Spaceship Days

Spaceship Days

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Particulars of Inspiration : "Big World Pop Star"

Sometimes, songs just happen.

A hook hits you while you’re in the shower, or stuck in traffic, or halfway through the check out line at Target. It’s insistent and awesome. You run home to your instrument of choice, hit RECORD and wait with that sort of mellow, self-satisfied glee that we musical types get while the tune practically writes itself.

Unfortunately, most songs are far more likely to be born old good old-fashioned heartache.

"Big World Pop Star" is one of that kind.

Here’s the tale: It was one of those fantastic and tragically occasional intersections of luck, talent, and being the friend-of-a-friend-who-knows-somebody. The members of Spaceship Days had gone from being ‘those guys on the swim team’ to a solid alterna- rock outfit and were finally going to get the opportunity to prove it.

The venue was a massive one. The projected turnout was epic. The headliner that will never be named (who’s moniker contains the letters m e r) was arguably the most successful band of the era. Enough friends, family, and early concert arrivals stood massed before the side stage to make to make it one of Spaceship Days’ most memorable performances as a band.

For about six minutes.

Then came the metaphorical gut kicking.

The smoke had finally cleared, the fists stopped being shaken, and the untidy language had died down, when Spaceship Days found out that the headliner had taken issue with the venue over comparative font sizes in the area newspaper advertisements, and “a few other things”. Apparently those other things were important enough to cancel the performances of the local acts and have the supporting band take the stage three hours early.

Just as the members of Spaceship Days had begun to really feel their cool quotient rise, a guy with a clipboard and a pair of Buddy Holly glasses had pulled the plug midway through the chorus of the second song. In his wake he left a snide remark, a contemptuous sniff, and a few thousand stunned and staring people wondering what the hell had just happened.

Later the singer of one of the other bands, who were the venerable rock and roll uncles in town at the time, sat down with some of the other dejected players. His crew took the whole thing quite casually, something which would have bothered the members of Spaceship Days had they had the strength to be anything other than mind numbingly sad.

“Pop stars do that sort of shi*t sometimes.” He told the band with that matter of fact shrug that sometimes accompanies nuggets of old guy wisdom. He was right of course, but we never felt quite the same way about that headliner again.

“Big World Pop Star “ is a song not only about that day, but also about all the days before it and all the days after when someone forgot what life was like before video music awards, and platinum records, and clipboard toting minions. This song is what Spaceship Days thinks about not remembering.

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