Monday, August 22, 2005

Fame is a train wreck

Someone handed me a slew of Ukranian jokes the other day. They're funny but they're exceptionally crude, way too crude to post on my blog. Even I have limits. I started thinking of Ukranian women and of all people, Oksana Baiul popped into my head.

I thought, whatever happened to Oksana Baiul? I did a little research and found that her manager's preparing her for a comeback. Now, forget trainwreck, this woman's a plane crash.

Why are celebrities always whacked? I won't even bring up the Jacksons, but you look at just about everyone with exceptional talent and they're a basket case.

Case in point, Axl Rose. Yeah, I know you hate him. I hate him too, but you have to admit that guy had more charisma than just about any other singer in the last twenty years. Appetite for Destruction to this day is still one of my favorite albums, even though I heard it two hundred times.

I loved the Roseanne show. It was that show that snooty people loved to hate because it was the most realistic portrayal of a working class family on TV. They didn't resolve all their issues in thirty minutes. Often, they didn't resolve their issues. They decided just not to deal with half of them and move on.

I loved her doing stand-up too. She was crass, crude, and sometimes annoying, but you have to admit, she had talent. Now, Roseanne's a trainwreck too. Not as bad as Axl or MJ, but even if she looked like Oksana Baiul, I couldn't marry her.

Funny, going back to Guns and Roses and Axl, I look at Slash, Duff, and Matt, and they're right back with another problematic singer. Izzy's had enough and races cars now.

Why does anyone want to be famous? I sure don't. It's been said everyone get their fifteen minutes of fame. Well, you can have mine. If this blog gets famous and anyone wants to go around being the Zombieslayer, go for it. Just don't do a George Michael or anything dumb like that.

That's the great thing about living in Santa Barbara. This town's a who's who for all the Hollywood morons so for a regular bloke like me, I can disappear in the crowd and not get noticed.

If I ever write that American novel I keep saying I'm going to write, it's going under a pseudonym, just in case it sells. Even when I was a musician, I had a pseudonym and was buried under so much makeup I would have made Tammy Faye Baker proud.

Well, I guess I'm lucky. I got enough attention as a child. I don't want fame, I'll take fortune though. And I still do want to run for Congress, but not out of glory. I want to get in, make a few changes, and get out. You already know what they are.

So my question for you, can someone want fame and not be a trainwreck? Why do people want millions of people they'll never meet leering at their image in a magazine or in a movie? I couldn't answer that one, because I'm not one of them.

41 Comments:

Anonymous appetite for desctruction said...

i just thought it interesting to point out that not ONLY is axl rose a pyscho, but slash has struggled with extreme alcohol abuse. it seems that fame sort of destroys a lot of people.

8/22/2005 10:24 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

"Even when I was a musician, I had a pseudonym and was buried under so much makeup I would have made Tammy Faye Baker proud." Ace Freely? ;-p

I think it's because the life of fame leads to a life of opportunity and excess. Most famous people come from relatively common roots and therefore are sideswiped by the lifestyle fortune allows. It's easy to be tempted and sidetracked. I also think there's plenty of celebrities without problems too. The ones with problems are more interesting though...

8/22/2005 10:49 AM  
Blogger Levi Nunnink said...

I think that fame and fortune are awful for the human psyche. When you start thinking that you're "it" that's a bad place to be.

I love how Garrison Keillor put it:

"My Mother was well composed, a true Lutheran, and taught me to Cheer up, Make yourself useful, Mind your manners, and above all, Don’t feel sorry for yourself. In Minnesota, you learn to avoid self-pity as if it were poison ivy in the woods. Winter is not a personal experience; everyone else is as cold as you are; so don’t complain about it too much."

That's a healthy way of thinking in my opinion.

8/22/2005 11:00 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Appetite - I think the whole band struggled with heroin addiction back in the Appetite days. But yeah, Slash drinks way too much. As bad as Slash is though, Scott Weiland's got much more serious issues so Slash leaving Axl's band for Weiland's is just picking a different poison.

Laura - I'm not that old. ;)

Yeah, maybe it's the messed up ones that we remember. But it does seem that a lot of celebs come from messed up households. Look at some of the young ones, like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan for example. But true, access to globs of money's not always a good thing for a person.

