Check out entertainment industry lawyer and blogger Bob Lefsetz sobering takes on some of your favorite music and entertainment industry icons:
On Charlie Sheen
If you’re on TV as an end unto itself, you’re close to the end. Just wait for cancellation or the termination of your contract. An analogue is Charlie Sheen. He’s only good as a TV star, he can’t go back on the road, his cable show gets him paid but he’s fallen off the radar screen, he’s never on TMZ or Radar. Charlie made the mistake of not knowing who he was. And not knowing that everybody’s got a boss. Hell, that’s the goal of being a rock star, to have no boss, which is why when you whore yourself out to corporations, you’re in trouble. A rock star’s only boss is his audience. And when done right, your audience follows you, just ask Neil Young.
On Paula Abdul
Being famous for being famous doesn’t pay that well. Certainly once you’re past your peak. Just ask Paris Hilton. (As for Kim Kardashian…just because she got her ass through the door, don’t think it hasn’t shut closed, that this paradigm isn’t dead.) Abdul’s always looking for someone else to make her a deal. Today’s rock stars are their own corporations. If you’re looking for someone else to give you a check, you’re barely different from Paula Abdul. As for the starmakers who created her public persona… Jordan Harris hasn’t been heard from in eons, and even Jeff Ayeroff has faded into the woodwork.
His only press is emaciated pictures and rumors that he’s dying. If you think you want to be a child actor, just look at him, he was the biggest.
On Bon Jovi
Selling nostalgia. He’s too afraid to be edgy, so he’s on the scrapheap.
On Bruce Springsteen
Only the fans care. Because he gave up his mystery. Once upon a time Bruce was the repository of all our darkness, our pain and frustration. If he’s still that guy, he won’t show it. Now he’s the ringmaster, the court jester, it’s all about sheen and no substance. And if you’re arguing with me I feel sorry for you, it means your head is so buried in your own crap that you can’t dispassionately see the landscape. Keep your day job, because you’ll never be a bigwig. Winners know when to leave their passion at the door. That’s businessmen, artists are all about passion. No passion, no artistry.
On Tom Wolfe
Spends nearly a decade writing a book that is essentially dead on arrival. Reviews might not mean anything in music, barely more in film, but in literature, they’re everything, because it takes so long to read a damn book! Wolfe missed the memo. Who he once was is king once again. He should be writing a constant stream of essays, being in front of your audience is everything today.
On Warner Brothers Records
Home to the artist through every generation until the last one, now remade in the Atlantic image it’s the home of evanescent hits. Only it hasn’t got any. It’s too late to resuscitate it and it can’t be merged with Atlantic, not yet anyway, it’s in a death spiral.
Stay in the public eye long enough and the truth is revealed. Larry David was the talent. Jerry’s losing cred every day. If you think his talking in cars videos were worth watching, you’re probably still playing video games on your Nintendo Entertainment System.
Do you know anybody with a Nokia phone? Those who’ve still got ’em aren’t admitting it.
On The People Saying The Web Is Bad
Probably hanging with those who hated Alexander Graham Bell’s invention. The Web is here to stay. And only ignorant bastards like John Mellencamp are too stupid to realize it’s not 2003 anymore, and that if you’re fighting piracy, if you’re looking to Google for cash, you’ve never used Spotify, you don’t realize music is free on Windows 8 and you didn’t read Google’s numbers and don’t know mobile is a huge threat to the company. If you’re not living in tomorrow, you’ve got no chance today.
On a victory lap where people truly hope someone dies on stage. It’s akin to NASCAR, people watch to see the crashes. Then again, there’s a healthy dose of nostalgia for an era so long ago that even the Stones can’t replicate those tunes, never mind the energy. If the press were smart, they’d ignore the story. But the press is dumb.
On Jim McMahon
Can’t remember his Super Bowl victory. If you don’t think football is gonna go extinct, rather soon, you still think people know who the heavyweight champion is and you’ve got no idea what percentage of kids play soccer.
The laugh is on us. She and her family got rich. The more you bitched how ignorant she was, the fatter her wallet became. Now even Fox doesn’t want her, but she doesn’t care! She’s lived the American Dream!
The new can go extinct. Hell, just watch Zynga!
Uh, so much for pop culture icons, right?