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Interview with Pop Critic J.D. Considine

8/16/99

J.D. Considine, 42 years of age, is a well known music critic. On staff at the Baltimore Sun since 1986, he also writes regularly for Entertainment Weekly and Guitar World. From 1979 to 1996, he wrote for Rolling Stone. He appeared regularly on the VH1 show "Four on the Floor," which was a sort of rock critic equivalent to "The McLaughlin Group." It aired from '94-'96, and earned a Cable Ace nomination ("Politically Incorrect" took the award).

JD: "I've interviewed most of the major stars. I did an interview in 1984 with Eric Clapton that was well thought of... I've interviewed Madonna... I wrote a book about Van Halen. I wrote a quarter of the Rolling Stone album guide. Probably the most famous thing I've ever written was a 1982 review of group GTR, led by Steve Howe from YES and Steve Hackett who used to be in Genesis. The title of the album was GTR and my review read "SHT." People still talk about it."

Luke: "Does slashing journalism create more attention?"

JD: "In the case of the GTR review, it was short and appropriate. The group released one album and was never heard from again. I don't think that adversarial journalism per se holds up. The only reason that journalism has merit, regardless of the form that it is in, is if it speaks to the truth. If you make an adversarial point that is valid, people will remember that. If you make an advocative point that is valid, people will remember that. But what they tend to remember is what is valid, not how provocative you are.

"And as evidence, I would point to the career of Paul Kassner. He is a name that only journalism junkies truly recognize and who is probably more notorious than famous [for his adversarial journalism]. He was the one who came up with the image of the woman being fed into the meat grinder at Hustler, an image that even Larry Flynt, in the current issue of Loaded, regrets having published. It was certainly provocative and adversarial journalism, it was also a colossal mistake. Because it did not speak to any essential truth, it only made a very offensive point.

"Kassner was editor of Hustler for a couple of years. Before that he was the editor of the Realist, the underground leftwing counter-culture newsletter. It was to the yippie left as the Nation is to the academic left. It would pay lip service to Noam Chomsky but it was blindly provocative more than it was thoughtful... It's the sad state of the Left in America... It is such a benighted landscape. You can name a dozen examples of conservative journalism and maybe four examples of Leftist...

"I listen to a wide variety of music. In the background now you'll hear Sibellius symphony number five. There's almost nothing I won't listen to... As a journalist, I try to convey my affection for sound in an articulate way that makes people think about what they're listening to and why it works, what informs the music and musicians that they listen to... Unlike some journalists who are more interested in the culture of the music's listenership, I am more interested in the sound..."

Luke: "Do you consider rockn'rollers to be musicians?"

JD: "Absolutely. If recording existed in the 18th Century, most of what was published by Chopin would not have been published but simply been recorded. Furthermore, if composers of the level of creativity of Mozart were alive today they would likely be making popular music. Because Mozart, although a very deep musician on a compositional level, was also extremely interested in reaching an audience. And it is not that difficult imagining him wanting to make pop music on a sophisticated level, much on the same way that Stevie Wonder does. The difference being that Stevie Wonder's training was much more casual than Mozart's... If you look at the things Stevie Wonder does in terms of harmonic complexity and so forth, it is very ingenious... Or Quincy Jones, a well trained musician, without his input Michael Jackson's Thriller album would not have had the impact it did.

"There is an awful lot of musical knowledge that is either not acknowledged or even disparaged in the pop music genre simply because it is considered to be not cool to know what you're doing."

Luke: "Rockn'roll seems so primitive that I find it hard to mention it in the same breath as classical?"

JD: "Are you familiar with the song Greensleaves?"

Luke: "Primitive."

JD: "But is enduring and it has been used as a basis for more sophisticated pieces. What we think of as classical music is a means of processing a melodic idea. A symphony or a sonata or anything using the sonata form (three movement, mid tempo, slow tempo, fast tempo construction) is a formula for developing a melodic idea... A process for spinning out variations on a melody... Any tune can be treated that way. The difference is a matter of focus. What a pop composer is trying to do is achieve something completely different than what a classical music composer was trying to achieve 150 years ago. You can't say Edgar Allen Poe was a bad writer but as a detective fiction writer, Murder in the Rue Morgue (widely regarded as the first example of detective fiction) is not as good as Elmore Leonard. It worked for its time but what Poe and Leonard tried to do are two different things. They are in a similar genre. But they're different goals.

