Sunday, August 26, 2012

On using your rock star power for good

We all have an inner rock star. This doesn't mean that we're supposed to front a ridiculously successful rock band called Transient Suburbia or a trendy alt-rock band called Gettysburg Go Round. It just means that we all have an inner cool and awesomeness that we can call on when needed. It can be something small like wearing a new pair of shoes that make you feel taller and more confident or something major like a promotion or not having the 100th awkward conversation with the guy you like (instead you're just normal and not weird).

Having a crappy day? Ask yourself, what would (insert favorite rock start name here) do? If you picked Iggy Pop and it was still 1977 the answer is probably heroin so you should pick again.

I had a music filled week: the new Rolling Stone came on Tuesday (although I could have lived the rest of my life without seeing Rick Ross on the cover without a shirt), enjoyed open mic night at Iota on Wednesday, and went to see Kelly Clarkson on Thursday. I even bought the new album by The Darkness and watched Satisfaction. What I realized is that every now and then real rock stars (and those that aspire to be rock stars) have to be reminded about using their rock star powers for good. If I can do it so can they. So because I care, here are some things that we can all do (including actual rock stars) to make sure we're always using our rock star powers for good:

  1. Make smart life choices. At the Kelly Clarkson concert on Thursday, she opened with one of my favorites, My Life Would Suck Without You, and then proceeded to chat with the audience for a few minutes about wanting everyone to be successful and to have a good time. Then she put on a great show, made some jokes, and clearly had a good time herself.  All without dressing inappropriately, being a diva, or cursing. Why wouldn't we want to be exactly like that all the time?
  2. Consider your wardrobe carefully. At open mic night this week, the first performer of the evening was clearly banking on being the "Open Mic Night Heartthrob". What he didn't realize was that skinny jeans are not really a great look for the majority of humanity including himself. My friend Daniella decided that he'd be cuter if he had worn different pants. If you want to channel your rock star power and use it for good, consider your pants carefully. 
  3. On similar note, shirt choice is also very important. Hipster fashion dictates that gentlemen wear deep vee neck t-shirts. In my mind, a guy wearing a deep vee screams d-bag. I don't know what it is about that particular neckline but nothing good can ever come of it. I know all rock stars think they are the next Jim Morrison or Mick Jagger but trust me, you can accomplish that without a deep vee neck shirt. I promise.
  4. Don't be predictable. If you are the lead singer of The Fray and you walk on stage wearing a denim jacket in 90 degree weather, I know that you are wearing a wife-beater under your jacket and at some point, you are going to take that jacket off like we're all supposed to care. And talk about how you're such a "badass" (said no one ever). If you're going to do this at least have the decency to get a cool arm sleeve tattoo before the show.
  5. Be exactly like Kelly Clarkson's bass player. His name is Einar Pederson and he was hilarious (possibly my favorite part of the evening). Clearly Einar subscribes to the rock star power of just going with it and having a good time. This video will sum up why I love this guy and temporarily forgot that drummers are my favorite.
  6. Shaming your audience into doing something during a performance is totally unacceptable. Yes, we should all pay our respects for those impacted by recent tragic events BUT getting an entire concert audience to stand so you can sing a crap song and run around the place is not really accomplishing that - it's just annoying the people who wish your set was done already. Instead, use the rock star power for good and encourage your fans to donate money to worthy causes, register to vote and elect candidates who support tougher gun laws, and maybe even encourage people to volunteer and be a part of their community. You know, be like Bono.
  7. As a wise group of men known as the 610 Stompers like to say you should dance like no one is watching. When you use your rock star power for good you must always follow this rule even if you know everyone is watching. That is the only way to enjoy life.
  8. Remember who your friends are and make time for them. I've been to a lot of concerts and have recently noticed how many artists appeal to a wide range of ages and they all come out for a show. The KC concert was no exception - preteens, teens (girls and boys), college age kids, couples, and lots of women in their 30s and 40s enjoying a night out. Open mic night was similar (although no teenagers) and I thought that was pretty cool for an open mic night. Those who use their rock star powers for good always remember that rock stars don't exist in a vacuum and it's better to share those moments with people you care about (and who care about you) than to be alone.
  9. Teach your children concert parking lot etiquette. I may not believe in the rules for making mix tapes but I do believe in certain concert rules mainly because I am an old lady concert goer. Certain things make me cranky: people wearing the shirt of the band they're going to see, unnecessarily standing during a concert, talking loudly about the last time you saw this band and how much better that show was (tip: no one cares). My biggest pet peeve is people who don't respect the rules of the parking lot. You're supposed to let people into the flow of traffic so we can all get home at a "reasonable" hour. Stop talking on your phone, stop flipping your hair and rolling your eyes at me, and learn how to merge. If your parents didn't teach you this than I will - with the front bumper of my car and the Metallica I'm blaring over your One Direction song.
  10. Be like my dad and take your daughter to her first concert. There were lots of dads (and moms) taking their daughters to the concert on Thursday. I'm guessing that most were not thrilled to have to sit through the concert but I know they were enjoying the experience with their daughters. Real rock stars, remember this. Remember that some kid in the audience is there experiencing their first concert. Don't be a jerk on stage and sing the songs they're expecting to hear (I'm talking to you Bob Dylan). At some point in your life you were the kid at the rock show too.

That's really Kelly Clarkson on stage singing My Life Would Suck Without You. Trust me, I was there.


  1. Excellent! Words to live by.

  2. So it's no secret that I love the ROHNJ. One of the guys on the show, Greg (Caroline Manzo's sons' roommate), was at the KC concert last night in the front row (I follow him on Twitter because he's hilarious). Anyway, he posted something about the dramatic nature of The Fray's lyrics and how he used to put the on his AIM profile in college.