No More Heroes

Music, Pictures, TV | DJ Bogtrotter | March 21, 2009 at 12:01 am

I find the advert above most depressing. Iggy Pop, the wild man of rock, the original punk, the wiry, flashing, drug addled fiend of mischief & mayhem is trying to sell me some car insurance. Shoud I care? Does it matter? There was a time when no serious artist would indulge in this commercialisation of who they are & what they do. But now, everyone’s attitude seems to be, ‘Hey, it’s just an ad. What’s the harm. He’d be crazy not to.’ Apparently you’ve got to leverage your position and you’re an idiot if you don’t. Leveraging, as I understand it, seems to be building up some credibility & cachet through doing work that is uncompromising & has a personal vision and then exchanging it all for a pile of cash. But how are we meant to believe any artist who’s happy to mouth the words of whatever corporation fills their pockets? As Bill Hicks explained, once you do an advert, you’re off the artisic roll call forever & “every word out of your mouth is like a turd falling into my drink”.

Here’s an advert from someone who used to think that there was no future (seems like he’s saving for his pension now.)

It seems almost beyond parody that the same man who terrorised the tabloids in ’77 & stood for the antithesis of everything that that same year’s jubilee was so keen to celebrate is now hamming up his Englishness to hock butter. How different is that ad from this spoof?

Would Kurt (and even Bill) have been sucked down this path if they’d managed to hang around? It seems almost grimly inevitable. And this is what pains me most about seeing the once proud & fearless reduced to grubby commercialism. Although, in our deluded youth, we all scorned pretty much every adult over the age of thirty & swore that we would never “become like them”, with their safe hair, steady jobs & low horizons, we now know that it’s all practically unavoidable. We have to grow up, learn about the ways of the world & begin to assume some responsibilty. But every so often, we can clamp on a pair of headphones & listen to something that can lift us out of the everyday scrabble of pressure & worries. It can remind us of how life can be. And we can at least say to ourselves, “Well at least they didn’t become just like them”. But not Iggy or Johnny. Not anymore. Now every time I hear their music I’ll just think “Is the insurance up to date?” or “I must pick up some butter on the way home”. Thanks for making my life seem small again guys. Thanks. A. Bunch.

Tags: adverts, heroes, sellout
  • Tweet This
  • Digg This
  • Save to delicious
  • Stumble it
  • RSS Feed


  1. roundcat says:

    Mmmm. Not sure. You seem surprised. How about the advert with Ringo? Here’s one for Pizza Hut which i think was just in the USA:

    Sorry not sure how to embed videos into ‘comments’. i think the idea of having a hero in the first place is a false hope. Even Bill Hicks. Look how he dressed up in the black and the cowboy hat and the long coat. Or that video of him on the smoking Tower Bridge with the stallion and him the lone ranger. It was all bollocks too but bollocks we wanted to see.

    Even Bill marketed himself with slogans and pretentiousness at times. He had his heroes and felt gutted with them when they betrayed what they thought they stood for.

    Are you like Holden Caulfield? Are you gonna snipe Iggy? the thing is our heroes are just people and they forget that crucial fact while at the peak of their fame. The tax man doesn’t nor does the mortgage lender or the pension funder.

    What on earth is Ringo making adverts for? He is a Beatle and as such a millionaire, and all his offspring will be millionaires FOR EVER!

    Can the appeal of £2M (a guess) for a days works really be ’selling out’? Remember it’s £2M, exposure on the telly, and record sales. I think, I’d do it.


  2. roundcat says:

    Oh and whats with all the ‘&’s”??

    25 lines for you dear boy:

    “I must not use the ampersand always instead of the word ‘and’ unless my house is on fire & I’m in a bit of a hurry”

  3. roomybonce says:

    I must admit I found the Iggy ad absolutely sodding tragic, but I think that’s down to what he’s advertising. Fags I would accept. Fags’ll kill you. Jim Beam, or Jack D likewise, so I’m all for Iggy advertise something that’ll potentially harm his health ’cause hey, he does’t give a fuck ’cause he’s Iggy ‘indestructable 12 inch cock’ Pop. But car insurance?

    Perhaps Ig’s applying some bizarre reverse psychology. ‘These dudes think I’m such a rebel, how can I advertise Malboro? How can I advertise Havana Club? That’s exactly what these fucks think I should be advertising, but that just don’t make me a rebel at all. If I was a real rebel I’d be advertising some white collar geek shit like….Eu-fuckin’-reka! Car Insurance!’

    Yup, that must be what he’s thinking, or at least I hope that’s what he’s thinking because if he’s not then he is a classic Hicksian ’sell out’. And it’s not a question of needing the money. If you’re an artist your art creates an entity larger than yourself, a persona that encapsulates everything you’ll ever do and ever be, and if that persona is a flag-bearer for the antithesis, as DJB says, of everything marketing stands for, then the artist’s choice to take the adman’s dollar is doubly destroying for anyone who ever believed that Iggy Pop would be eternal.

    In more than a few people’s eyes Iggy Pop has just traded immortality for a fat cheque. Tough luck Ig, you blew it.

    Oh, and roundcat, back off DJB on the punctuation front or I may start up a petition to get your name changed to Mr ‘-’.

  4. roomybonce says:

    Good link to the Pizza Hut ad though. Typical of The Monkees to whore themselves so.

  5. Anonymous says:

    & isn’t punctuation. And I know I suck at it, so I could possibly say I’m an expert at it. But, I’m not.