Levi - That is a good quote. Who's Keillor, a writer?

8/22/2005 11:15 AM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

Yo zombieslayer, it's Monday man. Let MJ have it (otherwise you'd have to wait 'til Thursday).

8/22/2005 11:26 AM  
Blogger Mybrid said...

afd, alcohol destroys a lot of people. Celebrities are humans. It's just that they're more in the limelight and their destruction is more visible than the unfamous person destroyed by alcohol.

It's not the alcohol that destroys famous people, but rather their own mental strength and inability to face the changes in their lives and inability to reconcile it with what they expected to happen.

8/22/2005 11:52 AM  
Blogger Levi Nunnink said...

Yup, he's one of my favorite writers. He's halirious and always making fun of political correctness. You'd probably love him.

Check out Wobegon Boy or Lake Wobegon Days for a good introduction.

8/22/2005 12:14 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Only hardcore film geeks know who screenwriters are anyway, so any "fame" I'd get is limited, but yeah, I want it because it equals hitting the pinnacle of my field. If I'd gotten it at 20 I probably would have been another trainwreck, but at 40 I'm ready. So it can come now. Anytime. I'm waiting.

8/22/2005 12:33 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

CS - Where would I start? I'd probably bore everyone to tears.

Mybrid - Ah, another angle. So maybe they're not that much more screwed up, it's just they're under the microscope.

Levi - Cool. I'll check out those links tonight.

Jason - Come to think of it, the only two screenwriters I know are Tarantino and Rodriguez, and I'm supposed to be a film buff. And I only know them because they also direct the movies they write. So you're probably safe to go around saying you wrote this and that movie and no one will know.

Weird how screenwriters do all that work and get no credit, yet everyone knows the faces that walk around pretending to be those characters.

8/22/2005 1:37 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Ron Howard hasn't let his fame get to his head...

Then again, he made that awful Tommy Lee Jones in the woods flick. He must be crazy.

8/22/2005 1:48 PM  
Blogger Mybrid said...

ZS, isn't Spielberg a screenwriter? Or am I off base with my understanding of Hollywood terminology?

8/22/2005 2:23 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

not me! Then I'd have to behave and not look like a slob...

8/22/2005 2:36 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Joe - I'm not sure which movie you're referring to. I think the only movies I've seen that he's directed are Cacoon, Backdraft, Willow, and Cinderella Man. Oh yeah, saw that Grinch movie too but I'm trying to forget I saw that.

Mybrid - No, Spielburg's a director. The screenwriter writes the screenplay, the director adapts the screenplay into a movie. The producer throws money (either his or he gets a bunch of people to put money into it) at the project. Of all three, the screenwriter gets the least credit and also the least pay. Pay's often around $30k and if the movie does exceptionally well, pays still $30k.

Bridget - I can't behave and I'm not in the least bit famous. Maybe that's why I don't want to be famous. ;)

8/22/2005 2:52 PM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I don't think that train wrecks want to be famous. I think it just happens after they are famous. I've seen enough "Behind the Music"'s on VH1 - all the stories are the same except for the person's name. :-P

8/22/2005 4:01 PM  
Blogger dave said...

i agree with you on everything except the rosanne thing. she's straight white trash.

8/22/2005 4:20 PM  
Blogger Moni said...

Well I've never even met a famous person no, not true I saw "Ice T" well I couldnt see him very well he was surrounded by his entourage. lol
I think that the "regular Joe's" seeking fame really don't think about becoming a train wreck. I think they do it partly because they want the attention and partly because they actaully like doing whatever has made them famous.
But when they become famous and are lavished with all that money can buy, a bunch of "yes" people catering to them, and no one to keep them grounded; then their reality becomes skewed. They live in their own little world and all too often are not held accountable for their actions(OJ,MJ,etc...), so when the spotlight fades they have no meaning to them.
Ha! that's my take and little dime store psychology to boot. :) Oh and by-the-way, can I have your autograph? You know, just in case you do write the Great American Novel? ;)

8/22/2005 6:06 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Moni - But when they become famous and are lavished with all that money can buy, a bunch of "yes" people catering to them, and no one to keep them grounded; then their reality becomes skewed. They live in their own little world and all too often are not held accountable for their actions

That was a wonderful explaination.

