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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Are You a Groupie? NOT

What? That is what I said, when I changed my Facebook cover photo to the picture you see me in below.
The ultimate insult to a music journalist. This is not the first time I have been asked or accused of being a "groupie," and I assure you, it will not be the last.
I am going to depict the differences between a music journalist, and groupie, here today, to set the record straight, one and for all. First and foremost, groupies don't get paid, and if they do, they may be arrested for prostitution. Music journalists spend at least a month researching their subjects, who are usually rock stars if you write in that genre, which I do.  Once all of the leg work is done, and you have emailed managers, PR, and concert venues, to get your press passes, you think it may have been easier to ask for a tooth extraction then a pass. Add about another week to complete the assignment for the publication.
 A groupie is a sneak, a good one at that, and usually hangs around a gate or a tour bus, for quick entrance to the show or a groupies lifetime goal , backstage.
Press is lingering in the same areas , for different reasons. The main reason is to get that interview. Believe me ,  even a scheduled interview becomes a wild goose chase.  Most of the time, the artist or band's own camp does Not give them a heads-up they are to be meeting with press.
On first approach, you really want to say, " Hi , I am Kellie Levans,  I'm from RollingStone, but you introduce yourself as , "Hi , I am Kellie Levans, The Milwaukee Rock Music Examiner." In this day of age, my title is sometimes more recognizable,  considering many of these artists look at RollingStone Magazine as a periodical for the has-been music fan.
After an introduction,  your passes are checked , rechecked, and viewed by roadies and security guards as if they are fakes and you ARE a groupie in disguise. If all goes well you walk away with the story you came for,  and the band really does wonder if you are "the enemy."
I am telling you now, the biggest way to ruin your credibility as a music journalist is to party with the band. You can go to the party, but never partake in the party activities such as drinking or yes, I am saying it, fornicating with an artist or a band member.
You would lose your reputation as a sought after reporter, and  from that minute on , you would be at the bottom of the barrel and "Groupie" would be tattooed on your forehead for every show after.
There is a tightrope of ethics that go along with those  V.I.P and press passes. To fall off that fine line-is almost always a career ending move.
You must make the exact right entrance and the exit is even more important.
The best advice I ever received was from renowned rock journalist and author of  Life On Planet Rock, and Sweet Demotion,  Lonn Friend. Lonn told me to never ever act starstruck. That was my weakness and as a professional journalist he found it in me right away. I am ALWAYS starstruck when meeting and covering bands, such as Cheap Trick, Black Label Society, artist like Willie Nelson,  John Cougar,
Neil Young, Jon Anderson of Yes etc.
So I fake it. I act just like they do, act.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and woman merely players: (Shakespeare)
The groupie is Not an actor, but a species of lusts, needs, and wants.
Reporters have one goal, the story , and yes , maybe one day The Cover.

A special Thank You to my Facebook friend Jeff,  for inspiring this piece-
Also to Lonn Friend who pens rock literature, raising the bar on music journalism, and inspiring me to write from the heart and to always write the truth, the whole truth , nothing but the truth

-Kellie Levans-
The Milwaukee Rock Music Examiner

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