HomeForumsOther TopicsAbout the Rockstar audition show with Tommy Lee, Newsted, Gilby Clark

This topic contains 13 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  superblonde 1 week ago.

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  • #22815

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Over the recent holiday I started binge watching this older show with these guys. The episodes can be found online. This is the show where they have a bunch of vocalist-aspiring-frontmen compete to be the singer of their new supergroup band. Along with cheesy comments by Dave Navarro. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Star:_Supernova

    First thing is that it is fascinating to watch the performances of the contestants and compare the way they handle their performances, pro’s and con’s, and how they grow in ability over time. They’re all top vocalists from their home towns, yet striving to reach that higher level on a big stage. But I can’t believe the lame comments from Tommy Lee, Jason Newsted, and Gilby Clark. Altho it’s probably exaggerated for reality tv drama. The “advice” they are telling the singers after their performances is just rubbish and seemingly very counter-productive. “I’m not feeling it, I need to be impressed, you need to show me who you really are” for example. What the hell does that even mean. Some singer is singing with all their might and the feedback they get is “show me who you really are” ?! These guys come across as really poor musical collaborators if that is the kind of sound bites they are giving their band mates, as musical improvement advice. It doesn’t seem like they ever told the audition contestants what the band was really about or what they were looking for (metal? rock? hard rock? punk rock? and what added unique flavor? These guys have all played in many bands with various flavors of tone and sound). The singers complain later about this each time, in the “dramatic reality tv” spot segments, like, “I dont know what they’re trying to say, if they don’t see my emotion coming thru in this song, and then later say they were bored by it”. One of the guys says finally “We want someone fronting our band who will set the direction for us, and lead us” — isn’t that strange? Three top level rock stars want the leader to be some non-top-level frontman? Does the front man always need to be “the leader” because it sure does not seem like Vince Neil was such a leader of Motley at all, or Mick Jagger for that matter too (at least according to Keith Richard’s autobio). Do these pro rockstars really want to sit back and be led, or dictated-to, by a frontman? Then again it’s interesting because it’s similar to the stuff I’ve been complaining about with the few band mates I have had. So that is kind of an “ah ha” moment for me. Jason Newsted seems to be the only guy making somewhat level headed or usable or coherent comments to the singers. It’s almost like they set the contestants up for failure in some spots, like having one of them cover an REM song (wth? Why would Tommy Lee want to hear anyone cover REM?! That is like kryptonite to glam rock), and other various absolutely-lame songs without any guidance towards “turn this weak & wimpy 80s alt rock song into more of a death metal cover”. Does Gilby Clark seriously want to play Santeria or anything like it for the new band, and if not, why have a vocalist cover it for a critical performance audition?!

    This tv series is back from like 2007 time frame? Maybe some of you guys saw it? Based on some of the really poor taste of comments dropped by Navarro and Tommy Lee (some of the things they say or try to joke about seem really.. well I’ll just say low class or very poor taste), I can see why the show was not renewed for more seasons.

    The other interesting thing is that, since it was done in the past, it’s cool to look at the “where are they now” or the “what ever happened to” reviews. I havent finished watching the series yet so I’m not digging too deep for now. In one interview, Jason Newsted did not seem to have pleasant things to say about working with these bandmates. I didnt listen to their album yet but I saw that got a mixed reception.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #22817

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    I think they give those comments because playing music for those guys at that point is more a feeling than anything, for them to get all into the technical stuff is more of a lower level for them. Like show me who you really are is more like let it all out, don’t control it, rock n roll it.

