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The Demise Of Debauchery: Being In A Band Isn’t What It Used To Be

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Hey, all you aspiring young musicians dreaming of living the rockstar life! Prepare to have your dreams crushed harder than a beer can at a frat party, because the golden age of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, yep, those days have left the building. Nowadays, being in a band feels less like attending the world’s most epic party, but instead, you’re stuck in an adult summer camp with no escape.

 

Ozzy with his daughter

Remember when bands could turn hotel rooms into post-apocalyptic wastelands, snort enough cocaine to power a small country and partake in groupie escapades that could give reality shows a run for their money? Yeah, those days are now fading into oblivion faster than you can say “where’s my backstage pass?” Today’s bands have to navigate through tight budgets that make a shoestring look luxurious, endure more Covid tests than a hypochondriac’s nightmare, and face the scrutiny of social media watchdogs. Forget the thrill of the stage, it’s all about planning budgets, saving money, and maintaining a balanced diet of adult responsibility. How delightfully mundane.

Famous decadent drummer Keith Moon (left), One of his hotel rooms after an evening of choir practice (right)

Still skeptical? Well, get it straight from the horses’ mouths – the bands currently road-tripping or fresh off the tour bus. They’ll regale you with stories of selling their souls to the devil (oops, I mean sponsors) just to cover astronomical gas prices and food truck feasts. No more trashed hotel rooms; instead, they’re crunching numbers on spreadsheets. No more snorting lines; it’s all about slurping up ramen noodles or devouring fast food on a budget that would make Ebenezer Scrooge proud. Ain’t the rock and roll dream grand?

Gully Boys

Take a peek at Gully Boys, the indie rock darlings from Minneapolis. They recently embarked on a 24-date tour across the US and had the pleasure of experiencing the glamor of low gig attendance and pricey gas. They swapped snorting for spreadsheet juggling and gourmet meals for, well, not-so-gourmet meals. Instead of partying like rockstars, they were couch surfing like broke college students. What a way to live the dream.

Group photo of the band Mom Rock

Then there’s Mom Rock, another indie outfit, whose 2020 tour plans got canceled by the pandemic (thanks, Covid). When they finally hit the road, they were greeted with a chorus of Covid tests, mask mandates, and venues resembling ghost towns. They lived the dream of driving endless hours in a van that’s cozier than a sardine can, lugging gear that weighs more than a sumo wrestler, and praying for enough merch sales to buy a meal that isn’t instant noodles.

At Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Pub on the Sunset Strip

Oh, and let’s not forget the top 20 modern rock bands you absolutely must know about. These brave souls are battling it out in a music business version of the Hunger Games. It’s a fierce competition for attention, like trying to be heard in a mosh pit at a Mötley Crüe show. They’re up against the avalanche of bands all vying for the spotlight while juggling fan expectations and know-it-all critics.

So, how did this catastrophe come to pass? The death of the sex, drugs, and rock and roll era can be attributed to several factors:

  • The rise of streaming services and social media has given musicians the opportunity to promote themselves non-stop, but it’s also turned them into content-churning machines that have less excitement and more tired eyes.
  • Record labels and music magazines, once rock stars’ knights in shining armor, have gone the way of the dodo. No more lavish support; it’s all about the DIY hustle now.
  • Enter Covid-19, the ultimate party crasher. Bands had to cancel gigs, kiss their income goodbye, and grapple with the unpredictability of the future. It’s like having a hangover that never ends.
  • Society’s moral makeover is the final nail in the coffin. The era of “anything goes” has been replaced by “think twice before you do anything.” We’re all more woke, conscious, and less impressed by hotel room wreckage.

So, there you have it, friends! The world of rock and roll is transitioning from smashing guitars to balancing spreadsheets, from trashing rooms to apologizing for a rude tweet. I. for one, miss those days. I’ll always remember the time when Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart trashed my hotel room one night in St. Louis. And whatever happened to groupies? Sweet, sweet Connie from Little Rock? The Butter Queen? The Plaster Casters? But fear not, because the show must go on. Who knows, maybe the next generation of rockstars will find a way to party without the peril of cancellation, and they’ll make “adult summer camp” sound cooler than Coachella.

But I don’t think so.

Author

  • Wayne Rosso

    Wayne Rosso has worked in music and technology for decades. He has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Bee Gees, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Public Image LTD., Beach Boys, Phillip Glass, Fleetwood Mac, Rick James, New Kids on the Block, Slash, Evanescence and scores of others.

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