- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2007

Emo-rockers Fall Out Boy just made the cover of Rolling Stone — but not before Panic! At the Disco achieved the same milestone in January. “So what?” you ask. It’s been said the Las Vegas band Panic! is like a “kid brother” to FOB frontman Pete Wentz. By signing them to his label, Decaydence, he helped give them a shot at fame. Of course, every mentor is pleased as punch whenever his protege makes good. … Right?

1. Jeff Tweedy — For years, he played second fiddle to singer Jay Farrar in the seminal alt-country band Uncle Tupelo, even describing himself as the “pop lightweight” of the outfit. After an acrimonious breakup, Mr. Farrar formed Son Volt; Mr. Tweedy, Wilco. The latter band, a hero to critics, has a fanatical following, while the former … well, only Tupelo diehards even remember Son Volt.

2. Lars von Trier — The Danish film director and enfant terrible so esteemed Jorgen Leth’s 1967 short film “The Perfect Human” that he claims he watched it at least 20 times in a single year. Mr. von Trier sized up his film-school mentor three years ago with the mischievous meta-film “The Five Obstructions,” in which the younger filmmaker challenges Mr. Leth to remake “Human” under a variety of absurd conditions.

3. John Legend — It’s hard to tell when mentorship ends and straight-up collaboration begins with Mr. Legend and rapper Kanye West. Suffice it to say Mr. West produced several tracks on Mr. Legend’s debut and sophomore albums, not to mention signing him to his label (G.O.O.D. Music). Perhaps a Grammy sweepstakes will sort it out: The pair currently claim five trophies apiece.

4. T.S. Eliot — The young Mr. Eliot found a champion for his poetry in fellow American expat Ezra Pound, who greased the skids at Poetry magazine on behalf of Mr. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915). Mr. Eliot repaid the professional largesse with a dedication to Mr. Pound (“the better craftsman”) in “The Waste Land.” Mr. Pound was also, alas, the more virulent anti-Semite: He propagandized from Italy against Jews and the U.S. and wound up on trial for treason. A flaky insanity plea saved his hide — though not his reputation.

5. Cameron Crowe — As the exchange is presented in the filmmaker’s semi-autobiographical “Almost Famous,” legendary rock scribe Lester Bangs said this to his precocious mentee, then a teenage Rolling Stone correspondent: “Don’t think you can be their friend. That’s how they get you. So just tell it like it is” — which is sage advice in any line of work.

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