The Evolution of a Fan


Becoming a fan of a band is a funny thing.  No matter where you come into the band’s journey, there are always fans who were there before you as well as those who will follow.

The “original” fans develop a very personal, vested interest in the evolution of the band… their sound, their look, their following, the venues they play, the record labels they do or don’t sign.   They have experienced that palpable energy of sweaty, tightly packed shows, where the band actually hangs out after their set and drinks beers with the audience.  They know the feeling of a bass drum’s thud in their chest or of the bar’s wood floor practically breaking beneath their shoes during a raucous jam session.  These original fans are also very selective with who they “share” the band, as not to introduce the wrong type of fan into the mix.  God forbid you open the door to another fan who clearly doesn’t live up to the standards of the band.  Don’t be that guy!  Sharing your all time favorite bands with strangers or even friends is a very delicate process, and should not be taken lightly.

On the other side of the coin, there are fans who discover a band 4 or 5 albums in and feel as if they have struck gold.  Just imagine, you are sitting at work listening to your internet radio when all of a sudden Pandora decides that this new band is something you may like.  You can’t type the band’s name into the Google fast enough.   These are the fans who listen to the band’s new and old albums incessantly, try to hit every show within driving (or even flying) distance and tell anyone who will listen about the new “indie” band they have discovered. Despite their differences, these two types of fans share one thing in common…an undying admiration of and obsession with a band of people with who they secretly wish they could be best friends.

Throughout my life I have been a fan of many different bands/groups.  I have seen my favorite bands at those small venues, danced harder than I thought I could ever dance, yelled out the lyrics, left the venue soaking wet with sweat, and truly felt as if I was part of that “elite” original fan club.  I’m not going to lie, it’s a good feeling.  However, I think more often than not, I have fallen into the other fan category.   It is in this group that I find myself today with one of my “new” favorite bands.  I don’t think it would seem so obvious, if it weren’t for the fact that my boyfriend, the one who introduced me to the band, is the epitome of this band’s “original fan”. So while my journey as a fan is picking up speed, he wishes his would digress back to the days when they played those small intimate venues, broke guitar strings every night, and could be easily coerced out of their tour bus for a chat and a few pictures.  Although an original fan wants nothing more than for his/her band to be successful, the last thing he/she want to see is the band changing its sound to appease the masses and record labels.

Regardless of our different journeys, the foundation that supports our connection with a band always stems from the most important element, the music.  When a band can evoke feelings of happiness, love, sorrow, regret, and hope all in the span of a 3 minute song, it’s near impossible to argue against the power of music.  The melding of instruments and vocal cords, along with the reverberating sounds of a live audience creates an experience like none other; one that allows us to be transported away from what divides us in the world to a place where the band and audience, no matter how diverse, becomes a collective unit.  It is in that brief moment in time where the whole truly is greater than the sum of its parts.  So, no matter what type of fan you find yourself to be or where you are in your evolution as a fan, never doubt your place in the process.  We have very few things in this chaotic world that unite us, so celebrate your journey and appreciate the experience with every single note played.


January 8, 2010. Tags: , , , . Music.

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