Music as a System: Building Rapport

3212
175
Share:

Have you ever found yourself talking about your favorite band and mentioning the fact that the musicians are “great people”? Why is that? There’s a good reason for it, and it relates to a foundational building-block for interpersonal relations. Today, I’d like to talk to you about building rapport.

I believe I should start this post with a bit of a confession. Full disclosure time: I’m not a musician. I was in a cover band some time ago, and I handled the lead vocals. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t that good. However, I do feel that I can claim that I was able to at least engage the crowd. Our band broke up after one of the members graduated; we lost steam, and honestly, I don’t think any of us were sad to see it go. I’ve since moved on to pursue a terminal degree and use my abilities in other areas.

The previous paragraph was necessary to establish my background with the topic at hand. I’m not a musician, but I am an educator. I’ve got several years of experience teaching courses and tutoring, and I have just enough theory under my belt to be dangerous. Moreover, as a proponent of systems theory, I believe that the theory and techniques I’ve learned and cultivated in graduate school are applicable across disparate fields. For those of you unaware, systems theory essentially claims that all interactions between people, organizations, and the environment can be distilled into a series of systems so that problems in one system can be identified and addressed using solutions from another system. My claim, therefore, is that the techniques for building rapport as an educator are also applicable to musicians wishing to craft meaningful connections with their audiences.

Why do I think this is important? Allow me to repeat my initial question. Have you ever found yourself telling someone how you met a member of your favorite band? Did you mention how that band member was really nice? It usually happens that way. We remember good connections with the musicians we admire, and after this positive connection is made, we are motivated to evangelize others about that artist. Consider the opposite scenario. Many of us often refuse to continue to support a band if we find ourselves treated brusquely by a musician we admired. If the positive connection fails, it can be much harder for a band to retain attention and goodwill. This concept is essentially the task of building rapport. Just as a teacher must establish a meaningful relationship with his students, I argue that musicians (largely) must maintain benevolent connections with their fans. Obviously this rule is not universal, but a lack of rapport can easily derail a career. Think of any hair metal band and how they’ve alienated all but their most die-hard fanbase of has-beens. I’m sure you can think of your own examples.

Don’t be like Axl Rose

So now that I’ve established and defended my position, I’m going to provide you with a few tips for how you, as an aspiring frontman, can build and maintain good rapport with your fanbase. Remember, this advice comes from an educator rather than another musician, but sometimes outsider advice is the most helpful.

1. Maintain an engaging presence on-stage: Metal, perhaps more so than many other genres, is an art form that lives and thrives in the live venue. Metal concerts are as much about the experience as they are the songs. I’ve taken several people who are at best ambivalent towards listening to metal to shows, and many of them have returned with fond memories. I’ve also found that some of the best experiences come from concerts in which the audience feels that they are included. Although we don’t need to hear a singer drop 20 f-bombs during a mid-set break, many of us appreciate being offered a chance to engage with the frontman during a show. Activities like group vocals, stage dives, and inciting pits are often meaningful ways to allow the audience to take part in the experience.

Why is this meaningful? Educational theory shows that memory is a complex and intricate process that links emotions to topics and settings. When recalling material for class, students are much more likely to suppress a negative classroom experience and forget the content taught that day. If students are welcomed into the lecture and given a voice, or at least acknowledged, the positive emotions can be linked to the essential information. The same applies to music and live shows. We are much more likely to remember noteworthy shows, even entire set lists, if we are engaged as a crowd. Just think of GWAR. Regardless of how you feel about GWAR albums, you can’t deny that the live shows are enthralling. GWAR are masters of engaging the audience. Be like GWAR (albeit maybe with less blood and semen).

2. Be accessible off-stage: This topic may be a bit more divisive. Many of us can think of bands that shroud themselves in mystery and are totally absent from social media. These bands are often able to maintain a degree of mystique that draws listeners to them. However, this mystique can be difficult to maintain, and often the allure fades as the presence of the band remains absent. I argue that bands that can maintain a good off-stage presence can continue to build rapport and bolster the fanbase as meaningfully as they can onstage. Think back to a show you’ve attended where you saw a musician from one of the bands in the crowd or at the merch booth. Did you see people talking to him? Have you ever gotten a chance to have a brief conversation with that band member? If he or she was polite, I’m certain you remember the event and think of the show more fondly. This technique also applies to other interactions. Bands that make themselves available for interviews or that communicate with fans on social media are exercising the same basic principle and making themselves accessible.

I’m curious to see how long Ghost can continue to ride the Mystery Train

Why is this meaningful? Students appreciate openness. When a professor can be reached outside of class, it demonstrates that he is putting in extra effort to make the educational experience meaningful for students. It demonstrates that he cares about more than simple lecturing. Similarly, when bands open themselves to fans, even on somewhat controlled terms, it demonstrates that they are artists with integrity, that they are not simply doing the rock star thing but are interested in connecting to fans. This can be a powerful tool, and a well-crafted public image that demonstrates accessibility may be just as important for building rapport with fans as being engaging on-stage.

