Tagged: fans

Does integrity exist in rock’n’roll?

AC/DC and Walmart…. A match made in heaven? I think not.

AC/DC and wallets, backpacks, t-shirts, mugs, baseball-caps, stickers and so on – better? Maybe not, but somehow more accepted because it’s still kept “within the family” so to speak.
I guess in the word integrity in rock’n’roll means “staying away from whatever is mainstream”.

Fans upset signature song used in Walmart commercial

We all know how pissed off fans get whenever their favorite metal band decides to experiement with something new

Van Halen doing “Jump” in 1984 caused a MAJOR protests. Oh-my-god. Blasphemy! KEYBOARDS in metal? What the f***. People back then could maybe stretch their tolerance to hammond-organs but no way in hell synthesizers had any business in metal.

When Judas Priest attempted it two years later with Turbo, they got the same reception. To this day, people feel like their heroes let them down.

Both bands were accused of being sellouts – because they were trying to cater to a wider audience. So they were treated like traitors. Being a metalhead means “keeping it in the family”.

I guess that’s why “real” rockers generally don’t like anything that has to do with stepping outside that frame.

Ozzy doing a reality-show, Judas Priest performing with James Durbin on American Idol, AC/DC selling their music to WALMART?!?! Where does it end, how much can metalheads accept?

We all know that it’s tough to be a musician these days. Nobody buys records anymore. Oh come on – honestly. When was the last time YOU actually BOUGHT a record? Possibly a collector’s item, but mostly, we all download or send mp3’s back and forth via e-mails or chats…. Artists can’t live on pure love and air only. :-) They need to survive.

I guess that’s why we’re seeing more of this now. KISS has always been a money machine. Funny enough, most of us have been perfectly okay with assisting them with that, by buying all kinds of “fun stuff” with the KISS-logo on it. But we did NOT like it when they did “I Was Made For Loving You“, because THAT was a HIT that NON-METALHEADS bought and liked. God forbid! Sellouts!

I guess that’s also why “real” rockers dislike bands like Bon Jovi, Def Leppard or Europe – because those bands actually appealed to everything and anything from kids to teenage girlies to actual music lovers. The reason why people think that Motörhead is a REAL metal band, is because generally, non-metalheads don’t like them.

You won’t see Lemmy in a reality show, he wouldn’t be caught dead doing anything like that. I guess out of most musicians today, he would be the ONLY musician I would say has true integrity that is solid as a rock. He is cool that way, I admire his attitude. It’s brave. I mean, alright, he let “Ace Of Spades” be used for a beer commercial, but that is somehow still rock’n’roll and very Lemmy. Its not WalMart!

Most bands nowadays are acting like whores. They would do anything for money.

One of the worst ways of moneymaking, is the “VIP packages” that are so big in America. Where they CHARGE fans to meet their idols. That is one of those things that I just have a hard time accepting.

What the fuck – I bought the records and the merch, I “liked” them on Facebook and added them on MySpace and Twitter, I’m wearing their freaking t-shirts and I’ve been crushed in the front row at their shows. And they can’t meet their fans for FREE? What’s wrong with that picture?

I realize that you can’t meet everybody, but usually, there are only a few people hanging around before and after the shows. Would it hurt inviting them in to listen to the sound check or have a beer on the bus? Providing they seem fairly normal of course…. I would never, EVER degrade myself to the point where I had to PAY a band to say hello to me, like some beggar. Fuck that.

I remember a girl from New Zealand who was a HUGE Billy Idol-fan that we met in Copenhagen years ago. She was traveling all around the world to see him. God knows how much she spent on tickets, hotels and all that. I should know – I did the same this year going everywhere to see guitar-hero Gus G play with Ozzy and Firewind. It’s not exactly cheap. But you do it for the love of rock’n’roll.

She had bought the most expensive “VIP-package” in several cities, Copenhagen being one of those cities,

I couldn’t believe it when she said how much she had paid, but I forget now the exact amount… Well – they let her in – ten minutes later she was out in the cold again! They “let” her take a photo with Billy and she wasn’t even allowed to use her OWN camera, she got an autograph and a poster and some other junk and after ten minutes it was BYE BYE BABY BYE BYE………..

I’ll never forget that. A die-hard fan like that should be invited in for FREE, get the red carpet for supporting Billy in every possible way. Not be treated like crap – because that was really shitty. I don’t blame Billy for that, he was super cool after the show.

“His people” told fans that Billy would not sign anything because he would risk getting a cold if he stayed outdoors. Billy didn’t give a fuck, he talked to everybody and signed anything people put in front of him.
The VIP-shit is some management’s idea – I would assume….. 

But fans generally don’t complain about the “VIP”-bullshit. Cause it’s still “in the family”…

So I guess it’s cool to make money as long as you make sure it’s for the right people. Making money is okay when you’re a rocker, you just need to make sure you do it the right way. Cause integrity for metal-fans is about staying true to yourself, keeping it METAL.

