How To Ruin Your Music Career

February 3, 2009

Okay, so you headed out to Hollywood from your Midwestern town and hit it big in the music industry. Your freshman LP has become an international smash and you are now officially a rock star ready to take on the world. Congratulations! Now there’s only one thing left to do:  f*** it up.

1. Attempt to Mimic Your Dead Rock Idols

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This has to be the first thing rocks stars have on their minds the second they get famous. It seems like every musician on the planet has used a storied path of a deceased legend to help fuel their drive to greatness.

Most of us are aware that Hendrix, Morrison, Kurt Cobain and a few other legends died at the young age of 27. So if you were a young rocker trying to make it, why would you even want to walk in their footsteps? Musically I understand, but shooting the drugs and making the same mistakes I do not. Ever since the whole rock god persona started to come into creation, up-and-coming musicians from all over the world have wanted to mimic these so-called "idols." These people are dead for a reason. Don’t follow in their footsteps. Livng the dream is harder than it looks, people.

2. Blow Your Money On Stupid S**t

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It’s well known that the second you become famous people you haven’t seen in years come out of the woodwork looking for handouts. You can either throw them the cold shoulder or be a good human and break them off a piece of your fame and fortune. The big thing to remember in this situation is that these "friends" will most likely disappear the second the money and glitz are gone. Hammer found this out real quick.

There are also numerous tales of how rock stars lost their money as fast as they made it. I’m not going blame these people for dropping millions on Hollywood Hills homes, sports cars or even drugs, but I am going to advise rock newcomers to take a lesson from these excessive legends of the industry. It might be a smarter idea to concentrate on your art instead of spending all your time buying Maseratis and gold toilet paper.

3. Do As Much Cocaine and Heroin As Possible

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Drugs have killed some of the greatest acts in the history of music. Speedballs, sleeping pills and booze have prematurely taken almost every great music mind of our time.

Heroin also has a way of turning brilliant artists into reclusive zombies who let their talent go to waste. Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward has always been one of my favorite drummers of all time, but throughout his career his playing suffered severely due to his ongoing drug and alcohol problems. Aerosmith nearly ruined their entire career in the late ‘70s due to Steven Tyler and Joe Perry’s rampant use of drugs and alcohol.

Smack is wack, y'all!

4. Have Lots and Lots Of Groupie Sex Without Protection

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I really can’t blame rock stars who got burned by fatal STDs back in the 1980s because there wasn’t a lot of information regarding safe-sex and how to go about it intelligently. I also understand that being snobby about wrapping your junk up isn’t really a rock star thing to do. Either way, it might be a good idea for a world-touring rock act not to knock up a random groupie in every single town where they play a gig.

5. Get Married

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There was a quote recently by Steven Tyler stressing the need not to "get f***in ’ married." You need to listen to this man because he's been in the music game for over 40 years. The reason why is because it can only complicate things and strip you of all the things you worked so hard to acquire. How many times have we heard the story about a legendary rock star losing everything to some psycho ex-Playboy Playmate? Answer: A s**tload. And why eat one pricey piece of meat when you can sample the entire pu-pu platter for free?

6. Let Your Woman Take Over Your Career

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It’s pretty much a known fact that a woman played a huge role in breaking up the greatest band in the history of music. I am, of course, taking about John Lennon’s Yoko Ono.

Even if you don’t believe this so-called music "myth," you’ll have to agree that allowing your lover to give her opinions when it comes to the inner workings of your band is just a retarded idea. We’ve all seen Spinal Tap right? Even James Brown got pu**y-whipped by Tomi Rae Hynie during the end of his career. The fact that he sang live versions of "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud" with this untalented psycho is grounds to kick any manipulative female to the curb. 

7. Release a Self-Indulgent Sophomore Record

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This one goes out to you, Axl.

It’s funny how even if a bloated, over-the-top album becomes an international sensation, it will have a dramatic effect on the inner workings of a band. In the case of Guns N' Roses, Axl pretty much took over the entire show during the recording of Use Your Illusion I & II and decided to dump the band’s original raw rock sound for a more polished pop/rock production. This completely segregated him from the entire band and things were never the same after. Some may think that it was worth it for him to get out his singular vision. I, on the other hand, feel it was a stupid decision that compromised everything each member worked so hard to achieve

The only person that I’ll give a pass to in this situation is Mr. Roger Waters. Why you ask? Because he’s twice the songwriter Axl will ever be and made way better records.

8. Drop the Band For a Solo Effort

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Bigheaded frontmen have been doing this s**t for years. They seem to think that they can find greater fame and fortune without the use of the components that helped get them a ticket to the gravy train in the first place. Even one of the greatest to do it, "Diamond" David Lee Roth, couldn’t quite find the same amount of success without the help of his talented Van Halen crew. Dave even put together a supergroup with Steve Vai and still couldn’t make it work.

Some have pulled it off, but the Peter Gabriels of the world seem to have a much better head on their shoulders than some of the stars who decided that they had all the talent and deserved all the creative control.

9. Drop Music For a Career In Film

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Some of the worst acting attempts in the history of cinema have come out of musicians. I mean who in the f*** let Mick Jagger take a part in Freejack?! (He did kill it in Performance though) As much as I love Mr. David Bowie and the movie Labyrinth, his spandex-wearing performance in the 1986 fantasy film made me never want to pick up another one of his records ever again. Dance magic dance, my ass…

I will admit some have pulled this off, but I don’t know if it’s a risk worth taking. Look what happened to Mariah Carey after Glitter flopped. Bitch went crazy and started taking her clothes off on national TV. Did I really just say that?

10. Always Choose Air Travel While Touring

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In the words of Robbie Robertson from The Last Waltz, “…the road has taken a lot of the great ones.” Indeed they have, Robbie.

Air travel has claimed the lives of such greats as Randy Rhodes, Buddy Holly and almost all of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Stevie Ray Vaughan also tragically died in a helicopter crash after playing two shows at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin. This goes to show if you want to limit your odds of survival during your rock star peak, just hop on the next single-engine plane you can find.

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