Luc Lemay is a master of engaging fans off-stage

3. Be good at what you do: Have you ever enjoyed a band on record but grown to hate them after a live show? Why does a poor performance sour people on a band? Performance is directly tied to preparation. Controlled substances are often considered just another part of the metal environment, but if you’re too drunk to actually play any songs, your connection with the crowd will suffer.

Why is this meaningful? Preparation is intrinsically linked to engagement because it demonstrates a certain level of respect (see my previous link regarding in-class effort). Any teacher worth his salt knows that the hour or so of in-class material requires hours of external practice. Students don’t want to have their time wasted, so showing that you are willing to put in the effort on your end is a powerful way to convince students to put in effort on theirs. Similarly, bands should approach each performance with the same degree of professionalism. Every rehearsal counts. If you put in the effort to show your audience that you care about creating an exciting environment and entertaining experience for them, they will be much more willing to participate and potentially purchase merchandise. Conversely, if you show up and simply expect the crowd to get excited about your poor performance, you’re going to forever turn people away from future engagements. Preparation is a crucial and cruel double-edged-sword.

So, what do you think? Am I just blowing hot air, or do you think these tips actually matter? I’m very interested in hearing the perspectives of the genuine musicians in the crowd. Perhaps together we can build a better frontman.

(Photos VIA, VIA, VIA)

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    So many of the concerts I go to, the bands say they are going to be hanging out by their merch table after the show, which always makes me happy that they are willing to engage their audience. However, as a non-musician, I realized quickly that I have jack-shit to say to them, so I don’t bother. It’s just cool knowing they are there if I ever did have anything to say.

    • W.

      it can be hard to talk to musicians you like without just sounding like a fanboy. It probably helps to try to remember that they have other interests too.

      • Edward Meehan

        “it can be hard to *write about* musicians you like without just sounding like a fanboy”.

        Agreed. Lol.

      • I had trouble put words together when meeting Alex Webster, Jeff Loomis, and Keith Morrow. Very neat guys

        Also, when I met the real GL. I just nodded a bunch of time and said thanks!

        GL

        • W.

          I would probably be speechless if I ever met the guys in Meshuggah. That said, I met Matt Pike once, and he was convinced he knew me.

          • Edward Meehan

            W, is that you?! W!!!!

          • Stockhausen

            When I met the BTBAM guys, I basically just spat words at them.

        • you’re not supposed to run into yourself from another timeline. really messes with the universe.

        • Cock ov Steele

          I missed the chance to really talk to Azagthoth and even when David Ellefson showed up to my school a few times, although we did talk a little about basses and other bands the 3rd time around.

      • I was so excited to talk to the allegaeon dudes that when I bought the cd i asked for a copy of threshold of perception…….not my proudest moment.

        • W.

          I talked to Greg at length when I saw them open for the Browning (blech). He’s a super chill dude. It probably helped we could talk about Colorado.

          • I’m awful with names, but I assume ur talkin about an allegaeon member, if so,why the hell were they opening for the browning?

          • W.

            The long-haired guitarist. And this was a few years ago, right before Formshifter dropped.

          • Ah, still, formshifter is light years ahead of anything the browning is capable of.

          • W.

            Right, but this was back in 2011 at the height of deathcore.

          • good point.

      • Gurp

        I remember the first time I saw Incantation I tried to talk to a couple of them but I couldn’t think of anything and it was super-awkward. (Jill McEntee was surprisingly accommodating, though).
        So that bugged me for a while afterwards.
        The second time I saw them (after a few beers), I went up to John McEntee after the show and thanked him profusely for continuing to come to town and left before I could let an awkward silence develop. Felt better after that. I feel it’s good to be aware of ones own limitations, so I just plan out what I have to say beforehand (even its just a “Great show!”)

        • W.

          Sometimes that’s all that needs to be said.

          • Gurp

            I’m definitely sticking to that one on future occasions.

    • oh i just go up and meet them! no shame here. most musicians enjoy the fanboyism!

      • YourLogicIsFlushed

        Haha, I am generally not a talkative guy, so I never really regret not trying. I am happy enough saying “great show” as I pass by on the way to the pisser.

        • dave davidson from revocation isn’t a really talkative fellow. a few friends and i asked if we could hold our hands out, and have him lay across them, for a picture. he walked away.

          • W.

            Really? I’ve bumped into him at a few shows, and he was always friendly and out in the crowd when I saw him.

          • well … there’s no telling how many beers were in my system! (McNulty is my hero after all)

          • W.

            Maybe your friends gave off the creeper vibe?

