THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Rock Star: Inxs

Why not give us the reality show we really want to see. Fifteen studs competing for an evening with Brooke Burke.

Oh, we've got no idea who Brooke Burke really is. It's all external. She has a surgically-enhanced body and a precious smile. But that's enough for TV. That's what they're selling. The OUTSIDE! When every legitimate rock star has made it based on what's on the INSIDE!

Let's take Perry Farrell. See this dude on the street and want to spend a night with him? I don't think so. But listen to the songs he writes, see him animated on stage, and you just want to get closer, you just want to KNOW him. (Well, in the old days, the days of "Nothing's Shocking".) That's the power of rock stardom. These artists create something so powerful, so meaningful, that we just want to touch it.

Not that we want to touch Perry's old bandmate Dave Navarro anymore. Is this a new kind of whore? Ex-druggie, tattooed has-been? It's bad enough that Jane's broke up, but then Dave was essentially kicked out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for with him the band was unsuccessful, nobody wanted to see them. It was all about Frusciante. Someone who didn't belong in "Us", or on TV even, but LIVED the part of rock star, who picked his guitar, played his tunes and moved people.

And in their own peculiar way, INXS used to do the same thing. But rather than sell darkness, rather than sell experience, INXS sold energy. Encapsulated primarily in their Jim Morrison lookalike lead singer Michael Hutchence. Only one problem, Hutchence died.

Game over. For Navarro and the remaining members of INXS. In every world but television.

Believing he can do no wrong, Mark Burnett has entered the music field. Kind of like Andy Lack. I mean how hard can it be?

Really damn hard. To find an artist with the innate ability to mesmerize you from the depth of his soul.

Not that the business is interested in that anymore. That's too difficult. The key is to take all the risk out. To paint the band by numbers.

But what is truly the failure with this show isn't the music, but the TELEVISION! Television thrives on drama, on excitement. And "Rockstar: INXS" is so boring as to be equivalent to watching paint dry. But, at least paint doesn't sing.

The members of INXS are in the neighborhood of fifty. They don't deserve another chance. Oh, we like seeing them fly around in a jet with their name painted on the side, then again, unless this was footage from the eighties, Burnett just paid a crew to paint the letters on this jet, and I'm sure they were promptly removed. Hell, INXS hasn't probably BEEN in a private jet since Hutchence died.

And the wannabes. They're a sorry lot. You wouldn't want to hang with them. It would be like mixing with the sad sacks from high school. Not the art chicks, not the brainiacs, just the losers.

And they sing the songs… Like they're in a bar.

Their performances are just about demonstrating their power, their raw skill, whereas the true greats, everybody from Bob Dylan to Ray Davies to even Bonnie Raitt, are about ANYTHING but perfection. It's about personalizing the song, emotion, not technique.

And even phonier than INXS and the wannabes is the audience. I've been to see bands at the Mayan who are STILL stars and I've never seen a gaggle of fans mobbing their limos out front. As a matter of fact, bands always enter through the BACK DOOR! And, sure, there are people hanging out there after the show, looking to get laid, and maybe if they showed THIS on camera I'd be interested, but all we saw were paid people applauding lame acts.

Never underestimate the power of television. Based on "Survivor" and "American Idol" I expected "Rockstar: INXS" to BE a success. And for the album to sell. Think about all that EXPOSURE! That's what MTV is built upon. Show it enough and SOME lame sucker will line up and buy it. After all, we live in a country of three hundred million and the sale of one million CDs is seen as a huge accomplishment.

But there's no reason to watch this show.

The wannabes aren't sexy. They're not talented. You don't care who wins and loses.

And when Dave Navarro and INXS critique the performances, you wince. Maybe INXS is too nice to be honest, but they needed someone like Steve Jones on this show, speaking the truth, telling these people they SUCK! I mean that's why they tune into "American Idol", to see Simon, right?

Mark Burnett has misstepped here. He's like every overinflated impresario before him. He thinks his poop doesn't stink, that ANYTHING he does is good.

I can't watch another episode. It's not just that I don't care, it's that my life's TOO SHORT!

Contact Bob Lefsetz | View Lefsetz Letter Archives

NOTE: The views expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinion of CelebrityAccess, Encore or its employees.

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