So I have a little confession to make: I am francislewis and I am a reality tv junkie! I mean it has gotten to the point where quality control isn’t even an issue. I will watch it all; try any one of them at least once; and usually keep my eye on the train until it’s wrecked, mangled, with no survivers! I know… I know… but there are a few shows that do seem to have some redeeming qualities though (no, not you, Bromance!)
So that brings me to my watching VH1’s Sober House, which I guess you can describe as a spin-off of Celebrity Rehab which just ended its second season but a few months ago. The show chronicles the lives of several celebrities from both seasons’ casts as they try to live life drug and alcohol free after their stints at Dr. Drew Pinsky’s detox facility.
One of the cast members in particular has me glued. You see back in the day, I use to be a journalist. One of the first artists I ever interviewed happened to be Crazy Town, a band fronted by a then stage-named only Shifty Shellshock. Today, other reality tv junkies will know him as Seth “Shifty” Binzer, much of his government-given name.
Truth was, I was shell-shocked that first day. That day more than anything I wanted the members of that band to know I wasn’t a rookie at this journalist thing and in the process my nerves got the best of me for much of the ride to the record label and quite sometime afterwards. They were new signers (their hit “Butterfly” wouldn’t come out for quite some time later) and though we were both sorta newbies I was petrified still.
My fears were allayed when the band arrived though. In walks in this gorgeous guy with crazy platinum blond spiky hair, hoards of tats and what I could only describe as one of the most sincere and welcoming smiles ever. With the rest of his band mates in tow, it was Shifty who really put me at ease, as we started talking about our common loves of star tattoos and piercings.
By the end of the interview, one thing was for sure: Seth was undoubtedly charismatic, endearing, and had a great love for music that was infectious even for a music journalist, and he truly was the front-man of this group (though there was a co-front-man who looked anything but happy with all of the attention Seth was getting). Truth be told, Seth wasn’t trying to overshadow anyone but he just had so much intensity and drive that people gravitated to him — music executives, publicists, journalists and all alike. I had first-hand experience of that much of the day and even later that night, with the fans glued to him when we met up at a NYC show where his band shared the bill with Tommy Lee.
I have to admit I’d heard stories that Seth was even using back then (along with other members of his band) but I couldn’t believe it because the guy I saw seemed too driven to be as much of an addict as people were saying. Just didn’t seem possible but I can see now that it was, in fact, possible and though it does somewhat sully the experience a bit when I think of it in retrospect, I also know how the music industry can tempt and gobble one up. If you aren’t careful, you can be a shell of your true self.
What I can write is that I hope Seth can see himself through all of this. I don’t know how I feel about any of the celebs publicly going through this all. It takes the fish bowl concept and really flips it on itself and, fittingly, a viewer has to wonder about intentions. But, again, I say get help where you can. Maybe the concept of Game Theory will work its magic on these folks as it’s about so many times you can screw up on national tv. At some point, something has to give.
For me, I didn’t get to know Seth, the man on the screen, in the music videos, on reality tv. Instead, I got to know the man before that all, who was hopeful and craved success in what seemed a healthy way. He was something to be reckoned with back then and I hope he can see that drive again. And with a child out there, I hope he learns that he isn’t just living for himself anymore — or even band-mates anymore. He is living for someone he helped to create! Cliche and cheesy but true!
God speed, Seth! I know you can do it!