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #22818

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    The guys kind of changed their tone after the 10th episode (of about 30 so, 1/3 of the way thru). The show producers probably gave the guys better direction. Before that, they were giving so many of those cheesy comments directly from their opinions. The singers didnt know what they were talking about either. They did some reality tv drama segments about the singers being confused by the criticisms. They sincerely were like “wth are they saying, I gave it all and they were saying ‘open up’, I dont know what they mean, I dont get it at all”.. Personally Ive heard some of these phrases too. Those kind of comments are just hollow. What the guys comments really seem to mean is: we want to see you freak out and jump around and “appear to” lose control. That is more like acting class theater stuff, and different from “actually freaking out”. The guys could have just said this directly and maybe even as their first judging event. Then when those singers later started going nutso on stage and acting it up, the guys scolded them for not being able to stand at the mic and sing without jumping around, like “you need to open up without all the theatrics”. One of the best singers, the youngest girl (and so, kind of innocent looking, no tattoos etc) got scolded many times for not “rocking it”. What that literally ended up meaning, was: put on scary eye shadow and make scary faces while singing. Suddenly she got praise and “wow, you have come so far” type comments. She didnt have the gritty vocals or develop that skill either, so it was obvious to me early on, she would not fit. Another one of the girls that got only constant praises by the guys, was basically just making very scary facial expressions and scary eyes while singing: “good job, you nailed it”. A different girl who got continual high praise had the best gritty vocals of all the females, yet she didnt move around at all, and mostly stood at the mic, stomping her foot to the beat, altho this girl had crazy, crazy hair and lots of piercings, and kind of angry facial expressions to start with, so, she already had the look down.

    So basically they could have said up front, OK, if you’re ugly with tats and already have scary mannerisms, you’re okay, but otherwise, you need to practice using zombie makeup and acting out horror movies and go get some facial piercings.

    I’m not sure any dedicated student of music should fool themselves by thinking that it is appropriate to literally freak out on stage and lose control right? It is acting, and that is what rehearsals are for, to practice acting crazy. Not literally be crazy. Watching live bootleg videos of Nirvana, who still today are considered to have had legendary stage performance, by really studying the stage antics, it’s obvious that much of it was premeditated or rehearsed (not like the exact way they’d smash guitars, but, other things like playing the solo while laying on the ground). Cobain wasnt going crazy and out-of-control, he was simply making it look like he was going crazy. “Wow he’s going crazy, making feedback and noise”.. well… Same could be said for so many other bands too. Slayer (according to Scott Ian’s autobio) were purposely acting the “be angry, never smile” attitude, meanwhile in real life the guys were totally fun and cracking jokes constantly. Malmsteen “smashes” a guitar by throwing it up in the air and letting it fall to the ground… but I saw this guitar backstage before their show when their tech was “fixing it” and I saw that it was a purposely made break-away guitar (so specific pieces would fall off in specific ways, for re-attachment later). Sure, some of the memorable moments in rock are because some bands had mentally unstable frontmen (like Ozzy obviously) but you dont have to be mentally unstable, or take back alley pharmaceuticals, to appear mentally unstable, right? Doesnt Steel Panther totally prove this? Their entire thing, is a great over-the-top acting job along with great music skills, making it appear they are insane, girl crazy, etc, and making it appear that the bassist has IQ of 30, and so on. Alice Cooper, probably the king of rock stage show(?), definitely seems mentally stable and practiced then rehearsed tons of theatrics for each song.

    One of the less great contestants was always smirking through his songs. Kind of like some country singers do. Wry smile. If that ever happens in a rock song I can only think of the massive lameness which bands like nickelback achieved.. cheeseball. Yet they never told that contestant that his facial expressions were wrong, even though it was obvious. They should have come out and said: you cant look rock n roll and angry and rebellious if you’re smile-smirking at the end of each verse line. Instead they said, “we see that you’re a soul singer and we’re not sure that fits with our band”. duh.

    I accidentally found out who won because I was googling the show (but I dont know the order of all the eliminations so those parts are still a surprise). The winner was the same guy that I decided from the 1st episode, “thats the one who is gonna win, they’re obviously gonna pick that guy”. He already had great gritty vocals, and crazy hair, and from the start, has a ridiculous attitude. Basically the stereotypical package already. Although the one I thought they should have really picked if they had more courage, was the girl everyone constantly hated and voted down, this crazy girl who reminded me of how Steve Vai picked Devin Townsend, like, mad scientist crazy person, totally out of the box, crazy costumes and crazy ways of performing the songs. She would have made for an excellent ground breaking band.

    One thing for sure, for Tommy Lee and Gilby Clark, my new opinions of those guys is much lower than before. (Not that anyone cares about my opinion of course) Whereas I always thought Newsted was cool, plus being more of a serious musician type, and now to me seeing his comments on this show, I think he is waaay cooler than had thought before. Newsted is the only saving grace, the #1 star of the show. Literally I was thinking at around the 5th episode, “geez why would anyone want to even be in your guys band? This isnt a supergroup it’s a lamer group”. Some of that can be blamed on the reality show’s producers because they never give the audience an emotional reason to care about the guys in the supergroup. Tommy Lee is saying to the contestants, “you guys need to prove to us that you want to be in our band” and I was saying, “screw your sucky band, who would waste any time fighting to work with a train wreck like you?”. Kind of backwards, if the goal of the show was to sell the audience on the supergroup concept.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #22819

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    Idk, I’m still not sure how the singers didn’t really know what they were talking about. Maybe that’s why rock and roll is kinda dead today, cause people don’t get it anymore haha.

