“Do you feel like rock stars now?”

Originally published on my other blog, blahblahblah.pyradraculea.com

For a while I’ve been planning to try more of the classes at my gym. For example, one called “Pound” described as combining rhythm/percussion and dance moves. And hey, it’s after my power yoga class that I sometimes attend.

Today I decided to give it a shot and stick around after yoga.

It was good and bad. Good: an OK cardio workout, not as good as Zumba, but OK.

Bad… holy fuck, it’s the second coming of the scrapbookers I used to mock on my podcast when I worked at a craft store: buying these pink glittery “ROCK STAR!!!” stickers and pretending they were oh so rock n roll.

So we’re out in the suburbs clicking green plastic “drum sticks” together in something approximating the beat of the music, which is almost all shitty hip hop except for that gawdawful pop “punk” song “Fell In Love With the Girl from the Rock Show” (who needs to bother with The Sex Pistols shrieking “God Save the Queen” when you have that song? Barf!), doing typical aerobics moves while the instructor cheered us on with things like “You guys are such rock stars!”

Minor point of contention: wouldn’t rock stars involve, y’know, actual rock music? I mean, you could make a killer high energy workout playlist out of the likes of AC/DC, Danko Jones, Mötley Crüe…

Hell, Nickelback’s “Burn It to the Ground” would be a great song for this.

And I know this to be true because I have a “Gym Mix” on my iPod with 382 such songs (OK, about a third of it is electro stuff like Faderhead, but still) that would provide enough content for 24 such aerobics classes before anything repeated, though I suppose they probably have to be careful about swearing in a gym aerobics class, so probably the Sex Pistols and Pigface are out, but that still leaves a huge amount of vastly better music.

Aside from the non-rock star music choices, I still have a couple problems.

1. I used to play drums – albeit badly! – so this shit is just annoying.

Toots, a drum roll is not done by swinging your arms in a giant U shape while flailing your hands around. It’s actually a very small and controlled movement done on just one drum. I suppose you were going for a tom fill, but that also doesn’t match the U shape.

Have you ever seen a drum kit? Yeah, you don’t start a tom fill up and to your left where your crash cymbal lives, dip down to thwack your kick drum with your sticks, then come back and up to your right to smash your china or ride.

Yes, I tried to remind myself, this is just a dumb aerobics class, but that’s not how my brain works. More like “OK, why are we doing the retarded U fill thingy in the middle of the verse where there’s no accent at all in the actual music?”

People, that Animal character on the Muppets is just a puppet, not a drum teacher.

2. I used to work in the music biz – albeit on the bottom rungs of the indie label part of it! – so this shit is just annoying.

Honey, if seeing my own records turn up on the college radio charts didn’t give me any delusions about rock stardom and grandeur, tapping green plastic sticks together in a suburban fitness class ain’t gonna do it for sure.

I tried to keep the “resting bitch face” expression in check, but I suspect it got replaced with a “you gotta be fucking kidding me” smirk which is probably ruder.

It’s like so many other things: if you’re have to say it, you’re not it. I don’t think Mick Jagger goes and yells in Keith Richards’ ear “do you feel like a rock star now?” in the middle of a show.

Well, ever, actually.

Things I have experienced or witnessed or heard of that are “rock n roll”:

– getting hit on backstage by the lead singer of a headlining touring band I interviewed (I turned him down as I was busy chasing after a former bandmate of his I used to know)
– 20 hour days on the last Left Spine Down mix session, making 3am munchie runs for the guys
– bands doing lines in a spare studio of a radio station
– carting a friend and his gear home after his show, waiting for him to be done marking his territory in the dive bar parking lot like a wolf (a drunk wolf who needed to dispose of the 8 beers he just drank onstage) while I kept watch in case of cops
– the legend of Copyright and the Quarter Million Dollar Advance from Geffen that Was Used For Drugs Instead of Recording
– Guns N Roses fan riots
– going in to do my old radio show a couple hours after having my heart shattered into a million pieces, being a fucking mess in every sense of the word, but managing to get my shit together for 2 minutes at a time to announce the playlist and station/show IDs in my proper smooth radio voice
– waking up in pitch black winter at 5pm, driving to my basement jam space, working on recording vocals til 7am, driving home in the daylight, going to bed, doing it all over again for weeks straight
– watching a friend of mine’s AC/DC tribute band play a killer set to about 20 of us in a freezing cold suburban hotel banquet hall, later hearing there were complaints when their version of “Highway to Hell” could be heard loud and clear downstairs and interrupted some sort of Christian ladies’ bible study conference
– waiting 4 hours in the pissing rain with a gang of other Nine Inch Nails fans to get Trent’s autograph. He spelled his own last name wrong. (This was before he got sober.)
– listening to my jam space neighbors spend 4 hours straight rehearsing the same damn song that had been determined to be the lead-off single on their album the day before a show and more generally rehearsing 5 nights a week for 4-5 hours for months leading up to the album release
– doing a noise experimental set as requested by my friend who booked the show at a legion with punk bands on the bill and getting heckled by grandpa who didn’t like my crap

And keep in mind I’ve actually done very little. Friends of mine have toured North America with the Jim Rose Circus (among others) and have far more interesting and horrifying stories.

That shit’s rock n roll.

Tapping green plastic sticks in a suburban gym, not so much.

The closest that class got to “rock star” was that I suppose 1980s David Lee Roth would have approved of my aqua and black striped spandex pants.

Well, I guess to be fair, I’m not the target audience. Everyone else seemed to be a cubicle slave doing their post-drudgery exercise. And they seemed to eat that shit up in much the same way that a million interior design blogs spew about “zen sanctuary spa bathrooms” complete with Buddha heads and none of the fans of such ever seem to have done any introspection, let alone meditated their way into enlightenment.

Clicking green sticks is the fitness version of air guitar or pushing controller buttons pretending to be Slash whilst playing that stupid Guitar Hero crapola. They wanna pretend? Fine. But knowing better, I can’t take it seriously.

Anyway, point is, next time I want some cardio after my yoga class, I’ll hit the rowing machine with my iPod. Y’know, keep my dignity intact… and at least the playlist will be “rock n roll!”