How to Meet a Band and Not Look Like an A-Hole
Summer concert season is fast approaching, and, luckily, we all live right down the road from the world-famous Machine Shop! Seriously, friends, don't take that place for granted! After having had a chance to get out on the road and experience some new venues, I can't stress enough how amazing and comfortable a night at The Machine Shop can be for both bands and their fans alike! Already, dates are confirmed for Taproot, Drowning Pool, and, of course, my good friends Hurt and Smile Empty Soul. That's just through June! So the big question is: who do you want to meet?
Slow down there, buckaroo! I'm gonna fill you in on some stuff that nobody has ever told you. It's tough out there on the road, and bands want you to enjoy their sets and fulfill all of your expectations (...), but if you're a mouth-breathing hover-fiend, things may not go as expected. Here are some pointers on how not to freak your heroes out.
All the bands you love want to know that you love them, but not from all up in their faces and whatnot. Bands have uncomfortable quarters and rare opportunities to shower and launder their clothing while out on the road. They've smelled their bassist's rank breath for a month now; they don't need yours. Step back, son!!
Lots of people have the same rock gods as you do, so chill out and wait your turn. And don't bother showing up 2 hours before doors open -- you're not getting in. Unless a predetermined press event or meet and greet is scheduled, you will just stand there, looking weird. Plus, most national touring bands don't really want you to witness their awkward and quirky soundcheck routines. When and if you get your chance to talk to a band member, keep it brief and simple, and be polite and understanding if they have to excuse themselves. They're not jerks -- they're busy.
Uh, ladies, do not request the "company" of a band member because you're lonely due to the absence of your boyfriend who is overseas fighting a war, and then piss your pants next to the merch area. Don't.
And, yes. This happened.
Bands work hard on the road and often simply don't have the time to allow for listening to your demo CD. Even if a band member wants to care and be polite, often the hectic scheduling centered around a tour prevents them from ever "checking it out," or "giving it a listen." Bands also don't want to be pimped for their status. It ain't nice, bro! If it is absolutely necessary to get one of your CDs in someone's hands, ask (politely) who would be the best person to give it to, which often turns out to be the road or tour manager. I think in most cases, you're much better off saving yourself the time and the letter-sized paper you've folded into an awkward envelope.
Guys, Michael Jackson died. Like kind of a while ago. I hate to say it, but you're probably not going to meet anyone worth swooning over. Please don't swoon. Who swoons anymore anyway! Don't gush. Just chill.
Hey, uh, don't touch me. Or any band member for that matter. If you want to get your photo taken with a band, let them direct the photo. They know what they're doing and are quite accustomed to being in front of a lens. Not only will you make them uncomfortable if you get all grab-happy, but that picture, that is somehow your pride and joy, will forever grace your Facebook wall depicting just sheer terror and discomfort all over your hero's face. Because you're gross.
I feel as though I shouldn't have to say this, but, unfortunately, even I am guilty. If you're expecting the opportunity to chat with a band member, watch your alcohol intake. You'll be sweaty and sour-smelling and stupid and end up making the whole situation unflattering and uncomfortable. Have a good time and enjoy yourself, just try to make sure that your intoxication level doesn't reach Defcon 5.
And Mr. Posehn, I am truly, deeply sorry. Slayer!
Try not to bad-talk other bands in front of your rock-and-roll supergods. Chances are, they have crossed paths with such and such band you hate, and have nothing but love and respect for them. They'll think you're a jerk, and, most likely, excuse themselves abruptly.
You've somehow managed to survive the gauntlet and have come out on the other side unscathed! Congratulations! Here it is, it's all yours! Guess what, you get like 3 minutes, maybe 5. Make it count! If you start getting windy, you'll notice a dull stare take over and cloud the vision of your hero. Aaaaand, you're done. Try to wrap up before you get to this point, for the sake of your own self-esteem.