Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Why Rock Star: Supernova Fails

I know I promised a rant about Rock Star: Supernova awhile back... but as it turns out I just happened to read an article today which hints at a lot I planned on incorporating into this. See Ousted contestant bats back. Alternately, see the article in the Calgary Sun, or the Blabbermouth summary. Key quote (at least with regards to what I'm interested in):
She says many contestants feel its members — Tommy Lee (MÖTLEY CRÜE's drummer), Jason Newsted (former METALLICA bassist) and Gilby Clarke (former GUNS N' ROSES guitarist) — are not exactly hellbent on making the new band a success.

"Because Tommy Lee's got MÖTLEY CRÜE and Jason Newsted's very passionate about (Canadian metal band) VOIVOD, there are a lot of questions as to whether this band is going to really take off. That's up in the air," she says.
This is probably my biggest complaint about the show. From the first I heard about who would make up the new band for the show, Supernova, my first reaction was "well it's not really a REAL band then, is it?" Basically I see this as another "supergroup"-style project -- muscians in other bands, better known (and arguably much more committed) to those other bands, getting together to make a larger combined splash than they would individually and capitalize on some name recognition to push an otherwise unguided project. Now Gilby Clarke has been on his own for some time now, and even if he WANTED otherwise, G'n'R is a victim of Axl's demented, hard livin', out-of-control ego. So he's pretty invested in this new project as an attempt to regain mainstream success.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Tommy Lee - who has flittered in and out of MANY various main and side projects over the past 10 years or so, ranging from multiple TV projects to rap-rock, solo projects, guest appearances all over the place, and of course, the Crue. Given the high income potential of the Crue especially, and his supposed recent reuinting with the band, Tommy really doesn't seem likely to hold a vested interest in making sure Supernova is a success.

Similarly, since his departure from Metallica, Jason Newstead has been all over the map, notably producing/mentoring a few new bands, a stint on bass for Ozzy's band, and his heavy interest and involvement with Voivod.

So add these together and what do you get? Well, I think the level of commitment comes across in the band's attitude on the show. Tommy Lee especially, but to a lesser extent Newstead and even Clarke are clearly there to have a good time and hit on the attractive female contestants. I haven't seen them be hard on ANY of the contestants, give anyone a real critique any more biting than "we wish you rocked more" or "that was a bad song choice for you". Come ON - if they were really vested in the success of this new band, then finding the right FACE and VOICE for this new project would be PARAMOUNT. They wouldn't be letting backtalk and an awful performance from Zayra slide because she has "spunk". They wouldn't be letting half the performers phone it in each week and praising them for "rocking" (regardless of how good the performance actually was).

Ultimately this project isn't going to work because the Supernova band members, based on their history and attitude towards the show, aren't vested in making it a success. This is NOT a long term band. The novelty factor of the supergroup-status combined with buzz from the show will likely lead to good sales for Supernova's "debut" album, but don't expect to see a second album from Supernova -- at least not as backed by these three rockers.