"What a popular composer is trying to do is come up with a strong melodic idea and convey a certain amount of emotion and mood through pure music, which is usually done with repetition, not development. A classical composer, on the other hand, is taking a theme and trying to stretch it out. Much in the same way as a jazz soloist takes a harmonic idea and extrapolates on that. But just because someone is working within a simple harmonic or rythmic format does not necessarily mean that what they are trying to do is unimaginative or unsophisticated. In many ways, it is more difficult to come up with a strong, memorable, cogent simple idea that can be endlessly repeated than it is to come up with a complicated idea that you can than spin off endless variations.

"Stewart Copeland, the drummer for Police, along with Sting and Andy Summers, all had strong musical backgrounds. They could all play jazz. But Copeland realized that most jazz musicians could not play music like the Police... Police came up with music that was melodic and memorable... And there was a level of sophistication to it... But they weren't being paid for the sophistication. That isn't what made them worthwhile... In many ways, it is easier to make an abstruse art film than a straight-ahead popular success. Not that there is more technique involved, but that there is a certain amount of imagination that either you have or don't have...

"I definitely think that what is going on with popular music has very strong aesthetic validity even if it doesn't seem as sophisticated as more sophisticated forms of music."

Luke: "Is rockn'roll a living genre?"

JD: "It depends on how you define rockn'roll. If you define music in terms of its rythmic basis, rockn'roll has been waning for about ten years... And the rythmic ideas behind hip-hop have been coming into ascendancy. But there's an awful lot of guitar based music that almost anyone hearing it would consider it to be rockn'roll even though rythmically it's driven by more of a hip-hop feel than by straight rockn'roll feel.

"The difference between hip-hop and rockn'roll is like the difference between swing and bebop. Hip-hop works off an implied double time beat. And so instead of being based on a quarter note pulse, it is built on an eighth note feel. Hip-hop is the culture that created rap music. If you listen to a rap record and how the beat doubles back on itself, and compare that to listening to a '60s soul record where the beat is straight forward, that's the difference.

"With bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit and other popular bands, as well as the Backstreet Boys, you have this rythmic feel that gives an extra flip to the groove."

Luke: "What do you think about the growing attraction of many rockers to the porn industry?"

JD: "If you spend six, nine, twelve months of the year on the road, all of your time in busses and hotel rooms...it's not hard to understand how a lifestyle like that would lead to watching porn on video. Almost every band I've ever talked to watches a ton of video while on the road... Because there's not much else to do on the bus. Some watch regular movies, some watch porn, some watch a mix. It's only natural that one would feed an interest in the other.

"Historically musicians have always been a low caste group in culture. I know you're a fan of Haydn. And what set him apart from many musicians in his era was that he had a sponsor in the royal family of the Hapsburgs... He could hire musicians and give them real jobs so that they could afford to buy houses and so on... But in terms of the social strata of the Hapsburg Court, Haydn's musicians were about the level of stable hands. In most parts of the world, musicians and actors and prostitutes were considered pretty much all of the same ilk. So it shouldn't come as a surprise today that they would all find similar interests..."

Luke: "I'm surprised that there hasn't been a great porno-rock connection in the past."

JD: "I think there has been more of a subtle connection but the music industry has been controlled by multinational corporations since the early '60s while pornography back then was mainly smokers and mob-oriented... The opportunity for any kind of creative interaction was limited. By the time pornography became the industry that it is today, the record industry was already established as a multinational corporate structure. And CBS and Thorn EMI and Philips Norelco and Universal which owned MCA were not companies that wanted to align themselves with underground companies like Caballero...

"There was a band in Boston in the early '80s who called themselves Seka after the porn star. There's Phil Collins who included Desiree Cousteau in his thank yous for his 1993 album Both Sides. I asked him about that, and he said that there was a time in the '80s, after his first wife had left him, and he was on the road a lot, and he got a certain comfort from watching Desiree Cousteau movies... I'll put it in there and see if anybody notices... Porn stars back then were not the media stars they are today.

"During the glam metal boom of the '80s, most of the porn stars on the rise were going to the same clubs as bands on the rise like Motley Crue, Poison... But it wasn't explicitly acknowledged. I think the most explicit references were on Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls," where they didn't name actresses, they named strip clubs... There was a different media dynamic back then.

"Matt Zane and Vivid are actively marketing themselves... During the 1980s, people went from commercials to music videos to movies. Now they go from commercials to movies. So, to find people who are interested in making music videos, which is a lucrative but demanding and short-term business, in the search for new talent, a lot of porn directors ended up doing videos. They could deliver product on a tight budget on deadline... And they had a reputation that the people they were working with could appreciate..."

