Picture the scene. It’s a hot summer’s day and your band have just played another headline festival show, and you’ve had 40,000 people sing your songs back at you. 40,000 people love your music and your band, that’s something special, isn’t it? You then go back to your hotel, or maybe to an after party, and reflect on the past few hours. For the majority of bands, this is how life runs on a sometimes daily basis.
However, there is a dark, sinister side that comes with this kind of fame and adulation. No longer does it become enough to be on stage, basking in the success and popularity of your band. Some people cannot cope with it, and they seek refuge; an escape away from the distorted reality which has become their lives. This is when it gets dangerous.
There are always people around, mostly women or desperate people out to exploit these few for their own gain. They fill their heads with things like “Oh, you are so fantastic, you can really sing/play guitar/perform well. Come and join my friends for a drink.” So they do, because they don’t know what else to do. A few drinks turn in to a party, and then comes the downward spiral. I’ve seen it happen a few times – the nicest people get sucked in to a dark underworld of cults, drugs and the piranhas who seek to get their claws in to anyone with fame and money. Their hold over them then gets stronger, and they use them solely for their own gain. Perhaps they are aspiring models or actresses, or have a cause to plug; with their new musician “friend” on their arm or in their circle of friends, they gain the kind of exposure that money can’t buy. By this time, the person is often so deeply entangled within the toxic web that these people have weaved, it’s hard for them to see what’s really going on. So where does it all end?
The best you can hope for is that the musician sees sense, and gets out whilst they still have their dignity (and bank balance) intact. The worst case scenario? Seeing someone who has been led down a bad path and is unable to escape. Welcome to the world of international fame and success.
Originally published May 2011.