Just as dreck-filled bathwater spins ever faster before finally oozing down the plughole, the music industry keeps finding ever more outlandish ways to degrade itself in pursuit of vanishing profits.
Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen Kurt Cobain, Iggy Pop and Daft Punk rendered as video game sprites (coming soon: Trent Reznor stars in a remake of ‘Jet Set Willy’). And now it seems the world’s biggest bands, or at least those managing their legacies, are tripping over each other to embrace the ultimate in shonky brand extensions: the stage musical.
Green Day’s ‘American Idiot: The Musical’ has opened at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. By all accounts it’s a blandly inoffensive affair. Then again, given the young target audience, it’s probably just as well it doesn’t feature any of those mid-90s songs about LSD and wanking.
Meanwhile,‘Kurt And Sid’, a play based on the lives of Sid Vicious and Kurt Cobain, is running in the West End. Vicious is played by Danny Dyer, who presumably didn’t have to strain too hard to inhabit the role of a charmless, slow-witted thug. Predictably, the critical reception has ping-ponged between plangent bewilderment and outright hostility.
And then there’s U2’s forthcoming ‘Spiderman’ musical, set to tell the story of a man who compensates for his manifest physical shortcomings by dressing up in ludicrous outfits and adopting a deeply unconvincing “super-hero” alter-ego. But it’s not just about Bono – Spiderman’s in it too.
What kind of drooling maniac goes to these shows? They sound appalling. Still, it’s evidently a growth market, and I want in – so I’ve come up with a few rock n roll musicals of my own. Potential investors form an orderly queue.
‘Weller, Weller, Weller, Oof!’ Unflinching portrait of the Modfather, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.
‘Leonard!’ – Leonard Cohen’s lifelong struggle with manic depression, set to an infuriatingly upbeat soundtrack penned by Mika.
‘Gertcha!’ – the Chas & Dave story, starring Pete Doherty and Carl Barat.
And here are a few more from the NME office:
‘Mamma M.I.A.’ – a touching tale of motherhood and nutty samples.
‘Les Miserables’ – starring Thom Yorke, Glasvegas, Morrissey
Doctor Doolittle – starring Eric Burdon (“He talks to The Animals”).
Which other rock musicals would you like to see?