Fame unfurls the diehard fan’s frustration
WHY SUCCESS FOR INDIE BANDS CAN BE GOD-AWFUL
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 00:10
The relationship you have with a band is much like your other relationships in life. There are things they do that you love, and other things that you hate. Sometimes you would do anything just to see them in person. But, above all, it is a relationship that can be tested in unexpected ways.
About a year and a half ago, I was introduced to the Denver band The Lumineers. I loved it. I went to see the band live whenever I could, found recordings buried deep in the recesses of the internet, and was a diehard fanatic of its sound. The band was completely dependent on local shows and its tiny, if loyal, Colorado fan base.
In April, when The Lumineers released its self-titled debut album to the public at large, I was excited. This was one of my favorite bands, finally getting a record deal. The band was going pro, which only meant more music and shows for me, and more money for them. A win-win, right?
I thought so.
But then I went to a free show at Twist & Shout, and was taken aback by the massive line of (what seemed to be) fans. It was a wonderful show with a great set and an energetic crowd, but I couldn’t get over the amount of people. I was a fan before these people. I knew about the band before they did. I should be happy for the band’s popularity, but instead I was annoyed by it.
“Ho Hey,” the hit single from the album, quickly became a national sensation. It ranked in top lists on Billboard and Spotify, and played on 93.3 as did basically every other song, and it’s still gaining popularity. The band is touring the world, and getting big, which should come as no surprise since they are some of the best musicians I’ve ever heard. But it is only making me feel isolated from them, and resentful toward their new fans.
Whenever somebody plays or mentions the band, I want to point out that I listened to them before they were cool. But that makes me a dirty and arrogant hipster. However, I don’t want to not point out that fact, either, since it somehow makes me feel like I am more of a fan. In some weird psychological way, it makes me feel like I’m a kindergartener being forced to share with other kids. And I don’t want to.
It was my band first. Why should I share? What gives you the right to call yourself a fan as much as I am?
But there is a more logical reason behind being opposed to The Lumineers’ success, too. It’s happened time and time again that a band gains so much popularity that it’ll try to please the world instead of its listeners—whether it’s for fame or a sacrificing of the sound to have the message reach more people, bands will give in to heartless record executives and their outlandish requests. Soon, The Lumineers just might lose its sound by going more “mainstream.” Heck, the band was just on Letterman.
Of course, this just might be me trying to justify my childlike pouting.