Luke: "How did porn stars become such media celebs?"

JD: "Are you familiar with a thing called the VCR? Back in the early '80s, I did a story about videocassettes... I remember one of the salesmen telling me that whenever they sold a VCR, they'd usually sell three movies, two mainstream and one X. They were mainly young couples who were interested in seeing the stuff but would never go to the [X-rated] movie theaters... So now they can own the stuff and nobody would know. That's when the pornography industry exploded. Videotape turned things around for them...

"Over time, as the price for the porn video kept in line with the sell through stuff, kept at a steady flow. I imagine that many people learned the lesson of Clarence Thomas - not to rent videos but to buy them."

Thomas was the black nominee to the US Supreme Court who got tangled up with Anita Hill and sexual harassment charges. Part of the background check done on him was what videos he rented.

JD: "He also single-handedly made Long Dong Silver a household name. Hill claimed that Thomas was very impressed with Mr. Silvers, um, ouevre, and discussed it in the office.

"We are so saturated with imagery that it takes something beyond being attractive to make us remember things. Hardcore sex tends to give your image an edge in someone's memory... I wrote a piece in December of last year about porn star cameos in mainstream films. I remember seeing the ad on MTV for Very Bad Things. And in the 30 second ad, six of the seconds were of Kobe Tai's [Vivid girl] face as she fell to the floor as a dead hooker. I saw that and said, that's Kobe Tai. And I thought to myself, I bet other people recognize that, I wonder how many will admit it?

"An awful lot of the porn stars who do do cameos in films don't get credit or very veiled credits. For example, Asia Carrera actually has lines in The Big Lebowski. But you won't see her names on the credits. And when I tried to do this story on porn stars in mainstream, the publicists for Very Bad Things refused to cooperate. They wanted nothing to do with a story that mentions that Kobe Tai is in it. And even Ron Jeremy will tell you about his troubles... He even had a scene cut out of the Robert DeNiro film Ronin.

"Mainstream, because they're dealing with the whole country, has a problem acknowledging porn. At the same time, they recognize the value of having porn stars in there... That many people will recognize them and they will get frisson from it. Particularly when you are talking about someone as distinctive looking as Kobe Tai is."

Luke: "What did you think of the book Hit Men, which detailed the music industry's ties to organized crime? I've always thought of the music industry as a particularly filthy industry."

JD: "It is. As music critic Dave Marsh pointed out, the biggest fault with the book is that Hit Men author Fredric Dannen was seduced on a personality level by the guy from Roulette Records... He was the Gambino's family man in the music industry. Roulette got Count Basie in the 1950s , Morris Levy.... Because the Mob got a hold of Basie... I'm pretty used Basie made no money off the albums he did for Roulette which were some of the best work he did...

"Another book details the relations between MCA, the Mob and Ronald Regan... An LA Times writer William Knoedelseder did a book on the music industry called Stiffed... Irving Azoff, the manager of the Eagles, became the head of MCA Records during the 1980s... He brought guys who were part of the Gambino family in with him... And they took over...

"The music industry now is cleaner than it has been as the power has been increasingly concentrated in multi-national corporations... The ownership level of mobbed-up interests has decreased...

"The mob came in because of the payola laws established during the Dick Clark era in the 1950s... The notion of paying radio stations money to play a record became illegal. This shadow culture developed wherein consultants were paid by the major labels to do the bribery at an arm's length removed... It was not common for programmers to get bribes ranging from cash to drugs to girls to laptop computers to play songs...

"Even though there are 3-4,000 albums released a year, and tens of thousands of singles, most radio stations will only have an active playlist of 15-20 records... Furthermore, if you look at the charts in recent years, as oppposed to the '60s and '70s where records moved up and down the charts at a rapid pace, a hit record these days will stay a hit record for six, eight, nine months... So the profit potential from having a hit record has grown at the same time that the pressure for getting your record in has also grown. So it is not surprising..."

Luke: "Why did they pass the law? What is wrong with paying radio stations to play your songs?"

JD: "Back in the '50s, people believed that rockn'roll led to teenage delinquency. And the only reason tha the radio stations were playing those awful rockn'roll records was because they were paid to. The payola laws were intended to keep good music on the radio. Instead they opened the door to the mob. It's a familiar refrain in American culture."

Luke: "I do think that rockn'roll leads to delinquency."

