Go for It: An Open Letter to Corey Feldman

Hutch Harris (the Thermals) has some advice for the child star turned aspiring rocker.


I wasn’t surprised to see you singing on the Today show last week. Although many believed it was your musical debut, there are those of us who know you’ve been making music for years, and even a few who still remember your band the Truth Movement, or your appearance on Howard Stern’s old show. This wasn’t your first stab toward rock stardom, and it won’t be your last.

Although you’ve had massive success in movies, it is obvious that you do truly feel passionate about music and would perhaps even trade all your former celluloid glories to be adored for your songs over your films. When you debuted your new single “Go 4 It” on Today, it was with no small amount of excitement on your part. You displayed the delusional energy and unbridled hubris absolutely needed to propel any mortal into the Rock God stratosphere. And then you danced for us.

Your performance was ridiculous, and everyone seemed to know it except for you.

A lot of people watched you that day, Corey. You trended on Twitter. Your performance was seen millions of times on YouTube and Facebook. On September 16, 2016, and for a few days after, the footage of “Go 4 It” was must-watch pop culture viewing. But not for the reasons you wanted. We laughed at you — at your trashy, outdated song. At your silly dance moves. At your band of “angels” — pantomiming females clad in wings, halos and lingerie. We laughed at you, and we didn’t feel bad about it at all. Not because you’re a celebrity, but because of your total lack of self-awareness. Your performance was ridiculous, and everyone seemed to know it except for you. We trashed you on social media. You read the comments and felt the burn. You melted down on a video you quickly deleted, then explained how your feelings had been hurt, but that you would not be giving up.

This past Saturday, the Associated Press published this “story.” I say “story” because Corey, this is no story at all. This is a phony, ass-kissing piece of garbage that sounds like it was written by a well-paid publicist who had a tongue planted firmly in your asshole while writing it. “Harsh Online Reviews Don’t Deter Feldman,” the headline read.

But I know you’re not doing this for attention, Corey. You’re doing this for love.

The piece starts by saying that in the previous week you had been “widely ridiculed” online, and that you didn’t “seek solace” in drugs, alcohol or therapy — you got on your knees and prayed to God. You are someone who, according to the article, has been sober for more than twenty-five years. You should be commended for sticking to your principles in this time of great stress. However, as someone who has been in the public eye for even longer, you should know that being ridiculed on the Internet is just part of the game. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are both torn apart online every day. The fact that people mocked you incessantly online just means you received as much attention in one day as a candidate for President of the United States. Good job! This is why you’re doing this, right? For the attention?

But I know you’re not doing this for attention, Corey. You’re doing this for love.

After the piece states “the online negativity [against you] has been silenced” as if that were possible, it goes on to quote you as saying, “At the end of the day, all I ask is that I’m not making a fool of myself.” But this feels like another falsehood, Corey. It goes without saying that you did make a fool of yourself. But at the end of the day, you want us to love you for your music, that way we used to love you for your films. I believe it is possible for us to love you for your music. But you’re going about it all wrong.

According to your publicist, via the Associated Press, you will be returning to the Today show in the coming weeks for another performance. I believe there’s still time to correct the mistakes you’ve made, to get this wreck of a train back on the tracks, and receive the adulation you so crave. I believe I can help you, Corey. If you’ll just listen to me:

An all-female backing band can be cool as hell, there’s no need to treat them like they’re Playboy bunnies.

First, let’s start with your wardrobe. Your whole Ringwraith-at-a-Steve Aoki-show getup was the first thing anyone tuning into Today saw, and blew any credibility you might’ve had right from the start. Dressing your backing band like knockoff Victoria’s Secret models? Tasteless and sexist. For your look, I would say: skew more casual. You’re not a pop star, you’re a heart-on-your-sleeve rocker. Dress like you’re going to a dirty rock show, not a fancy Halloween party. For your band, lose the wings, lose the halos, lose the garters. Lose this outdated, misogynist view of female performers. Find a stylist who knows it’s 2016, not 1986. An all-female backing band can be cool as hell, there’s no need to treat them like they’re Playboy bunnies. There’s a revolution happening right now. The whole world is waking up to the fact that women truly shred, that they’re not stage dressing. Be an ally of the revolution, not a dinosaur bucking against it.

Next, let’s deal with your dancing. From the looks of it, you’ve either never taken a dance lesson or you’ve ignored every one you ever took. Corey, this is OK. You don’t need to dance! You’re not Michael Jackson. No one is Michael Jackson, and no one should try to be. We loved Michael for his singing and his dancing, but also because we felt like when he was on stage, he was telling us the truth — his truth. You’re Corey Feldman, and the truth is you don’t dance. Get on stage and tell us your truth, your real truth. If you can engage us with your personality, no one will complain if you don’t dance.

We, as music listeners, want to be more than entertained.

Finally, and most importantly, Corey, is the music. In “Go 4 It” you tell us, “The lies, they tarnish you/Try to abolish you.” But do they really? The main problem with this song, and the lyrics specifically, is not just that they’re bad, it’s that it feels so insincere. You’ve been through so much in your life — as an actor, as a celebrity, as a human. You’ve experienced so much that most of us will never know. Tell us about it! We really do want to know. But, most importantly, tell us how you really feel. We, as music listeners, want to be more than entertained. We want to be told personal stories that evoke our emotions. You have the power to do that, Corey. We’ve known you for so long and trust you more than you think. In the AP piece you say, “This is not a game to me. It’s not a joke.” That part is up to you. Sing us a serious song, and we will take you seriously.

Corey: We don’t hate you. You were in so many of our favorite films from the ‘80s: Goonies, Gremlins, and Stand by Me, to name just a few. We loved you then, and it is possible that you can make us love you again. If you want us to love you for your music, show us what’s really in your heart. Don’t give us false bravado and half-assed MJ moves over a reheated club beat. Bare your soul for us. Don’t be afraid. Come on Corey, you’ve got nothing to lose. Go for it.

Hutch Harris was born in New York City, raised in Silicon Valley and has resided in Portland, Oregon for the past twenty years.  Harris founded and was the lead singer/songwriter of the Thermals. He is currently working on his first solo LP. Follow Harris on Twitter here.

(Photo Credit: Westin Glass)