Should you meet your heroes?
* Note: this is just a funny pic, this blog is not about Fatty.
To meet your favorite artists...or not to meet your favorite artists. That is the question. Can meeting them in person ruin the allure? Can your favorite music, and the passion you feel for it, be altered when you remove the person who wrote said music from the pedestal you put them on.
Note I said that you put them on a pedestal. You...meaning me (as in, I do this). There is something about punk musicians that make them seem like the "every man". They are relatable and almost seem attainable; they could be your new best friend. They post funny comments on social media about their life, families, traveling, even parenting, and you think to yourself, "I totally feel the same way. He/ she gets me!"
Punk musicians interact with their fans in ways that many other musicians don't. The crumble of the record industry means that most of our favorite bands are now "working bands." They tour, they gig, they do meet & greets. They interact with their fans because they know that ticket sales and merch are the only way to make a living doing what they love. And I'm sure that a lot of the times they enjoy meeting fans.
But artists are people too, and they have bad days just like everyone else. And sometimes they want to have beer in a bar with their friends, without constant interruption. The staring from random people has to be annoying enough, but interruptions during dinner must be completely awful.
Still, I will never forget my first negative interaction with someone I admire. After a show, one of my good friends and I went down the street to a bar for a few beers. We're catching up on life and whatnot, when in walks the singer of the band we just saw. We were in shock. The bar was nearly empty and our idol sat down at the table next to us. Holy Crap! He had an entourage with him, maybe 10 people in all. My friend and I looked at one another with wide eyes and didn't know what to do. Of course we were staring (sorry, Mr. Punkrocker) but we couldn't help it. 20 years! Do you know what it's like to admire someone for 20 years and then have them pull up at the table next to you??
My friend and I talked it over. I couldn't muster the balls, but my friend, with balls, mind you, decided he really wanted just to say Hi, and shake Mr. Punkrocker's hand. He took a deep breath and walked over. Suddenly, one member of said entourage stood up and just pushed my friend away. He was literally pushed aside. Mr. Punkrocker saw it go down. I will never forget the look on my friend's face. Now, I'm not talking huge celeb. I'm talking about a musician in a punk band. My friend was completely defeated. All he wanted was a handshake and to tell the musician how much he meant to him. My friend hasn't been to that band's show since. And, he has sworn off meeting any more "idols." He still loves the music, and appreciates its importance in his life...but he said he's "over" meeting any more musicians. It makes me sad.
I was recently given the brush-off by a favorite musician. I struggle because I know that I have NO grounds to feel this way, but the feelings are real... somehow I feel sad, disillusioned, disappointed. The songs this artist wrote all suddenly take on new (less?) meaning.
But, I am also angry at myself for feeling this way. My favorite artist is a person too. Perhaps he was having a bad day. It's probably not about me at all. I understand all of that. I have no right to change my opinion of an artist because of one interaction.
But in punk music, can we separate the art from the human? Punk music is an insanely soul-bearing medium of art. We feel we get to know the people who write and sing the lyrics that we identify with.
I've also had positive experiences with artists and bands. And, on occasion, an artist that was rude one time has been kind and generous the next. After 22 years, relationships can't be all good, right? But I also have to realize that these are one-sided relationships. They aren't real. These people aren't my friends. My favorite artists owe me nothing other than to keep putting out music that I enjoy. They can't hurt me.
But they do.
I've met and corresponded with many more of my favorite artists since developing Mable Syndrome, and I feel head-over-heels grateful! I've met amazing people and had great interactions. Mable Syndrome is about positivity...but it's also about keeping it real. Artists are humans, and while we may put them on a pedestal, it's our pedestal, and they shouldn't be held up there like gods.
Have any of you had good or bad interactions with your favorite bands? Tell us about them...