I can think of at least two times pop bands were badly mangled by Rolling Stone: a piece by the intrepid Lynn Hirschberg on Hall & Oates, and the fictional story by Patrick Fugit’s William on Billy Crudup’s band Stillwater in Cameron Crowe’s movie “Almost Famous.” The results were devastating.
Now we can add Patrick Doyle’s take down of Aussie group 5 Seconds of Summer. Doyle throws them on the ‘barbie and lets them grill until they are so overcooked there may be no coming back. 5SOS’s manager Matt Emsell also allowed the four lads to be photographed for the cover of Rolling Stone naked– yes, naked, in their birthday suits.
For a band whose bread and butter ticket sales is teen girls, young teen girls, this has set off fireworks on the internet. 5SOS, it seems, has been snookered into saying horrible things about girls, their fans, Justin Bieber, and just about anyone else you can think of.
Doyle: They were wildest on their early tours, when they’d go to bars to mingle with fans after shows. “When you put four young dudes on a tour bus, playing theaters, then arenas, you’re going to have sex with a lot of girls, I guess,” says [heart-throb Luke] Hemmings. “We had a good time.” Multiple girls in one night? “I feel like I shouldn’t say,” he says with a smirk. “You could say the possibility of that is high.” Multiple girls at the same time? “The possibility is high,” he says again. He cracks a devilish grin. “The possibilities are endless.”
That the manager of this group hasn’t been fired, or sued, for letting this article happen is unbelievable. Doyle’s entire story is pitched to make 5SOS seem like Spinal Tap — idiots who lucked into something, are living a life of debauchery, and are soon to be returned to their native Australia. They drink and smoke through the entire episode, and one of them– Clifford– reveals that he suffers from severe depression and has tried to go home without much luck.
Among the revelations less salacious but kind of interesting: they are now managed by Modest, the same London company that oversees rivals One Direction. Indeed, according to Doyle, One Direction has a 50% stake in 5SOS. The original manager, who sold out his share, recalls a calculated master plan to make the boys famous in a year. (Seems this naif was conned in this story, too.)
The portrayal of Hemming’s girlfriend, named Arzaylea, a 21 year old trust fund groupie, is beyond hilarious. Doyle: As Hemmings talks in my ear, she keeps her hand on his pants, rubbing his leg. They met at a get-together in L.A. three months ago. The party was “really bad,” but Hemmings was impressed when she told him her favorite band was an Arizona emo group the Maine. He invited her to 5SOS’s house around 3 a.m., and they’ve been together ever since. He tried to keep their relationship secret for weeks, getting out of cars separately to avoid the paparazzi, but tonight it seems like he’s given up. “It’s hard,” he says. “One of the weird things is you want it to be a secret, but you don’t want it to be a secret.”
Doyle: Clifford and Hemmings hit their friend Nick Jonas’ party, then crashed one thrown by Justin Bieber at their favorite bar, the Nice Guy. They didn’t talk to Bieber – “I think he hates us,” says Clifford – but they had a good time. “It was fucking crazy, people standing on tables and shit,” he continues. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but he had his own album on loop for, like, two or three hours.” Clifford ended up in Beverly Hills at the Weeknd’s house party, which was so exclusive that the pool area had its own bouncer. Drummer Ashton Irwin – the band’s oldest and perhaps most responsible member – had been there earlier but left shortly after he was jostled up against a wall as Diddy and his crew pushed through the entrance.
Bieber — not exactly a member of Mensa himself — responded on Twitter of course, immediately.
What happens next? Twitter is also burning with comments from teen fans who are disappointed and confused. In one swoop, 5SOS has eviscerated its core audience. They didn’t want to be called a boy band, or appeal to young girls. Now they may have to find a whole new group of adoring fans.
So where was management? Where was a publicist? Who was minding this store? Rolling Stone, now lacking editorial integrity after their University of Virgina rape story debacle, must be thrilled they got this story.