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Collecting Good Karma: It Pays to be Nice If You’re a Rock Star

By “Dimebag” Adam Morrison

Even once you’ve become successful and your talent is widely recognized, it might be a good idea to be nice to people, as opposed to being as big of a dick as you can get away with. Here are some examples supporting this theory.

1. I know it’s all part of a shtick, but the fact remains that Gene Simmons can’t seem to open his mouth without bad-mouthing other artists, when he’s not too busy asserting his own greatness.

Gene Simmons: “As a woman of course you have the ability to sell your body, then get the money, and then, with that, get food.” Simmons’ legal problems have included being accused of sexually harassing a make-up artist, choking women who tried to record him, and defaming his ex-girlfriend.

Regarding disco’s inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “What an insult to the memory of Little Richard and Chuck Berry to have disco artists who don’t write their own songs and play their own instruments.” I wonder if Barry Gibb is aware of this. I’d also make reference here to KISS’s own “I Was Made for Loving You,” but Simmons has admitted that he’s only in music “to get laid and make lots of money.”

Regarding the ghost of Kurt Cobain: “I say this respectfully to him–’fuck off’.”

So there’s all that, plus, the extent to which KISS has taken advantage of their fans’ devotion by selling them branded versions of everything. Sure, plenty of fans still turn up for their concerts, but does the average music fan respect the artists (especially the loudmouth demon at their centre), or own any albums they’ve released in the past two or three decades?

Instead, he could be like…

Bruce Springsteen who has and continues to release music that people can relate to. The Boss is also known for doing straight-up decent things, in non-attention grabbing ways. For example, in the nineties, when Lynn, the wife of Springsteen’s longtime acquaintance Steve Eitelber, was dying of lung cancer, Springsteen called Steve to ask if he could visit.

He stayed all afternoon, telling stories and singing Lynn’s favourite song, “Secret Garden.” He also showed up the next afternoon, and then the next one, guitar in hand, arriving to find that Lynn was now in a coma. “He showed up at her funeral and sang ‘Secret Garden’ over her casket for me and my kids,” Eitelberg says.

On the same day every year since then, Springsteen has stopped by Eitelberg’s shop for a visit. On one such occasion, the rock star noticed a set of congas that Eitelberg had taken up playing. “You’re gonna play drums in my band,” Springsteen told him. And so, in front of 20,000 people at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, Eitelberg joined the band for “Spirit in the Night.”

The Boss also fairly routinely takes the time to give fans he’s never met the experiences of a lifetime.

2. Billy Corgan‘s expectant attitude and his seeming need for acknowledgement of his brilliance and ambition have largely spoiled the reception to his frequently brilliant and ambitious projects. His habit of bashing other bands in interviews and his reputation for being a bit of a control freak also haven’t ingratiated him to many.

Billy Corgan: “There are those bands that are essentially coming back only to make money — playing their old albums, and maybe somewhere in the back of their minds they’re thinking there might be a future. I am not in that business, obviously. I condemn anybody who’s in that business but doesn’t admit [he’s] in that business. When Soundgarden came back and they just played their old songs, great. I was a fan of Soundgarden, but call it for what it is. They’re just out there to have one more round at the till; same with Pavement and these other bands.”

Billy Corgan: “I thought for sure I would get really strong reviews for our new album, based on all the feedback I was getting. But I’m getting the same reviews I got back in the day, these kind of middling, muddling reviews that just won’t fucking say: ‘This is a fucking brilliant album from a brilliant artist.’ It’s always got to have a qualifier to it.”

James Iha: “We have a cardboard cut-out of Billy that we kick occasionally.”

Instead, he could be like…

Dave Grohl. He fronts a wildly successful band, and by all reports, he is down to earth, approachable, and appreciative of his success. There are also accounts of him giving to charities, shining a light on other artists—Scissor Sisters and Deadmau5, to name a couple—taking the time to talk to fans, stopping fights at Foo Fighters shows, and not being a creep to Frances Bean Cobain.

Frances Bean Cobain: “I have never been approached by Dave Grohl in more than a platonic way. I’m in a monogamous relationship and very happy. Twitter should ban my mother.”

3. I’d like to hear from anyone who thinks that Don Henley is anything short of… not the nicest guy. I’d especially like to hear that from any founding members of the Eagles that have been forced out of the band. His controlling and possessive nature continue to make things hard for other people, like a couple of years ago when he threatened to sue Frank Ocean for using the master track of “Hotel California” as the basis for a new song… and then he called Frank Ocean “arrogant.” Anyone other than Don Henley might find that last part funny.

Instead, he could be like…

Jon Bon Jovi, who, like Springsteen, has done a fine job of maintaining an “everyman” sort of image, and who devotes time and money to charitable causes. He’s been involved with the Special Olympics, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Covenant House, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and more, and in 2006, he founded the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation to combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair.

He says, “I’m certainly willing to leverage my celebrity. If it means that I have to come and sing at your kid’s Bar Mitzvah, I’m very available. Whatever it takes… It’s not about me. We just use my celebrity when it’s time to be the closer.”

4. When one thinks of Axl Rose, there’s a decent chance that the first thing that comes to mind isn’t what a great album Appetite for Destruction is, but rather, how it took him eleven years or so to create the lackluster Chinese Democracy. Or, how he has shown up hours late for concerts by the greatest GN’R cover band around, for which he serves as front-cliche.

Oh, and how he’s gotten mad at the audience for being a little hostile about having to stand around, waiting for hours because he was up late partying the night before.

Instead, he could be like…

Slash. You think of him, you probably think “cool,” and you probably think about all of the solid rock he’s put out since his time in GNR, as well as that band’s classics.

5. Reports vary somewhat as to exactly why Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica in the early eighties, but absolutely no reports say that it was for being a thoughtful, compassionate, reasonable person. Even many die-hard Megadeth fans would probably admit that Mustaine has something of a poisonous personality that can make it hard to like him unconditionally. Here are a few quotes from the man:

“There’s so many houses without a dad that it’s just terrible. I mean, you know how they used to say there should be a license to have a baby? Well, as far-fetched as that sounds, I really think that, if the parents aren’t going to stick together, they shouldn’t make that kind of commitment to life. I watch some of these shows from over in Africa, and you’ve got starving women with six kids. Well, how about, you know, put a plug in it? It’s like, you shouldn’t be having children if you can’t feed them.”

When asked if he supports gay marriage: “Well, since I’m not gay, the answer to that would be no.”

“Musicians who say they don’t care, that they’d give it away for free, are stupid. They’ve never been hungry. If you’re going out there and being careless, and just letting your songs be downloaded for free, it’s probably going to reflect in your longevity.”

Instead, he could be like…

“Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who is remembered as not only a great guitarist, but as someone who had a ton of love for his friends, his family, and his fans. Anthrax’s Scott Ian puts it this way: “Once you shared drinks with that guy, you became a part of his extended family,” and, “He really did put his family and friends first, and for him, everyone was his family.”

Agree? Disagree? Anyone you would add to the good list or the bad list? Please let us know in the comments.

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