MCN Blogs
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Rock Star

If you ever thought the life of a rock star must be something incredibly glamorous, well, it is, and it isn’t. Long before I started collaborating with Ken Stringfellow, I’d enjoyed regularly reading his blog, because he writes so prolifically about his life of mostly being on the road, and working on a never-ending stream of creative projects. Ken has been super busy lately, what with touring and recording and also squeezing in doing the score for my short film, Bunker, and he hadn’t updated his blog in an unusually long while. But he finally got (more or less) caught up with a lengthy tome — very nicely giving a couple shout-outs in there to the work we’ve been doing together on Bunker — that pretty much perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to be a musician who has to travel a lot for a living, expected to perform at the top of his game night after night after night.

It’s one thing to keep that pace when you’re a young turk in your 20s, taking on the world with all the exuberance of youth, that fire and passion and the ability to party late, get up early, and haul your equipment all over the place, but Ken and I are the same age, and his energy level astounds me. I think I have a pretty high energy level, one that allows me to juggle numerous creative projects and film criticism and occasional travel to fests with raising and homeschooling a pack of kids, but just reading Ken’s journal detailing his last few weeks exhausted me. And yet, he’s youthful and very dapper and charming, and he has the ability to shift his focus between multiple tasks without shortchanging any of them — he’s also the Posies tour manager, which is not unlike being a project manager on a huge, ever-fluctuating project where something or another is bound to go wrong pretty much every day, and having a lot of responsibility for making sure every show goes off well, for both the audience and for the bands backstage. I saw this first-hand a few weeks ago when we were squeezing in work watching the rough cut and tossing around ideas around what we wanted to do, score-wise, into spare moments backstage at the Neptune when the Posies played Seattle, and even more so during our days embedded in getting the Bunker score done, while he also coordinated travel for an upcoming tour of Asia, shot emails back and forth on other projects, kept in regular touch with his wife and daughter, back in Paris, and probably had at least a couple mental threads on the back-burner thinking ahead to the next projects he’d be dealing with when we wrapped the score.

So, yes, there’s glamor, of a sort, and lots of meals in restaurants, good wine, the energy of rocking it out on stage before a packed, enthusiastic audience … and then there’s the driving, and the showing up to venues to find nothing has been set up as it had been promised, and the problems with plane tickets, and the sleeping a few hours in a hotel or a spare bed or couch in someone’s house, and then the getting up and doing it all again the next day. Ken’s blog is a fascinating glimpse into what it’s really like to be a rock star musician — the fun, the not-so-fun, and even the mundane. Check it out.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon