Editor’s Note: Dying Dreams is a 5-part story instalment written by a friend of mine. He tells us exactly what a lot of individuals striving to work in the music industry don’t get to perceive on their televisions and the internet. Out of respect, names have been X’d out throughout the story (and to save my confidant’s ass). If you missed part 1, click here to read it. Without getting too much into details, enter the dilapidated world of Alexander Biro. Parental discretion is advised.
Part 2: NO I.D., Cocaine, and the Gold Dick I Wish I Had
Those initial 24 hours consisted of significant amounts of small talk, food and alcohol. Sushi, shots of shit that looked nuclear, and dry ice tequila slushy’s at 2am in the Bazaar at the SLS. The walls on the inside of the restaurant had LCD monitors that would display images of monkey’s and shift them into these old colonial white men. For the record, I still (to this day) don’t know if those images were legitimately shifting – I was drunk enough by the end of the night that I felt like I was on a phantom tilt-a-whirl ride from hell. (Some advice; don’t ever drink that tequila dry ice shit if it’s presented to you, in any situation – never in my life have I felt more inclined to supermodel it and spill my guts all over the seat of a one piece porcelain toilet).
After eating breakfast in a ridiculously unnecessary all white room featuring turkey bacon and fifteen dollar orange juice, we made our way to a fitting to prep for the Island Def Jam showcase later in the week. The designer who took care of us was undeniably famous as fuck – Katy Perry, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears costumes lined the entrance to his studio. He didn’t particularly care about us – he knew we were low level and let his assistants handle the measuring and the conversation and all of the general bullshit that people with real status don’t want to bother with (unless you’ve got a gold dick or like, ten million albums under your belt). We spent the rest of the day driving around Beverly Hills, listening to the A and R from Island Def Jam (who eventually became our manager) talk a whole load of shit about how we were going to make him rich and how he was going to make us famous. Music Executives love to butter you up – they’ll fly you to LA, buy you the most unnecessary, outrageous, ridiculous shit and make you feel like you’re Enrique fucking Iglesias at the latin Grammy’s.
$1000 dollar tabs and Escalades and insanely attractive woman are cool, but when the lines between reality and fantasy start to cross and meld together like some shitty modern art piece at the MOMA, life gets ridiculous. 24 hours in, while waiting for our limo to take us back to LAX after RCA tabled a record deal, those lines were blown to shit. We took the redeye to Las Vegas, transferred at what is literally the ghostliest terminal of all time (blame the economic crisis, those empty slot machines still haunt my dreams) and landed back in Toronto at 6am. My dad picked me up from the airport, took me to my favourite bakery, and watched me devour danishes while I ranted about how great it was to meet XXXX’s lawyer and pull up to Katsuya while the paparazzi prepped to spray us (a commonly used term for getting flash-bulbed to death) before realizing we weren’t important. I fell asleep that morning with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. I awoke to three missed calls from my bandmate and a text message from our manager that said, “pack your shit, they’re bringing y’all back.”
I’d been home for 9 hours.
We flew out the next morning at 6am, transferred in San Francisco, and landed in LA around 3pm. Another Escalade, another bag boy, another boutique hotel. We sat by the rooftop pool and took in the sunshine and the smog and the general ridiculousness that is 6 airplanes in 48 hours. We were told to get dressed up, be ready by 7, and meet in the lobby for a surprise, which ended up being this high end, overwhelmingly pretentious charity fashion show at SupperClub LA. Parents with their children watched hoop dancers with nipple tassels on drop from the fucking ceiling, while B-List celebrities did blow discretely in washrooms and women with fake tits and broken hearts served drinks and pretended not to be eye candy.
I’m Percocet numb right now, and feel no need to go into detail about how things went with Island Def Jam.
Bieber’s A and R loved us, I’m pretty sure everyone did. NO I.D. even gave our manager his number (he proudly proclaimed on the ride back to Beverly Hills that he’d named the contact “Black Elvis” and that he already had it in his phone #liar #bullshit).
XXXXX XXXXX was undeniably the one who hated our fucking guts. Kids dressed in space suits singing about their hearts breaking on pluto don’t sit well with old white men who have stockholders to appease and an economic crisis to deal with. They can sign a prepubescent Canadian boy and send him around the world shaking his hair, but real art gets stopped in its tracks because it exists to be something people haven’t seen before. Something that people are afraid of, something people have yet to experience. I wasn’t even upset, really; Island Def Jam’s SVP didn’t even laugh when we sang her “Beat the Pussy Up,” in the waiting room (soulless, undeniably).
They’re mishandled, mismanaged, and generally not well regarded by anyone who doesn’t represent them. If there’s anything I took away from IDJ rejecting us, it was that real change… authentic, natural waves of change, are brought about by the misfits.
The kids who don’t mean anything to the suits until the suits can’t be anything without them.
You can write music, or paint, or dance for other people, other reasons; to be famous, to be popular, to get into pretty clubs with pretty people who have nice cars and massive homes. But art, as an entity, will always sense how authentic you really are.
We flew home two days after landing in LA again with a record deal from RCA and management contract with two of the biggest names in the game. Our lives were going to change forever – for better or for worse.
by: Alex Biro