Greetings earthturds. As you may know, I’m playing this Sunday over at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago. Chances are, it’s gonna be pretty kick ass. You should come down if you want to hear your favorite fart and dick jokes articulated by a highly nasal human voice. The White Wives and the Haverchucks and Little Dave from the Arrivals are all playing and the whole thing promises to be hotter than the interior of a ton-ton, so don’t be a wangus. Let’s hang out.
Last night I was listening to the radio while washing some dishes and the song “Fix You” came on. For those of you who don’t know, this is an extremely popular song by the band Coldplay and frankly, it’s pretty good if you’re in the mood for something melancholy and/or kind of soft/fruity sounding. Anyway, hearing the song got me vaguely thinking about the video.
The video for “Fix You” starts with the main Coldplay dude, Chris Martin, walking down the street or something (honestly, I don’t remember. It’s not exactly the most compelling thing I’ve ever seen. The point is, he’s alone. I think it’s night, but that could be wrong too) and eventually, as the band kicks in (about 2/3 of the way through the song) he winds up in a stadium which is absolutely massive, even by stadium standards, and packed to the rafters with slathering, singing, teary Coldplay fans. The video gives way to the audio of a gigantic stadium (I don’t know where it is, but I would imagine it’s one of those really famous UK stadiums that houses massive things…) and you hear what looks and sounds like 100,000 people singing along to this song, and it’s truly awesome, as that kind of thing tends to be. But the thing that’s so overwhelming to me in this video is the sheer scale of the whole crowd. It’s MASSIVE.
Now, I know that shit just gets gigantic in the UK, particularly UK artists. I mean, those shots of Oasis at Leeds or whatever the fuck those super iconic images of them are, tend to boggle the mind and I know even shit like Girls Aloud and Robbie Williams, stuff that’s had no real success over here, is huge. Hell, my band does well in the UK, for fucks sake. It’s a great place to be a musician and a great place to watch shows….but wait…maybe that last part’s not quite right.
There are so many fucking people at the coldplay show. It’s gotta be somewhat shitty. I mean, here in Chicago, I’d imagine that Coldplay would set up at the United Center, which is a big place for sure. But, it’s nowhere near the size of whatever that place is that they’re playing in the “Fix You” video. I just saw Lady Gaga at the United Center, and it was cool, but I definitely wouldn’t describe it as even remotely intimate, and to further remove the intimacy by adding an extra 80,000 people, well fuck. I think that maybe that’s crappy. When I was a stagehand, I saw Coldplay at a 1,100 capacity venue (and loaded all their bullshit up and down a zillion stairs, AND saw Gwyneth Paltrow arrhythmically bobbing her head and trying [unsuccessfully] to sing along without looking like a mongo) and it was pretty cool, if only for the novelty of seeing something up close that I really never expected to get a chance to see in person (lots of you out there will get this feeling when you finally gaze upon a real, live woman’s vagina for the first time), and in hearing this song, and recalling this video, I was struck with an odd notion:
Namely, are there Coldplay fans out there that are just LIVID that the band got so huge? Does Chris Martin get angry emails from spurned fans who say things like “man, just saw you at Wembley and gotta be honest, it lacked the intimacy of when I used to catch you buskering at Crobar in Leicester Square. It’s a real shame you’d do that to all your old, true fans, mate.”
Now, whether or not this has happened, THIS is a totally weird attitude that’s really common among American punk rock fans of bands that got really huge really quickly. I recall, for some reason, being on some sort of internet forum where some dude was screaming (virtually) at that sparkly little dude from My Chemical Romance because he was a ‘real fan’ and he hated that suddenly all these posers were around fucking up the shows and generally making him look like a dingus by dragging him down into the mire and muck of being a fan of a popular band. This shit’s common. You know what I’m talking about, right? Well, last night I thought about this in reference to Coldplay and suddenly, I had some thoughts on the issue:
1) You ARE a dingus that likes the same shit as these hordes. The evidence is right in front of you. You like the band, so do they. Case closed. Or wait…Do you like the band, or do you just like that no one else likes them? If the latter is the case, go listen to Meat Wagon or The Lovehammers or something and I promise you’ll never have the problem of dealing with other fans. But, if you like the band that gets huge, surprise! Your taste isn’t all that unique and weird. In fact, it’s just like all these other people out here, who actually seem stoked to be out there having fun, which leads me to point number 2:
2) A “Real Fan” of something actually likes it and wants to see it thrive. A real fan of something likes to see that lots of people appreciate said thing. It’s silly to sit there and decry a new album/venue/show/direction of an artist and then in the same breath call yourself a ‘real fan’ as opposed to the people who actually REALLY are fans and just like what’s going on. Do you see the distinction? If you look through the lens of Coldplay, it seems more obviously stupid. What dipshit sits there stewing in the rafter seats saying something like “these dipshits aren’t real fans. This new album is garbage, and I WAS THERE WHEN….” It’s ridiculous. AND it’s completely, totally, ass-backwards wrong. YOU (in the rafters) are the fair weather fan. YOU are the one that only likes one aspect of what’s going on. You like the beginning and not the end. How does that make you more entitled to some ethereal concept of ‘better fandom’ than someone who likes the end and hasn’t had the chance yet to hear the beginning, or someone who likes the end AND the beginning, or someone who just likes the end for that matter? Or just someone that’s not being an asshole?
Now, of course I’m not saying that things can’t start to suck and you can’t feel free to start or stop liking something at any time. What I’m saying is that if you DO stop liking something, you’re done. You don’t have an inside track. You’re not a “Real fan,” you’re a former fan and let me tell you, as a person who’s friends with a lot of people in bands and artists in general, nobody wants to hear from a former fan. It’s just irritating and lame. ‘If you don’t like it,’ the response goes, ‘don’t listen and don’t bother me. I’m not here to create for you specifically, and if you’re no longer interested in me, well, you’re wasting the time of both of us. ‘
I mean, I used to LOVE fifteen. I used to just listen to nothing but Choice Of A New Generation, Swains, Buzz (especially Buzz), Extra Medium, Surprise and even a little No Place Like Home, but then they went a direction that I didn’t really dig. I’m still a fan. I wouldn’t necessarily go see their shows anymore, but if I met Jeff Ott, I’d be thankful that he gave me a ton of great music that got me through those times when music seems like it’s all you have and provided me with a ton of inspiration. Would it be cooler of me to say something like “hey, I’m a real fan and I personally think it sucks that you changed your sound once you started with the Lucky record. What the fuck were you thinking? That shit sucks!”?
No. That’s something only an asshole would say. Especially to someone that’s done something that I really, really like and appreciate. I mean, I feel bad even typing that because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that’s how I feel about the Fifteen catalog. For the record, I still listen to Buzz, and I have a few choice faves from other records, but Lucky is the last one I got and it wasn’t for me. I still considered myself a fan, and I guess I still am. Hell, I also still like Green Day and Alkaline Trio and Rise Against as much as I ever did. Fuuuuuuuck. I like Puddle of Mudd and Korn and Nickelback and Coldplay as much as I ever did too. Every single bit as much.
I dunno…y’all are dildos, but you’re MY dildos! See you Sunday!