Did Social Media Kill The Rock Star?

In a world full of cameras, where anyone can be a journalist of sorts, have we lost the mystique of our famed rockers? Are they more accessible and less fantastical?

Gone are the days where you got your info from a Rolling Stone magazine once a month. Nowadays, most everything is posted to social media, where news stories and articles are all over the internet instead of a select few magazines. So, how is a music icon to cultivate an image?

Take Marilyn Manson, the last of the truly antagonising, controversial rock stars we’ve seen. Most of his early notoriety came from the very people who tried to stop him, typically religious folk, sprouting rumours of satanic rituals and orgies during concerts. Instead of hindering Manson, they helped to create a bigger, bolder image – more so than what he could have created alone. These days, that just couldn’t happen; with hundreds of smartphones and cameras at every gig, the truth is out there, and known in an instant.

With the prevalence of Social Media, have artists been too heavily exposed? Is it possible to create a world of mystique surrounding artists anymore, or are their lives open, boring, books? Books that we might have read if we hadn’t been given all the gory details beforehand. Thanks to the modern world, we now have this image of Manson, courtesy of TMZ.

TMZ, a modern tabloid agency, shows an older, dorkier, Manson, compared to what we’ve been accustomed. This is the Marilyn Manson TMZ sees, and so, it is the Manson that the new age sees as well. Kids who are aspiring rock stars of the future might scoff at this ageing rocker.

The issues with social media are not just with easy access to celebrities. You also have, on the one hand, the PC police waiting to jump on you for saying something even a little controversial and on the other hand, you have the world seeing an ageing, perhaps even boring-in-real-life person, making it a little bit hard if you want to be a controversial rock star.

The same can be said for Maynard James Keenan, albeit, to a much lesser extent than Manson. Maynard used to be seen as a mysterious figure, with an almost God-like presence — I think he’d hate that I said that, but from a fans point of view, he really was up there on a pedestal!

Maynard has written songs with lyrics meant to shock, such as:

You’ve claimed all this time that you would die for me.
Why then are you so surprised to hear your own eulogy?
You had alot to say.
You had alot of nothing to say.
Come down.
Get off your f****n cross.
We need the f****n space to nail the next fool martyr.

To maybe further the picture we have for Maynard, let’s look at this article on NoiseCreep:

With Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, Keenan has established himself as a unique artist with unusual mystique in rock music, both above ground and below. No matter how well his bands do commercially, his vision and his goals don’t waver…“The job, and what I interpret as my job, if that’s how you want to label it, is to observe, interpret and report. We march to the beat of that drummer, so the results are different and decisions are different, since they have nothing to do with money or fame.”

These days, there are videos of him talking about growing grapes and making wines at his vineyard. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

If Maynard wants to be a vintner, all power to him! My concern is that the influence of social media and online journalism have made it hard to grow and keep a controversial image, though it doesn’t seem to have hurt the growing of his grapes.

Soooo…how did this happen and what’s the future for the rock industry? Have we seen our last controversial rocker?

Follow Jolly


Used to be on radio; maybe back on-air again one day. Somewhat creative. Occasionally funny. Lover of Tabasco sauce and beer - not always together. Linux user.
Follow Jolly


Used to be on radio; maybe back on-air again one day. Somewhat creative. Occasionally funny. Lover of Tabasco sauce and beer - not always together. Linux user.

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