January 27, 2012: Believe in What You Want

Letter: J
CD Number: 24
Track Number: 4
Song: “Believe in What You Want” by Jimmy Eat World from Clarity

Rock Star, Keep on rocking
(Picture taken from http://susops.blogspot.com/2010_04_01_archive.html)

THEO sits astride on a large amplifier noodling around with a guitar. He strums, tunes, repeats. He begins speaking without looking up.

I’ve always wanted to sell out.

He looks up at the audience.

I don’t mean sell out like make a Kidz Bop album or let some bank use my song for a commercial. I’m not that easy. But make a ton of money, go to all kinds of wicked parties, make a cameo in a comedy movie, sleep with some groupies? Sign me up.

I think any singer or band who tells you otherwise is full of it.

THEO stands up and begins to walk around very loose legged and exaggerated. He throws his hands in the area and does dramatic air quotes.
“Oh, it’s just about the music for me.” “I’m SOOOOOOOO uncomfortable with the attention. This was never a goal for me.”
He thumps his fist on the amp.


Music is great, sure. But it’s a lot of work and the rate of failure is tremendous. If there wasn’t the promise of gobs of cash and loose easily influenced birds at the end of the rainbow, we wouldn’t have music.
So, yeah, I’ve always wanted to sell out. To read that accusation on message boards…mmm, it would be divine. In part because I’d probably be reading it at a pure gold laptop while luxuriating in a 5,700 square foot apartment and having a robot clean the excess cheese dust off my fingers from all the gourmet Cheetos I’ll be eating.
Right now, it’s just a dream. My band has one self produced album and a bar/club tour that’s doing alright, so that’s good. And I like playing music on its own merits. Song writing can be fun. But you just gotta know that it is going to be so much better when everyone knows me and hates me even as they hum my songs because they can’t help themselves.
Artistic integrity is fine. Great, even. For artists. Me and my buddies? We’re musicians. And that means we’re just here to be loved and hated in equal measure, get paid the GDP of a small country every time we open our mouths, and behave without any consequences.
The quivering, cowardly record execs? Bring ‘em on.
The syncophants and hangers-on? Yes, please.

The ridiculous riders full of stuff that we’ll end up ignoring or leaving behind anyway? Oh, you know that’s a gotta have.
I want our first major record album to be all about our struggles to make ends meet and do right by our “art.” By our third though, we better be singing a different tune. Songs about what a bummer it is when my teenage pop star girlfriend borrows the Benz that I promised my 20-something supermodel wife she could drive that day? A must. And there should definitely be one bemoaning what life is like now that people recognize me and try to tell me they love me.
There should be hot tubs and limousines. Hot tubs in limousines!  I want tour buses with stripper poles. Self congratulatory award shows that I can simultaneously pretend I am better than and still be endlessly bitter about not being honored! The ability to lecture others about spirituality while leading a life of debauchery such that Caligula would blush!
I’ll admit it is a small dream. But it’s mine.

Reach out and touch me at tim.g.stevens@gmail.com or @ungajje on the Twitter. Let me know what you love and what you hate. And please, do spread the word.