Dave - yes, but that's probably why I like her. She was so brutally honest about it.

Jen - all the stories are the same except for the person's name. I'm sure the stories for the Rolling Stones are exactly what I read about Motley Crue and are probably the same about who's big today (I have no idea who's big now).

8/22/2005 7:03 PM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

Wait a minute... Were you part of KISS???????

8/22/2005 7:46 PM  
Blogger bsoholic said...

I've never wanted to be famous, nor will I ever. Can some one be famous and not be a trainreck? Probably, but not typical. What bugs me are the Paris Hilton's and Kelly Osbourne's who are famous for no real reason other than they have the money to be famous inherited. Kerpuke! I hold more respect for a famous not all there person who climbed their way to the top other than being handed it in a silver platter. Axl Rose at least earned his right to be a trainreck. Celebrities are a strange breed indeed, and I don't know that I will ever understand their motives, or the motives of the 'celebrity gossip' industry better known as the paparazzi, and why people buy this crap. It's all very mind bogling.

8/22/2005 8:14 PM  
Blogger greatwhitebear said...

It's not that all celebreties are train wreck's. It's just that the train wrecks are news. J-lo and ben and there whoevers are news, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, who have been married over 40 years, are not. James Garner, nice guy, been maried to same woman for over fifty years, not news. Liz Taylor and her howver many husbands.. news.

For every Sean Penn there is a Tom Hanks. It's just that Tom, outside his acting career, is boringly normal. So we hear about Sean.

8/22/2005 8:26 PM  
Blogger allison said...

i'm going to comment on appetite for destruction's comment.

in what way is Axl Rose a psycho? Do you know him personally or are you getting this info from the media?

I'm just curious that's all. I had a poster of him in my room when I was 9.

8/22/2005 8:42 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Allison - He's managed to alienate every single person close to him, even Izzy. The band I used to roadie for partied with GnR and I knew a girl who, well, was a groupie. The other guys were very approachable, except for Axl who would be a sweetheart one minute and the next minute, everyone would be leaving the room in disgust.

His mood swings were so fast that everyone was constantly walking on egg shells around him. He always had to have things his way, like when he one day before a show forced everyone to sign that the name Guns and Roses belonged to him or else he wouldn't play that night. That's how he owns the name to Guns and Roses while none of the other members do.

Izzy's the only one of the original members who's somewhat in touch with him. He sent Axl 30 songs to work with for that Chinese Democracy album that will probably never come out. Just in case people don't know this, Izzy was the primary writer in GnR.

Gilby Clarke couldn't even deal with him and he's supposebly the nicest guy. He replaced Izzy.

Sure they all had their own problems, but the other members knew that they had to be professional and put their differences aside. Axl had to have it his way or no way at all.

Slash said he was the last to leave GnR and tried everything compromise he could to salvage the band, but eventually gave up.

Now I'm not denying his talent. Axl's still one of my fav singers. But I'm sure if I knew him, I wouldn't get along with him.

Greatwhitebear - So true. Another example, Kirk Douglas, who was in my 2nd favorite Western ever (Lonely are the Brave), has been married for 60+ years to the same woman. If you've never seen that movie, definitely check it out. It was based off an Edward Abbey novel. Abbey's one of my fav authors.

Bsoholic - Hilton grates on me. But I don't really blame her, I blame the celebrity machine for making a celebrity out of someone for inheriting money. Kelly Osbourne can't sing and she's painful to watch, especially from someone who has so much respect for her father.

ZL - I'm not that old. ;)
My last band was a Death Metal band. It was a blast, but we lost money doing it and eventually threw in the towel. By then, the metal scene was in its worst state ever. It started picking up again in the late 90s, but metal's very underground now.

Check out the mp3 I'm posting tomorrow. That will be my favorite album of the 2000s so far. I don't think they've ever come to America though because metal here's just not big enough.

8/22/2005 9:36 PM  
Blogger tenxinchoden said...

