Pop icons have duty to mind their health

Pearl Jam's show for June 29th at Veterans Memorial Coliseum has been cancelled.

That bites.

What bites even more is that it didn't have to happen.

The two lead rumors vying for top honors right now are that Eddie Vedder has the flu and that the band had problems with concert scheduling. Both are likely to be true. But which one could most likely have been prevented with less touring, and more emphasis on health? That's right, someone getting sick.

Pearl Jam is the second major U. S. tour to fall to illness this year alone, along with R.E.M. If these people, our musical role models in some cases, can't manage their lives well enough to either not tour so much that they get sick, or to at least realize what it does to their reputations when they cancel

these events. People think less of them, and their album sales might even go down.

Kurt Cobain is the biggest example of a rock star who didn't take care of an illness. His illness was mental. No matter that he's dead, he's still an icon for a whole generation of young people. But what kind of icon? What example did he set? Kurt Cobain is a loser. Not because he was a good or bad musician, but because he didn't take care of himself when he could have.

So why do we pay sometimes upwards of $100 per ticket to see people who are basically running themselves into the ground in front of our very eyes? Maybe that's why. Maybe because we know that what counts is seeing the act NOW! Knowing that many of our favorite bands of today will not be together tomorrow. Due to breakup, or death, or murder, or ... you fill in the blank.

How would we feel if bands stopped this "We're invincible, let's tour for two years straight!" crap. How would we feel about less tours, but healthier happier bands playing at their best because they hadn't been run into the ground by greedy promoters, rabid fans, or their own excesses? How do you feel when you see acts like Pearl Jam cancelling, while older bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead are bringing down the house, and making all of their concert dates? I'll tell you that I bet every one of those fans that sold out the Pearl Jam concert in 9 minutes, wants to know why. They want to have a really good reason why their favorite band won't be there tomorrow night. Is sickness because your band has worn itself out a good enough reason anymore?

I say that it's not. I say that if everyone else has to act like adults, then Pearl Jam should also. Pearl Jam, and a lot of performers need to grow up and realize that they not only have a responsibility to their fans, they have a responsibility to themselves. If they can't do it then they really don't deserve to be role models in the first place.

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