You know, as far as democracy, it's kind of back to the major label system nowadays except instead of major labels it's publicists. It is like our democracy in a sense because everything is bought, public opinion is purchased. But I don't know- the idea of a band being a democracy, hmm. I don't know!
In your book, you don't seem to think that a band where each member has equal representation is a recipe for success.
Hah! Yeah, that's true. I mean, honestly, the book is written in such a flippant way...
You have a section of the book where you compare three music documentaries - The Beatles Let It Be, the Stones One Plus One, and Metallica's Some Kind of Monster- in terms of the way that these films show the intra-band communication. What's the message in comparing these films, and what does theMetallica filmsay in terms of how things have progressed to now regarding band communication?
Hah - I dunno, I mean, with that Metallica film I'm just so impressed that they released that thing. You watch it and you wonder whether the band is really deluded about how the film looks, or if they are just really cool in being willing to be so vulnerable. It's just wild. I don't know if it's "cool," it's more just wild. But the same way with the Beatles; everyone watches the Let It Be movie and they're like "Oh, oh, it's so depressing!" I mean, what's so depressing about people talking about arranging a song. It's really weird.
If anyone watching Let It Be had actually recorded a song themselves, they might not think the movie is that depressing.
Exactly! It's such a weird idea, like is everyone on Prozac? It's such a weird thing to me, the idea that that movie is some harrowing emotional journey. I mean, anyone who's been in any kind of relationship at all shouldn't find Let It Be that weird. But yeah, that Metallica movie, it's all reality TV, the way they let it all hang out.
But it's not salacious for it's own purposes- the film shows how cornered they were at that point. Like the scene where they are being asked to do this lame radio promo, and their manager is like "Yeah, you have to do this, or else these radio stations won't play you."
Yeah, totally. Basically, every group that attains that kind of success, then people get into the money thing. Like that Beatles book,You Never Give Me Your Money. I mean, now that people have given the Beatles their love, now they need to rip them apart. It must be this 40-year hangover or something. Like that book, orLennon Remembers; printing this guy's rants, how weird that that's what people want from the band.
People love the songs, but people also love the ego clashes, in terms of what they get out of music, or what they get out of artists.
Oh totally. And maybe that's what Metallica felt was missing. Maybe Some Kind of Monster was this canny thing, like they got together and were like "We don't have this Mick and Keith soap opera attached to our group; let's introduce it now." Or Phil Spector being a psychotic; it's like a way to inject that kind of drama into this group that - I mean, I'm not a Metallica fan, so I wasn't aware of their personalities, but now I am! And now, the narrative of the group becomes more poignant.