I have two friends who are two completely different types of music lovers.
Eric, a rabid concert-goer, regularly attends a musical performance at least once or twice a week. He’ll buy tickets to a show because a certain artist was the soundtrack to his high school years. He’ll buy tickets to see a an artist of whose songs he’s only heard one of. He’ll buy tickets to a show because someone once told him the singer reminded them of Billy Idol. Not only will he go himself, but he almost always brings a friend or two. He’s the kind of fan I wish I had stadiums full of.
Bobby is a bit more particular about his live shows. In the past 5 years I’ve known him, he’s seen four artists perform live: The Pogues, Rush, Prince and Robert Plant. He will be seeing Rush again this year. He may even be leaving the state to do so. That’s the thing about Bobby; when he likes a live performer, he will go out of his way to see them when he can. He’s also a connoisseur of vinyl. His idea of a perfect weekend is spending time with his family and digging through local record stores for black gold. His record collection is meticulously catalogued and he knows the intrinsic and monetary value of each and every piece. He’s the kind of fan I wish I had stadiums full of. He’s also the kind of fan I hope keeps me and my songs alive way after I’m gone and dust.
So, as a music lover: on a scale of Eric to Bobby. Where to I stand between them?
This is a question that has been chewing at me lately.
When I was in college, studying to be an actress of the Broadway stage, one of our most notoriously critical and beastly professors told us on the first day “You MUST read the Arts and Leisure section of the New York Times every week! If you don’t, that means you don’t care and you don’t want this badly enough.” Of course, all of us babies shaking in our 18 year old skins were thinking “Shit dude, I came all the way to New York from (enter name of your tiny midwestern or west coast village here), you don’t think I WANT this?”
But his words are heavy with reverb and stuck on some fucked up looping track. If I’m not going to see a show a week, If I’m not spending my days and night scouring record stores or online music blogs, do I really want this? How big of a music fan am I and, is it big enough?
When it comes to buying concert tickets, I’m pretty slow on the draw. I need to know
1) It’s a group or artist that I will be entranced by. I need to know that THEY know their shit and they’ve thought of bringing a journey to their performance.
2) The sound doesn’t suck. There have been too many shows where I sit back and think to myself “What are they saying? I can’t hear a word. When will this thing be over so I can curl up in a ball and cry?” Seriously, I might have REALLY liked Kate Nash!
3) I want to be them. (Eric hates when I say this. But I need something to aspire to . Aspiration is fueled by inspiration.)
So, I guess I have a pretty good idea of the kind of fan I am. I know what I like. I know what I could live without.
I also guess that, in defining what kind of fan I am, I’m also defining the type of performer I want to be. I want my fans to love me for the same reasons I love my musical inspirations. Not that I necessarily need my fans to want to BE me. But I do want to be inspiring TO my fans. I want them to leave my shows saying to themselves “That was awesome, I can’t wait to see her again!” or “I can’t wait till her album is released on vinyl!”
So, thank you Eric and Bobby, for being my music fan barometers. You both keep me humble with your passion and knowledge of music of all kinds.
If I may, I’d like to introduce you to my newest musical romance, Joe McGuinness. If you like Tom Waits and have a penchant for the blues (like I do) you’re going to love this.
I can’t wait to see him live.