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #22820

    bdickens
    Participant

    Thank God I have a marketable skill I can fall back on if this music thing doesn’t work out.

    Byron Dickens

  • #22824

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    As a show it’s kind of fun to watch but I’d turn it off if I wasn’t learning little tips and stuff from it. Somehow it seems easier to learn from non-top-level performers because their mistakes or their stage choices seem really obvious, they stand out as good or really bad, vs with a real pro, everything just flows and it seems harder to pick up exactly what they’re doing to make the magic that they make.

    Rock n roll to me is best when it is sexy. But the guys keep saying be scary, “go crazy”. For example RHCP totally nails sexy (then again Dave Navarro was fired from RHCP, haha). DLR was sexy and a bit raunchy without being sleazy (then Hagar went all lovey-dovey, boooo). Thruout the show they do these clinics for the contestants. They should have had a pole dancing class or something, the female singers are good looking but not sexy. None of the guys takes their shirt off when performing (except in one song). Freddie Mercury was very sexy somehow (altho at times a bit flamboyant for me but then again Queen was before my generation anyways). Ironically, season 1 of this show, was the INXS frontman search, and the original frontman of INXS is definitely one of the sexiest frontmen of all time! Like some Jim Morrison godlike level status of sexiness in performance. Steven Tyler has sexy down, it’s some kind of magic. Axl Rose seemed to have a mentally unhinged performance energy yet still was sexy (often going shirtless). The supernova band guys never say what direction they are looking to go. Do they want sexy or do they want scary or do they want pretty. One of the girls with pretty-vibe to her songs was criticized heavily for being “too lilith faire” and “boring”. The male contestants seem to be congratulated when they give off an angry, angsty, sexually-frustrated vibe, not sexy at all. That’s alt-rock to me, it’s emo, it’s not rock n roll. One guy gets criticized for always looking “brooding” and told to smile more, then later congratulated for acting like a angsty maniac. Not that there is a right answer, the supergroup can do whatever they want, but they sure didn’t give the contestants good direction for the vibe they wanted. Not being sexy is one of my theories for partially why rock n roll is dead today in the U.S., somehow everything about rock got twisted and it became cooler to “get drunk like a rockstar then pass out” (totally not sexy) and the gutting of male sexuality continues (boy band fluff) meanwhile hyping female nudity (miley cyrus style skimpy clothing and twerking nonsense) on one hand and disney princess stuff on the other hand, but thats a whole separate rant. Rock n roll is about sexy. I guess androgeny was a thing way back in the 70s (Bowie) and definitely thru the 80s (Prince and glam, guys dressing like girls) but I never connected to that vibe at all.

    Another really cool aspect of the show is the house band. I didnt expect the backing band to be so amazing. Every short clip with the band leader telling a story about a song rehearsal is a huge insight into dealing with vocalists.

    Song choice in the show really sucks. They’re singing coldplay and REM and pop emo junk. Like, why. How does that sound in any way relate to a band with Tommy Lee and Gilby Clark.. meanwhile there’s no blues rock songs, no punk, no garage rock, no neoclassical metal (unless counting Evanescence which I dont), very little hard rock. Newstead played in Voivod. That entire type of sound is not represented in the assigned songs at all. The songs the contestants are given are just a totally confused selection. Nirvana? I can’t imagine Tommy Lee or Gilby Clark like anything about grunge or want to judge a vocalist on the ability to sing Cobain. Is any potential fan of the supernova group going to be a fan of Coldplay? I really doubt it. So it’s kind of ridiculous.

    I didnt have high hopes for the show as a show, because Dave Navarro’s talk show really sucked too, he’s a horrible host. “Hey man”, “what’s up dude”, “thanks man”, how the hell is that host-like presentation skill. It’s mainly good to watch the growth of the contestants.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #22825

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Thank God I have a marketable skill I can fall back on if this music thing doesn’t work out.

