Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian got engaged last week, and I say (with the same indifference I treat every rich and beautiful public figure because the world is shit and their glamorous lives have zero pertinence to mine): Good for them. From what little I have somehow managed to refrain from learning about the Kardashian sisters, she seems to have the most sense and tact of the bunch, and Travis Barker and his career never bothered me. When Blink 182 disbanded/retired, his options for income were to either form another band and return to touring full time, which probably sounded hellacious to a father in his 30s who actually received the once-in-a-million-chance of making an excessive living playing rock music (especially seeing as he just willingly resigned from that exact lifestyle), or… exploiting his talent and recognition by selling drum features to Los Angeles transplants whose parents foolishly offered to float the bill for their trendy, musical pipe dreams… which he has earned the right to do. Blink 182 are icons to the pop-punk genre; he served his time in the scene. Bangbangbingbongbangtssh for 45 seconds in a studio he probably has to commute down three flights of steps to get to, send an email, cash the check, show up a few months later for the hour it takes to shoot him playing for the song’s video, cash another check, and his “work” is done: Most musicians in bands would give up pissing in bottles and fighting with venues over merch-cuts and eating gas station hot dogs for that weekly routine in less than a heartbeat. Money talks and bullshit walks.
Now, Kourtney Kardashian and Megan Fox have recently been grouped together in the media as “rockstar girlfriends,” and thus, a new trend has been glamorized… which we will get to later, but first: Machine Gun Kelly is an idiot. He has none of Travis’ nonchalance and significantly less talent, and I am not quite sure what shitty deal Megan Fox struck with the gods to have her earlier acting career be such traumatizing, exploitative bullshit, but she is clearly still serving her sentence to be now reinstated as an “it-girl” for dating a fucking buffoon.
Banished from the hip-hop genre after making the totally moronic and fatal decision to come for Eminem, the most successful white rapper ever (and I am not saying this with reverence, for his career is undoubtedly… spotty, but as a fact that I many couldn’t argue against), he decided to hone in on something that is pertinent to my life and very close to my heart: rock music. He released a mediocre, baseline, but well-received pop-punk album, trying to emulate Lil Peep as countless others have since his untimely death. The album was written by Travis Barker, his band mates, and quite a few other artists who are/were in actual alternative bands and opt to participate in ghostwriting projects like this because they can craft those kinds of songs in their sleep, which — unlike screamo music or anything in the catalogue of a band who would get booked instantly to play a summer on Warped Tour — actually pay the bills.
(Though not ideal or what he had imagined for himself, a friend of mine, who played a small role in MGK’s album, supported himself entirely off of ghostwriting for similar artists during the pandemic; had he not resided in Los Angeles — which many musicians, virtually unemployed for over a year and a half now, do not — he wouldn’t have gotten so lucky. He’d probably be texting me from the dumpster at his local Applebee’s, ranting about how some drunk bitch left him a $1 tip on a $40 tab because he forgot to bring her extra side of ranch dressing.)
Machine Gun Kelly doesn’t understand the reality of the current (economic and undoubtedly emotional) depression musicians who typically rely on touring nine months out of the year for their income are suffering through, but why would he? He may have inserted himself into this genre with a tarnished reputation, but he made sure to carry celebrity status, a Travis Barker co-sign, and features from stars like Halsey. He insisted that bands are failing left and right because their members don’t wear the right shoes… and he would know, seeing as he made a fool out of his 30-year-old self by headbanging and playing air-guitar down a table of millionaire record executives: He’s a real-deal rocker. He’s probably dozed off while riding in a 15-passenger-van once or twice in his life, and arenas take merch cuts, too — that’s why his t-shirts are sure to run for $60 each.
Now, back to the life of a “rockstar’s girlfriend,” which has been shoved down our throats even further with that painful write-up on Megan Fox and MGK in GQ magazine, chronicling the embarrassing scenario where they first met (I don’t need to repeat it; you’ve seen the memes), how they breathed raw fish breath into each other’s mouths for hours instead of making out like normal (poor and average) horny people, how they knew they were in love when he made her laugh in a fucking “blanket fort” they made in her living room (stars… they’re just like us!), them referring to their own relationship as “the darkest fairy tale” (which was enough to make me want to tear down an entire wall using nothing but my own head and I am as self-righteous and aggrandizing and melodramatic as any non-fiction writer comes), all tied up with whatever the hell she thought she was going for with her Instagram caption on the reveal post of the cover photos: “The tale of two outcasts and star-crossed lovers caught in the throes of a torrid, solar flare of a romance featuring: feverish obsession, guns, addiction, shamans, lots of blood, general mayhem, therapy, tantric night terrors, binding rituals, chakra sound baths, psychedelic hallucinations, organic smoothies, and the kind of sex that would make Lucifer clutch his rosary.”
