It's been a little quiet around here lately due to an upcoming deadline for work that is commanding most of my free time, but I couldn't let today pass by without a little reminder of one of the biggest stories of my generation - Robert Pilatus. Perhaps better known as the "Rob" half of Milli Vanilli, Pilatus was born on this day back in 1965. Growing up as an orphan in Germany, we all know his story of how he met up with Fabrice Morvan to form Milli Vanilli and the whole collapse of his career after the lip-synching story broke. Rob was then reduced to serving as the butt of jokes in gum commercials and trying desperately to put out legitimate records. Of course he never overcame the scandal and eventually died of a drug overdose in 1998.
Truly a sad story, but when I saw it was his birthday today I couldn't help but imagine how the whole thing might have been different if it had happened in contemporary society rather than back in the early 90's. I mean, compare the response that Milli Vanilli got to the one that Ashlee Simpson received when she got caught caught lip-synching on SNL a while back*. Rob and Fab were burned at the metaphorical stake and Ashlee was invited back to SNL a couple months later to try again. Of course she got a new nose, which was an innovative tactic. Maybe Rob getting a new nose and Fab putting out a night-vision porn video a la Paris Hilton would have been enough to not only save their careers but also propel them to new hights of fame in todays society!
Who knows? From the looks of it,even with their actual voices, they didn't sound that bad. Sure they aren't the greatest singers of their generation - but they're no worse than a lot of the stuff that was getting airplay back then**. Plus they seem to understand the marketing power of showing lots of sorta-nekkid chicks in videos, which boded well for a long and successful series of hot-chicks-dancing-themed videos. And who knew Fab could rap!?
* And don't start up with the "But she at least sung on her own record!" argument. Her albums are so over-produced that she sounds just as different in the studio vs. on the finished album as Rob and Fab sounded vs. the actual singers.
** Color Me Badd, anyone?