The Jonas Brothers are capitalist pigs.

From an article in a recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine:

"Though the JoBros' backing band and crew will travel in a fleet of 13 buses trailed by 19 trucks of gear, the boys will fly from city to city with their parents and management on a leased 767, making frequent overnight trips back to [their home in] Dallas. The 53-date outing features their most elaborate and expensive production yet--a multi-million dollar traveling theater-in-the-round, conceived in large part by the trio's hyperactive 21-year-old guitarist, Kevin. Last December, Kevin flipped over a circular couch in their dressing room in Mexico to demonstrate his vision for a round stage with pieces that raise and lower like pizza slices."

This kind of thing both blows my mind and appalls me. I understand that the Jonas Brothers have huge mainstream appeal, that they perform to stadium crowds every night, and that they need equipment that can pump out the kind of volume that allows all of that crowd to hear what they're doing. For this reason, I don't think it would be unreasonable to take two or three buses for assorted band and crew, plus several trucks for equipment, on a national tour. But when we're looking at a total of 32 road vehicles as well as a small chartered plane to whisk the stars of the show in and out, so that they can avoid the "rigors" of over-the-road travel, things have long since passed out of the realm of excuse. I noticed a similar phenomenon when reading a recent RS article about Aerosmith, in which it was chronicled without surprise that each band member has their own entire tour bus. There are five people in Aerosmith; you mean to tell me that they couldn't all fit on one bus? There's no reason for this kind of lavish expenditure. People complain about how the cheap seats at mainstream rock concerts these days will run you over $150 apiece; this is why!

Another thing about the quoted excerpt above that I find appalling is Rolling Stone's complete detachment from the implications of the facts they're reporting. It's like "Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous" was back in the 80s: a breathless chronicle of the lavish expenditures that are effortlessly afforded by the super-rich. Rolling Stone might elsewhere run an item about the shamefully high ticket prices in today's live music industry (in fact, there's one in this issue!), and they might even occasionally note the problematic carbon footprints of large-scale touring efforts by mainstream pop music acts, but they'd never let that sort of vague attempt at journalistic responsibility bleed over into their puff-piece features about teenybopper acts, would they? Apparently not. It's ridiculous. And before you ask, let me just assure you that, if it weren't for the high quality of political journalism and commentary that they publish (especially the work of Matt Taibbi, who has an excellent piece about the corruption of Goldman Sachs in this same issue), I would have cancelled my subscription years ago. Where music is concerned, Rolling Stone has long since lost all credibility.



Blogger Robert said...

This shouldn't really come as a surprise, though. I read the same article and it seems that they're essentially re-staging their (relatively unsuccessful) concert movie at every tour stop (I almost wrote "every night" but you know they ain't playing every night). Still, this is what touring in a rock band has become. This is what kids forming rock bands in their garages right now or in the next 3 years will aspire to. People like you and me, we're old.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Andrew TSKS said...

Hah, you're not wrong, dogg, but it's still bullshit. What's more, it's a completely unsustainable model. In 20 years, no one will be able to afford this sort of shit. And I'm glad.

1:37 AM  
Blogger M. Hight said...

i was amazed at the juxtaposition of jonas brothers on the cover, with one of the most brilliant analyses of GS I have seen

kind of like how the economist had a california/texas special issue and when you flip to the texas part theres a full page photo of the dallas cowboy cheerleaders

2:41 AM  

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