A manager lashes out: Camille Paglia thinks managers are villains. Simon Napier-Bell believes she hasn't checked the small print.

IN Sex, Art and American Culture, the American essayist Camille Paglia turns her mind to many topics - from date rape to the management of rock stars. 'These days,' she says, 'rock musicians are set upon by vulture managers, who sanitise them and package them and strip them of their unruly free will.' Well, perhaps these poor rock stars shouldn't have dated their managers in the first place. But what did they expect? And what does Paglia want?

She proposes that young rock musicians be encouraged to read poetry, study Hinduism, look at painting, listen to jazz and go and see foreign films. She wants them to rediscover rock music as a pure art- form - as if it ever had such a purity. From the beginning, rock was the music with which youth blew its top. Stuck with a dumb job and nagging parents, a young man could pick up a guitar and yell, 'I'm getting out of here.' And one way of getting out was to grab for the success of stardom. Just being the artist was a substantial part of rock expression.

Rock was never musically pure, like folk or blues - it was always an amalgamation of lifestyle and music. To help them with the lifestyle, budding rockstars seek out managers and beg for commercial success. Paglia, who in another part of the book says she is broadly in favour of 'abortion, sodomy, pornography, drug-use and suicide', draws the line at this.

'Our musicians need to be rescued from the carpet- baggers and gold-diggers who attack them when they are young and naive.' She seems to think rock music cannot be adapted, however slightly, towards profitability without destroying its artistic integrity.

Yet it was this adaptation that gave birth to rock music in the first place. Rock was born from the corporate marketing of youthful rebellion. This seemingly impossible marriage created a hybrid art-form dependent equally on both sides. Though Paglia points out that 'where rock goes, democracy follows', she doesn't seem to understand why. The reason is, to be considered great, rock music has to be both artistically and financially successful. Its principle is to reward rebelliousness, and that is what makes totalitarian governments so terrified of it.

A good rock manager eases his way in gently. His first job is to assess how far his artists want to compromise their artistic integrity in order to achieve commercial success. Will they put out a single? Will they plug the record on television? Will they perform at the record company's sales convention?

Rock groups mostly answer yes to all three questions. It is often the manager who has to propose a more rebellious attitude. These days he is more likely to ask them to filth up a bit than to 'sanitise them' - to propose some surly arrogance or even outright violence. These are the images of rock that nice middle-class kids with musical competence have to be taught if they are to be made marketable. Think of Guns N' Roses, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy - all skilfully managed, yet hanging on to their 'unruly free will'. Think of the Sex Pistols . . .

When they first started, their manager, Malcolm McLaren, had a lot of trouble with the Sex Pistols. He was trying hard to turn them into little monsters, but in reality they were young, naive and decidedly pleasant. At the time of their first record, they had to do an interview with a female journalist who lived in Brighton. On the way down in the train, McLaren rehearsed his four proteges. 'Don't forget - put your feet on the coffee table, swear a lot, and for heaven's sake, DON'T say please or thank you.'

When they arrived, the journalist offered them tea.

'Do you take sugar?'

'Yes, please,' said Sid Vicious, and McLaren flung his arms above his head in fury.

'Dammit]' he yelled. 'How many times have I told you? Don't say please.'

Sid looked up apologetically. 'Sorry, Malc. I forgot.'

McLaren howled in despair. 'For Christ's sake - you can't say sorry either.'

Later on, of course, the group got the hang of it.

Record companies and managers willingly collude in the concoction of such images. Clashes between rock stars and the establishment are an essential part of rock imagery. Simulated images soon become the real thing. It is all part of the creative process of rock music.

Paglia says 'rock music should not be left to the Darwinian laws of the marketplace'. On the contrary, to be considered rock in the first place, the music must balance commerciality with creativity; packaging with content; financial reward with the need for self-expression. Rock music is art as commerce and commerce as art.

Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Former Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville
music
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl
filmFirst look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month
TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel
film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable