Rock'n'roll may have originated in a deal with the devil, but some stars choose to set their sights higher — much higher. From Billy Crudup's supposedly Robert Plant-inspired and acid-enlightened exclamation, "I am a golden god!" in Almost Famous to Kanye's new single, "I Am a God," there's a long, (vain)glorious tradition of musicians donning a metaphorical beard and robe and assuming the mantle of divinity. Some have climbed up on crosses to make points about pop martyrdom; others have taken their most ardent fans' proselytizing to heart and decided that, yes, maybe they are infallible deities after all. As the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn seeks to expand its flock with the message that Jesus was "the original hipster," we look back on 25 musicians who went from strutting onstage to walking on water.
Granted, when Billie Joe Armstrong adopted the "Jesus of Suburbia" persona it was within the context of Green Day's American Idiot rock opera, but the truth-seeking messiah figure didn't arrive ex nihilo. "I think I'm digging up a lot of stuff in my psyche, like the whole 'Jesus of Suburbia' thing,' which isn't necessarily about me, but I feel like I had to go through a similar experience to be able to write from that standpoint," Armstrong cryptically told a biographer.
Tellingly, the frontman had been building toward playing the part for some time. Speaking about the lingering guilt he felt over possibly betraying his youthful punk ideals for stardom, Armstrong revealed in an interview earlier this year how he came to embrace his destiny as a fisher of pop-punk fans. "They wanted to have a good time, and it's okay to be a ringleader," Armstrong said. "All of that built up to American Idiot. It took me until I was 32 years old to actually speak for myself and do it with confidence." Good thing he got there. As he surely knows, sometimes 33 is too late. D.M.
Full list at Spin: HERE