‘Fame without respect has no redeeming qualities…’


musicHeartfelt thanks to the wonderful performers and supporters who made the October Hope & Recovery Open Mic such a success; to mental health worker and carer Mardi Bell who organised this special Lifeline fundraiser and for NBN News Central Coast for helping The Rhythm Hut reach out to the community about the healing power of music and performance. See the NBN News story here.

Perhaps Australia’s Entertainment Industry could do with a healthy dose of music and performance to help it recover from unprecedented mental health and drug issues.

Statistics from a 2016 report commissioned by Entertainment Assist revealed the following:

  • 5 Australian Entertainment Industry workers attempt suicide every week
  • 40% smoke marijuana (four times more than the national average)
  • 25.5% took cocaine (12 times above)
  • 18.9% were partial to ecstasy (seven times greater)
  • 17.5% for meth and amphetamines (eight times more) with 17.6% for tranquilisers and 24.1% for pain killers for non-medical reasons
  • 83% took alcohol in the past 12 months (compared to 78% of the Australian population), with 7.7% drinking daily and 55.6% week. Drinking habits of 32% of these were in the high risk category

Cultivating Open Conversations With Kids About Drugs & Mental Health

These statistics may raise alarm bells for parents with starry-eyed kids who dream about a career in showbiz. Instead of dampening their creative spirits and trying to talk them out of it, it would be more constructive to initiate open conversations about drugs and mental health, how to navigate their way around the drug culture that exists in a wide range of industries, and the vital importance of adopting a self-care protocol to stay healthy, creative and productive.

Given that we live in a dangerous age of ‘Frankenstein’ pseudo-drugs laced with damaging and potentially fatal chemicals and industrial poisons, effective drug education in schools and universities is crucial. Only then will our adolescents be able to make informed choices about drug use.

Potential Pitfalls of Teen Stardom

Of equal importance, are the showbiz stories about aspiring teenage artists who are suddenly catapulted to (and from) ‘star’ status. The following passages about finding fame as a teen in the music industry, hail from a 2015 Hut blog written by Brent Murphy from Rascal Music.

Forewarned is forearmed.

In Brent Murphy’s words:brent murphy

“I had a brief, but exhilarating taste of fame in my teen years. I was a ‘pop star’ launched from a TV talent show and run up the flagpole for 18 months with EMI and TVNZ and then left to the wind wondering why no one would take my calls and WTF had just happened.

I also learnt that fame without respect has no redeeming qualities at all and is an empty and lonely place to be. I was lucky, I had a great family and I didn’t self-medicate too much with a bottle or weed, or find a needle but believe me, it seriously fucks with a young person’s mind!

Now, I don’t have a problem with capitalism, but I do have a problem when profits are put before the health and welfare of all living creatures, including singers, songwriters and musicians.

Now, of course, if you want to have a career making music, money has to come into the picture. I’m a fan of capitalism, bring it on! But if the music doesn’t drive your career and it’s driven instead on looks, television fame or major label promo machines, then you’re going to be run off the road as soon as the powers that be decide you’re getting a bit old, or think your ‘career’ has jumped the shark .. and best of luck trying to make a buck after that!

The singer and songwriter are at the core of this whole business and everyone else is feeding on them. Some, like most musicians, a few producers and maybe a few managers, feed respectfully with integrity and compassion. Most others just gorge like pigs at the trough and manipulate, deceive and chase quarterly bonuses with no regard whatsoever for the human sacrifice on the table.”

Last Words From Joni Mitchell

joni mitchell“I heard someone from the music business saying they are no longer looking for talent, they want people with a certain look and willingness to cooperate. I thought, that’s interesting, because I believe a total unwillingness to cooperate is what is necessary to be an artist – not for perverse reasons, but to protect your vision.

The considerations of a corporation, especially now, have nothing to do with art or music. That’s why I spend my time now painting.” (Source: Norma Jean Roy, New York Magazine. Artwork by PGR Fleming.”

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