THE X FACTOR.
Yes tonight I watched the X Factor. OK I do occasionally and I have in years past also. I am afraid I will always be very dismissive of such programs as just a way of artificially stimulating the Christmas music charts for the advantage of the music establishment fat cats.
Over the last 40 years I have met and become friends with quite a few musicians. A lot of them are now sadly no longer with us and one of those was Steve Marriott of The Small Faces, later to become The Faces with Rod Stewart. He was a great guy and a very under rated guitarist. I watched him play a gig one night in Cardinals Stratford (check out Love Sex and Time Travel for that) where I saw him finish the set with just 2 strings left on his guitar, so fast and furious was his playing, and we talked after about music and musicians. This was in the early 80s and a few months before he died tragically in his own home in Arkesden in a house fire. It was a thatched place and Steve was an aficionado of the hochmagandhi. But the upshot of it was this. Great musicians and bands do not become that overnight. The truly great musicians and bands work for years in dingy clubs and bars learning their trade.
I used to knock about with Pete Tolson of The Pretty Things as well and we spent many a night in Harlow ingesting some rather exotic Columbian marching powder together in the 70s but again that guy had spent years practising and playing in small bars and clubs. We might have got wrecked many a time but he always had a guitar beside him and he worked. Music was his love. Fame came second and maybe that is the difference. The acts I watched tonight on the X Factor did not love music. They would not be prepared to spend ten years hard graft building up a fan base. They are on TV for instant fame. They are in love with fame and not music and that is why I suppose I am so dismissive of them all.
That is part of the learning process if you like. They do not suddenly appear on a talent show no matter how well televised it is and sustain any lasting fame. Can you remember any of the last 10 years contestants of these shows? Yea I know there have been a few that have hung on tenaciously like Will Young and Girls Aloud but they have been a victory of marketing over substance, most could be instantly replaced if they upset their record companies.
And this is what makes me so sad nowadays. It is all big business. Actually that is unfair I suppose. It isn’t just nowadays. This has been happening forever and I could tell you tales about Marc Bolan and T Rex from the 70s that would make you shudder. How his drummer was getting £20 a week while millions were disappearing to the Caymans. I even blogged about it on AOL in 2003 but my posts kept mysteriously disappearing. I wonder why?
Take care all and there will be lot’s more to come on this.
Keep the faith. Xxx Stan Rogers.