Congratulations! You’re a rock star. Through a mystical combination of determination, talent and hair extensions you’ve made it to the top of the charts and the groupie of your choice.
As this career path isn’t taught in any university we would like to provide you with a little Rock Star 101, if you will. Feel free to clip these handy tips and tuck them in a back pocket, or, if those chain mail trousers have no pocket, a tattoo of the more important points below should be of great help to you. Remember to put the tattoo where you can see it (i.e. not the buttocks).
When selecting the design of your CD cover, it is best to include one of the following images. Note: images are like pictures. Note also that a combination of three or more images, or pictures, is especially recommended and guaranteed to triple sales.
Good cover images (pictures) include decaying castles, a religious artifact sticking out of a fast food bag, live chainsaws, a brooding madman, a poker hand with five aces, a snarling cur foaming copiously at the jaws, the current president of the country with a large question mark over his face, a thorny rose, a doll’s disembodied head, puddles of blood (real blood is discouraged — soy sauce is acceptable, or the condiment of your choice), an obscene gesture. Helpful tip: an obscene gesture made into a mirror carries more weight.
You may also want to include a photo of you nearly undressed, your band nearly undressed, you and your band nearly undressed while striding down some seedy street looking angry, you and your band striding down some seedy street smoking, you and your band smoking and being angry in the location of your choice, as long as the location is sufficiently seedy. Note: don’t include a photo of you or your band nearly undressed and smoking in bed. It is unwise to smoke in bed.
Not recommended cover subjects include your mother, a beautiful buffet (especially a spread that includes parfait and/or strawberries), the DMV, your grandfather’s barber, a sensible pair of shoes, a favorite teacher, a lawn (unless the lawn is dead). You must under no circumstances put a picture of San Luis Obispo, California on your cover.
Rather than wasting precious bottom-grabbing, beer-spitting, table-upsetting time fretting over the people you must thank inside your CD, you only need to choose a dozen or so from the list below and insert where you like:
Your first wife
Your next wife
The label (except for the suits — hey, only joking fellas, love the Jags)
The roadies (thx for luggin’ the loads just so we may play a simple song or two)
Frogs all over the world
Your shaman’s accountant
Your shaman’s accountant’s pretty teenage daughter
“Woken-up” people everywhere
The ghost that haunts you
B., Quiet Man, Sammy, Madman Mark and all the animals behind the board
Your first keyboardist (rest in sex, drugs & rock-n-roll, bro)
Your second keyboardist (say hey to Jim and Jimi, man)
Your third keyboardist (hey nutcase, slow down, we want you around when this goes platinum, luv ya x one billion)
The groupies (never forget when Boise got noisy, girls!)
The Concept Album
At some point, after continually flooding the top of the charts with bubblegum-snappy, toe-tapping hits, you’ll want, nay, need to answer the artistic aching in your fragile, captive heart. The balm? The concept album, a frequently under-appreciated endeavor not beholden to money, the record company or the public’s interest but your own higher self and various demons.
Now about those demons. Demons are crucial to the concept album, because they immediately impart merry mischief and appalling behavior without your having to engage in too much messy story work. Further, these sinister, scaly fellows like to “stick it to the Man” in much the same way you do, but of course in their case the Man is Mankind, and they use pitchforks. These hellish heavies also have hooves, like animals, which is what you are, an animal, right?
So you’ve got your demon. Let’s call him Kevin, after the bully who teased you in school, but this foul fiend has to have a demon name, so we’ll call our character Kevinosss. Teeth-chatteringly evil. Even if you don’t find this scary, preadolescent boys around the world are sure to find a bit of themselves in this terrible, unliked creature.
Now for your album. Basically write eight or so songs about Kevinosss. Best to make the last song really long, with a minute or two of church bells/screaming seagulls/maniacal chuckling/all of the above thrown in the middle. Here is a simple breakdown of the CD, and your story:
Song 1: Enter Kevinosss. This should be the demon’s theme, his rant at the world. Horns would be good here, because Kevinosss, being a devil, has horns.
Song 2: Here we learn a little about Kevinosss and his likes (cooking kids) and dislikes (office gossips).
Song 3: The start of the journey. Every concept album has to be about the journey of the hero, or in the case of every concept album that has ever been made, the anti-hero (a hero with minor, but not insurmountable problems). This journey can be physical or spiritual. And by spiritual journey we don’t mean the guy has to float around in the clouds. What we mean is the journey is on the inside, like with his feelings and who he is really as a person, not inside like his stomach.
Song 4: Kevinosss must find his parents and tell them that he didn’t appreciate it when they made him walk the River of Fire when he was young. What you really mean here — this is called subtext, in other words the stuff you’re saying from your inside that you’re not actually saying with your mouth — is that Kevinosss doesn’t like his parents bossing him around and telling him to do stuff he doesn’t like to do. Can the River of Fire mean the same thing as having to clean your bedroom on a nice Saturday afternoon? It can, and does.
Song 5: Having made up with his parents, who tell him they love him exactly as he is, oily skin and all, Kevinosss has to go find She, the girl he worships. Just call her She, because she stands for all women. She, as our heroine, is a good, nice human who Kevinosss has loved from afar. (Isn’t the word “afar” romantic? You’ll find that putting “a” on the front of words instantly conveys your deep soul. Try it: aloft, ajar, aFerrari, abooze. See?)
Just imagine standing at your old locker and seeing this cute girl walk by on her way to geometry, and she stops to flip her hair, completely ignoring you. Now take that scenario and turn it into a song about a misunderstood demon that must transverse the Land of Legacy to meet this fair maiden, who is atrothed to and aloved by another. Make it like high school, but with a flame-breathing dragon. No lockers.
Song 6: Some huge fight with someone. Make it loud and long and make Kevinosss win.
Song 7: Kevinosss has to go back to the River of Fire and build a home there with She. This house doesn’t have a couch, a bathroom or a dishwasher but instead should be made of glass, dreams and whispers. A pool table or hot tub are okay additions, as long as the hot tub bubbles with liquid gold or Pepsi or similar.
Song 8: The conclusion. Now that Kevinosss has everything he ever wanted — his parents’ acceptance, the love of She and a valuable 1.5 acre fenced plot on the River of Fire — he needs to get even more at the end. Think of this as the deus ex machina moment. In other words, Kevinosss suddenly and inexplicably becomes ruler of the universe because the old ruler comes in and says he is tired and wants to live in Palm Desert drinking highballs, and Kevinosss just proved himself brave and true and would he mind watching the shop? We’re talking the jackpot here. Throw in the works. Just when you’ve made it big enough, make it bigger. Then, at the very end of the album, when there is no music except for a lone electric harp, the last lyrics should reveal that Kevinosss in fact lives inside a single teardrop on the face of a harlequin. Don’t say clown, say harlequin, it is fancier and more special.