“I tell you folks it’s harder than it looks, It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll”

From: It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) by AC/DC
First released: 1975 (Albert Productions)

Not only if you want to rock ‘n’ roll it would seem, which is bad news for everyone whose musical ability stretches as far as their Guitar Hero lead. These days even managing to drag yourself out of bed and face the cold misery of a world that is rioting, protesting, and lurching from one crisis to another, feels deserving of a round of applause and a prize – gameshow style. A Kinder one if you’re super lucky.

Of course no-one’s saying that in those rose-tinted ‘good old days’ that everyone goes on about but seem unable to agree upon the actual timeframe of, that things were easy. But likewise it seems like Jesus making his comeback tour will happen before a time when jobs and money are in plentiful supply. A day when you don’t have to turn out the last pennies in your pocket to buy a coffee, or heaven forbid a pie – which given the tax debate may not even be on your menu anymore.

So when the world seems to have sharpened up, it’s time to get cut-throat. Not in some terrible rampaging style – that’s a good way to get arrested – but in fighting for what you want.

If you’re looking at some of today’s major bands or forefront personalities with a wistful gaze, and just a hint of dribble, quit thinking it’s an easy ride just because Youtube enables any prick to upload the virtual equivalent of nails down a chalkboard to garner attention. ‘Discovered on the internet’ is a neat PR trick the first time round, but it soon wears thin from the sheer overload of those trying to follow suit. The next big thing will be discovered in a taxi, or a lift, or maybe that proverbial cafe where it seems all model companies and record labels are permanently haunting. I wouldn’t like to pick up that tab.

Maybe that bloke with the sandwich board or that tramp will be the next talent discovered on the street at the heart of today’s urban community amongst the hustle and bustle of modern life… see how easy it is to bullshit some marketing spin?

What I’m saying is those bands who are making a living from music – no thanks to people deciding that all the hard work and money that goes into making an album doesn’t deserve any financial return – and don’t get out your record company bashing stick – it’s a simple fact that with traditional models apparently dead in the wake of digital, mark ups are increasingly appearing on merchandise, tickets, and the like.

One day music will be the preserve of the rich and we’ll all be stuck in the gutter trying to remember how to hum and whistle some snippet of comfort to ourselves. And knowing human society the only song anyone will be able to remember is ‘Gangnam Style’ and that’ll be the theme tune for the next 500 years of civilisation.

Those bands have toured, often holding down day jobs at the same time, and worked their arses off to try and follow this dream through. Sure a pinch of luck also helps, but they didn’t have the internet back then.

Today, no matter what industry you work in, it seems like the same story. You have to work yourself to the bone, put in the time, and the effort to get the slightest leg up – it’s not fair, it may not be right, but by god if you don’t want to do it the reality is someone else will for that chance to get ahead.

No-one ever said it had to be easy, but if you want something then go for it, cling on to that dream, and pin it down because nobody will wave a wand for you. If you believe that take a look at all the talent show winners and weight up how many become a success over those who are resigned to the bargain bin. A million pound record contract doesn’t equal fame and fortune, but pride and commitment count for something.

The road to success is not only long, but paved with potholes and ever the odd beartrap or two, but if you can muddle through you might just find yourself at the top. Or perhaps by then you’ll have hitched a ride on the stairway to heaven. Let’s hope it works for you because that bargain bin looks mighty overcrowded.

Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Freelance writer. Most likely found in a mosh pit. Or maybe Bat Country.

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