Dear What Jail Is Like:
I want to be a famous pop star. I'm thinking of starting a boy band, but it seems like there are pitfalls. Do you have any advice?
Dr. Mr. Muss:
It's a good thing you contacted us when you did. Boy bands look like an easy road to riches, but the way is fraught with peril.
The primary shortcoming of boy bands is that they appeal to 13-year-old girls. Though this audience has a great deal of curb appeal, it has a number of flaws. The biggest problem is that your memorabilia sales will be limited by the number of guest homes these prepubescents can cajole their parents into building to store your posters, name-brand colognes, and unofficial biographies. Usually the girls aren't canny enough to suggest that, once their fixation on you has run its course, the parents can burn those guest homes and collect the insurance. They won't pick up the hint even if you do tons of product placements for State Farm!
In fact, many boy bands are reduced to hoarding their own memorabilia. Once the gravy train of fame comes to the end of the line, those autographed pics can be used to insulate cardboard boxes against the cold, and burn nicely to provide warmth. At least Britain knights its doddering troubadours - but here in the US of A, retroactive street creds are all the ex-boys of an ex-boy-band can expect.
The solution? Choose your demographic wisely. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling.
- Target water as your prime audience. Water is an underrated demographic. It's the original source of all life (Kansas Board of Education rulings notwithstanding), and it's pretty much everywhere. This makes water the ideal groupie. For example - if your car's radiator boils over, it's a cinch to hitch your car up with new and adoring fluids. Everybody wins!
For aspirants to coolness, water has an additional benefit. Water can be very subversive, and therefore cool. Just look at all the bad stuff that's supposed to be in water: lead, bugs, and sperm-whale effluvia. Suburban folks have to filter their water through a ton of charcoal before they can touch it. Rebels will adore the cryptosporidian references in your lyrics!
- Become an arms-dealer band. Juntas, kleptocracies, and plain old tin-pot dictatorships have lots of money to spend on arms, so they must have discretionary income to purchase songs about arms deals. A particularly good niche market: clandestine nuclear-weapons programs. Your music's faux passion will be even better when mixed with plutonium!
On the other hand, don't become an actual junta. The IMF will institute economic austerity measures, and your inhabitants will live in poverty. Meanwhile the civilized world will condemn you for not preventing your citizens from having unprotected sex.
- Become a kickboxing band. Supermodels are rumored to dig kickboxing. And though they are few in number, models are extremely rich. If you winnow your way into their hearts you'll be set for life.
One potential problem: since supermodels hate one another, don't appeal to all of them. They are wily critters and will recognize that you're making overtures to their sworn enemies.
So - choose a supermodel to focus on. If you want Linda Evangelista, write nasty songs about Eva Herzegova's boobies, and love ballads to Linda's collagen.
If you really want to appeal to all models, become a band of starving orphans. All models love starving orphans and give them money, regardless of musical talent.
Whatever you do, do not go over the models' heads and start an underwear band. The models will perceive it as an invasion of their turf, and the resulting billboard gang wars will paralyze the city.
- If you are willing to wait for success: become a retiree band. When the boomers retire they will be the largest group of old people in history. Very little music has been written to appeal to boomer sensibilities, so that niche is wide open for you to crack.
We hope these suggestions will help set you on the slip-n-slide to celebritydom. Best of luck!
The WHAT JAIL IS LIKE Crew