Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Growing of Bands

It was a day like any other day.  I awoke at the crack of noon and staggered down the hall in desperate search of coffee.  I collected my cup of joe and retrieved my phone from it's place on the charger.  As always, I began to scroll through my Twitter feed as if it were the morning paper.  In my half coherent reading, I come across this tweet from Ronnie Radke (former Escape the Fate/ current Falling in Reverse):
 I'm not sure what spawned this tweet, but it did get me thinking.  
Why do fans not always want a band to get bigger/ more famous?  I think there are several answers.
I don't feel like many fans dislike the success of the band out of pure selfishness, although there will always be people who will point out to anyone who will listen that they "liked the band BEFORE they were famous" (insert hipster joke here).  It seems to me that fans dislike it when there favorite bands hit the big time because of quality and price.

It's no secret that sometimes, when bands get signed to a larger label or gain more fame for whatever reason, the quality of the music they produce can suffer.  It's no longer about being progressive, new, original, or exciting, and more about making something that will please the general public.  They may not even sound like the same band as before.  For the people that love their music style, this change can be rather disappointing.

Not only does the quality of the music suffer, but often the quality of the attitude of the musicians themselves declines as well.  They are no longer the same humble people that fans connected with.  They can become rude and arrogant with a new found sense of entitlement and morals that receded faster than a middle aged mans hairline.  This is not the standard and is not true of all bands that "make it" but it does happen.

One pretty bit reason that some fans (myself included) are disappointed by fame is a rise in price in a bands concert tickets, merch, etc.  Don't get me wrong.  It is not that bands don't deserve the money, because they do!  They kick their asses making music and touring and they deserve it.  They've grown, they have more fans than ever before, and they have to move from performing in smaller, cheaper venues, to bigger more expensive ones. This means that more people get to experience this bands music.  It also means that their ticket prices go from the $20 to $30 range and sky rocket into the $40 to $100 dollar range.  And that makes sense.  The venue is bigger, therefore the tickets are more expensive.   But when you're a 20 something individual who is going to college and not really making much bank, paying for a $50 concert ticket can be as difficult and painful as pulling teeth.

We love our bands and we want to see them live SO BADLY.  We want to have that experience of listening to our favorite songs performed straight from the individuals that made them.  We want to be in the crowd that is packed elbow to asshole where everyone is sweaty and disheveled and so fucking happy there that they don't even care.  It's that natural high that can only be found in live music.

It's so nice when all your favorite bands are all playing affordable size venues because that means that when there are 6 concerts you want to go to booked back to back to back, you can actually GO TO THEM ALL.  Fuck yes, touchdown, winner winner chicken dinner, bring in the dancing lobsters.  But when there are that many in a row that are crazy expensive, it's a tough one.  You have to pick which one you can afford to see and hope that the others swing back through your town again in the future.

It's not that we don't want our favorite bands to succeed.  We do!  We love them.  We think they are the absolute shit.  Their music makes us feel something.  We connect to it in a way that makes us feel like we are not alone.  We want these bands that we love to make it to the fucking top.  We want the whole world to listen to their music and feel what we feel.  We just hope that on the way up, they don't forget who they are or where they started.  We hope that they don't loose that love for their fans that is only paralleled by the fans love for their music.  We hope they don't fall into a life of excess where money is more important than what they do to earn it.  We pray like hell that that life of excess doesn't take their lives like it has so many before them.  We want to see them live without having to sell our first born child to pay for the ticket.  And when they do begin to play these large, expensive venues, we hope that they don't forget about the fans that couldn't afford to get in: the ones who would be there if they could, the ones who are sitting outside the venues on the sidewalk, or in their cars with the windows rolled down listening to the music through the walls and singing along to every word. 

I know this is a long post, but I really wanted to get my thoughts about this out.  Remember that these are only my opinions.

Peace, Love, Music<3