the privately meaningful suddenly becomes a shared, communal experience.

And yes, the project is also about being such a hopeless romantic that you believe this stuff matters. It's circus and flash and entertainment, smoke & mirrors, but the human heart at the heart of it is something full of truth. And yes, I did indeed flunk PoMo 101.


So here's our longtime fan. This is pretty late in the game, and our protagonist (the rock star) has gone through some difficult stuff in a fairly public way. And what is it about the fan/performer relationship that feels so strangely personal that sometimes you feel like you know them, know something of what they're going through? Because I know your words and your music with every cell in my body, know your song so well that it is my song, do I know you? Well, no, of course not, but... also yes.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome. if you have any struggling rock musician questions you can email me hahah. That was my life from 16-23.