Many people have taken on the heavy metal lifestyle because it’s always been an alternative to whatever is normal and mainstream. It’s a form of escapism, a full-time escapism where you just refuse to be a part of whatever society tries to sell as normal

So I guess AC/DC stepped WAY out of line in that respect. But as integrity isn’t a big deal in today’s world in general. I guess they are laughing all the way to the bank (and Walmart…)….

Do fans OWN their idols?

I don’t normally go back to check my uploaded Youtube videos but this one gets so many comments that I had to go and check how many people that had watched it. I hadn’t expected that it would have almost 15,000 viewers..!

Some of it has to do with what I named the video “Rob Halford attacked by fan onstage“.
I guess people were expecting aggession on stage, like some maniac beating up Rob or something. But the way I see it, it’s a different kind of attack when you pass security to run up on stage in the middle of a show to throw yourself at the artist.

This guy “just” hugged Rob and jumped off the stage when security came after him to get him out of there. 

Just the fact that he surprised Rob like that is a form of attack, the way I see it. Stalkers do that, and then when they’re caught, their explanation is “...but I JUST wanted to….” like they are ENTITLED TO do whatever they want. Like it’s okay to do anything to show appreciation – at any time, anywhere and in any way. 

I would be scared to death if I was a celebrity and fans showed up around every corner chasing me for hugs or autographs. Cause there seems to be a common misconception that a famous person OWES something to every person who chose to buy their records or attend their gigs. 

It’s that attitude that makes people go: “He didn’t ATTACK him – he just HUGGED him!”

Sure – but you don’t run onstage during a show to “just hug” someone. If you are that eager to hug your idol, wait for a better opportunity, and maybe even ASK “hey man, I love your music, is it okay to give you a hug?” That would be showing the artist respect as well.

But that’s one thing many fans are lacking. Respect for the artists they say that they love.

The “hug attack” is just one of those things.
Another example is something that happened here in Sweden these past two days. Very non-rock’n’roll singer Rihanna cancelled two major sold-out shows due to exhaustion. The fans didn’t react with any concern for her whatsoever. All they could talk about was how pissed off they were because they had been “looking forward to this the past 9 months”.

If they are such big fans that they have been looking forward to her show for so long – wouldn’t that also mean that they ‘care, even the SLIGHTEST about Rihanna and her health status??

The girl is 23 years old and has a crazy schedule, so crazy that she collapsed. Yet nobody questions that. She is a moneymaker – in this business you’re in one day and out the next. So she needs to work her ass off to make big $$$$ for everyone involved – for as long as she can. Nobody gives a shit about HER. People care about her as long as she can entertain them. When she can’t – they don’t give a rat’s ass. She’ll be out in the cold.

I read an interview with Lady Gaga who said that she sleeps 3 hours a night, there’s just too much work to do. For someone in her position, I can imagine. That’s insane.

Britney Spears totally lost it – she was pressured beyond belief, chased like an animal. And when she went nuts, nobody would come to her defense, it was as if people just loved watching her misery.

The backside of being famous. You are only good as long as you can GIVE people something, as long as they can TAKE something from you.

When Ian Gillan visited Copenhagen many years ago, there were a bunch of fans in the hotel lobby. Some of them had brought their WHOLE RECORD COLLECTION that they wanted him to sign! Imagine everything from his Jesus Christ Superstar-days to Deep Purple, to his solo-stuff, Black Sabbath, whatever… tons of shit! He had no choice. If he had said no, that fan would immediately go and tell everyone that Ian Gillan is a selfish stuck-up rockstar who doesn’t care about his fans.

So Ian sat there, for god knows how long, and signed this guy’s freaking STACK of old LP’s. I stood there wondering what that guy was thinking. Did it ever, even for a few seconds, occur to him that MAYBE (just maybe) it MIGHT be too much for Ian to sign ALL those records? Did he ever stop and think “Maybe I should just bring my 5 favorite albums and ask him to sign them…”???

Probably not. 

Same thing back in 1991 when Skid Row played in Gothenburg and were staying at Radisson Park Avenue Hotel. Rob Affuso and Snake Sabo were sitting in the hotel restaurant having dinner. A bunch of guys saw them there and were about to walk over there and ask for autographs.

I stopped them and said that maybe they could wait a little, the guys were in the middle of EATING “give them a break guys – they will have to pass you on their way out anyway, why not just wait a few?” 

They stopped, as if they hadn’t even thought about that. Duh?! Rob and Snake could finish their dinner without being interrupted by selfish fans.

It’s cool to love a celebrity and his/her/their music, but what people seem to forget is that a celebrity is also a regular person. Give them space – show them some respect, shouldn’t be too much to ask?

I’m sure the Greek Rob Halford-fan didn’t intend to hurt Rob, but the fact is that he did perform a kind of attack by making the choice he made. To me, that was not okay. But to many of the people who commented on the video, it was no biggie. “He just wanted to….“. 

Just like stalkers who are sleeping outside their idols’ house or calling them or their parents around the clock. I’m sure their explanation would start the same way “I JUST wanted to….”. 

Wrong. Think again.


Rock’n’roll Women

It’s interesting how women’s role in rock’n’roll has pretty much always been limited to one thing: “groupies“. I never quite realized how bad it was until I started meeting/interviewing bands and I constantly was taken for a groupie by strangers who didn’t know anything about me.