    “You just have to let the rockstar inside you come out! Let go and show us the real side of yourself. You need to break out of your box! Get out there and go crazy!” 😀 Hah. Thats what those judges would say.

    Oh one of the really interesting angles of the show are the tiny soundbites about where the contestants came from. One of the guys in season 1 admitted that he lived in his car, homeless, before winning a contest to go on the show to compete. One of the top guys in the season 2 admits that he works at Hooters “flipping chicken”. So, you know. There’s always Hooters in case the rock star thing doesn’t pan. LOL Another one of the season 1 contestants that made it quite far until being eliminated, literally her Linked-in profile says she worked at Starbucks during that time. So the cliche is true: coffee shop barista by day, attempted star-vocalist by night. I’m just being funny here, I admire the hard work of chasing the dream, when music doesn’t pay the rent.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #22828

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    What I really believe is more interesting, is if you guys could describe the qualities of a good frontman (or frontwoman) from your guys perspectives. Hopefully parts of that description which are actual technique. “Be captivating” or “someone who shows confidence”, that kind of stuff, is not a description that can be applied as a technique. My biggest takeaway from this series is the importance of facial expressions in vocals, just like watching Monster Power Chords and seeing Dee J’s crazy expressive grimaces when only playing guitar and how much cooler it looks when doing those.

    Last year around this time, I was singing xmas songs to get better at vocals. My distaste for xmas songs knows no bounds. No offense to anyone who enjoys xmas music. I absolutely hate the stuff and dont want to ever do it again. However I practiced these for many many hours so that I could at least make it count for that opportunity, and that included facial expressions. I got a huge compliment from someone in the audience of that show from a woman who said I was lighting up the room with my expressiveness. So the practice showed. And it was 100% totally fake because any positive vibes she was getting from me through those songs, well I was pretty much hating every moment of that music. Thats what I consider being a pro (tho I am still very amateur). Even when not feeling the music at all, it still looks like it is 110% “being in the music”. I’ll say this about xmas songs tho, they are really good practice, lots of holding long whole notes, lots of hard intervals, all of that really helped me get better I think.

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #22830

    bdickens
    Participant

    The only Christmas music I can stand is hymns and the older the better.

    Byron Dickens

  • #22832

    slash
    Participant

    This is how to do X-mas 🙂

  • #22835

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    Gary Hoey is so cool. Its amazing how he’s kept his legacy going and does that xmas show every year. His recent blues rock album is really good. I dislike xmas songs so much that I cant even listen to metal versions of them, or parodies or anything, just cant stand it. I’d rather be forced to listen to nickelback over xmas songs. 🙁

    I rewatched the rockstar show 1st episode of the 1st series, with INXS, those guys had clipboards out during performances, taking notes on each vocalist and such.. The 2nd series with Tommy Lee, those guys just made funny facial expressions for the cameras, pretty lame. Since i finished watching the 2nd series I was reading up on their old tour, sounds like they did not do very well at all, according to reviewers anyways. Maybe the producer of the show wrote the songs because they were really pop fluff horrible generic sounding rock. The 2nd place contestant later had a band that opened for the supergroup band, and they did better according to many reviews, than the supergroup band itself:

    They went on tour for this album (along with Dave Navarro’s Panic Channel) and played huge 30000 seat arenas-no one showed up. A friend of mine went to see them (no Jason Newsted-he dropped out) in a arena and they drew about 2000-3000 in a 28000 seater

    The first season, for inxs, they picked the guy with the most rockstar-attitude-style talent and best original song, but he also seemed emotionally unstable and very undisciplined. Yet they picked him anyways. One year later, it sounds like they had trouble getting along, especially on tour. Something I learned about frontmen from reading interviews with Skid Row. Best to pick the person who is equally fun to hang around at a BBQ, rather than focus totally on who has the rockstar skills. Even recently, Bolen says they won’t reunite with Sebastian Bach because basically, they hate Bach. Cant blame ’em! 😛 INXS could have picked one of the other contestants, there was a guy with a lot of soul groove rock vibe, perfect for them since their music was always dance-rock fusion. Also since that guy was the only black contestant, it sure would have made a great musical statement and memorable band image.

    The way Newsted explains the show below, the producer spent millions to host world-wide auditions to bring vocalists onto the show, and says it was the biggest supergroup promotion ever in the history of the world since the Monkeys in the 60s (which was huge). He explains a few things about what he looks for in a frontman which is cool.