Axl rose....umm....no comments!

you ask 'why do eveyone wants to be famous?'....ya me too...can't understand that....its no big deal...
i hate the fact that many singer are also acting....seelin their own colth lines and doin zillion other things at the same time.....man! they really can't give it up!! pity!

8/22/2005 9:37 PM  
Blogger Bo Salisbury said...

I must admit it... I can still remember the first time I saw Axl Rose, singing Welcome To The Jungle on MTV... I think I was on my lunch break. I loved it. He's the only person I've ever seen who can do the stroll as good as my wife -- he looks like a walking snake.

I think the key to the phenomena you describe is this: humans are wired to be relational (in my opinion, like their creator). When you get famous, by necessity you have to be segregated from normal society or you'll be mobbed or worse. As these people become further detached from the mundane, workaday world and normal people, they get nuttier and nuttier. If you throw in some controlling "handlers," fawning publicists, drugs / alchohol and you shut out any sort of personal accountability or criticism, you are DOOMED.

If you haven't seen The Aviator, it's an excellent case study.

8/22/2005 9:50 PM  
Blogger allison said...

zombie- hmmm interesting. If that's true I feel bad for him.......but in no way am I upset b/c I'm really feeling this whole Velvet Revolver thing.


bo- you're a genius

8/22/2005 10:06 PM  
Blogger Polkageist said...

Just a random note on you preparing for the upcoming zombie outbreak. My friend is also following in your footsteps and presented me with the following question: If I(my friend Nick) turned into a zombie and cornered me, would I be able to shoot him.

And I didn't know how to answer that. One, I'm insanely phobic of any sort of weapon. And I realize that once he's a zombie, he's not really Nick anymore. But, yeah. So, I still remain without an answer.

Just thought I'd drop you a line. <3

8/22/2005 10:38 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Allison - Well, I shouldn't say that I hate Axl. That's not fair. He's just difficult to deal with. As for Velvet Revolver, my youngest brother loves them but I have yet to allow them to grow on me. I really need to give them more of a chance.

Bo - I really need to see The Aviator. I sat in for a Scorcese class too, seeing all of his 70s movies. I also like Cate Blanchett a lot, posting her previously as a hot babe.

Your description of fame was interesting. A detachment, huh? I can see that. As Moni has said earlier, they get surrounded by yes men and detached from reality as well as from real relationships.

Yes, we are relational animals and you take someone away from society and you get people like the Unabomber.

8/22/2005 10:42 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Polkageist - Uh oh. You're going to have to do better than that if you're going to survive the upcoming zombie plague. Your friend Nick is a good friend indeed if he's confronting your fears now. don't you see what he's doing? He's preparing you. You need to hang out more with this guy.

8/22/2005 10:47 PM  
Blogger allison said...

i really like Velvet Revolver but they're scarey to watch b/c you know that lead singer they have isn't reliable. (The STP frontman)

I watched making the video on MTV and he was 8 hours late to shoot his own video. That band is unfortunately a time bomb......hate to be the one to say it but he will most likely overdose on drugs.

8/22/2005 10:52 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Allison - Scott Weiland's a walking time bomb. It's too bad because the guy has so much talent and so much stage presense. He doesn't have the vocal range of Axl, but he still has so many other assets.

He's been in and out of rehab though, and even been forced to go to rehab several times. He's a big time manic depressive and he self-destructs many of the otherwise good relationships in his life. As you could tell, I read too much. ;)

I'd be surprised if Velvet Revolver lasts for two more albums. I guess we'll see.

8/22/2005 10:58 PM  
Blogger allison said...

yeah its sad but you can only try to help someone so much. At first I thought he was just looking for attention but now I think he just wants to be a rock n roll martyr....if that makes sense.

That came across as rude but that isn't at all how I intended it to be.

I really was/still am a huge GNR fan. The performance at the MTV awards a couple years ago was terrible......i felt bad for them.

8/22/2005 11:08 PM  
Blogger dusty said...

yo..axl is an egomanical dude..but i do not hate him.he might even have a bi-polar thing going on from what i have read about him. as far as being a nimrod, i believe that people who stay grounded can handle being a celebrity. They do not read or believe their own press bs..and of the "famous" people I have met, roughly half were turds and stuck on their own celebrity-ness, the other half were nice,polite and said "thank you" when i said something nice about them.

