The status ‘rock star’ itself can bring an earth shattering stroke to it largely due to the fact that it is a hard-earned and well received prestige. It’s like the triumph after a long race, the final trophy of success and most importantly a sign of security and relief. Every musician starts by trying to sell his art, share his talents and hope for some gratitude in return. It becomes a long and painful journey to arrive at a place where they feel comfortable in their own skin and once that is achieved, they have to dig deeper into their creative minds and produce an effort that they can only hope would match or stamp out their earlier provisions. That falls in the line of maintenance, which in its own form is another kind of art, harder to tame and even harder to manage.
They perform to thousands of spectators, endure endless of tours, insinuate their heart and soul to their craft to satisfy their fans and in doing so sometimes loose something in between without realising it. When they take a stage for performances, they adapt to the atmosphere and give themselves away in a sense of pure ecstasy fuelled by animated fans that are always hoping for a great show. No one knows what they are going through at that particular time or what they are hiding behind their smiles but the show must go on and for that reason alone, whatever problems they may be facing are cast aside.
They may or may not return to their world after the night has ended and the stadium has been cleared, but every once in awhile a friction of the sadness they carry within gets caught on camera. A moment of loneliness appears humble in their frames, like the cursory gush of an unexpected wind, a passing thread in the path of the luminous spotlights and most often than not disappears in a blink of an eye. We might not be able to catch it but at times, their appearances, eyes and body languages tends to tell a very different story. Here are some of the loneliest pictures caught on camera that somehow managed to capture a moment of sheer reality of the performer’s pain in the landscape of technology, freezing the moment of a subjective melancholy that has been projected into the atmosphere without them realising it. We list some of the most memorable and beautiful relics of the past when an artistic genius is caught in his momentary loneliness or maybe just a sense of despair.
1. Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
So remember, it’s better to burn out than fade away.
At just 24, Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Cobain became the biggest star in the world, a spokes person for an entire generation, managed to change the rule book of radio bangers and in just 3 short years of his musical majesty, lost his life at 27. Exploding out of the Seattle underground scene where many of the early 90s seminal punk-rock band first took their stance, Nirvana erupted on the mainstream arena through their breakthrough lead single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ from their most notable second studio album, Nevermind in 1991. However the fame and vast attention that was placed on the band especially on its founding member and principle song writer, Kurt Cobain deposited him in an uncomfortable position. He become more reclusive and started denying his new-found fame through the display of certain careless antics. Following an endless struggle with media and addiction, which was heavily accompanied by chronic sickness that brutally engulfed his fragile state every now and then throughout his short life, the journey for the Nirvana’s vocalist ended on the unfaithful day of 5 April 1994, when Kurt Cobain took a bullet to his name. The public’s interest towards Cobain sparks a huge debate until today and it just goes to show how the candles are still burning bright in his name.
2. Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols
I got this feeling I’m gonna die before I get old. I don’t know why. I just have this feeling.
The forefather of grunge passed away sometime in 1979 only a year after his Juliet, Nancy Spungen’s death in early 1978. Nancy was the life of 21-year-old Sid as he was to the late Nancy. Sid Vicious, the infamous bassist of The Sex Pistols’ does not need any further introduction, one look at the mass exploitation of his 3 decade old images would be able to conclude major parts of his life. The creator of the exalted ‘pogo dance’, Sid made his lush debut with Sex Pistols in the era that was ruled by the Iron Lady. Rising to the occasion with aplomb, The Sex Pistols created their own little nihilists who ran around causing mass destruction as intended. Sid took the stage spotting self mutilated wounds, heavily plastered arms trying to conceal heroin marks and would often engage in vicious fights at every gig the boys had the pleasure of gracing through their short reign. More famously known for the hype than the talent, his schizophrenic junkie American girlfriend was found dead from a stab wound in Chelsea Hotel where they have been staying since they arrived in The States. Sid was held as the prime suspect to her murder pending an investigation that was never completed following his own death within a year, which was the courtesy of his own mother, Anne Beverly. Their twisted love story would have made an encompassing theatrical trade should Shakespeare still be alive today for their love was as fascinating as it was dangerous. Was he truly the bad boy of punk? Or just a boy who got lost in the chaotic side of his own existence, desperate to love and be loved and at the end of time met another lost soul just like him. Indeed, our very own twisted love story that 3 decades after today will still be told by the new and future generation.
