A friend and I were talking about music and the music business, and we asked each other what it would be like to play music in a really popular, but really awful, band. I call this the Adrian Young conversation. Adrian was the drummer of No Doubt. I remember watching their videos as a kid and just thinking that he seemed so cool. Not that No Doubt was an awful band, but their music did get worse as their fan base grew, and each album seemed more and more boring to me. Yet, through it all, Adrian seemed pretty cool. Was I just fooled by the Mohawk? Possibly. But he seemed like a punk rocker who accidentally ended up in a bland pop rock band. I always imagined that some part of him must have hated the band he was in.
Yet, he was getting paid a lot of money. To drum. Maybe he loved the music or maybe he hated it, but he was getting paid to drum. Most people don’t get paid a lot of money, let alone to do something fun. I’m sure I’d join any terrible band out there if it meant getting paid a lot of money. To drum.
But that’s not what I actually wanted to talk about. I wanted to write about this weird video that is as hilarious as it is horribly depressing. It features the lead singer of Smash Mouth yelling at the crowd to stop “throwing shit at the stage!” Smash Mouth is another bland band who used to be quite popular. Now they are that weird sort of washed-up popular, the kind that plays free music festivals sponsored by the city. This particular free show was at Taste of Fort Collins, where people in Colorado had been given free loaves of bread. Not sure what to do with the bread, people began throwing it, and after some landed on stage, the lead singer, Steve Harwell, began to curse out the all-ages crowd, ready to fight anyone.
The more known you are, the more people expect from you.
What’s hilarious about this video is that…uh…it was bread. Calm down dude. I mean, Justin Bieber took a water bottle to the face as a kid, and just kept telling the crowd that he loved them. So yeah, Steve, what are you really upset about? If I had to guess, then I’d say that you probably resent the fact that you’ve become the lead singer of Thousand-Person-Karaoke, and all they want to sing are the one or two hits you wrote 15 years ago. Getting paid a lot to be in a lame band has its drawbacks.
As a security guard steps behind Harwell and the bread-throwing crowd, the rest of the band start laying down some well-known riffs, eventually breaking into one of their greatest hits of the 1990s. The crowd soon realizes that they don’t actually need the full band to have a good time, and begin singing the catchy, upbeat lyrics themselves. Upon realizing that his life is essentially a joke now, Harwell simply leaves the stage.
What’s the point of all this? Fuck if I know. I guess getting paid to play music would be pretty cool, but not all that fun. The more known you are, the more people expect from you. At least all us struggling artists have the freedom to do whatever we want and be whoever we are, and something so dumb as a piece of thrown bread is unlikely to ruin our day.