So, whatever happened to Rocky Johansson?

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‘Mock Turtles… Menswear… Jesus Jones… it’s a treasure trove of ‘where are they now?’ bands.   What else have you got in there?’

‘Well… what I was looking for was… where is it… here!  Remember this guy?’

‘Rocky Johansson… remind me..?’

‘“There’s only one of you? / Damn me if that’s true / Your love is like headlice / headlice…

 ‘Oh, God, Miserable Farewell, that takes me back.  You had a t-shirt of him, didn’t you?’

‘And the rest!  Posters, books, magazines… I bought everything he ever did.  Not that there was much.’

‘Look at that photo – looks a bit up himself, if you ask me.’

‘He probably was, a bit.  But I liked him.  He was the first star I wanted to run away and marry.’

‘What’s he doing now?’

‘I think he’s threatening some kind of comeback.  Probably not a good idea, especially if it’s of the “radical departure” from his old style type – he’s a bit paranoid these days.  I’m still on his mailing list…’

‘Oh, how sad.’

‘Ah, you don’t forget your first pin-up.  Public Laundry was the first album I bought.’

‘I remember that song! What was that line… “I see our last conversation / got its own chat show”, or something like that…’

‘Yeah, I thought he was funny.  Shame the way it all disappeared.’

‘Drugs, or something, wasn’t it?’

‘No, he was actually always anti-drugs.  He just went a bit… mad.  One minute, he was everywhere you looked or listened, the next…’

‘Yeah, I remember some scandal or other in the papers… wasn’t it something really awful?’

‘It depends what you mean by awful.  The tabloids thought so.  Compared to what other people do, it wasn’t that bad.  He didn’t kill anyone.  But that’s the way it works, isn’t it?  Once the gossip mongers start, everyone just forgets about the good stuff.’

‘But didn’t he try to overdose on anti-depressants?’

No, where did you hear that?  Don’t be daft.  He wouldn’t even touch those kind of drugs.  No, he just disappeared, became agoraphobic, so he went on therapy to treat his condition and gradually found his creativity again.  He put a new song on the internet a few months back.  Good tune, but the lyrics… they were a bit weird.  About someone living in his garden, on the periphery of his vision.  Real paranoid stuff.  Such a shame.’

‘You’d still buy it, though, wouldn’t you?’

‘Yeah, and I’d go and see him live.  I just don’t think anyone’s listening any more.  None of his old collaborators will even speak to him now.  I can’t blame them, either.’

‘Well, look on the bright side – he could have killed himself.’

‘Ha. Yeah.  And you know how the media works – if he’d done that, they’d have remembered all the good stuff.  He would’ve been a genius.  “What a wasted talent” they would’ve said.’

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