Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Singular Sensation?

I just Tweeted the following: "I'm not used to causing such a ruckus." But you can't see that unless you follow me, and to date, I've only allowed 118 people that dubious honor (?). Twitter's sort of the last place I have where I can openly vocalize with little retribution, unlike here on my blog, which is open to the public, as I keep my Twitter account secured, for good reason.

Wayne Coyne might be used to causing a ruckus, but I'm not (despite evidence to the contrary at my son's school). And I just want to slap him upside the head sometimes (Wayne, not Luke). Like now, for example. He's off giving interviews about what's tentatively entitled "The Terror," the next Flaming Lips record release. Wayne is buzzing around the internet fueling drug rumors within the Flaming Lips, even about himself and his own drug use (which is a highly questionable thing) but I've found myself joining forums, stamping out fires and sticking up for the good name of my friend, Steven, who's been rumored to be presently grappling with active addiction, when in truth, he isn't, and sticking up for myself, defending my own honor, to overly sensitive fans who think I've discredited, ill-framed, misunderstood or otherwise insulted them because of *how much* they love The Flaming Lips. Like I said before, The Flaming Lips love you. Trust that. They've shown that immeasurably. And now I find myself defensive against ONE of The Flaming Lips, neither Steven nor Wayne.

It would further appear, in a comment from tonight on the message board I joined to introduce myself and wage my opinion based on the few details Steven gave me to the legions of really, legitimately worried about Drozd fans, that drummer Kliph Scurlock is on the "Annie overstepped her boundaries, Pro-Wayne" brigade. That's fine. The Slow Nerve Action message board was forwarded to me, as the RS article was forwarded to me by literal dozens of fans and friends who were speculating, assuming and believing Wayne's statements as Biblical truisms, that Steven was in a REALLY bad place right now, when, as I'm sure, Scurlock already knows he isn't.  My original blog was complaining about the Rolling Stone article and equally blaming both the journalist who penned the piece in tandem with what any intellectually reasonable individual would recognize were quotes taken out of context and were "shaped," if you will, into a cohesive and dramatic story. I'm a writer, sir. I have been trained in manipulating dialogue to form a fictional but contextually accurate piece of prose. I spent quite a bit of time as a music critic/reviewer/radio show producer. I can look at an interview or an article from a critical standpoint, I know when enough is enough, and by God, when my ex-husband interviewed Steven last year, the volume of crucial information they shared had to be split into 2 parts. My ex is a critic, and a very good one. He asks the right questions. The RS douchebag didn't and Wayne answered them poorly.

I don't talk to Kliph, their touring drummer. (To the best of my knowledge, Drozd still plays the drums on most of the studio tracks.) I've run into him probably 5 times in the last couple of years and he is too busy being a rock star (far more aloof than Coyne even is) to even give me a second glance; hence, I guess I wrote him off as a lost cause a long time ago and could quite honestly care less.

 Scurlock's snippy comment:

Reply by Kliph

Hey, Andrea, the members of the band are more than capable of speaking on their own behalf if and when such a thing is deemed necessary.  Your positioning of yourself as some kind of insider is coming off in such a way that would drive you up the wall if someone else was doing it, so maybe you can just let the good people discuss what they wish to discuss without feeling you have to correct everyone.  I mean, what else is there to discuss about the new record until it leaks?

Actually, you're dead wrong, Kliph. If there were rumors or conjecture floating around for millions of people to see, about my personal life and my past history, and my friends and fans saw it but I didn't...while Steven feels strong enough to fight it of or ignore it, he needs to protect the fragility of his family at any cost, as would I with my own family. (Though I'd get into a shouting match with someone first.) If I were faced with the challenge Steven had this week via Wayne via the press, I'd be pissed off too.

The gang at Slow Nerve Action were discussing the new record. I *clearly* saw that.  I only joined the site so I could defend my blog posting, after a random forum member had posted a link towards my blog to Slow Nerve Action and the subject of Steven's condition came up in the forum. What else is there to talk about until the record comes out, Kliph, let me see if I remember?????

Oh yeah. Two articles/interviews with Wayne that made it online in the last week directly implying that someone I care about was in a very dark, dangerous place, writing death songs and taking a lot of drugs, perpetually schnockered.