…I could have written that as the description of an erotic-slash-fanfiction-series I wrote about Gerard Way and Skrillex or whatever when I was 11-years-old, and really thought I had hit it out of the park; my story would have probably gotten on the weekly Top-Rated list on Quizilla (yep, I’m that old).
These people are in their 30s and they have children. Maybe that conglomerate of unfathomable, theatrical bullshit (and organic smoothies!) is what it’s like to be a “rockstar’s girlfriend” when you’re rich and famous and undeniably gorgeous (and your boyfriend had to start singing in front of a band instead of rapping over a beat because someone was weally weally mean to him), but I can summarize the reality of such a scenario in a far more succinct and easier-to-stomach way: It kind of sucks. It’s not very rewarding.
Creative and talented men — especially those who feel as if they have been wronged, thwarted, and denied the unlimited success and praise they adamantly believe they deserve — are some of the most petulant, stubborn, obtuse, and whiny motherfuckers to walk this planet. Refusing to humble themselves despite how hard their industries and public reactions may have been trying to do so, they continue to trip over their own pride (no matter what shoes they are wearing) and dig their own graves. As their partner (and thus, probably their closest confidant), you’re stuck trying to wrestle the shovel out of their hands without chipping their fresh black gel manicure, because then, they’ll be disappointed in you and your lack of support for their dreams, and probably still say something stupid that will further damage their reputation, too.
It’s a thankless job: I spent most of the past three years doing it and I wasn’t even a “girlfriend” — just a loosely identified, ersatz and not ideal replacement for something that was missing in their life, and even hid from their fans as being known as just a “good friend.” I am well aware that the joke is on me for tolerating this, and maybe if I had better dental and a big enough social media presence to fool their fanbase into thinking I was something beyond just a normal, boring, average-looking girl who happened to know them since they were a teenager (so better than most), things might have been different for me; I might have been able to say outlandish, steaming and ripe garbage about our relationship on an Instagram post with over three million likes instead of being honest about how much the experience hurt me in a book that sold 60 copies… where I wrote myself as a hot dog and tried to keep their character rather anonymous, out of respect that I clearly lacked for myself.
Though all my efforts were continuously left out of the ending credits and “thank you” speeches, I think I did a good job at keeping them from saying or doing anything ignominious enough to result in a consequential posting of a good ol’, notorious “screencap of a notes app” apology statement, and believe me, they had some fuckin’ stupid takes — they even had a brief Joe Rogan phase. In fact, I did so well that after either finally garnering some self-respect (or having been exhausted and stultified enough by the indifference and lack of reciprocity on their behalf) to resign from my position, they deleted their social media profiles… and you kind of need those when a large portion of the public’s attraction to your art revolves around their attraction to your face, no?
Sorry, everyone: I’m old and tired and it gets hard to listen when you’re not heard in return.
On the other hand, Megan — though hot… much, much hotter than me — ain’t doing so hot at subduing her token idiot: Machine Gun Kelly, once again, recently murdered his own career by attacking the heavy music legends Slipknot, not two months after the unexpected death of one of their most beloved members, and he will, once again, never come back from this… “Oh, this fucking moron is going to be obliterated,” I said when I read the news post about it, and the endless booing echoing through every crowd he has played in front of since then confirm it.
“When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.”
….Or as I like to say, “When you make yourself unwelcome in every genre you try to hoard in on, you might as well impregnate your girlfriend, seeing as she is currently in such a deep, unsalvageable state of dick-addiction that the time has clearly never been more opportune, and live off Instagram advertisements for organic baby food and ‘punk-rock’ clothing lines for toddlers for the rest of your days.”
It sure as hell beats gas station food and washing your balls in a Walmart bathroom sink, honestly.