Confessions of a Rock Star...Smoke and Mirrors
I am a rock star. (So are you, but more on that at the end.)
Although I used to sing in bands, had an international infomercial and opened for Jamie Foxx, Jay Leno and Maya Angelou, I now write novels. The days of leather pants and sidling up to the guitar player while he executes his guitar solo are over. Thank goodness. You’ve heard the phrase smoke and mirrors? Most rock stars are actually quite normal, lovely people, and I can tell you first hand that they all try to achieve a degree of normalcy after the initial ‘I’m so full of myself’ stage wears off. I sang in a rock band when I was in my early twenties but soon changed to pop music and later jazz and then theater. But, I hung around enough famous musicians over the years to know that the illusion of the rock star is just that. An illusion. At least for the older ones.
I distinctly remember being at a big ‘Hollywood’ party on Maui, (where I lived at the time), when Alice Cooper arrived with his kids. They wore track suits and were as approachable as anyone there. (Actually more so than most attendees who were trying to appear to be rock stars.) He still looked like Alice Cooper without makeup, but I loved the fact he and his kids had on track suits, like they were just chillin’. Maui attracts celebrities, and in those days, I got invited places, not because I was on their fame level but because I sang with a band that got booked for these house parties. Score!
During daylight hours I taught scuba and one day it was my job to take Steven Tyler snorkeling on a catamaran with his kids. Again, a fun guy (with a large mouth to fit around a snorkel!) with sweet kids, excited to see colorful fishies. When I think of it now, one of the kids was Liv Tyler but at that time she was little and chubby in her swim suit. Later, she’d become an elf in Lord of the Rings!
Although Jamie Foxx is not a rock star in the truest sense, he is the most famous person I actually performed with who is still alive and most well known. Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, The Smother’s Brothers, The Four Tops were others who I humbly shared billing with but it’s Jamie (whose real name is Eric, BTW) who I knew for a few days in 1990. At that time he was finishing a gig on a show called In Living Color and was so funny, my sides hurt from laughing at him. I did a collaborative show on Maui with him and some friends. He still has connections to our mutual friend Amy Gilliom who joined him for a spoof on the Grammies last year. She’s gone on to be a ‘rock star’ in the Hawaiian music scene.
I’m exhausted from all this name dropping, but what I’m trying to say is that no matter how much publicity, exposure, fame and money you have, everyone just wants to live a happy life. Rock Stars are no different. They take their makeup off after the show, get into their sweats and go diaper their baby. The old-school idea of keeping entertainers on a social pedestal is crumbling with reality shows like Ozzie Osborne’s and Gene Simmons’ depictions of real life. (Black Sabbath) Ozzie likes burritos and worries about his memory loss. (Kiss) Gene got a face lift when his wife did and later wondered if it was necessary. Most entertainers are extremely insecure and need constant praise and love and acceptance. Thus, the career path of standing in front of an audience in an alter–ego personna to earn applause (acceptance).
The ‘Rock Star’ life only lasts for the moments you are onstage. Then you are back to taking out the garbage and helping kids with homework unless you’re a jerk and can’t be bothered with real life. When I mow my lawn, sweating up a storm, I often wonder if the mega-celebrity Fergie enjoys the simplicities of small acts like this. (Listen to her lyrics in “Glamorous” where she says, “I still go to Taco Bell drive thru.”
And speaking of Fergie, her photos are on my Pinterest site as Goldy, the rock star in my newly released novel, Necessary Detour. Nice Segue, Kim!
The story joins Goldy the week she shocks the world to suddenly retire from music, (think Madonna or Fergie) and hides out at her lakehouse in Northern Washington state to avoid the media fallout in Los Angeles. BUT, all is not quiet on Louisa Lake as she soon discovers when a mysterious man moves in across the small bay and things take a turn for the dangerous. I had a blast writing the gentle side of a world famous rock diva and I hope you like going inside her head too! Free Wednesday for 5 days on Kindle. If you go into the woods today, you’re in for a big surprise.
One last thing, I mentioned that you are a rock star and I mean it. I teach a course called Channeling Your Inner Rock Star about creating the confident public side of yourself to handle potentially nerve-wracking situations. Check out my blog for rock star tips on how to turn on that other side of you to appreciate the spotlight. You can do it!
It’s all smoke and mirrors, baby, all smoke and mirrors.