We Accept You, We Accept You, One Of Us Or, It's Not My Place In The 9 To 5 World
When a band grows detached from their fans, it's a process of insulation, of gradually but consistently separating from the people who support them. It's a product of fame and stardom. Some bands need protective layers between them and their audience to maintain their sanity, their creative edge or something else. Since this issue's theme is high school, I figured talking to a band epitomizing the bored, alienated high school experience might be in order. I figured since the Ramones weren't touring, and since I hadn't heard rumors of recording sessions, it wouldn't be too hard to talk to Joey Ramone about "Rock 'N' Roll High School." I woke up one sunny Monday and started dialing. I called people to find out who to call, and after handing my bank account over to AT&T, I reached Radioactive Records (a division of MCA). The people in the publicity office directed me to an independent firm. At this rate, it should have been scheduled with one more call. After calling the firm and explaining I wanted to interview Joey about "Rock 'N' Roll High School," the publicist asked for a written request on letterhead. Is this what punk has come to? I'm supposed to spend zine funds to purchase letterhead so I can send an interview request to a publicist who may or may not grant that request? What happened? I don't mind sending a sample, but a request on letterhead? Who am I kidding? The Ramones are practically rock stars. I sent the publicist a copy and a letter on regular paper explaining my situation. After a few days, the publicist's assistant (apparently zines aren't worth the publicist's personal attention) called and said the publicist wanted extra information on readership, distribution, circulation, frequency of publication and an exact angle. I just wanted to talk to Joey about the flick. I wasn't interested in chatting about sociological implications or, as they suggested, the effect of the film on rock and roll music as a whole. I don't think the film had an effect other than making people laugh, and I didn't want to find out how many more hoops I had to jump through to get the chance to speak to Joey, so I never sent the second batch of requested data. Maybe I'm idealistic, but I believe the members of the Ramones haven't forsaken the mechanisms of fandom that elevated them to a level where they could hire publicists to screen out respectable publications from grimy little punks with dirty hands. Stapling photocopied zines isn't glamorous. The point is clear. Yeah, this could have been an interview with Joey Ramone. Instead, it's my musings on stardom, the degrees of separation between the musician and fan and some overly idealistic thoughts on how it could be. What can I say? I had some space to fill.