3. JIM MORRISON OF THE DOORS
Love cannot save you from your own fate.
Hey Lizard King, wake up! Put on some show for us, we want the ‘riders on the storm’ to show us what is so wrong with this life and what is it that you have been searching for all your life. Another casualty at 27 years old tells a very odd story of life laced with an otherwise enigma. Fronting The Doors as lead vocalist, Jim boy has also famously been noted as an extraordinary poet since his poetries has been immortalised in books becoming best sellers for modern day mystery seekers. Morrison left for Paris with wife/girlfriend Pamela and was spotted looking for a spot where he intended to be buried when he dies. Strange enough that a man who is unsure of his destiny to know exactly where he would die. So, did he truly die that day? If yes, why was the news kept private through a media blackout? No one saw his body, not his tour manager, not his band member and close buddy, the late Ray Manzarek or even his parents but only his late wife who also died at the age of 27 from an alleged heroin overdose and a doctor who refused to be interviewed until the day he too met his maker. Many tales has been told about our beautiful Mojo Raisin, another moniker he had assumed during his wild days. Took a hiatus from the band, left for Paris and now eternally resting at a famous shrine in the city of love and romance. One thing is for sure, trust the man for a theatrical show and a fully-loaded emotional deliverance. ‘Celebration Of The Lizard’ is enough of a testament to Morrison’s ability in placing his magnifying curse on his spectators. A goose-bumps, and hair-raising listen, definitely.
4. JOHN FRUSCIANTE OF RED HOT CHILLI PEPPER
Something like trying to protect yourself all the time, things like trying to outwit fate. Those things can be the worst thing you can do for yourself.
Remember him? Let us jump start your memory a little bit. By now you must know Red Hot Chilli Peppers who had a vast catalog of hits during their time of supremacy. With initial members, Hillel Slovak (guitarist) passing from an alleged heroin overdose and Jack Iron’s founding member of RHCP leaving the band for not being able to cope with Slovak’s untimely death, Frusciante took over the guitar duties from his previous ‘guru’, Slovak. Frusciante was the cute, adorable and sexy looking punk with skinhead cut spotting a pink ponytail who was definitely a fresh addition to the group and fresher disposition to the fans. But Frusciante playing style was somehow unlike Slovak, which drove the group to incorporate with the heavy sounds he was able to produce and perhaps that was how some brilliant tunes came out from the group’s unprecedented archives. Too much happened too fast and RHCP’s fame and popularity skyrocketed in such a short time that they lost the grip on the time vehicle. Frusciante became depressed with all the attention and committed to Heroin bender, so bad till his veins collapsed as seen through many of his previous images. Here he is spotting a melancholy so deep that the pain could almost be felt deep in our hearts. He had that deep set of eyes, the windows to his soul that often dance and flirted with the camera but never to strong, just mild enough to steal your heart and question your mind about why was there such a sadness in his beautiful persona. Oh well, right now, he has gone on to producing solo materials and we are just glad to know, that we did not loose another celebrated artist to the shameless predator who has killed many of our beloved talents.
5. JOHN LENNON OF THE BEATLES
Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn’t enough and you have to go and get shot or something.
