An Open Letter To A Washed-up Rock Star
I'm not sure why you still do it. You've been to the top of the charts, you've been all
across the world and you've been adored by people who would do anything just to meet you.
You drank in the back of limos with naked women, you've relaxed in bubbly hot tubs in
penthouse suites and bought the fastest sports cars around.
But that was way in the past.
The cars are gone; sold to raise money for backtaxes. The chicks won't call you back and
may even laugh at your attempt to hook up with them again. You haven't had a hit or even a
new release for over a decade. What you haven't cut off of your once flowing locks, you've
No industry suit wants to hear your new stuff much less try and market it. Maybe the
company you work for is a bunch of whores would would think nothing of making money off
your talent and sweat without even trying to understand a fraction of what you play. Maybe
you deal with lazy-eyed club owners who let kids in the back and try to stiff you a couple
hundred bucks at closing. Maybe you get real tired of being in a cramped tourbus for hours
and hours going from gig to gig.
Why do you still bother? I suppose if all you've done is play drums or guitar or were an
outcast in school who turned to music, you'd have some trouble fitting into a life of
cubicles and water coolers. Could be for the few chicks who do come around. They may not be
Halle Berry, but they do.
It all could be enough to bring an aging rock god down.
But even though the club is half empty or half full there's a guy or a girl in the
audience who drove for hours just to be in the presence of your band. He might have had to
work at a job with a boss who told him he had to put in weekend hours flipping burgers
just to get a half day off. The girl in the front may reserve a special set of slots in
her CD rack just for your releases. There may be a guy there with a roomfull of your
merchandise from posters to imports to hats to flags that cover his room.
Your music was there during some of the most memorable moments of our lives and when we
hear a particular line from a song, it takes us out of the present and back to a time when
we didn't have bills to pay and grass to cut and all the worries of an adult.
Why do you even bother? Maybe because at the end of the day when the glory is gone you
found out that you didn't need it. It's your thrill to play for 50,000 or 50 people as
long as it gives you some pleasure. To those who are still chugging along as the years go
by, I thank you.
Still Rockin' with ya,
--Johnny Pardon (one man's cheese is another man's poignancy)
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