Line Her Notes: Entry.002

Thursday, 04 January 2007

Call me crazy, but when I was growing up I always thought the one irreplaceable member of a band was the lead singer. I don’t really think the statement needs much clarification but it can be said, they’re generally the iconic symbol of any band. You may go to a concert to watch a guitarist shred but if the singer can’t carry the show, what’s the point?

When Michael Hutchence died, I remember being bummed because not only would I never get to hear any new INXS songs but I would never get to see them live. Something about that band was unequivocally lost and a lot of it had to do with the spirit of Hutchence. So, when the magical train wreck that was Rock Star: INXS started up I was horrified. I was horrified and then I was watching every single episode. I went so far as to look up the MySpace pages of the contestants, in fact. I’m not sure why I did, and yes, I am embarrassed. However, I was also mesmerized by the spectacle and the devolution of rock ‘n’ roll appearing right before my eyes. It blew me away that not only did it suddenly seem okay to replace Michael Hutchence but that apparently, the best way to do so was through the equivalent of a low-grade rock pageant!

As I talked to other muso friends who felt the same way I did about the irreplaceability of Hutchence, I learned that they too shared my secret addiction of watching Rock Star: INXS. We could talk about rooting for Marty versus J.D., how a girl was never ever going to win and how it bummed us out that Navarro wore girls’ jeans (but we cut him slack in honor of “Three Days”). In the end, all our talk was just idle chatter. No matter how you boiled it down, none of us really cared who won the show or what happened next because it wasn’t really INXS.

Now, ticket sales would lead me to believe there are a great number of people who don’t care if a lead singer is replaced and who are more than pleased to accept any current incarnation of the band in order to hear the hits once more. And, that some fans feel this way is more than understandable. However, to me, it’s nostalgia-driven touring that takes the edge off of whatever it was that made that band special in the first place.

In my world, Queen died with Freddie Mercury. Alice in Chains died with Layne Staley and Paul McCartney will never satiate my desire to hear The Beatles (although hearing him sing “Hey Jude” is pretty amazing). In the end, when the lead singer goes, there goes the band.

We’ll save the issue of the current state of Guns N’ Roses for another column…

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