I was talking to RBJ a week or so ago and he questioned me about my Top Singles of 2007 list. For the most part, he liked the list and the selection, save for one... The Polyphonic Spree (calm down, Bec! Don't strangle him yet!). He wasn't sure how I could like what I believe he referred to jokingly as a "musical cult."
Well, "cult" might be a bit strong, but I can understand where he's coming from. The very concept of a few dozen people in flowing robes or otherwise matching uniforms singing and traveling together and all that jazz could be seen as borderline choir/cult or, at the very least, a modern incarnation of the Partridges or Osmonds.
I responded that what they do in their own time is their business and it's been a personal philosophy of mine for some years to separate artists from their personal lives. I found out the hard way that if you worry about an artist's personal life, it will ruin your appreciation of what they do professionally. Or, at least, I try. It doesn't always work.
It dates back to when a friend and I saw Oliver Stone's movie The Doors. While Val Kilmer did a brilliant job of portraying the poetically blubbering mass that was Jim Morrison, I hated the film. At the time, my friend and I were going through a classic rock discovery phase and The Doors were high up on our list of loves. After watching Kilmer's portrayal and reading books confirming his behavior, I had the worst time listening to The Doors. I had to stop entirely. Cold turkey. Sold all my music and got rid of anything else I owned. I just couldn't do it anymore.
It was a good three years before I began listening to The Doors again. But it was only after I was able to mentally distance myself from the movie and the stories. It wasn't easy, but I did it. And I try to keep doing it to this day.
Amy Winehouse? Great singer; freak of a person.
Russell Crowe? Need I say more?
I don't want it to look like I'm picking just on the three of them as there are plenty of instances of this in the great entertainment machine. These three were just the first ones I thought of. C'est la vie.
It's sad I have to do separate the personal and professional lives of artists, but if I don't, I'd never be able to see a movie, watch a TV show, or listen to an album anymore. Then what do I have left? Working out at the gym with a dead iPod. Oh wait, that happened to me this week. Sucks.
Totally Unrelated Aside (TUA): I overheard this one at work... "Oh man! I misspelled 'intelligence'." D'oh!