…and indeed, it can be downright detrimental to your image, which you cultivate so carefully. Look at poor Jack White and his misguided attempts to reach out, or whatever he thinks he is doing, via the sniggering staff of the NME, a popular music ‘zine.
So many well-known artists, musicians writers and other cultural visionaries make the mistake of assuming that because they have achieved a certain amount of popularity and cachet by virtue of their art, interviews and other non-artistic public appearances will simply generate more love. They are fooled by the sycophantic demeanours of the image-makers, the editors and journalists and critics. And yet, artists from Shakespeare’s time onward have known that popular critics are eaten up with insane, bitter jealousy at their own lack of true artistic talent, and want nothing so much as to point and laugh at those who are considered great.
For example, Axl Rose learned the hard way that the popular media is not his friend, and whatever he says will certainly be twisted to show him in an unflattering, bitter light. He learned to keep his mouth closed, to cultivate silence and mystery, and though still receiving a barrage of mockery and derision from public outlets, his mark remains indelible. The most NME and their ilk can do is talk about t-shirts and top hats and punctuality. Poor Jack White, while still considered a musical genius and having gained enough diehard fans of his own to outlast him and his grandchildren and their grandchildren, still hasn’t learned, and thus becomes easy prey, looking foolish, shallow, and simple-minded under the expert manipulative hands of those bloggers over at NME. Even their compliments drip with poison.
And so Jack White: your music speaks for itself. You don’t need ordinary every day words. You don’t need to talk to editors and critic and bloggers. Concentrate on the music. You are what you are. You don’t need to justify to anyone why you don’t want to work with Meg White or make music with Jay Z or that you cut your tapes with a razor, whatever that means. You just sound like a dork and pretentious ass when you do. Sing and play the guitar. Stay away from friendly smiling interviewers. They will smile and smile and then stab you.