Who Is Your Rock Star Avatar?

Posted: October 8, 2010 in Early sobriety, Synapse Misfires
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I wanted to be a rock star.  Not just as a kid or young adult.  I’ve always wanted to be a rock star.  Everyone does.  Don’t lie.  This, despite the fact that my voice is at best average, I can’t sight-read music, and I never learned to play an instrument.  My qualifications for entering the world of popular music might lead me toward a position as roadie (or groupie, more likely, 15 years ago) or, more optimistically, as an unscrupulous tour manager likely to skim off the top. None of these realities interfere with my grabbing a hairbrush and doing my best Debbie Harry when a Blondie song comes on.

My unfulfilled rock-n-roll fantasy came to mind as I finished my meditation this morning, which abjured me to put into practice the following mantra today:  “I am what I think.”  This simple admonition is deceptive; it’s hard as hell for me–and many of us–to turn this into a positive.  We have a self-destructive juke-box in our cerebellums playing the soundtracks we know best:  the songs of failure, doubt, and regret.  If I am what I think, given this playlist, things look grim.  Well, thought I, what if I just think I’m a rock star??? For me, thinking I’m a rock star is about as nuts as thinking I am a “capable, competent, caring, compassionate woman” like my meditation practice recommends I do, so why the hell not?

Ah, but WHICH rock star?  I don’t really look like any rock star at the moment.  I really WISH I looked like Joan Jett–who hasn’t just aged well, but has aged hot! Maybe if she hadn’t dyed her hair blond…

We have so much in common! She had a cool shag mullet in the seventies when she was in an all girl glam-punk band.  I had a lame southern mullet in the eighties and desperately wanted to be in an all girl glam-punk band. 

She supported Howard Dean… I supported Howard Dean.  She made out with Carmen Elektra… I want to make out with Carmen Elektra…  It’s like not even six degrees of separation here.  We’re practically twins.

I do think that if you’re going to choose a Personal Rock Avatar, it helps to have these kinds of connections with your icon.  And I think it works better with aging rockers:  that way you can see either how far you’ve come or how down you’ll go.  (So you babies who want to identify with Lady Gaga… wait twenty years.)  Joan Jett made her mark by looking awesome and punking up other people’s songs–and still does, no matter how old she gets.  She can’t act, but she was in a movie.  She was even voted “The Queen of Rock-n-Roll” in 2010, despite not having an actual hit since maybe 1981.  That’s the kind of rock mojo I could use this morning.  I am what I think:  I think I could be Joan Jett, dammit!

My partner looks just like Ann Wilson (of Heart fame) with red hair.  More good aging rock star mojo.  Ann and Nancy Wilson became the first true frontwomen of a band–not just solo vocalists.  They led an otherwise male group.  When their seventies hard rock style went out of fashion in the eighties, they got down on their knees in front of Capital music producers and said they would do anything, anything to be successful again.  Yes, they said, we will completely sell out; we will become vessels for the kind of pop music only fit for aerobicizing and muzak.  And they were bigger than ever! (Tell me you haven’t heard “These Dreams” in the supermarket in the last month.)  Now that Ann has stopped apologizing for her Twinkie addiction, she’s definitely as big as ever, and still AWESOME.  She and her sister could care less about how they look or how lame their new compositions have gotten–they just go out there and ROCK ON.

Two years ago my mother bought the kids Hannah Montana wigs (and good lord we don’t want to think about that train wreck in 20 years).  My brother tried one on as a joke and, tah-dah!, he looked just like Ozzy Osbourne.  ‘Nuff said there.  It’s amazing that the Betty Ford clinic is still standing.  But, you know, having drunk, smoked, and snorted just about everything under the sun (including a line of ants, I’m told), he’s gone from being the grotesque King of Metal attended by bloody, headless bats to being the 21st century’s best trans-Atlantic dad.  From terrifying our own parents with his macabre lyrics during the Sabbath years, he’s now the poster-child for modern fatherhood by always putting the FUN in dysFUNctional.  Sure, he’s incomprehensible these days, and his wife and daughter are infinitely more famous and popular, despite (as far as I can tell) having maybe one tenth of one percent of his natural talent… but does he care?  No way.  Not the Oz-Man.  Mojo, baby.

A few years ago, I saw the greatest music group EVER:  they are a local troupe (to refer to them as a musical act would be stretching it) that call themselves Hip Hop Nation.  They are three white people with no musical ability, little rhythm, and a sense of “style” that would make Flavor Flav sober up, wear a polo shirt and khakis, and go to a real dentist.  The female member of the group jumps around in leotards and other spandex-items, shouting “Release your inner white girl!!!”  They perform at the 4th of July festival and around town at Waffle Houses.  They have no talent and no shame and are urgent about both.  I try to see them any time I can.

What I like about Joan Jett, Ann Wilson, Ozzy Osbourne, and (especially) Hip Hop Nation is that they really are what they think they are.  They ARE rock stars, even if they’re not anymore… or just… not.

(Please share your own Rock Star Avatar in a comment, if you like!)

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