    Jason Newsted at “Rockstar:Super Nova” auditions

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #22836

    MotleyCrue81
    Participant

    What I see as good qualities:

    Be sexy, and make it believable

    Be exciting, and make it sexy

    Be crazy, and make it sexy

    Do the “uh”s and “ah”s and make them sexy

    Have the moves, and make them sexy

    Have the looks, and look sexy

     

    Rock and roll needs to look and sound sexy in order to be right.

    Any average singer with those qualities can make it big. Although they’re not necessarily skill, it does require some kind of talent and visual stuff is a huge factor to making a great performance.

    When I say sexy, think DLR, think Vince Neil, thing Sebastian Bach, think Jimi Hendrix.

    They had the crazy and sexy combined with the excitement. Although DLR and Sebastian Bach are pretty good singers, Vince Neil is pretty average, but still made it huge.

    When I say “uh”s and “ah”s think of those noises like Jimi Hendrix and DLR make when singing.

    Having just that kind of style can make average singing go a long ways.

    Bring hair metal back!

  • #22839

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    The last contestant to be eliminated (so, 2nd place) admitted that she was not good at writing lyrics, and had entered the contest/competition believing it was for a vocalist position not a songwriter position. The song she wrote in the competition was not good and she didnt seem to have any process for how to write lyrics (like, no simple outline or anything). Which is interesting to compare to Vince Neil: he didnt write the Crue songs, or the lyrics, didnt even play harmonica onstage (it was faked with either a real player backstage or a recording), not sure he wrote the melodies either, so really he was a pure vocalist and performer only. John Bush, another one of metal’s great frontmen, didnt write lyrics to most Anthrax songs I believe. Luckily I saw John Bush live with Armored Saint recently, his stage performance was absolutely insane high energy, totally captivating. This really highlights the skills of a great frontman like Axl Rose who wrote amazing lyrics, wrote the melodies, wrote song demos, wrote and performed live on piano, a crazy performer and crazy costume changes, always something outlandish. I guess the frontman job title keeps expanding its list of qualifications, the classic vocalists of previous generations never wrote their own songs or lyrics, they were just vocalists and sometimes performers. Other rock n roll frontmen were players first and vocalists second, which is why a lot of rock n roll has not-so-stellar vocals. DLR is panned for having horrible vocals and some really horrible lyric writing yet stellar stage performance.

    Another part in the show is when the contestants got a fully completed instrumental track recorded by the supergroup, with the assignment to write lyrics and melody for it. Of the 12(?) contestants, nearly all of of them listened to the track a couple times and scribbled lyrics down on paper within 15-20 minutes, and then went off to have drinks at mansion pool. They said stuff like: “Some of the best songs were written by bands in only 15 minutes” or “Its best not to overthink rock n roll” etc. Which to me is a bunch of excuses for being lazy (especially in a competition). Sure it’s true that some great songs were written in flash of inspiration but those are rare and unpredictable, and Leonard Cohen claimed he took 4 years of regular revising to write some of his best songs. Only one of the vocalists continued working on the new song and said he was up to 2am, working and reworking it. The better way would be to write that first quick 15 minute spontaneous song and then go on to write a second or third or fourth completely separate song, as many as could be completed or at least fully sketched out, then come in with the handful of options, to pick the best or combine the best parts of each. It’s amazing to me that the contestants, all of whom were top level unsigned artists from around the world, wouldn’t have this kind of discipline or work process.

    Some of them admitted that they had never taken a single vocal lesson too. I know thats true of a lot of musicians but for a huge audition opportunity like that, it might have been a good idea to book some quick lessons before flying to LA?

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

  • #22840

    superblonde
    Keymaster

    I guess frontmen take big stage jumps risking their lives. (Kinda count me out of that job assignment)

    Eddie Veddar stage dives from camera crane into audience. I’m not a fan of pearl jam, but epic dive from the 90s. 32:30 ~ Eddie Mosh Pit Dives From The Camera Crane!


    PEARL JAM PINKPOP 1992

    I'm an intermediate student of Metal Method. I play seitannic heavy metal. All Kale Seitan! The glutens will be eaten with relish!
    And on the Seventh Day, Mustaine said: ∇ ⨯ E = - ∂B / ∂t ; and there was Thrash; and it had a ♭3; and it was good.

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