Sunday, May 04, 2008

We Hate It When Our Friends Become Famous

By the time REM released "Out of Time," I knew a few "indie" kids. It was the year I graduated, and call me cheesy but "Losing My Religion" had special appeal to me. After all I spent that whole senior year losing my religion. My brother and I made up a song about a guy losing his virginity to another guy. Memorable album. But the point of this post is (I will not be distracted) that I got to listen to the indie bitching. REM were sellouts, etc, etc. And the bigger the album got the louder the complaints. There was lots of "I listened to them way back when they released their first album" or "I drove all the way to Athens [no small feat when one lives in Maine] to see them live." Often these conversations became one upmanships as each kid attempted to out do the other. It was really a foreign language to me because I hadn't really listened to anyone that no one knew about. By the time a band reached my ears, it had been well used.

I felt a bit disgusted by this bitching. After all, I argued with them, shouldn't you be happy for their success? Isn't it great that they are now easily available? Is it not freakin' awesome that other people will hear and appreciative them? The looks I got let me know that as usual I was clueless about the indie music scene. But it was okay by me because I thought these people were pretty pretentious and clueless themselves. It was just another sign that being indie meant fitting a certain criteria.

Thus it was with a bit of surprise that I found feeling the same way as these long ago indie kids. You see APTBS (yes I KNOW I'm obsessed) is touring with NIN. H announced this to me over my coffee one morning last week as he read Pitchfork. I managed to not spit my coffee across the room. "No fucking way." I said. "Yeah, it says here...Deerhunter, Crystral Castles, A Place to Bury Strangers." he answered. "They playing anywhere near Charlotte?" Of course they weren't so my sudden excitement faded into a sulky daydream where we drove to fucking Texas to see this show (I came to my senses pretty quickly...which is good because H often indulges my fantasies). And to be honest, initially I was really stoked for them. I mean, this is great exposure for a band who truly deserves it.

But then I started to think things like: "I'm glad I saw them in a little bar now." "If they sign to a major label will they get all rock star like?" "Will I EVER see them in a little club again!!!" And I felt sort of guilty and a bit stupid. I mean, they deserve this and I shouldn't be anything but happy for a good band to make it. After all the shitty bands that get so much air play, so much money, so much everything, it's nice to see a band that actually can play get that kind of attention. But I can't help that feeling of "Oh please let them not turn into pompous fuckheads that keep stables of women." And there's a part of me that also feels this ridiculous pride that I saw them way back when (and have the pictures to prove it!).

And I realized what my friends from long ago were feeling. There is an intimacy to listening to band that not many people have heard of...an intimacy that comes from seeing them in a tiny venue...maybe getting to meet them. You follow this band. You scour the Internet looking for their songs, any song that you may not have heard yet. You trade these songs with other crazed fans (sorry D;P). And you do feel like it gives you a kind of cred: I heard them way before they opened for NIN and recognized then that they were amazing and talented. You feel like you're earned the right to be their fans. And yeah it's kind of silly but the feelings are there nonetheless.

Of course I wish APTBS an awesome tour. I'd personally like to go kick some ass for them if the NIN fans get all stupid (when I saw NIN TV on the Radio and Bauhaus opened for them. No one even listened to TVOTR and when Bauhaus came on some asked who they were. His friend said "I don't know. A local band"....that kind of shit calls for some ass kicking). But I ain't flying to Texas....or OK for that matter. But I do hope they get some exposure and that someone with some common sense signs then so we can have some have new albums. And yeah, I fully plan to use my cred when they get famous: "Well you know I meet Oliver Ackerman way back when...."

2 comments:

John B-R said...

It's funny how we all want and need cred ... what is it about us that cuses us to doubt ourselves so, that without said cred we'd be ... we'd be ... what?

Ginger As in Green Tea... said...

Who knows!? But it's true, and as much as I try to pretend I don't care about things like that I do.