JD: "That [notion] is ridiculous. The vast majority of Americans listen to rockn'roll and the delinquency rates, if you study them historically, stay essentially constant and the only reason they go up and down is because the youth population goes up and down. In fact, delinquency rates at the latter part of the 20th Century are lower than they were at the earlier part of the 20th Century. In large part because there is much more education and chance for social advancement. If you look back at late 19th Century New York when you had all those horrible youth gangs... Incredible murder and thuggery...

"What people are reacting to is not the music but their economic prospects and their level of education... And what they see as the future before them."

Luke: "I tend to think of the rock culture as morally corrupting, particularly to those who traffic in it."

JD: "Most people who traffic off politics tend to be corrupt but that does not make politics by nature immoral.

"When Fatty Arbuckle was under the limelight for his scandal [death of a young woman], were their people imitating his lifestyle? If you're talking about decadent lifestyles, look at [classical music composer] Franz Lizst, and Fredric Chopin and Richard Wagner... Wagner was having an affair with the wife of his orchestrator and had a child by her. This decadence is not new...

"If you want to look at adverse pop culture influence, people doing things that they absorbed from pop culture that cause grievous bodily harm, you will find far more instances from mainstream Hollywood films than from pop music. There was a highschool football movie about three years ago where guys, to show how brave they are, go out and lie down on the road. And a bunch of kids saw the movie and went out and did the same thing and they got run over by cars. And the scene wound up getting excised from the film. That's much more concrete than people being incited to have sex because of what they think the lyrics to "Louie, Louie" were."

Luke: "I think of the beat of rock music as pagan and the whole of rock culture as drug infested."

JD: "A. There is no specific pagan musical tradition..."

Luke: "The rock beat seems really sexual."

JD: "The rock beat today is completely different from the beat of 1954. Are people having sex in a different way now? Any kind of music that invokes dancing feels sexual because dancing and sexual activity have parallel energies. In the 19th Century, the Waltz was considered completely immoral and a threat to the culture because it involved people moving in what was seen as a sexual fashion. My question to you would be: Does the music instigate this or does the music reflect repressed or sublimated desire?"

Luke: "Both."

JD: "No. If you asked the average person, what would you rather do, have sex or dance, most people would say, have sex. But life doesn't work like that. Sex isn't something that you can go get at the cafeteria. So they dance in hopes that that will lead to sex or in lieu of sex... We're talking about sublimation, not instigation.

"The real driving force behind the interest in pornography... If the average porn consumer could have as much sex as he watched, they wouldn't be watching it."

Luke: "I can't dance... I just can't do it..."

JD: "Some people when they look at a Van Gogh painting, see the palette technique, see the relationship of colors, see the underlying aesthetic that an art historian would talk about. Other people see an image that affects them on an emotional level that they can't articulate. Which is the more valid aesthetic response? Neither. Each is valid in its own way. Some people listen to music but can't react physically to it, but get pleasure from the vitality of the sound. Some people hear music and instinctively react to it physically. And some people just don't get it at all. To say that one response is more valid than another is absurd.

"Go to dance clubs and you'll be surprised how many people who go to dance clubs can't dance well. What you're talking about is a sense of insecurity... That because you don't feel comfortable dancing, it makes you self conscious. And therefore it inhibits you from having pleasure doing it. That's how many people think about sex... But the whole point of sex, is relating to another person in much the same way that conversation is... Maybe there are people who are better at conversation than others...

"The world is full of people who are not very good at having sex, but have produced children through it. And I guess this would be one of the things that bothers you about the peverse aesthetization of sex in pornography. It athletizes sex. You look down at your own erection and see that you're not as big as Marc Davis or you look at your girlfriend and you see that she does not have the boobs of Jenna Jameson... And that is where these things become destructive...

"If you like playing baseball, but everytime you go up to bat you think, I am no Mark McGuire, I might as well not hit the thing... If you do that, you are not going to have fun. But that's more about your sense of who you are...

"I can't dance for beans but I listen to dance music all the time because I still get aesthetic pleasure from it (in a different way from someone who moves to it). My experience of music is different, and that is why I am a critic. Like I am sure that your experience of the porn industry is different from other people... And it is one of the reasons why you are compelled to respond to it in the way you do... And others respond in the way they do."

Luke: "How did you find my site?"

JD: "I found it through the bookstore Atomic Books... Scott Huffines touted you a couple of times... I describe it to people as the porn industry equivalent to The Real World [MTV show]."

