Volume 96, Issue 20
Wednesday October 2, 2002

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Sex, drugs & my idols

Almost Famous
Megan O'Toole
A&E Editor

What is it about the lifestyle of a famous rock star that is so appealing?

We've all seen the way it works: screaming fans flocking to get a glimpse of their favourite musician, waiting hours for the opportunity to get someone's name scribbled on a piece of paper. What makes this relatively useless prize worth all the hassle?

Obviously, the music in and of itself plays a large role – simply watch the reactions of concert audiences to see idolatry at its peak.

Is it just the music that makes rock stars so attractive to us? Music certainly beats any other form of communication in terms of its effect on people – it has the power to reach into our souls and seek out emotions that words alone cannot touch.

Yet taken by itself, this concept does not fully explain the appeal of the rock life. After all, we can listen to CDs any time we want, but this could never compare to being on the road and "in the scene." This dream – touring with an internationally renowned band – is one shared by thousands of fans across the globe.

Perhaps it's something about being in a different town every night – about simply picking up and moving on, with nothing to hold you back.

Then again, perhaps the appeal is more superficial: famous rock stars enjoy tons of responsibility-free perks. They stay in hotels, gorge on room service and travel in plush tour buses. They can practice the "free love" theory of the '60s and '70s with relatively few worries and they can binge on drugs and alcohol whenever the mood strikes.

But is that enough? Is that really a life we should envy?

Lets face it: being on the road is a grueling experience. There are incredible highs, but these are balanced by tremendous lows. Sleeping in a cramped bunk inside a moving bus is no picnic and the novelty of hotels wears thin after months on the road.

After-show parties are fun and exciting and meeting different people in new cities each night can certainly be a blast, but at the same time, these things are also empty. Solid ties and firm responsibilities give our lives meaning and purpose, and love tends to lose something when it's always free.

While there's no denying the charisma and appeal of rock stars, we cannot forget that, as with almost everything in this world, there's a flipside to the high life.

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2002 THE GAZETTE