8/23/2005 1:31 AM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

I'm 100% with you. I think fame does weird things to people very, very slowly so that they don't even know they are becoming weird.
The money and the publicity should be abnormal to the average person, yet slowly--these people adjust to it and crave it and ultimately--need it.
It's kinda sad really.
The famous are not real people. They are odd versions of their former selves.
I'd rather keep my identity and suffer the challenge of never being ultra rich or famous.

8/23/2005 2:24 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

ZS - You've got similar Metal tastes as my old roomate Soulreaper at Entartete Kunst blog. His favorite band was (maybe still is even though they're gone) is Helloween. Nordic death metal is his specialty. ;P

8/23/2005 4:50 AM  
Blogger Mel said...

Damn Z! Looks like the spammers have found you;D

I'll tell ya, "Appetite for Destruction" is still one of my favorite albums. I could go on and on about. Unfortunately, Axl DOES seem a little psycho. I love how Slash and the others have moved on and formed Velvet Revolver. I totally love them. But I think Scott Wieland is just another Axl waiting to happen.

I loved Roseanne too. For her honesty and balls.

I would never want fame. Not only would I hate to lose my privacy, I would hate to have to deal with all of the people trying to knock me down. It wouldn't be worth it to me. Just show me the money and I'll be happy:D

8/23/2005 5:52 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

I'm not interested in being famous at all. Having money would be nice, except then you have to worry about some psycho taking your kids or dogs hostage to get that fortune.

I'd like just enough to pay the bills and be able to buy a few extra cookies.

8/23/2005 6:01 AM  
Blogger Slade said...

holy mother of the equator!!! I have never seen so many comments on your blog...looks like you are extremely popular--oh wait, it's the effing spam again!!!! WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!!!!!!!

ZS, you seriously need to sic some zombies on these mo-fos!

I loved the Rosanne show too--liked the reality of it.

8/23/2005 6:33 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Nobody believes it will happen for them I think, and even if they do, they don't think it through. I would love to be famous, but I would probably hate it too.

8/23/2005 7:33 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

Who the hell cares about fame? I want fortune!

I think it's possible to have fame and not be a trainwreck. You jus have to be a certain type of peson for that.

8/23/2005 7:44 AM  
Blogger Mybrid said...

If someone figures out how to get back at these blog spammers, could you please publish the method? I'd love to participate in spamming them back!

8/23/2005 8:20 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Mybrid - No idea if they're anonymous. I'm thinking of using that one method where you have to type what you see before you can post. I know it's a pain, but it will get rid of the bots.

PC - Who the hell cares about fame? I want fortune!

Yup. That's how I am too.

Scott - You think some might be famous by surprise? Possibly. I guess some think the odds are so skewed against them that it's a pleasant surprise when they "make it." But then they can't deal with it.

Slade - Another reason to look forward to the zombie plague. Spammers will be fed to Zombie Lama and his people.

Gretchen - Cookies? I could bake you some of those. ;)

Mel - I still don't see why Slash, Duff, and Matt formed a band with Scott Wieland. They leave Axl because they can't deal with his emotional problems and now they got a guy with severe drug problems. Nice going guys. But then again, how many singers have the presence of Scott Wieland?

Laura - I'll definitely have to check him out. I like some of the better Nordic death metal.

Sadie - I think fame does weird things to people very, very slowly so that they don't even know they are becoming weird.

Sad thing is I laughed at that. Yes, these people get so weird they don't know they're weird.

Dusty - Funny thing is Perfect 10 magazine does a waiter poll where waiters in Beverly Hills tell the magazine about their dealings. Some of the famous folk are genuinely pleasant people, some are rude and obnoxious. What's strange is it's either or, not much in between.

Allison - I'll always like GnR. I'll separate the music from the people. I heard both Beethoven and Paganini were difficult to deal with. Tchaikovsky used to always want to be alone and spent a lot of his free time crying. He eventually killed himself. I guess things haven't changed. ;)

8/23/2005 10:48 AM  

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