I might be a professional agitator, but it doesn't seem like many people pay much attention to the shenaniganathon I rouse here and there, and I was more or less content to stay out of any shit storms, certainly on forums and boards I of either knew nothing or didn't frankly care regarding the band.

Understand, Kliph, that I was pointed towards Slow Nerve Action and only signed up for posting on it 2-3 days ago. I generally stay away from fan boards and forums because if and when there's something I want to know that's out there, yeah, call it what you want, but I have some insider information. To the best of my knowledge, I "corrected" no one on the online forum. Reassured them, more accurately. I was in the middle of writing a blog that had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the Lips until the streams of concern came flooding me, the Tweets, the Facebook links, etc. and I could tell on my blog software that most of my hits were coming from Slow Nerve Action, a site I'd never even heard of.

I was sent to the site, saw that my blog entry (my intellectual property) had been posted and was going around, and felt compelled to introduce myself and clarify some of what I had written. Part of that is because I hold copyright laws on my intellectual property and don't want to see it misused, misquoted or misconstrued without me being able to back myself up. Have I since found out MORE "insider" information? Yes, but it's none of other fans' business, nor does it directly, forcefully affect you, Kliph. It affects Steven. He's the one who has to, and by all his graciousness and dedication, clean all the shit off his shoes.

Do you have a single clue as to what it's like to be in drug and alcohol recovery after years of abuse, when such substances, like liquor, are readily available and socially acceptable at your local grocery store? Couple that with the pressure of the road, and everyone drinking or drugging, and that causes the recovering addict a tremendous amount of anxiety, regardless of how centered your chakras might be. Addiction is insidious. No matter how healthy you are in mind, body and spirit, the impetus to fall from grace is CONSTANTLY there. Steven might play it down, the same way I do in front of all of my friends, but I'd be uncomfortable too if I were him, surrounded by enticing mayhem.

Did I want to become an internet phenom? Yeah, I totally wanted and prayed for thousands of interested parties to land on my blog and enjoy my daily snippets of insanity in hopes that one day I wind up published or with a paid writing gig, at least. Did I want to become an internet phenom who was either loved or hated by legions of fans of The Flaming Lips, all over my last blog of substance? I'm honestly not sure. I wholeheartedly appreciate the readership, which has grown in spades, but felt the need, on one board in particular, to vocalize a little bit of my annoyance regarding what's presently being published about the band online, which is largely Wayne's fault, but that it hasn't really bothered Steven terribly (as of a couple days ago), or he hasn't taken it very personally, knowing Wayne better than just about anybody and brushing off what can be easily misconstrued as REALLY bad press in order to promote a new record.

Is Wayne flipping out on drugs? I highly doubt it. According to a reliable source, there is conjecture on various message boards and within Facebook groups of fans trying to frame Wayne's recent press with anecdotal "I heard from a guy who heard from a dancer that Wayne hasn't taken acid since he was 17..." and "There was that one picture of Wayne drunk on absinthe..." Just all sorts of rumored crap. People LOVE to speculate. People love to conspire and guess and conclude lots of things that have no basis in reality.

No, I completely don't think Wayne is low enough and is being quoted in the manner as an effort to exploit Steven for the band's general gain. As I've said before, the very first night I met the band in 1994, I journaled what I thought of each of them and said that Wayne was "hot and acted like a rock star," and Steven was "cute and nice." (I also said that I had trouble telling if Ronald Jones was a man or a woman, and that I didn't hear a single word come out of Michael Ivins' mouth.) Wayne STILL acts like a rock star. Wayne wants to sell records and concert tickets, for that is the business his band is in. He's a consummate professional rock star, even when his judgment seems illogical. I think, if anything, Steven's being TOO nice about the recent press which portrays him as a hot mess. He's hot, for sure, but a mess? No. He said tonight that he was unaware of "the suicide part" of the Rolling Stone interview/angle, and was frankly, now at this point, "pretty pissed about it."

