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September 4, 2013

Aaron Icarus: The man who fell to earth.

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After what seems like an age, the internet / SPIN has finally been able to track down the whereabouts of missing guitarist (but not forgotten) Aaron North. SPIN writes a pretty comprehensive article, and gives a really good account of what Aaron has been up to over the last few years since his Jubilee project failed to reach traction. By all accounts, it is a rather harrowing tale of someone who (along with all the other members of The Icarus Line) I consider a hero, and a sobering reminder of how fickle and hollow the shallow temptress of fame can be. As the saying goes: you either die a hero or live long enough to become a villain.

According to the SPIN article, many of Aaron’s former friends have now left him, and not (entirely) for their own selfish reasons. When you have past underground allies (such as Weinman, Cardamone and Keller – regardless of how caustic his online persona can make him appear) desert you, you know something is amiss. And with Aaron eschewing his “punk rock” ethics and code of conduct for the glitz, glamour, and all the trappings of the mainstream, it was only a matter of time before his fame induced arrogance got the better of him.

I still hope he’s ploughing through super-models though. And riding Lamborghinis… With a chauffeur in tow.

One of the things I really liked about The Icarus Line (circa Penance Soiree) was the band’s (un)controlled chaos. You could always feel as if the band was teetering on the brink, and that the band was in danger of coming apart at the seams. It was almost as if you were staring into the abyss, and knew that through the band members’ eyes, that the abyss was staring right back at you. It was that untapped passion, coupled with the band’s untamed energy of youth, that made The Icarus Line such a tour de force when they first emerged on to the scene in the early Noughties.

Still, every “product” has its sell-by date. And every star must burn out eventually. But those that burn twice as bright, last half as long. And for however long Aaron was involved for in the music business, his star shone very, very brightly indeed.

Anyway, that’s enough about me and what I think. You can read the SPIN article here. And Aaron… If you are reading this, I did try to reach out to you a few months back. And regardless of how you feel, I just want you to know that there are some people who still do care about you.

Get better soon.



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3 Comments


  1. Anonymous

    This is pretty sad. I knew some of what had been written as I had some contact with Aaron about 18 months ago. The interview answered so many questions but I would really live to know if the Jubilee material will ever see the light of day. I was also curious to know if he jammed recently with he Icarus Line (remember that picture of his Punk is Dead amp rig on Jo’s sort of Icarus Line blog from about one or two years ago?).

    From what the interview says I am saddened to think that this might be the last time we officially hear from him. He was always pretty good to me and I although I read the article with an open mind I am still sympathetic to what has happened with him and his behaviour over the years. For what it’s worth I hope he gets to be in a better place.


    • To be honest, I did reach out to him a few months ago, but I’m not SPIN unfortunately. And to again be honest, coming from an outsider’s perspective, I have a few issues with the article:

      1.
      Where is the Topspin money, and can Aaron account for it? If Aaron can’t, then it goes some way towards substantiating his critics claims (according to the comments of that article) that he is nothing more than an attention-seeking drug addict who has stolen from his friends. If the Topspin money can’t be reasonably accounted for, then it’s safe to assume that Aaron has also stolen from his fans. For what? I’m not sure and don’t want to comment further on the matter.

      2
      “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”.

      After relentlessly insulting Joe and The Icarus Line whilst being in NIN, I’m not surprised that they aren’t being more sympathetic. When The Icarus Line was down in the trenches, why didn’t Aaron act like the bigger man and book his former band as NIN’s support act?

      Aaron burned so many bridges on his way up, that it’s no real surprise to see that no-one was there for him when he hit rock bottom. And with the tables having now been reversed, it’s interesting to see as to where Joe and The Icarus Line’s lives are at, whilst comparing theirs to the pitiful state that Aaron North now finds himself at.

      Certainly, Weinman’s comments suggest that although Aaron may have been nice to certain people, he was a “starfucker” towards the end.

      Still, and for what it’s worth, Aaron was an unbelievably cool guy all those years ago when he was in The Icarus Line. But fame and the rock and roll lifestyle ultimately sought to corrupt, poison, and (in the end) destroy him. That Aaron chose to continue his self-destructive behaviour, even despite the ride coming to a standstill, suggests to me that he just wasn’t able to handle it. In his pursuit of all of fame’s spoils (sex, drugs, rock and roll), Aaron Icarus chose to fly too close to the sun, got burned, and had no choice but to come crashing back down to Earth.

      Many war veterans find it difficult to adjust to civilised society after what they go through, and it’s no coincidence that Aaron North’s mental problems also surfaced and escalated soon after his departure from NIN. It’s also worth noting that there isn’t much of a difference (in terms of symptoms) between being bi-polar and suffering from PTSD.

      With SPIN having documented Aaron’s struggles to re-acclimatise himself to society’s conventions, the article is really all about a (good) guy who had it all and who chose to throw it all away. And in writing about Aaron’s struggles to come to terms with his loss, SPIN only acts to shed light on those who desperately struggle to come to terms with their crumbling American Dream, as they wrestle to control feelings of futility and bitterness afterwards.

      Many have argued that Aaron’s ploy for editorial coverage is nothing more than a manipulative act to secure sympathy from fans of his former bands who have ultimately gone on to bigger and better things. And with his hopes and desires to celebrate life (via his Jubilee band) now surely in tatters, it’s ironic to read about Aaron now after what life has dealt him.

      For a few short years, Aaron really was “King of the World”. Now, all we’re reading about is someone who could have been so much more than what he chose to be. That SPIN chooses to write about someone who so recklessly squandered his potential, years after he ended his association with the very same music industry that SPIN covers editorially, goes some way towards proving how much of an impact Aaron North had on the rock world – both via his guitar playing ability, and also via his critical and incisive commentary that manifested itself through his interviews and Buddyhead website.

      But that’s the problem as well. One can’t rely on sympathy forever. And SPIN’s article is nothing more than a sad obituary on someone who had way too many ideas above his station, but ultimately failed to act upon them when the opportunity arose.

      RIP Aaron North. You deserve(d) better.


      • Anonymous

        I appreciate your comments and you are dead right about the whole TopSpin stuff. I had heard that some people got refunds. If it adds any weight to the fact that he is a good guy then this is what he did for me:

        When Jubilee were about to tour the uk Travis ran this competition via Topspin with a prize of a test pressing of the in with the out crowd vinyl. I won the said prize and sat back waiting for it to come. Of course the tour happened and it never came. Also, around the time of the tour I purchased a print off Travis featuring the artwork for the in with the out crowd release. Again, it never came. I tried through various different methods to reach the band (not knowing anything about what had been happening). After 4 years I had given up all hope of it coming but then I saw the Annie Hardie / Jubilee grab bag thing on eBay and thought it might be worth a shot to drop her an email. After a few months I was sent the package and it went way beyond what I was expecting. He had handwritten a note explaining what had happened with the last Jubilee tour and included loads of stuff from Buddyhead, Jubilee, The Icarus Line and Annie had included a load of Giant Drag stuff too. It had obviously taken him nd Annie some time to get all the stuff together.

        So, as I said I read the article with an open mind and despite it bumming me out I still feel that his heart could be in the right place. I think you raised a good point about the Burning of he bridges and getting big headed, I am no expert on mental health but I can imagine that if no one knew about what was going on in his mind then it could end up with people just unable to deal with it except to leave.



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