Ah, partying “like a rock star.” Immortalized forever by the likes of Van Halen’s Lost Weekend and the Shop Boyz song of the same name, it involves a few key components: drinking expensive liquor, being around
expensive “hot” ladies, and trashing rooms at hotels like the Chelsea, where Sid Vicious’ ladyfriend Nancy Spungen spent her final hours. Or it used to, anyway! Because like so much else in the music industry, the concept of staying in a sweet suite is taking on a slightly unfamiliar shape in the 21st century, one that involves things like yoga, fancy mattresses, and kiddie pools. And those swimming holes are filled with water and meant for actual swimming by actual kids, not Jell-O wrestling.
When asked about instances of rocker mischief, hotel managers were mum — partly to protect their guests’ privacy, and partly because there aren’t many stories to spill.
“I’m still waiting for one good something,” joked Jason Pomeranc, an owner of 60 Thompson — a past host, he says, to the Rolling Stones and Velvet Revolver. “Someone hanging off a balcony, something. The new generation of bands, they’re all nice boys.”
It’s not just the rock stars. Rap acts once known for over-the-top images are becoming more responsible. “A lot of what you think would be wild and crazy isn’t,” said Ms. Chiara, the travel agent. “They order room service and you never see them.”
To today’s musicians, the notion of wrecking a hotel room is both antiquated and frivolous. “It’s important to avoid all the clichés,” said Jamie Reynolds, a member of the British band the Klaxons, who recently stayed at the Hotel on Rivington. “Younger bands are more sensible than before,” he added. He so liked the hotel mattresses, he said, that he bought one for his London home.
Mr. Stallings said that by checking into hotels like his, pop stars are “making a lifestyle statement.” But they’re making another sort of statement as well. More than ever, rock has grown into a legitimate career and business. It’s telling that “gotcha” Web sites like TMZ.com regularly feature Paris and Lindsay over musicians; party-hearty actors and actresses are the bad boys and girls — and rock stars — of the day.
The fact that hotels cheerfully embrace musicians may be the surest sign yet that rock’s rebel moment has largely passed. Kurt Loder, the veteran rock journalist and MTV staff writer, recalled witnessing members of Nirvana trash a hotel room in 1992, causing $18,000 in damage. But, said Mr. Loder: “Now it’s more of a business. Everyone has their endorsement deal and their restaurant. Everything’s about business, and no one wants to screw that up. If you ask a rapper if they’ve wrecked a room, they say, ‘Why?’”
Why, indeed. Although I have to say, this is a pretty great way for musicians who are obsessed about their trendiness to stay ahead of the times, especially in the Shop Boyz era–now, only the plebes believe that partying has to include wanton destruction. Could this be a sign of a new, more-buttoned-down aesthetic to come? The end of the Tila Tequila-led era of behaving like a complete moron and the beginning of–dare I say it–The New Classy Era?