Email: "I just read your interview with J.D. Considine. For what it's worth, I thought that it was informative, intelligent, articulate and from an advocative stand point, valid. Thank you for including something other than the tired, old, he-said, she-said, make the entire industry look retarded, porn gossip."

10/21/99

Thursday night Luke and Nice Jewish Girl interviewed music critic J.D. Considine. NJG writes: "NJG and Luke thought they were both extremely brilliant, take no prisoners kind of people. Then they met JD Considine. NJG wound up feeling like a bubble gum snapping bleached blonde with lots of heavy mascara and tight black capri pants with white stiletto heels and a sleeveless midriff. Luke wound up feeling like her Suitcase Pimp, wearing a brown polyester suit, a loud brown printed polyester shirt, with long brown greasy hair tied in a ponytail. Here's the conversation."

JD: "All the people involved with Four on the Floor [TV show] were fired within three months of the show's cancellation. I did stuff for their Grammy coverage until last year."

NJG: "You were always the most intelligent person on the show. But you pissed me off a lot. I look at things from an emotional viewpoint, especially music."

JD: "Music can be either cerebral or emotional or both. Generally, musicians have music on both the right and left brain... Some musicians tend to be much more on one side... Most people who have no musical training tend to be much more on the intuitive side... Most classical musicians have an intellectualized concept of music but that doesn't mean they don't feel strong emotions when they play.

"Some view this as a male - female thing. Women are really into words and don't like instrumental music. Some people take a much more verbal approach to music, to the weight of the words, and less attention to the actual music. For other people, including myself, the sound is foremost and the words are an afterthought."

NJG: "Rock n'roll is more emotional. I saw that in your conversation with Luke a few weeks ago."

JD: "Luke is not exactly the most emotionally charged conversationalist you'll have."

NJG: "Luke doesn't have any emotions. He thinks rockn'roll is all about sex. Me, as a girl, rock rings to me emotionally..."

JD: "Sometimes music reaches you on a beat level and sometimes on a spiritual level.

"Jim Reed from the Scottish band...(famous for a loud guitar sound) said he didn't think his band [Joy Division] was depressing at all. When he listened to Ian Curtis [who killed himself] sing, he thought, 'God, somebody else feels the way I feel.' So even though Ian Curtis sang downbeat stuff, Jim Reed felt an uplift because he realized he wasn't alone. So often, the way music will affect you is not necessarily based on how it sounds."

NJG: "After you know that Ian Curtis killed himself, it makes his music even more depressing."

JD: "One of the great misunderstandings in popular music is the whole notion of the blues. A lot of people think that the whole point of the Blues is to make you sad when in fact Blues are entirely about transference and transcendence. You play the Blues to get over feeling bad. You take what's bad inside you and turning it into something uplifting.

"It's not just venting. It's the difference between venting to a friend and talking to an analyst who will respond with enough insight to let you know what is going on and help you through that problem. While your friends will say, yeah, yeah, I feel you pain, which won't get you through it."

Luke: "Do a lot of rockn'rollers commit suicide? I think rock music leads to death."

JD: "It's a very small number, smaller than the number of Hollywood stars suicides."

Luke: "Michael Hutchence, lead singer for INXS."

JD: "Paula Yates saying it was suicide was her saying that her ex husband Bob Geldoff drove Hutchence to suicide. Whether she didn't want to acknowledge that her husband indulged in autoerotic asphyxiation is a separate question. The emotional weight of what she's saying is this: Her ex husband Bob Geldoff drove Hutchence who was otherwise in an ebullient mood to suicide by being such a hardass about visitation rights to the children. And if you consider the acrimony involved in Yates' split with Geldoff, that makes sense... I don't think we'll ever know so I'm not counting it as a suicide...

"Beyond that, there was the guy from Bad Finger who thought he was getting screwed over on royalties... Ian Curtis. Kurt Cobaine. Johnny Ace, a big R&B singer from the 1950s, did not kill himself playing Russian Roulette backstage, but supposedly, according to ZZ Top in the mid '80s... But Johnny told his manager that he was going to leave for a bigger paying deal, and the manager shot him dead. Paul Simon wrote a song called "The Late Great Johnny Ace.""

NJG: "Once you put punk rock in there, it changes the equation. Punk rock created suicides and I loved punk rock because it was dangerous. Darby Crash from the Germs, Kurt Cobaine, Syd Vicious, Ian Curtis... A guy from the Vibrators. Before punk, rock music was mundane, like now. Once you take the danger out of rock n'roll, you're not going to get suicides."