It’s as if there was no other box to put a female in. Guys who were hanging outside backstage doors for hours were called “fans” or simply “autograph-collectors”. The general view on those guys was that they were dedicated, they were the real FANS. 

Girls who did the same thing were…groupies? Nobody cared why you were there, how many records you had by the band, how many shows you had seen, or how many nerdy facts you knew, it was just assumed that you were there to screw some musician.

It was so damn tiresome and I always knew what people would automatically think every time I showed up at a hotel or a venue. A blonde hanging with a band – well, that was crystal clear then, could only mean one thing, right?

The funniest memory in that respect would be when my friend Bianca and I went to hang with AC/DC on their tour bus in Albany, NY many years ago. It was so unpretentious, Angus and Malcolm had just ordered pizza from Pizza Hut and Angus tried to pick up that sloppy, greasy piece of pizza to hand it over to me and Bianca. He had to get a handful of napkins to wipe off his hands. And we were, for some reason, discussing the Beatles and the bus-interior (cause they had this huge stereo in there, which was the latest technology at the time).

It was just fun, very relaxed, we were treated very friendly and nothing weird was going on. But you can imagine people’s faces when two Swedish blondes got off the AC/DC-bus wiping their mouths with napkins?! ‘Nuff said. ;)

[Me, Angus, Malcolm and Bianca with our pizzas on the bus, 1996]

 I always dressed in jeans and sneakers when I went to gigs, figured that nobody would ever take me for a groupie since I was there rocking out, getting all sweaty and messed up like everybody else.
Didn’t matter. If I had a backstage pass or was seen talking to a rockstar – that was it. It was as if I had the word “Groupie” printed on my forehead.

Professionally, I was very particular about staying 100% business. Cause if you want to be taken seriously, you’ve got to act professionally, even if the people you’re dealing with, aren’t.

Cause if you cross the line and get involved with musicians, and it’s really just hurting your professional image, since it fuels the general public’s attitude towards women in rock. I worked too hard to make a name in this business to jeopardize it for some meaningless one-night-stand with a rockstar. Especially not since I know those guys better than most, as I have been around musicians most of my life. I know how all that works.

Groupies were “no-names”, for the most part. There was always some other chick in the next town that looked the same and would be used for the same thing as the one the night before – and the day before that. Nobody ever gave a fuck about them and certainly didn’t remember their names.

People remembered my name. Maybe because I didn’t screw anyone, maybe because I surprised some of those bands by actually knowing a lot more about their music than they expected me to, or maybe because it was obvious that I was dedicated to the music, not the musicians.
I don’t know, but I earned the kind of respect I would most likely not get if I had been a groupie (unless, of course, I had gone out of my way to become the next Pamela DesBarres or something).

I was rarely treated badly by people in the business, especially after a few years when my name got known by a lot of people. There were, of course, managers, record company representatives and people like that who were annoying assholes, but it was just because they were like that in general, not because it had anything to do with me, personally.

But things are SO much better now than they were in 1983. There are more women in the metal crowds now, there are women in all fields of the business and it’s no longer a big deal. I guess a female musician still have to hear that she’s “good – for a woman” and answer questions about her female rolemodels or other things that are focused more on her gender than her music and musicianship. But it’s still a whole lot better now than it used to be.

And it’s only been in more recent years really that I’ve met other females in this business that are super-professional, tough ladies and very, very good at what they do.
Two of them I met through Jon Oliva’s Pain. Anett, their tour manager, and Hanneke, the light-tech. Both very cool ladies who I think are truly inspiring. I can relate to them because they’ve both had to overcome obstacles to prove that they know their shit and earn the respect that they deserve.

I remember Hanneke yelling at some stage-guys when she was out working for Finnish rockers Lordi, and when I laughed at her “bitchiness”, she just stated that it was the only way to get people to listen to you. If you’re too nice, they’re just gonna treat you like a doormat.

Same thing with Anett. She’s definitely not letting anyone treat her like a doormat, that’s a tough lady with brains and very dedicated to the business. It’s her life, she loves and knows her rock’n’roll.

I always had to turn to guys to be able to do that. Most girls weren’t interested in music on that level. But now, I’m getting to know more and more of them, and it feels great!

There are a few more very close friends that are extremely skilled, as photographers, managers, whatever else they have chosen to do and it just puts a smile on my face to see how things have changed for the better.

Heavy metal will always be “masculine” music. It’s a macho world, for the most part. But it’s no longer an exclusive men’s club, like it used to be. It’s a music style that attracts all kinds of people, all ages, all kinds of backgrounds, men, women, workers, lawyers, young, old….

I remember how I was one out of…maybe 5 girls at Judas Priest-concerts in 1991 or the Clash of the Titans-shows (Slayer, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, Megadeth). It was ONLY guys. NOW, you will find that things are very different. There are girls everywhere, loving the music just as much as any guy.

I’m glad that even the male-dominated world of rock has evolved. It only took almost 40 years to get there, but it shows that nothing is ever impossible! :)