The tame men of rock

Pop stars used to trash their hotel rooms; these days, they're Hoovering them. Cayte Williams is aghast

You just can't trust a rock star these days. Once they were reliable rebels, working their way through a queue of groupies, smashing up hotel rooms, throwing TVs out the window and sinking more drink and drugs in one night than the Betty Ford Clinic sees in a year. Now there's a new breed of rock 'n' rollers who don't want to rock and roll.

Nicky Wire of The Manic Street Preachers once taunted fans with the deaths of John Lennon and Freddie Mercury and vowed to piss on a Brit Award if he ever got one. He's changed. Wire turned up at the Brit Awards in a T-shirt bearing the slogan I Love Hoovering, and ran off when Zoe Ball tried to give him a kiss for the cameras, saying, "My wife would have killed me." He later celebrated by mowing the lawn, and when a magazine journalist called him up to ask for his reaction to the Manics' success he said, "Ring me back after the rugby."

Liam Gallagher prefers popping out to buy a pint of milk than touring the US and was recently snapped returning from Disneyland with Patsy and baby Kensit looking more family man than rock star. Meanwhile, Noel dismissed a dig from Sporty Spice with a good- natured shrug. Even Michael Hutchence, once the Wild Man of Aussie Rock, is tame enough to settle down with Paula and Tiger. It's hardly the stuff of rock 'n' roll.

It was the tedium of touring that often led to rock stars' more outrageous behaviour in the good old days. But now you are more likely to find them doing the crossword and playing computer games than 10-in-a-bed with the groupies. "Radiohead were one of the first bands to play bridge and enjoy a nice cup of tea on tour," says a spokeswoman for the band. "They weren't interested in that rock 'n' roll lifestyle. People used to laugh when dry ice came on the stage, saying, 'Is that Radiohead boiling the kettle?'"

Other bands are following suit. The Blue Tones like singing songs on the tour bus a la Summer Holiday and playing each others home-made compilation tapes. And Apollo 440, exponents of such language as "oh, my gosh" and "flippin' heck", weren't happy about leaving their girlfriends to go on a European tour.

Audioweb, the Manchester dance-ragga hard boys, admit they're all in long-term relationships and hate the "groupie thing". According to guitarist Robin: "We've got nothing in common with groupies. They only want to use you to brag to their mates. There definitely seems to be a new breed of rock 'n' roller out there who'd rather not go insanely overboard to prove their status."

It is Cliff Richard, not Keith Richards, who is more likely to be the modern rock 'n' roller's role model. "I am the only radical rock 'n' roller," Sir Cliff recently boasted to OK! magazine. "While others were dragging groupies into their bedrooms, I was pushing them out, and when others were smashing their hotel rooms up, I was tidying mine."

So, what has tamed the wild men of rock? "Kurt Cobain took the rock 'n' roll lifestyle to its logical conclusion when he committed suicide," says Steve Sutherland, editor of NME. "In comparison, everybody else's behaviour lacks credibility, so the only thing to do is to go the other way."

Will we never again see the archetypal rock star, hell-bent on self-destruction? "Rock stars getting drunk for everyone's benefit is a bit cliched," says John Aizlewood, features editor of Q. "Also, Aids has changed things. It stopped all that groupie stuff. People are thinking that this is dangerous and rock stars are particularly at risk. In the early Seventies, it was seen as fantastically manly to be surrounded by groupies, but even Oasis have always had steady girlfriends."

Well, that's the sex. What about the drugs? "Drugs are a mainstream activity now," explains Steve Baker, veteran roadie and band manager for Kaleef and Galliano. "That rock 'n' roll lifestyle is more accessible to anyone if they make it big, especially in advertising, fashion or the City. It's nothing special any more - anyone can have it."

And the rock 'n' roll? Sutherland believes that Nineties rock stars have wised up. "The Seventies was a pioneering period," he continues. "Now kids are growing up with a more sensible and business-like attitude. Touring has become much more business orientated."

Certainly, nobody's fooled about rock stars carrying their wild ways into old age. Former Yes keyboard player, Rick Wakeman, tours church halls raising money for charity. Rod Stewart is worrying about the effect of a Hollywood lifestyle on his teenage children's morals, and Pete "I hope I die before I get old" Townsend is enjoying middle age in leafy Middlesex.

"We have more access to rock star's lives so we're bound to get more of the mundane stuff," says Sutherland. "Now we all know what Noel and Liam have for breakfast. I don't think Liam was ever particularly wild. In his early 20s, he was sitting around in Manchester twiddling his thumbs. When all that money comes your way, I think it must be pretty boring getting drunk every night. Ultimately your common sense tells you what's the point in blowing it all?

"As for Nicky Wire, he's a very straightforward chap. He doesn't drink, doesn't take drugs and never has. He thinks the rock 'n' roll tradition is naff. And he's a very intelligent chap." So there you have it. Hoovering is the new rock 'n' roll. And you heard it here first.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

    £17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test