John Lennon once said that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus, while this was way back in the days when The Beatles were truly bigger than Rock n’ Roll as manifested by some, it seems Lennon lived long enough to pay the price of his so called words. Beatles are commemorated in the history as legends and it’s a suiting stature for the lads who broke the barriers between two cultures ultimately creating the ‘British Invasion’ pandemonium along the way. In the rock doctrine Beatles easily falls at number two below Elvis of course, but where cultural collision is concerned than they are at the top of the game in this recent century – a status that has not been defeated and never will. What Beatles’s created was something that was never before seen for the American audience and at the time they left Heathrow, which was their second entry into the American soil, a few hundred fans gathered to bid them goodbye and good luck in taking over the Eagle of the universe. And true enough, they took over in such style that they left every Tom, Dick and Harry getting the Arthur’s hair cut. But as legends has it, they parted ways and it all happened after Yoko’s entry into the Beatle’s legendary front man’s life. Unfortunately, Lennon got shot in 1980 and left this world with a historical touchstones that will forever go on in his name and legacy. We are not the one to preach about religion but if only Lennon has put it in some other ways, The Beatles being the Jesus of Rock n’ Roll would make a far more composing title for the Beatles.
6. LAYNE STALEY OF ALICE IN CHAINS
I’ve always looked for the perfect life to step into. I’ve taken all the paths to get where I wanted.But no matter where I go, I still come home to me.
Layne was the frontman of the 90s seminal punk-rock band, Alice In Chains, which he started with Jerry Cantrel in Seattle during the ultimate grunge era. Layne left us in 2002 at the age of 32 after his decomposing remains was discovered at his condominium courtesy of a tip-off from his accountant that noticed he hasn’t withdrawn any money from his account for two weeks. Layne Staley’s death was fixed on the 5th of April giving Seattle more than one artistic genius to mourn over since it was the same day that Kurt Cobain passed away in 1994. It left many fans feeling devastated and the heartbreak was so intense, we almost gave up hope in music. Layne had that punk-rock bile and charisma that was extremely contagious and a voice that was superlative, transcending and incomparable. The prince of grunge carried style like poise for film score and emotions that could echo until the end of time. Unfortunately, he was too lonely in this world that he created for himself and for a boy who spent all his magnificent talent searching for his father, he made the ultimate wish in meeting the devil himself.
7. EDDIE VEDDER OF PEARL JAM
At a certain point, you realize you have a responsibility more behind yourself and your need for adrenaline. I’m glad I did things in my 20s that were more reckless.
Eddie Vedder is the front man of Pearl Jam, ever so stunning in his youth as he is now continues to deliver extraordinary momentum in everything he produces, which reminds us, here is a living legend of our own teenage prime times. Exploding on the mainstream circuit with their first album, Ten, Eddie Vedder was one that would and could not miss the sight. Pearl Jam however became extremely remorse towards the attention that was bestowed upon them shortly after they became overly well known in their own respect. The pressure however was far more intense on Vedder as his golden baritones and exotically good-looks came into focus raising him as the new God of punk-rock. First of all let us stress this again and again because once is never enough, he was and still is painstakingly beautiful and second you would not believe that the voice came from the boy you saw (like, did you listen to Jeremy and Alive and all of Pearls Jam’s songs?). And while you were trying to digest that fact, he shocked you again and again by becoming rock n’ roll’s very own stuntman. Taking a dive into the mob like a super hero, Vedder was a tornado of movement and buoyancy and his frequent jumping and flying around constantly placed him in a risk of decapitation (wires on stage are dangerous). But for those who has seen him throughout his live performances, would not argue that he gave us a mindless act of raw emotions that was packed with thrilling intensity. He was never for the fame but always for the people, music and fans.
8. JIMI HENDRIX OF THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE
It’s funny how most people love the dead, once you’re dead your made for life.
Another son of Seattle that succumb to an early death and became a resident member of the infamous Club 27 was Jimi Hendrix. Born Johnny Allen Hendrix, the 27 year old is hailed as the greatest musician and the principal guitarist of our time. Jimi found his fame and footing in the UK and honourable mention should go to Paul McCartney of the Beatles who first saw Jimi performing and other celebrated UK rock stars who stood in Jimi’s favour. Even before the big interference and overwhelming support from his contemporaries, the British media already gave Jimi Hendrix a solid review up to an extend of quoting him as the ‘Black Elvis’ and ‘Wild Man Of Borneo’. If you must know (we believe you already do), he could play guitar with his tongue, his teeth, back wards, upwards and in any position you wish he would plus he had the niche of setting his guitar in flames on stage as a demonstration of sacrifice. On McCartney’s insistent, Jimi was added to the Monterey International Pop Festival as the Beatle’s former suggested that the festival would not be complete if Jimi was not part of the line up. Jimi became the highest paid musician in the world in 1969, a year before his death in 1970. Jimi had his fair share of brushes with the law but one that comes in focus is when he was apprehended at the airport for hashish and heroin possession. Jimi however denied that the illicit drugs belonged to him and cited that a fan might have placed it in his luggage without him realising it but the whole scenario was brought to the court nevertheless. Jimi was later found not guilty and was released from the charges by a panel of juries. Besides that, Jimi was also often caught in the middle of violent streaks and many suggested that it was a result of his excessive drinking. The celebrated genius was found dead by his then girlfriend, Monika Dannemann with whom he was living with in the UK at the time. Dannemann killed herself several years later, a day before she was scheduled to appear in court for chargers brought on to her by another previous girlfriend of Jimi.
9. JANIS JOPLIN @ PEARL
On stage I make love to twenty five thousand people; and then I go home alone.
The late 1970s received not only one huge blow but two in less than 1 month frame. Shortly after Jimi Hendrix was declared dead in his UK apartment, our rock princess followed him at the age of 27 fundamentally making her yet another member of the 27 Club. Janis or Pearl as she was famously known among close friends was a Texas-born singer, painter and music arranger who rose to prominence through her solo career by charting 5 singles and a few other songs in the 1960s. She became well-known for her on stage persona that was electrifying, giving all out as she took the audience into a psychedelic end and leaving them hollering for an encore at the end of every performance. Janis during her time was noted as ‘The Queen of Psychedelic Soul’; a befitting title for her star charisma. Janis’s heroin addiction wasn’t anything new as she has also once took the stage in Woodstock while she was heavily influenced by dope that she had shot prior to the show. Even when she was strung out and having difficulties on focusing on the performance, she managed to leave the audience gasping for more. Janis was found dead in her hotel room after she failed to show up for a recording session and her cause of death was ruled out as alleged heroin overdose. Her death was announced exactly 16 days after Jimi Hendrix and there were reasons to believe that the heroin purity that was supplied to Janis was much more powerful than the one she was used to since a few other customers of the same dealer also overdosed in the same week. The Foxy psychedelic queen left $2,500 in her will for a wake party in the event of her demise.
10. ELVIS PRESLEY
Until we meet again, may God bless you as he has blessed me.
What’s lonely about this picture, it’s just Elvis with some elderly woman? Yes, the elderly woman in this picture is his mother and what we are missing is that moments of intimacy like this has become fundamentally rare these days. Like John Lennon once said; as usual, behind every idiot there’s a woman and for Elvis this was the woman in his life, was and will always be. In the history of rock n’ roll, we often forget to thank this woman for giving birth to a legend and the reason behind our rock n roll king’s first step to stardom. Elvis that we came to know was always so posh and extravagant, throwing money at his fans, giving them diamond ring, buying Cadillac’s for his staff but he wasn’t always the rich boy that we had the pleasure of knowing. Our legend started of with such poverty, that it would hurt those who knew how his childhood was. But he was blessed for having a mother and father who loved him so much and made a decent man out of him. You will never find another rock star like Elvis in this century, he was made only once in this lifetime and many of his sadness, depression and frustration started after the passing of the only woman he had love dearly in his life. May both mother and son have found each other in the ulterior universe. We remember one thing so fondly, the first time Elvis set out to become a musician, he was actually looking to record a song he has previously written for his mother. In his was to present a gift for the woman who went through thick and thin to raise him as the future superstar, she led him to his ultimate destiny.
From The: Compilation Of Acid-Tounge Desk