Monday, September 22, 2008

How Does One Become a Rock Star?

How the heck does one become a rock star? Or even a musician of little fame, but perhaps some critical success? Can anyone out there tell me?
Because I am going to try. Gosh darn it yes I am.

(Today, Sunday, is a no-swear day for me, so you won’t be getting any f-words in this post.)

Here is what I have done so far to launch myself on this musical path (all of which will be elaborated upon, in my lengthy convoluted way, in upcoming blog posts):

1) Finally convincing myself, after trying for a few decades, that my parents were wrong about me, and that I am not the most annoying, shittiest singer on the planet;
which let to:
3) getting over my crippling shyness about singing with others (I joined a gospel choir in Harlem)
which led to
3) getting over my crippling shyness over singing as a back up singer (I sang with the Revelons at CBCB the week before CBs closed),
which led to
4) Attending the fab-u-licions Ladies Rock Camp In New York City (this very long essay will hopefully be appearing in Oprah Magazine soon!),
which led to
5) finally realizing my dream of singing lead in a band (the rocking, babe-o-licious Wrex Abroad),
which led to
7) dreaming of forming a real band,
which led to,
8) really really wanting to do something about forming a real band, instead of just dreaming about it (I’m forty, for f—k’s sake),
which leads us up to where I am at the present moment, wondering on Sunday in September what I do next.

I have been writing songs, believe it or not. I’ve written one a day since Ladies’ Rock Camp. Most of them are along the lines of Robert Smith—so depressing you have to lift the needle off the album after the third one, for fear that you might rush off to slit your wrists. But others aren’t bad. And for me to say that a poem of mine is ‘not bad’ is quite a leap, for no one is more critical of my work than moi. I am hands down the nastiest self-critic out there.

Anyway, I have now written three ‘concept albums!’ One of which is eight songs dedicated to my eight male muses, who were members of my all time favorite bands.
Another of which is the suicide album (a sure hit :)
And a third about karma.
Any takers? Any leavers? Any lovers of leaving?

Anyway, I must say that the songwriting process (as it were00I have no idea what I am doing) has been gloriously fun. Much more rewarding than writing memoirs or novels. Writing books has sucked all the life force out of me. Working with an editor who doesn’t really get my work has been debilitating. But still, I wrote and wrote and wrote and worked and worked and worked and struggled and struggled and cried for the past four years. Every morning I did this. From 11 – 2 (sorry, that’s ‘morning’ for me, you lovely office drones). Devotedly, even though it was killing me, I devoted the best part of my day, and the best part of me, to my books.

After Ladies Rock Camp, I changed that. I decided that maybe I’d be a less miserable human if I devoted the best part of my day to music. To something that gave me life. To something that got me excited about the future. And baby, it worked. With each song I write, I feel a sense of accomplishment that carries through the rest of the day. And sure, it might be grandiose (my songs might suck after all), but it feels good nevertheless. I have even started dreaming about my muses: Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, and even, once, Meher Baba—they come to me in my dreams and tell me I am doing the right thing.

When I was writing the first draft of my novel, I had only one visitation, from Mr. Henry Miller (who, honestly, I have never admired, as a human or a writer of prose.). I was staying at my agent’s country house at the time—the phenomenal and godly and wise Lisa Bankoff—and we had been talking about one of my subplots (a pregnancy scare), and Lisa said, most astutely, “Pregnancy is not a subplot.” And then, that night, in my dreams, Henry Miller waltzed in with his big round glasses and said, “Lost that subplot.” Just like that. Thanks Henry.

Anyway, I am way off-track. I am trying to become a rock star. If Henry Miller has any advice on that, I welcome him. Otherwise, I am reaching out to the cyber public. To the myspace friends and the facebook acquaintances and the people who accidentally came to this site because they googled “Jimmy Page.” (Sorry, guys, it’s just me, a woman who has sworn off swear words.)

Send me a manager. And I’ll send you angels on high.


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