With the retirement of the stalwarts, rock journalism (bite tongue in Zappaesque fashion with Bruce Lee Mani inflection) seems to have new rising stars. But this crop seems to find the comfort of the armchair/ bean bag and a few quick trips to their Google toolbar more gratifying than going out and getting the real story.
The real story? Hmm. Watzat anyway?
Simply put, here’s a rock journalism primer for those who aspire to that vainglorious profession:
a) Look like a rock star: It’s important to get noticed in a crowd of earnest rock fans. More so, rock stars take immediate notice of people who threaten their identity. Mention that you are a journalist and respect spurts out like blood from a pricked jugular.
b) Wear your altitude: Remember, you dwell in those high airs to which no ordinary music aficionado has access. Show your contempt for the riffraff and wear a studied smirk. Pierce every external visible part of your body and sport monstrous tattoos. Don’t bathe – you may wash off that funky smell, and getting it back again to the desired potency will take weeks.
c) Read a little: We know, we completely understand, you can even say we empathize… but you just can’t find the time to catch up on all that music history. There’s too much happening, isn’t there? And whenever you can grab a slice of time to unplug your headphones from the grating sound of Fergie, you have other things to do – like clubbin’ for instance. Why hang out at pubs that play dinosaur rock…that’s so ten years ago. And hey, getting to the point, there’s Rolling Stone online if you want to grab a few bites before an interview… we understand, you’re a busy person with a happening social calendar.
d) Ask cool questions with a cooler accent: All those frequent flier miles to the hip planet of Hop can warp your angrezi a bit. But that’s a cool accessory when you talk to your rock star subject. Ask cool, offbeat questions. No need to stick to the point – it’s all been done anyway. Examples? Umm… What are your influences? Do you think you’ll become as famous as Justin Timberlake? What’s your take on that whole Paris Hilton jail sex thing? Did you vote for the Taj Mahal? (Note how many times cool appears here – that’s your coolness quotient.)
e) Write the story: And yes, in case you forgot. After all this, the story has to be written. Don’t bother with checking the facts. The actual content doesn’t matter so much – go for the visibility and your byline. And don’t forget to tell everyone you know about it after the interview is published. It’s important to build a portfolio, you know. That’s what will get you your next job. Maybe you could become an RJ…