    At least I turn up!

  6. Marcus says:

    Iggy Pop has always been selling Iggy Pop. He’s his own creation. I imagine it will be a crushing disappointment and embarrassment to the fans who thought the character he’d created was some sort of genuine punk ideal for living, but he’s James Ostenburg, sixty one years old and hopefully taking a huge payday for something that will be forgotten in an few years. I don’t blame him. I would do the same. Heroes can only let you down and that might be the point of them, but that’s another discussion.

    As a Who fan I struggled to work out why the group choose to continue a tour when John Entwistle died on the eve of it. The tour picked up in L.A and I was there. Townshend remarked on stage that they were glad, after canceling the opening few dates, that the tour now began in L.A as it was a town that could probably understand their decision to continue. I took it to mean that though they could have or maybe wanted to cancel the tour on a personal level, the group as a business, employing God knows how many people involved in a tour, had to continue. It boils down to that reality I think, an uncomfortable mixture of our heroes and showbusiness, like what Craig was saying with those cheesy, outlaw Bill Hicks openings. I’m just thankful I’m not an Iggy Pop fan “Get a life!” indeed.

  7. Marcus says:

    And to pick up on Kurt, he was true to the punk ethic and what a fuckin waste that was. Would I rather have a few more Nirvana albums along with the odd advert for Pizza Hut’s New Nirvana Pizza with Heroin Stuffed Crusts? That’s a tough one, maybe if they threw in an exclusive CD too.

  8. roomybonce says:

    All good points Mr M, but if Mr Ostenburg wanted a huge payday why did he go for Car Insurance? Why not just go for Coke? At least there’d be something faintly amusing about Iggy Pop advertising legit Coke, and at least Coke gets you faintly wired if you quoff a Vue Cinema bucket of it, but Car Insurance?

    Still, you’re right, Ig can do what he wants, he’s his own man etc - except he isn’t. He’s Swiftcover’s man now. He’s there schill, right down to the last beads of sweat on his sixtysomething pecs.

  9. Marcus says:

    They probably came to him. I doubt he’s rolling in it and I hope he thought hard about it, but he must have thought it was worth the pay off or the amount. Kurt is in interesting example because he wrestled with his punk ideals but still left an independent label to sign with Geffen and wanted to sell as many albums as possible. He didn’t enjoy his success it when it happened and though I don’t believe, if he’d lived, we’d have ever seen a Nirvana tour sponsored by coke he did some some extent have a nibble on satan’s cock to get what he, thought, he wanted. Turns out that fucker was only human, the fraud!

    Hope everyone is well Mike.

  10. roomybonce says:

    Everyone’s a-okay thanks Marcus, apart from the wife getting the old heave-ho at work, which has been a bit of a blow to my usual profligacy at the magazine rack, but still, we soldier on. How are things at Casa Daley? Are you still foresaking all things internet? And when shall we see your works on the roomyverse? The machinery is all in place and merely awaits you.

    In terms of artists & advertising, now I think about it I’m not really in a position to argue. I was Hall & Oates’ Number 1 fan for years, often clapping at their concerts till my hands were two sore slabs of sopping steak, but they actually pioneered touring with heavy commercial promotion, starting with a bubble gum company in the early 70’s and peaking in 1984 with Pontiac. Alongside their manager, the now infamous ex-Sony boss Tommy Mottola, they were the ulimate corporate whores who felt they could totally disengage their songwriting art from their business nouse, and were they wrong?

    Well, they did have a credibility issue in the 90’s but that was more down to their whiff of cheese than any sense of them having ’sold out’. Now most acknowledge their worth as rock n’ soul artistes and no-one thinks about how rampantly they embraced commercialism to maximise their income, and the duo themselves don’t care because they both consequently own several thousand acres of lucrative real estate, so it’s an odd area for them.

    But then they grew up in an era where musicians, if they weren’t big fish and wanted to break even on a tour, took money where they could get it. If it kept them on the road and gave them a chance to build an audience they’d strike any deal they could, and that went for the big acts on the slide, like The Temptations, just as much as the new kids in town. The Hall & Oates bubblegum thing was simple but devastatingly effective. The High School who bought the most bubblegum would get a free H&O show in their gym. H&O’s teen audience consequently exploded, priming them for their 80’s megasuccess. So really, I’m a bit conflicted on this one.

  11. Marcus says:

    And another thing! Iggy’s add is on about seven times during an episode of Battlestar Galatica on Sky and I’ve probably seen it more than 50 times now. I realised that I still didn’t actually know the name of the insurance company, so I looked out for it the next time and after the add asked Krista, who’s is as irritated as me by it, the name of the company. No idea. Maybe Iggy is having the last laugh because whatever he got paid, it seems to have been a colossal waste of money.

  12. Marcus says:

    Was the bubblegum slogan “Who wants to Blow Hall and Oates”? I’m going to send you some interesting mp3’s of BIG artistes flogging coke. Whats the best e-mail?

  13. roomybonce says:

    That’ll be . You could also write some accompanying text and I could bundle them into a lovely post for you(hint, hint)

  14. roomybonce says:

    Or - woah - put it together for us as a podgasm. It’d be a great podgasm, c’maaaan you know you want to (or maybe you don’t want to, but you do really! ‘Course you do. It’s a subconsious thing.)

  15. Marcus says:

    Don’t like doing a podcast talking to myself. I end up sounding like Dave Lee Travis.


Leave a Reply