Im sitting in a theater with a bunch of frauds. Businessmen who have reduced art to a dollar sign, a commodity to be bought and sold, not an expression of the human spirit. Makes me sick. Makes me sick to know why Im here, because in a moment of weakness, I too became a creativity broker. Signed with the big record label, got the big tour, stayed in the nice hotels, everything. Yeah, I got a lot of nice stuff. And all I gave up was my soul, my artistic authority. I trusted the process and listened to a producer who knew what sells. Thats the goal, isnt it? Make it big and theyll love you.
Another bathroom trip. My manager gave me that disappointed look, that fair-weather villain. That bastard set me off on this fast tract to success without any forewarning on how to prepare. This isnt my game. I kept it simple, man. It was just me, doing my thing, back when it was my thing. Now its their thing, their cash cow. I dont recognize the music on my multi-platinum, grammy-nominated debut album as my own. I dont even recognize me as my own anymore. I take a line to connect the dots. The business has turned me into a caged animal, paraded around this town, or that town, or – whatever man, I just dont care anymore. I thought I was gonna see the world. Instead Im seeing a tour bus and hotel rooms. I need another line – theres too many dots.
Settled back in my seat, I give my manager a big slap on the thigh. Im grinning ear to ear like a dumb little kid on his way to Disneyland. I read the mags, I follow the press – I know Im a lock for the big award at the end. I dont care about the rest now. I can go home and all my old friends can say, oh, theres the screw-up, the cokehead, left his girl, doesnt call his family, completely sold out Yeah, I did sell out, I sold out the Hollywood Bowl, and now Im gonna get a fancy paperweight for all my hard work. Nobody can just be happy for my success, they all gotta get in their two cents about how Ive changed. Nobody says they love me. I got nobody. Thats life. Lets do this.
Some other pawn in this industry is reading a bunch of generic script off a teleprompter. Im so caught up in the rage inside I cant stop my thoughts to focus on the big show at hand. Man, the managers gotta be pissed with me right now. The envelope is opened, my name is read. Well, its not my name, its my working name, but whatever, its all the same in this town. I shoot up out of my seat, eager to move my restless limbs, and rush up to the stage. Man, Im rushing. I just won a grammy. I just won an opportunity to speak on live television about this whole hellish charade. I just won a grammy; why am I caught up in the rage?
My face is numb, Im on fire. Hey, yall, I start, in the southern drawl they all love but dont realize is a carefully constructed ruse – itll sell, they said. Cant believe Im up here, in front of you all, people I respect, whove been through the fire with me. Come from different backgrounds but you know the truth, were all a bunch of artists who sold out so these jerks in suits could make a bunch of money. Audible gasp. Way to go, man, you really messed this one up. So thanks, my serpent tongue continues against my will, for recognizing me as the one who gave up the most, allowed themselves to become the biggest charicature. Thanks for looking past the crap on my album and noticing the tortured soul behind it all. Yeah, thanks. Assholes. I hear the music start up – the handlers dont like it when we animals get out of line. Yeah, I get it, back into the cage. Thanks for the gold, go to hell. This last line dies as it leaves my lips, because my mic has already been cut. Its their game, their rules, and I acquiesced my entire being to play here. This is what I get for it. A four pound gold gramophone, and a lifetime of emptiness.