This Thursday’s print edition of The Hollywood Reporter features a cover story on “The Business Of Glee,” and while one would assume that the Fox show is simply staged out of community spirit by a group of mismatched actor and filmmaker friends who have come to strangely rely on each other, no, as it turns out it really is a business. Case in point: The show’s often-contentious dealings with the musicians who provide the songs that it will then make 1000 times more successful—a proven formula that some have nevertheless resisted, such as Eminem, whose “Lose Yourself” was pursued and then abandoned because it was, in creator Ryan Murphy’s words, “jaw-droppingly expensive” at around $200,000. Well, no record sales for Eminem, then!
However, even worse are the artists who flat-out refuse to be part of the show, and it’s for these vocal holdouts that Murphy reserves his harshest words. Take Kings Of Leon, who famously turned down the offer and then gloated about it in the press, and whom Murphy addresses here:
“Fuck you, Kings of Leon,” he says, raising the volume of his monotonal interview voice ever so lightly. “They’re self-centered assholes, and they missed the big picture. They missed that a 7-year-old kid can see someone close to their age singing a Kings Of Leon song, which will maybe make them want to join a glee club or pick up a musical instrument. It’s like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.”
Yeah, it’s like, consign a kid to lifetime of colorless monotony because of your “principles,” Kings Of Leon. For what it’s worth, KOL frontman Caleb Followill responds (too little, too late), “This whole Glee thing is a shock to us. It’s gotten out of hand. At the time of the request, we hadn’t even seen the show. It came at the end of that record cycle, and we were over promoting [“Use Somebody”]. This was never meant as a slap in the face to Glee or to music education or to fans of the show. We’re not sure where the anger is coming from.”
Oh, you’re not? Well, Kings Of Leon, perhaps it’s coming from Murphy’s exhaustion at being bullied—bullied at the hands of stuck-up, stupid rock stars like you and Slash:
Another rock star on Murphy’s black list? Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, who recently revealed that he draws the licensing line at Glee. “Glee is worse than Grease, and Grease is bad enough,” he said in an interview. Murphy’s response: “Usually I find that people who make those comments, their careers are over; they’re uneducated and quite stupid.”
So take that, Slash! There you sit, stewing in stupidity and bitterness, without even the comfort of a proper education to distract you from the fact that your heyday is long behind you. Now you’ll never know the joy of working with Murphy on Glee—not like upcoming, still-vital guest stars such as Stevie Nicks and Jennifer Lopez, both of whom were smart enough to get in the Glee business while they could. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you musicians out there.