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  1. When I was 16, I wanted nothing more in life than to join a band. It was easy... in matter of fact it was a thing of crystal purity... to consider the possibility of succeeding as a rock star. I knew what it looked like. I knew, in as far as television and magazines could relate, how a rock start lived. I knew how one performed. How they dressed. In many cases, even what drugs they took. That last bit was on the cheeky side so I take it back, Still, when I was a young man, it was very, very easy to create an image, and from that image, a path you could follow in an attempt to try and achieve success as a professional musician. Grow your hair long and free. Wear a lot of leather. Walk and talk with swagger. Join a band. Play shows. LOTS of shows. Play more shows. Get a chance to sit in an office or talk to a guy who happens to be at one of your shows. Talk your ass off. Get a chance. Squeeze that chance for all it's worth. After that, just hold on tight. All of this may sound either innocent or just plain silly to you, reading it now. But, in 1985 it was a blueprint for becoming a rock star. A REAL path to try and make it to the top. And a LOT of young men and women took that very path and gave it their all. A few made it all the way. Most did not. I was one of the "also rans"... Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. Except... I might allow myself to have that one great, fool's chance... which I never got. I am pretty sure that that clarity of vision no longer exists. There are innumerable reasons for this being so. The rise of piracy and the death of the main stream music industry as it existed for almost a century... the rise of the independent artist and the ever increasing ability to tailor design one's image to suit one's strengths... the .99 cent download and the ability to pick what you, as an individual listen to, ala cart. However, when we look on the television, we still see mega stars. We see, all the time, those who seem to have achieved everything, in terms of success, that the older generation rock stars achieved in their day. How did they do it? Was it some special set of abilities and traits only they, and a small handful possess? Was it blind luck? Was it the industry picking them, according to some alchemical, medieval set of parameters, whereupon untold amounts of money and support were put into making these individuals the stars they now are? So, my questions are as follows: How has the vision of success as a professional musician, and/or the road one might take towards achieving that success, changed since, say... 2000? Do you have a personal vision of what success represents? If so, please share it. How do you think stars make it to the top today? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.