~ M.J. SCHILLER ~ ROCKING REALITY! ~







Hi! We’re going to play a little game. Ready? What do you think of when I say the words—rock star. Go!

Okay, so did you think--partier, drugs, drinking, women, fans...? It is true, those do seem to be more prevalent in the life of a rocker than say, the life of your average telephone repair man. A lot of rock romances focus on this, what has become a stereotype of a rocker. And that’s great. I’m all for it. I enjoy reading those books. I just write my stories a little differently. I like to keep it real. Or as real as fiction can be.

For instance, you are not going to see paparazzi splashed over all of the pages of my books. You’ll see them more when my characters are in L.A. or New York, but not if the band is playing Kansas City or St. Louis or even Chicago. While photographers and fans are a huge part of these musicians lives, it’s not necessarily a 24/7 kind of thing. So the city matters, and so does the specific location. Are they at the mall? Or at a private club? Are they in town for a show? Then people might have a heightened awareness of their presence. Are they at the venue? Crowds are definitely going to show up there.

It also depends on what kind of rocker we’re talking about. Chad Evans, from Trapped Under Ice would draw a little bit more attention than Chase Hatton of Abandon All Hope. Chad is much more comfortable in the limelight. He works the crowd, he makes appearances, but even he is not as outgoing as his partner Roger. Still, Chad dates models, is seen in the tabloids, has a body guard. There is a scene in Trapped Under Ice when Beth and Chad and the boys are walking to the bus through a crowd of onlookers who are held back by barriers and security. This is a big part of the story and is told through Beth’s eyes, someone who is new to it all. They are in Kansas City, a fairly sizable town, and at the venue. Later, when Chad visits Beth in Bloomington, Illinois, they don’t have to deal with fans. “They had dinner with Cassie at a nearby restaurant Pete [the body guard] checked out beforehand. There were a few stares and some whispering, but since Trapped Under Ice wasn’t playing in town, most people chalked it up to a phenomenal resemblance.”

Now Chase Hatton is a different breed of rocker. He’s a loner. He’s not part of a band, he’s the main act that is backed by a nameless band. Think Cher or Madonna. We don’t know the names of most of the members of their bands either. Chase also keeps a low profile when not on stage. He’s not out hobnobbing with the rich and famous. He probably wouldn’t have a Twitter page. It’s not that he’s not personable, but he’s from Nebraska, grew up in a middle class family—he likes things pure and laid back, like Hope. Still, when in Chicago he avoids public transit and wears a baseball cap to the zoo so that he won’t be recognized.



(My picture~Seether at The House of Blues, Chicago~May 2014)


Another factor is the genre of music. Pop stars, by
definition, are popular and therefore recognizable, for the most part. Rock band members, not so much. Even though I’ve seen 5 Finger Death Punch several times, lead singer Ivan Moody could walk right by me and I wouldn’t blink, unless I was at the venue. He doesn’t have any really distinguishing features. He wears the same kind of clothing that his fans do. He blends in, until he opens his mouth to sing.

And I think it also depends on whether the star wants to be seen. I’m thinking Reese Witherspoon could walk through an airport and not be hassled, if she chose to, or saunter through the same airport and sign tons of autographs. If she was willing to stop and speak with her fans, she’d be dolled up and make a lot of eye contact. In a rush or not in the mood to deal with that? Dressed down, wearing a ponytail, and keeping her head low.

Here’s a little story to illustrate my point. A while back Nickelback was in town for two weeks, secretly testing their new stage in our coliseum. They ate at local restaurants, drank in local bars, went to the phone store…and yet I NEVER KNEW THEY WERE HERE! Mind you, I have snuck back stage at three Nickelback concerts (and gotten thrown out). If I had seen them on the street I guarantee you there would have been a scene, believe me. However, they are four somewhat average looking guys, wearing t-shirts and jeans. I would have recognized them, if they were together, but maybe not individually. If I saw just one of them I might have been like, “Hey! That guy looks like Ryan Peake!” But knowing that Nickelback wasn’t playing in town, I might have blown it off. I would have definitely recognized all four of them, yet there were people in town that carried on lengthy conversations with them without even knowing who they are. (That burns me!)



(Seether again~House of Blues, Chicago)

I had a little fun with the idea of being recognized in my latest release, ROCK ME, GENTLY. Josh Dunningham, of Money Back Guaranteed, is told by several people that he looks “just like” Josh Dunningham of Money Back Guaranteed, but people still don’t believe that it’s him. Except for a pair of fans who do cause a scene at a restaurant despite Josh’s attempts to keep his identity on the down low.


So how about you? Ever have a run in with a celebrity? Now’s your time to shine! Tell us about it. Brag! Go on, it'll do ya some good!





10 comments:

  1. You do a great job of showing the human side of the famous. :)
    -R.T. Wolfe

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    1. Thanks, RT! I appreciate your kind words!

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  2. Excellent post...and so true, although you're right, most people wouldn't even think about the fact that they might not recognize a celebrity out of their element. Look how many times Lucy Ricardo was fooled by a celebrity, and she was obsessed with the biz! :) I met some people recently who lived in the town where Nina Dobrev of Vampire Diaries was filming The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Many people in town didn't know who she was, and those who did, still respected her personal space. She walked around the malls. Several scenes were filmed at the school and a few people hung out in the parking lot watching, but didn't bother them. I've had a few celebrity meets, but not really run-ins, since I was at the conference and I expected to see celebrities. :) Thanks for the great post!

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    1. Great points, Alicia! I'm glad you had so much information to add. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. What a great post. I like your distinction between when a star is willing to be recognized and when they want privacy. Can't say I ever encountered a celebrity. :(

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  4. My closest brush with celebrity was when I was in my early teens. My uncle, Ben Agajanian, was the kicking coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Ben was known as "The Toeless Wonder." He had four toes crushed in a work accident in college but still became an NFL kicker. So one night when the team was in St. Louis, we went out to eat with several of the players, among which was Randy White and the kicker, Rafael Septien, (who was a wild man!). If you are a football fan, you may recognize those names. And let me tell you, these guys are much bigger than they appear on TV! Thanks for joining us, Diane!

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  5. M.J. I'd never thought about how anonymous rock bands might be. I live in the center of multiple bands--some rock, a lot of blue grass and country and some just plain old geesers who never got over being band-geeks! Our country lanes are crawling (literally--especially when stuck behind a logging truck!) with band members and hardly anybody pays any attention whatsoever! Thanks for a thoughtful blog and good luck with your books.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Susan, and giving us more to think about!

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  6. Funny. Whenever I hear the works rock star, I always think of Led Zeppelin! ;)

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    1. Oh my gosh! You and my husband would SO get along! He loves Zeppelin. I like Zeppelin, but it's not what I turn on when I get into the car. Thanks for stopping in and commenting, Jack!

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