I'm getting mixed reviews about my blog entry. Some sources related to the publicity and public knowledge about the band are very kindly promoting my blog in general, enjoying lots of various entries, though I haven't, myself, seen the entirety of the feedback about the "Raging Against the Machine" entry, as a lot of it is taking place in a private Facebook group that, to my knowledge, I'm not a member of. A lot of people were happy that *someone* cleared the air and put some rumors to rest, happy to hear Steven's doing okay. Still others took offense to my moniker of "Superfans," suddenly feeling self-conscious about their level of fandom and wondering who and what the hell I have to do with the whole scene.

Above: one of the photos from last summer's first Chicago "Soft Bulletin" show, where Steven and I met up after the show along with my Guy Friend to visit. (For the sake of Guy Friend's anonymity, I'm not going to post pictures including his face from the evening in which he was included unknowingly taken by like a dozen over-enthusiastic fans.) Does Steven *look* like he appreciates the flashbulbs inundating us as we greeted one another? Not so much, to me anyway.  But nobody can accuse Steven of not being a good sport, even when he's trying to carry on a private conversation with someone and keeps getting interrupted and people amusingly keep photobombing your discussion. My feeling was, "Look. This is OUR time. I don't get to see this guy very often and I wanted to visit with him and have him meet Guy Friend. Can you give us some space?" which I guess was an entitlement I didn't deserve. But that means Steven didn't deserve it either, which is douchey. I completely comprehend that after a show, he's got dozens of people to visit with, me being only one of them, but we barely got out our mutual "You look great!" to one another before the flurry of cameras and interruptions began, honestly sort of spoiling my time.

Ok, we're just trying to have a little chat. From the photograph, we look like we're in a heated debate over abortion rights, or Glen Beck, or killing baby bunnies! He's trying to piece together my old man + me, and asking me if I thought the show was really appropriate for my then-11-year old son the next night. Did all of Facebook need to see that in pictures? No, not really. What *could* we have been talking about that made Steven look so intense while I was probably rambling randomly like I always do? He looks, like, deeply concerned. About God knows what.

On one of the forums in which I felt compelled to get involved, I explained that earlier that evening, as Guy Friend and I sat in the VIP balcony, Guy Friend enjoying the free beer!, I was yanked over to the edge of the velvet rope separating the section and seats by an usher who said that a young lady wanted to talk to me, recognizing me from Facebook. Attempting to get backstage, and aware of my friendship with Steven, I tried to politely say "no" to her when she asked me for a pass. It's not that I minded meeting either her or any my other "Facebook/Twitter Flaming Lips friends," because some of them are awesome and it was a nice chance to see one another face-to-face in the real world. Honestly. There are some terrific Lips fans out there who I'm happy to have met.

This young lady, however, is the frame--the embodiment--of what I termed in my last blog as a "superfan." She's asked me in Twitter direct messages how I can even *compose myself* to *talk* to Steven, when he's so beautiful and amazing and a genius, feeling that she'd turn into a pile of mush in his presence. The answer? Very easily. Because to me, his celebrity notwithstanding, he's just A GUY, people. I think it's neat that he's in an awesome band that puts out great music, whose shows are spectacular to witness. I like it when I can talk openly and frankly with him about things we have in common, which are many. I appreciate it when he calls me out on my bullshit, or when he tells me I'm annoying him (which isn't typical, but my God, the saddling with which I've burdened the poor man over the years...if he's "used" at all by me, it's as a sounding board/advice giver/confidant, of, frankly, more crap than he wants to know about, though he finds endless amusement in the stories of my relationship with Guy Friend, "The Cardiologist").  He's really fucking smart and funny, even wittier now that he's healthy and not blabbering about booze all the time. His warm reception, patience and friendliness are all wonderful qualities in him, as is the case with Wayne and the other Lips. They are gracious, kind, mannered, easily-relatable men with their hearts in the right place. Scurlock? He's proven himself to be kind of a douche.

