I’m In A Rock N’ Roll Band: Can I Be Too?

April 30, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

I’M IN A ROCK N’ ROLL BAND: Saturday 1st May, BBC2, 9.40pm ALERT ME

I’m In A Rock N Roll Band is both exciting and depressing at the same time. The intoxicated, responsibility free existence of rock bands is something we can only admire from afar as we watch our heroes on television screens or atop elevated stages. It showcases an existence that you and I will never obtain.

Within a well stocked 30 minutes, we get a decent insight into the life of a rock band, and more specifically, the frontman. With a rostrum of impressive contributors, this BBC show packs a lot of punch. You can’t argue with the opinions of the likes of Shaun Ryder, Iggy Pop, Johnny Marr, Sting and Alice Cooper – they’ve been there, done that and snorted the t-shirt.

So, what makes a rock singer then? “You’ve got to be a fucking knob ‘ed”, Shaun Ryder offers. Well, quite. Confidence, arrogance and narcissism must all adorn the CV of the best leaders, because if we don’t want to be them or wish to have sex with them, what’s the point?

With the comforting sounds of Mark Radcliffe narrating, we are taken through the history of the lead man from the early 50s traditional rock bands, to the chicken-killing antics of more modern American outfits. Each subject of the documentary grips and enthrals you in a different manner, and forever reminds you of the fact that you’ll never get the chance to take acid on a stage in front of thousands of people and say ‘Dad…I want to kill you….Mum…I want to f*** you!’

Indeed, Jim Morrison’s antics are some of the more ridiculous examples in a history that is rich with excitement and controversy. It’s not all drug-fuelled fun, however, as we see discussion of the lives of Kurt Cobain and Ian Curtis, two singers who met the rock n roll lifestyle with suicide.

Above all, our front men must be leaders. They are the comfort and the security for the band, the first line of defence against the expectant crowd. With no guitars to hide behind, their strut and posturing becomes the weapon and it is this dynamism and sexual energy that propel them above the rest of the musicians. Mick Jagger was the first true detached front man – a bandy, big lipped enigma affront his loyal musicians.

As the documentary draws to a close, you unsurprisingly realise that the overriding theme connected with lead singers is sex. As Bob Geldoff says, anything he didn’t shag, was sloppy seconds for the rest of his band. We can all dream, but the closest you’ll get to such a life is watching this documentary. Enjoy.