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The Secret Rock Star On… Inter-Band Relationships

The Secret Rock Star
The Secret Rock Star 18 September 2018 at 12.20

They’ve sold countless records, toured the world and appeared on the cover of just about every rock magazine you can think of. Meet Rock Sound’s top secret band insider…

Outwardly, it seems like all the bands in the scene are huge friends with each other. As the Secret Rock Star reveals, it's not quite like that in reality.

Everybody just pretends to be friends these days.

Bands go online and talk about, ‘My boys in band X’ and, ‘Our dudes in band Y,’ and knowing a lot of these people, I can tell you for a fact that a lot of the people who do say stuff like that about other bands privately say they hate the very bands they talk about, whether that’s their music or as people.

So why do they do it? Well, smaller bands will go out of their way to have a photo taken with them for Instagram or tweet about them in the hope of gaining the attention of their fans, even sucking up to them enough to be offered a support slot on their tour. The bigger bands? They tend to see younger, more buzzworthy bands as a threat to their careers, and want to align themselves with the people who their fans might be abandoning them for in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

Pretty grim, huh?

I think I may be rare in that I’m friends with the people in our scene that I’m actually friends with, and everyone else, I’m kind of indifferent to. There tends to be one person who’s a star-collector in a lot of bands, the people who feel a need to be friendly with the people who can give their a career a boost, and that person they want to be friends with is invariably the singer of a band rather than the drummer or anyone else, because the singers hold the most star power. How many times do you see somebody from your favourite band say, ‘So great to meet the bassist from this metalcore band’? Exactly, it doesn’t happen.

As a young band, it’s quite easy to get sucked into it all. You think, ‘I can’t believe this band or singer whose T-shirts and albums I own wants to hang out with me!’ And then when you’re less new and some other buzzy band comes along, they’ll be pictured together instead, and they won’t want to hang out with you. It’s quite hurtful and when it first happens, very confusing. It’s like high school.

Honestly, I find it funny watching things pop up on social media during festivals where people who I know to hate each other’s music are slapping each other’s backs. And the thing is, you have to be fake to a certain degree because if you aren’t - even if you’re just honest and not nasty or spiteful in any way - you look like a fucking dick.

We’re at a place now where having an even slightly negative opinion about anybody in the scene - or anything outside the scene for that matter - is suddenly taboo. Which means you have a bunch of intelligent, potentially very interesting people who are scared so speak their mind about anything because they’ve been conditioned to be bland and not upset anybody.

Rewind 10 years, and almost the entire metalcore scene was at war. People were calling each other out in the press and in MySpace bulletins and things were so exciting because everyone was real and rock music was a tiny bit dangerous. That’s feeling is leaving us because people are scared of backlash from bands and their fans. Why?! Just stick to pleasing the people who actually like your band, and everybody else can fuck off.

There are people in pretty popular bands who are almost universally disliked amongst their peers, whether that’s for being an egomaniac, for doing drugs and being a general nightmare, for being rude to everyone surrounding them, but those people are so unbelievably nice on social media and in interviews because they don’t have the guts to show who they really are, and they know that nobody in the scene is going to speak out and reveal how terrible they are. Imagine how much more interesting it’d be if people were outed for being dicks?! Honesty, as ever, is the best policy.

Soundcloud rappers have the right idea. Their scene is a total wasteland of people doing what they like, when they like and saying what they actually think. And look how many people care! It’s one of the reasons rock music is looked down on a little, because it is exciting and dangerous, but maybe only behind closed doors.

Imagine if people called other bands out for not letting them soundcheck when they support them, for not giving them a rider, for not giving them a dressing room so they have to hang out in their van before and after shows? In a world where everyone has so much access to bands through Twitter and Instagram, it feels like people get less of the full picture than ever.

Another thing that bothers me is how everyone talks as if they put the state of the scene above their own careers. That’s a very altruistic thing to 

say, but I don’t think I believe it, because if another band tours through the same city as you two days prior and takes everyone’s money so they can’t buy tickets for your show, that means you don’t make money. That stuff matters, and you can’t help resenting a band for doing better than you when your careers are on the line, so why not be honest about it?!

With that said, a lot of people in bands are genuine and nice and at their best, lovely. I’ve made some friends for life in this world and I’m sure I’ll make more, I just wish everyone was more honest. Because if we’re not, we’re just pretending to each other, our fans and our peers. That’s dull, because nobody can be friends with everyone.

And you know what? It’s always the massive, genuinely huge bands that are nicest. The lower levels are often just filled with people pretending to like each other in the hope that somehow, someday those fake, paper-thin relationships will be worth something to their bands and their careers. It’s a pretty horrible way to live.

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