Gasp! I'm posting a pic w/the vague back of Guy Friend's head and torso. Pretend you don't see him. But it's another example of us being bombed trying to have our conversation:

The young lady has, what I would psychologically term a "fantasy" discussion with Steven (in the event she ever had a chance to talk to him) about his family history of suicide, about the status of his mental heath, about drugs & alcohol, and separately, music or photography. She has, in her head, a litany of topics and questions she wishes she could ask him, which I've told her I'm either unaware of the total picture or it's not my place to discuss, because some things are just none of anybody's damn business.  She says she can relate to a lot in his life, but I flatly told her that there are certain parts of Steven's life he isn't comfortable talking to anyone about--it's not a personal slight, he's just entitled to his own thoughts and feelings and working them out for and by himself.

The reason why I brought her up (anonymously) in the online forum was purely fueled by my aggravation (and please, I'm sure there have been times when my own constantly blinging phone has irritated Steven himself when he's in the middle of things) last week when, as I said, I was in the middle of my Adler School timed, impromptu pop culture essay required for admission to the school.  I did answer her direct messages, but vaguely and quickly, just to get them to go away while I worked on my essay. (Note for next time: turn phone OFF.)

My mom tried explaining, over dinner, her idea of fanaticism about a celebrity. She said that, back in the day, if she knew someone who knew Elvis Presley, she'd be all over that person to get an autograph or meet him. That she's go nuts trying to get to Elvis. She said that when she was young, obviously before social media, fans bought music or film magazines religiously and wanted ALL the information on an artist or group (hey, I was no different in the 80's with Menudo, for crying out loud). I understood her perspective, truly, I did.

Now, George Harrison is/was/will always be my favorite musician of all time. About maybe 15-20 years ago, when I was attending Beatlefest annually, because I'm a Beatlemaniac, George Harrison's elder sister, Louise, was making the convention rounds trying to promote interest in her burgeoning environment-saving organization (the name of which has since slipped my mind). I introduced myself to Louise, and offered to volunteer for her organization working tables, including helping out securing a raffle prize of a gym membership (to my local gym) for her charity's appearance in Chicago the following summer. Louise and I continued to correspond by mail for quite some time thereafter, though her charity went belly-up and she sort of retired to life in rural IL, of all places.

But it's like this: I was thisclose to a Beatle, my favorite Beatle. My favorite artist EVER. At the time, I never once even gave it a thought to remotely even ask Louise if she could procure for me his autograph (I'm not a big autograph hound anyway) or somehow get me in touch with George. Because even as a late teens/early 20's youngster, I didn't feel it was right to use somebody to get to somebody else. It's just not in my personality makeup, and while I can see where this young woman Lips fan is coming from, I've learned a lot about celebrities and perspective, as well as their quirks and rights to privacy, having worked with, met, corresponded with or otherwise landed in the same boat as lots of famous people in my life. Celebrities/musicans/artists/actors...they're all just people with people things to do and on their minds.

That being said, I am guilty as any of the superfans in as much as when Steven worked with Yoko Ono on New Year's Eve last year, I lambasted him with texts asking if he could PLEASE Yoko to sign something for me. Anything. Steven made no promises, though he collaborated with the Plastic Ono Band for 2 nights in a row. It wasn't because he forgot about it, or didn't want to, but he told he me that in all, he was allotted about 10 minutes during which to converse with Yoko himself, her personal security staff very visible and involved. I think, in all the time I've known Steven, I've over-extended a request and acted like a hungry hound douchebag myself that one time. Fortunately, he didn't get angry with me but surely must have felt pestered and I know he would've done what he could do if he'd been given the opportunity. He didn't, and that's ok.

Blog tracker randomocity: Someone just Googled  "Corellation Doesn't Equal Causation Tattoo." Some psychology nut out there is picking out a theory for a tattoo and on my blog. Brilliant!

I really should sort of be planning out my strategy for tomorrow's make-or-break interview with The Adler School of Professional Psychology, where I hope to be enrolled for the Fall of 2012, beginning to earn my masters degree in Counseling Psychology by the END OF THIS MONTH. Because, after all...

The favorite photograph of that night with Steven was this one, taken by a highly had-to-be jealous Guy:

Jeez, I think if I can (see blog "The Growth Chart") of Luke based upon photos of the years of the two of them together (Wayne and Luke) and how Luke's grown, I could likewise start on an album of Steven and I shrinking. Give these two people a Snickers bar, for God's sake!

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