The mere fact that I am now a sort of "elder statesman" of the Australian rock'n'roll fraternity means I have certain duties and responsibilities I need to be mindful of.
Something happened to me the other week that really got me thinking, however I don't have time to go in to that right now so instead I'll tell you about something else that happened to me the other week that also got me thinking but only so far as to how useful it would be in giving me a topic to write about for this blog.
Whether I like it or not, the mere fact that I am now a sort of "elder statesman" of the Australian rock'n'roll fraternity means that I have certain duties and responsibilities that I need to be mindful of. It is because I take this position with such immense seriousness that I feel the need now to confess to all my peers that I have let them down.
I have not been acting in a way that is at all befitting of a professional rock star lately and a certain incident occurred that brought this to light, making me realise that I had some problems I needed to address.
Ever since it happened I have been wracking my brains trying to figure out how I can take this unfortunate incident and turn it in to something positive and constructive for my fellow musicians, particularly those new to the game, those perhaps still feeling their way through the murky mine field of moderate notoriety.
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So I decided the best thing I could do would be to use my embarrassing experience as an example that might help educate others in some small way. So, if you currently are, (or you're planning on becoming) a moderately successful rock'n'roll musician, you might want to run through this very simple and straight forward exercise.
I'm going to recount to you a story and all you need to do is figure out all the different things that I did wrong. Add up your score and then keep reading as I walk you through all the answers and tell you how many you got right.
I was required to pick up a few items of groceries and general house hold goods one sunny week day afternoon so I slipped on some thongs, got in my Mitsubishi station wagon and drove down to my local supermarket to do a little shopping. The shopping itself was free of any unusual occurrences. Like other shoppers I wandered up and down the aisles, sometimes checking the list I had prepared earlier, making sure I didn't forget anything.
Having satisfied myself that I had picked up all the goods I needed I headed to the self serve check out to complete my purchases. It was at this point that things began to unravel and I'm not talking about my shopping bags. Scanning each item dutifully and placing them in a bag to my right I was suddenly shaken out of my shopping induced torpor by a stranger's voice. It said, “Do I know you from somewhere?” I think at this point I must have mumbled something incoherent and self deprecating, a sort of auto pilot response that I've developed over the years to handle any situation that catches me off guard.
Next the voice said, "Aren't you the lead singer of Jebediah?" Again, I can't remember my response but it must have been some kind of gesture to the affirmative because next the stranger said, "I thought so!" He seemed happy with his discovery until something suddenly dawned on him. I could see it in the way his facial expression slowly turned from rapture to some kind of innocent confusion, similar to the expression a child forms on receiving the news from their parents that their little pet rabbit Fluffy just got eaten by the neighbours Rottweiler.
Next the stranger asked, (almost incredulously I might add), "What are you doing here?" It was at this point I paused for a brief moment to think about my response. Was this a loaded question? At face value it seemed a simple enough enquiry but that's exactly what made me nervous. Surely it was obvious what I was doing? I was desperately struggling to use the self-service check out, negotiating with a machine about what the fuck I was supposed to do with my grocery bags when they were full if taking them off the platform to the side was going to send the computer mainframe in to some kind of meltdown.
I also couldn't ignore the emphasis my new friend had put on the word “here”. He wasn't just enquiring as to what I was doing at the supermarket but in fact what I was doing at this particular supermarket. Taken completely unawares by the complexity and dual layering of this sudden interrogation that had been foisted upon me as I weighed my vegetables I responded merely by saying, “I'm doing my shopping...this is my local supermarket”. The friendly stranger shook his head with bewilderment, smiling before saying his farewells and walking away.
After getting help from a lady to pay for my groceries and resolving to never again attempt to use the self check option in future, I walked back to my car, replaying the interaction over and over again in my head. I could tell that I had been a major disappointment and possibly irreversibly damaged someone's perception not just of me but of all moderately successful Australian musicians.
Now, how many things did you count that I did wrong? Well, here are the answers:
So, how many did you get right? Of course the trick to this exercise is that there are far more than ten correct answers, so congratulations if you managed to come with more than I listed above. Here's how your score ranks you:
No correct answers – Oh dear, you're a schmuck like me. I suggest getting a job in the mines. You can make shit loads of money, much more than you're ever likely to earn as a musician thus making the rock and roll lifestyle far more achievable.
Between 1 and 5 correct answers – I can only hope that you have been so busy being a rock star, taking drugs and having indiscriminate sex that you're powers of deduction have been severely compromised leaving you with this very low score. If not, you have a lot of work to do.
Between 5 and 10 correct answers – You have a solid foundation from which to work from but don't rest on your laurels and become lazy like me. The world of rock and roll is an ever changing beast and you need to stay ahead of the game.
More than ten answers – You have such an innate knowledge when it comes to the do's and do not's of being a rock star that I'm genuinely shocked that you have even bothered to look at this article, let alone read it to the very end.
Bob Evans is on tour soon. Dates are here.