Taylor Hicks, my favorite media punching bag once again getting pummeled. The man keeps on getting back up and swinging, refusing to go down.
Seems this week in what can only be compared to near VFTW style he was photographed holding a Jonas Brother's poster among crying and screaming fans as the guys arrived to do Regis and Kelly. I'd think that VFTW would have seriously loved what he was doing, but perhaps since they did not have the video up Della Terza missed the punchline. Mr. Hicks did as many a 'Worster' minded funbot might; he encouraged the JB fans and had a great time doing it. Reason Mr. Hicks was even present? He was there to get prepped for his appearance scheduled the following day.
Bigger topic than the blasting of Mr. Hicks holding a Tweenband poster, hanging with screaming and Ashley Furl-esque fans, his Broadway endeavor as Teen Angel in "Grease". It seems many in the Hicks' fanbase like to and want to hold on to what their initial impression was of the man during his run on that reality show that seems so long ago to me.
You see, during that facet of Mr. Hicks' career, and I mean 'facet' because this man is capable of so much more than what so many of the folks who found him on Idol imagine he has to offer. Most fans following him on Idol began assuming they knew him in so far as to what type of artist he really was and how his career would unfold. Taylor Hicks was pegged as the next "Elvis", the next "Joe Cocker".
It's a curious phenomenon watching how fans of someone can create what image feels right to them, regardless of what the individual object of their interest may have actually in their heart and soul. I'll elaborate, I've located some excellent examples this morning.
In a step back to Memory Lane, most who began following Taylor Hicks while he was on Idol became avid devotees to the now defunct Gray Charles site. "Gray" as he became called presented himself as a music - make that "real" music aficionado. He blogged about more than Mr. Hicks, offering introductions to bands and artists outside mainstream that he enjoyed and so garnering his own base of fans. Gray strove to cultivate an aura of elitism, of a more intellectually guided music front. Followers of Gray's consistently wrote how Gray educated them, taught them about music. He was mentor, teacher, leader to many in the Hicks Movement on the show. I've known many folks like Gray. I got it.
For a short time, Taylor became a part of the Gray Charles site as interview subject, commentator and visitor. Gray had been a pivotal blogger that built up a devoted voting block for Mr. Hicks. Taylor was depicted as this quirky and unique undiscovered bar room struggling musician with the heart of an old school bluesman. That image is what many wanted to see in Mr. Hicks, what many wanted to hear. Many want to think he's this solemn, deep, anguished soul reaching out through his music. They want to box him up and keep him this way - forever. To travel to those intimate venues and sit in smoke filled rooms like you'd find back decades ago and watch him bring back the Howling Wolf era, White Boy, Blue-Eyed Soul style.
"Smoke Stack Lightning" LYRICS
video c/o blackcat57
That's fine and dandy and a nice imagery, but man, what about The Man? Perhaps he could do that, but in his heart and soul that may be not all he wants. I'm seeing a light and a sparkle in Mr. Hicks that belies the solemnity, the whole living the Blues deal. I see a man who wants out in the sun to shine and share more than one side of himself. Taylor Hicks is a guy possessing a wacky sense of humor and perhaps that's disconcerting to some. I read how some fans question his business sense, call him nothing more than a salesman. Man, if you don't sell yourself nobody else will. That's the very trait that got Gray's attention about the guy and mine.
Besides Taylor Hicks ability to work the medium of the reality show, he indicates some serious talent as evidenced in this offering from The Rehearsals, this what was expected from Mr. Hicks rather than that post-Idol offering.
Hollywood Nights-Taylor Hicks from Strawgirl on Vimeo.
vimeo c/o strawgirl
(Hollywood Nights Sendspacefile)
Speaking of Taylor's 'salesmen' attributes, someone on MJ's wrote, "...I’m wondering when people will start realizing that he’s a lot more talk than he is action. He’s a salesman, point blank. “Sure” he’s recording his album in NYC, “sure” the DVD is coming out…(I think that was due like 1 year ago, right?). He’s a good talker. But fails to deliver on promises, time and time again.