JD: "That's crap. The whole notion that rockn'roll is about rebellion and danger and revolting against authority comes out of the whole notion of rock n'roll understood by white people who pick it up second hand. The real impetus behind rock n'roll, before Elvis, was not about rebellion, it was about the same kind of identity politics that led to the black nationalist movement. People can say, this is who I am. This is my culture and these are my people and this is how I see the world. And I am going to make a record about it. And what made it seem rebellious was when white kids who were not of that subculture or socioeconomic group, related to the energy, style and thrill of these people standing up and saying, I am who I am, and embraced it as their own and tried to imitate it.

"These kids were rebelling by saying, I like music and art outside of my own culture."

NJG: "My mother had race records..."

JD: "That was what it was called until 1953 when Billboard Records (Jerry Wexler who later produced Aretha Franklin) changed the name from the race chart to Rythym and Blues. They also called it country hillbilly music.

"There was more white rebellion in Eddie Cochran than in the Beatles.

"Wayne Cochran did the white James Brown act, and was much more imitative than Elvis Presley, and as a result had less impact. Same thing was true with The Crewcuts who did these watered down du-op things... Joe Cocker tried to sound like Ray Charles...

"If I were a psychiatrist, it would strike me as significant the relationship between Luke and his father, particularly given that Luke's mother died, and the relationship between Luke and Judaism, which would be as much a repudiation of a Protestant preacher background as could be imagined. A far greater repudiation than atheism would be."

NJG: "Luke, you know that's true."

Luke: "Charles Krauthammer, one of my favorite columnists, is a psychiatrist."

JD: "He would be, wouldn't he? Krauthammer is George Will without a conscience.

"When I do radio call-in shows, people are disappointed that I don't take the stance that the demon J.D. in their mind would take. I'm very fair minded."

NJG: "What sign are you?"

JD: "My birthday was last week (10/14), so I am the same sign as you."

NJG: "Same day as my grandmother."

JD: "Except I am considerably less stacked."

NJG: "I can't believe that you liked Aerosmith."

JD: "I don't like their recent stuff...but they were a great band. They are the only hard rock band I've ever heard who did an incredible James Brown cover."

NJG: "Steven Tyler is one of the ugliest guys in the entire planet and his plastic surgery hasn't helped."

JD: "Uglier than Mick Jagger or Don Knotts?"

NJG: "Separated at birth..."

JD: "Mick Jagger was always incredibly sexy. Brian Jones was beautiful. Cliff Richards was beautiful early on. Mick's features were too exaggerated to be called beautiful. They were striking.

"I grew up listening to classical music and jazz...

"Stevie Wonder is one of the greatest rockn'roll songwriters... Many people talk about the sophistication of Steely Dan but Stevie Wonder's stuff was just as sophisticated harmonically, melodically and structurally..."

NJG: "Stevie Wonder never emotionally hit me."

JD: "So you don't have soul and you're not super bad?"

Luke: "How many rock n'rollers are out of the closet?"

JD: "That list you posted about lesbian musicians is crap. Tori Amos not. Jill Silbiul is bi, not lesbian. Just because you've had same sex relationships doesn't mean you are gay...

"Boy George is totally out of the closet. You should read his book "Take It Like A Man." It's the best rock autobiography that I've ever read. He outed George Michael..."

NJG: "And he outed Gavin of Bush..."

JD: "When Elton John admitted to Rolling Stone in the early '80s that he had had homosexual relations, it did not affect his career near as much as writing crap songs... A clear case where you could argue it hurt was Rob Halford, the former lead singer for Judas Priest. A lot of Priest fans were like, NO WAY DUDE, NO WAY. And finally Halford, when he was done with metal and going into industrial music, he admitted he was bi.

"There have been some flamboyantly gay metal stars. There's this German band Accept and their lead singer was openly gay."

NJG: "Rob's leather getup was straight out of gay bars..."

JD: "Judas Priest did a song "Eat Me Alive," which Tipper Gore cited as a clear example of violence against women but if you listen to the lyrics, it's about gay sex blowjobs. Tipper also didn't get the song "Darling Nicky" by Prince. She expected Prince to be able to use prepositions correctly. Prince referred to Darling Nicky masturbating with a magazine while I expect he meant she was masturbating to a magazine. But Tipper, being a literalist, thought that she was rolling the magazine up and sticking it in."

Luke: "How will the election affect the rock industry?"

JD: "There's not a dime's difference between any of the major candidates."

12/01 UPDATE: J.D. Considine has married and moved to Toronto.