WRITTEN BY KEN KOLASINSKI
Ah, fame. It’s amazing what it can do and how it can cloud judgment. You don’t need to look any further than the music industry to see just how true the old line about history repeating itself really is.
By now you’ve hopefully come to terms with the fact that Zayn Malik has left One Direction and broken countless hearts of young girls around the globe. It’s hard not to feel sympathize with young Zayn. Traveling the world and living a lifestyle we can only dream about has got to be taxing. Like he said, well, sort of, the time was right to walk away, take a break and put all that behind him.
But wait, what’s that we hear? There’s already strong rumors of a Zayn Malik solo project in the works as One Direction tries to soldier on as a foursome?! How is that possible.
Call for you, Zayn. It’s Geri Halliwell on line one.
How many times over the years – just look at the last 20 for example – has the same storyline played out with virtually the same “band,” the same departures and the same outcome? A male or female quintet explodes on the scene, seizes and mesmerizes the early teen and younger market achieves massive success and then…
One member leaves for roughly the same universal reasons, exhaustion, stress, etc. The “band” promises to keep going forward even though they’re now playing shorthanded – a prerequisite seems to be this happens not long before a lengthy US tour is set to kick off.
The departed member suddenly makes a miraculous recovery. They somehow come up with the energy and passion to record and release a CD they swear truly captures them and their music. And then, well, you can pretty much guess the rest as I’m sure you ran out and bought “Schizophonic” when Halliwell said “See ya!” to the Spice Girls in 1999.
Exactly. It’s like pulling a pin on a boy band grenade. The solo album flops spectacularly, the “minus one” tour does okay, but it’s not quite the same. To seal the deal, there is almost always a final new CD as a foursome before the group goes terminal.
Don’t worry, the shelf life is usually about 10 years before everyone forgives, forgets and preps for the reunion tour.
I’m always curious about what gets said to whoever leaves, because you know there is always someone whispering in their ear behind the scenes that they would be just fine on their own.
But fast as you can, name as many singers from boy or girl bands outside of Justin Timberlake who have survived and thrived on their own?
I’ll even give you credit if you say Robbie Williams, even though Take That or, undeservedly Williams himself, never truly made it over here. Anyone from New Kids on the Block or the Backstreet Boys? What about someone from New Edition or 98 Degrees or Westlife? You can even toss Boyz II Men into the mix.
Hey, take it all the way back to the 70s and the Bay City Rollers.
Maybe it’s like the quest for the Holy Grail, it’s just too tempting to resist. But I’m always surprised there’s not someone behind the scenes once the band explodes explaining to the members on almost a daily basis the history of what’s gone before. That person could play them solo albums by Emma Bunton and JC Chasez – who’s 2004 work “Schizophrenic” is so close to Halliwell’s solo effort title it makes me think I’ve stumbled onto some sort of X-Files-like conspiracy – or Danny Wood and remind them that that could be their fate.
Maybe as easy as it is for me to sit here and say someone like Zayn Malik should ride that train to the end of the line for all it’s worth, it’s as easy to be someone like him on the inside in that world to believe you’re going to be the one who pulls it off.
I got talking to a musician one night about fame and he said you never truly understand how rare it is until it’s come and gone. He said it’s not like getting struck by lighting, he said it’s like getting struck by lighting walking to your car after you’ve bought the winning lottery ticket, and then hitting Bigfoot on the way home and you start thinking the same thing will happen tomorrow.
We laughed at the analogy, but it illustrated how anomalous it all is. Once it’s gone it rarely comes back. Except on reunion tours.
Ken Kolasinski’s On Another Note column appears periodically in Ticket.