The bottom line is, Hicks didn’t deliver. Now he’s on Broadway. Whoopee. I’m sure he’ll be getting a Grammy because of it. Ya think? Um, I don’t."
Thing is, that theory of thought and conception, whether or not you might agree with it, continues among the Taylor Hicks fanbase. Many cleave to the Gray Charles train of thought about what is real music and what's garbage. They don't want a salesman selling "used cars" and telling tall tales, they want the Truth. That's their right, hell they know what they like. I'm seeing many fans frustrated with the lack of perceived follow through with release dates and material. Honestly, Mr. Hicks has been talking about that DVD for a long time now and still nothing on the market. Time is important, too much goes by and the folks who wanted the material will have completely lost interest.
Word to the Wise, Time is Money. Your word should be your Bond. One plausible and possible theory I have; perhaps Mr. Hicks is waiting to release that DVD to coincide with his Fall CD. A double whammy marketing ploy in which each item feeds from the other. One idea, bundle the CD and DVD together, a sort of Taylor Hicks compilation of sound and video.
What hits me when reading some of the Taylor Hicks fan sites, blogs is what some of the past "Gray" members write. Things like, "Well call me selfish and narcissistic cause I dont (sic) really care if he is happy. I have supported him through thick and thin, I (meaning one of his many fans) have weathered constant ridicule and have remained steadfast in my opinion that he is talented as hell and has a large reserve of yet untapped talent. I have done my part and then some and now its time for him to do his.
If he doesnt (sic) have Idol standing in his path or Clive or any other of those obstacles then I expect him to deliver the real Taylor Hicks without excuses on the new CD.
I will not tolerate anything less. I’ll cross him off my Easter list faster than you can say carrot."
Now that's clever and funny, Easter carrots and all, but it's that mentality which challenges my way of thinking. What I'm reading is simply another version of the, "If you don't do what I want, I won't love you anymore!" ruse - add humor. All I can say is don't let the door...
Further commentary found on the Broadway topic, "I was kind of surprised that Taylor took the “Grease” gig. I had this whole other scenario in my head for him when he seemed to drop completely off the radar and was only doing charity golf tournaments. I imagined that he was deliberately staying out of the public eye and avoiding the cheap “Idol has-been’ gigs... working on a new album of all original material... departure from his “modern womp” album, something raw, bluesy, and with very minimal production. I imagined ... after he had laid low for a sufficient period of time, he would give a long, in depth interview to a writer for the New York Times or Rolling Stone... reveal the real story of how he went from adored Idol to punchline and whipping boy for 19E. There would be a groundswell of sympathy for him and he would parlay his anti-idol status by playing small, hip venues.".
This simply reinstates desire for a more traditional folk hero, like portrayed from Gray's and off Idol, perhaps deviating from the life Mr. Hicks may desire for himself. Prime example of the "This is My Dream Taylor" Fan. key word in that statement, "imagined", although I am in agreement regarding the minimalist production aspect for the next CD.
There are some Taylor Hicks hangers on who are sympathetic to his new Teen Angel venture, "...Well, what we expected was one thing; what he expected was another. Reality is something else again. I think the man is doing what he needs/wants to do for himself at this point. Does he still want to be a successful musician? Of course. When Regis asked what he wanted, Taylor said to be a musician before he said anything else."
Then there are the usual detractors who compared Mr. Hicks taking this role on Broadway to selling burgers through a drive-through window to get his name in the spotlight again. I know, ridiculous. Thing is to anyone watching to see what Taylor Hicks may be up to next, this is one Mission Accomplished. Word is out, Mr. Hicks' name is in lights - BIG ones and his images are out - in forty foot - check that, perhaps 80 foot tall glory.
You know what? I say, Groove on Soulman.
pics c/o skeeter226)