I just finished my weekly dosage of gushy interviews with pop maven Robert Hilburn and another up-and-coming rock star who (what, again?) doesn't enjoy the trappings of being one ("Exile From Rockville," March 5).

Liz Phair, whose music I enjoy on occasion, seems phairly honest about dreading the pace of the music world, but also seems to be more than willing to take the easy way out, retreating to her guitar and a small circle of friends. Hilburn loves this sort of thing; it provides him yet another chance to vicariously thumb his nose at the big, bad record industry that so hypocritically (in his "qualified" opinion) rewards showy pretense and shuns profound artistry.

From Johnny Rotten and Janis Ian to Carly Simon and (even) Bruce Springsteen, many well-known performers have had a go at that reluctant star approach, but when it comes right down to it, the name of the game is get out there and market that product, or the record company isn't going to be so anxious to pay your bills for you.



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