          • Maybe the whole “Hey I know we look drunk, but have faith in us while we hold you horizontally for a picture!” threw him off. Lolz

            GL

      • I know who else likes fanboys….. (refresh the page to see image)

        GL

      • Howard Dean

        I’ve said this to you before, but my fuck does he ever look like Euronymous.

  • Edward Meehan

    Luc Lemay looks super friendly in that picture.

    I’m also not a musician or an artist of any sort, but this is a solid article and unless someone credible says “W you’re dead wrong about all this shit!” they seem like pretty good tips for a band starting out.

    I think some musicians, past or present, reach levels of popularity when no matter how big of assholes they are people will flock to them and fawn over them, but perhaps that is now a bygone era of rock.

    • W.

      I think charisma is a big factor in a lot of those cases. Rock Star may be a huge douche, but he may also be charming and personable.

      • Edward Meehan

        Plus, bands aren’t as big as they used to be save for some mega big bands that were that big then and still are. Some pop acts are pretty huge, but rock bands? Really not that many I can think of even qualify as “Rock Star” anymore.

        • Cock ov Steele

          My relatives or family friends would here from my parents that I was in a band and they’re all like, “Oooooh I hear you’re a rock star now!” My blackened heart thinks the term “rock star” is very ridiculous.

  • Cock ov Steele

    Hell fucking yeah, Luc’s always at the mercy table after Gorguts’ set talking to fans, dude’s such a great person. Worthy of steel if I may add.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    new times—-as the queen of the universe—finally sees into the mist’

    beyond sociology—
    the true kiss of aphrodite
    ——
    listen to both at the same time—with “equal”volume output on each

    mary wells – my guy
    http://youtu.be/4WT7nBGX5eU

    kiss – a world without heroes
    http://youtu.be/B7ofrdBdJRM

    • I have not fucking clue what you write about but…. GOD DAMN DO I LOVE UPVOTING YOU!

      GL

    • m/

      • I would like to know if Gene can keep a straight face watching this swill.
        What do you think?

        GL

    • Howard Dean

      Gene Simmons is the bizarre lovechild of King Solomon and King Herod’s ghosts.
      The NWO owns you.
      Waco was a set up.
      Eazy-E is alive and running for mayor of Suarez, Mexico.

  • Pagliacci is Kvlt

    Great article! Just over the past two weeks I’ve had Sannhet and Ifing acknowledge (by liking) posts I’ve made on my FB page that they were tagged in. I was tickled pink. I’ve also maintained FB friendships with two of the members of Black Table after meeting them at a show.

    • I AM THE BLACK TABLE!!!

    • W.

      Thanks! It’s been really cool communicating with Andrew Millar for the Patrons interview. We didn’t just talk about interview stuff.

      • Edward Meehan

        I listened to Rose Coil yesterday cause the interview. Quite good. See? I discover new music I like on the Toilet daily. I hope others have the same experience, and I think that they do / will!

        • W.

          I sure do!

  • Tyree

    Just do the fowling 3 things and everything will work out for you as a front-man/woman.

    1. Blacklist your fans.
    2. Tell your fans to “fuck off” and to “eat shit”.
    3. Use homophobic, sexist, and racial slurs.

    There you have it. You’ll be on your way in no time.

    • Edward Meehan

      Let me get a pen and paper here, hold on one second.

      • W.

        Tyree makes a good point. If this post is a lesson of how to be good to your fanbase, Joe’s post this morning illustrates how not to do it.

        • Edward Meehan

          The image you found / had made / used for this story >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • The Satan Ov Hell

      you forgot step’s 4, 5 and 6! Make bad electropop while pretending to be metal, sleep with your fans, of whom are in the age bracket of 13-15, avoid charges!

      • MoshOff

        Ronnie Radke is the ultimate troll in my mind, the dude is just good at being an over-the-top rock star.

        • He always seemed so srs though. Right? Or was he really trolling?

          Or are you trolling me? Pls hlp, lol

          GL

          • MoshOff

            I hope to the Gods he’s a troll, or else he’s just really stupid and really lucky. He wrote like 80% of the last album, for real.

    • Cock ov Steele

      4. Cut the show short because of the lame ass security.

    • MoshOff

      You just described Rob Dukes, right?

      • The Satan Ov Hell

        HAIL ZETERO! I HAVE COME WITH LEAKS OF BLOOD IN BLOOD OUT, AND BOY IS IT GOOD!

  • The Satan Ov Hell

    Guys. I need to say this. One of my favourite youtube channels, Black Metal Promotion is gone. 🙁

    • Edward Meehan

      Sad, sorry.

      • The Satan Ov Hell

        It had near daily new black metal songs and albums, giving bandcamp, soundcloud and label links!

        • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

          Try black metal updates

  • Phil McSorley

    You guys are f@gs. Try listening to your cool vegan postgaze after I stab you in the ear with my bowie knife. You cvnts can’t handle cassettes or three week waits or true murderous hatred.
    Get fucked by a camel you camel fuckers,
    Phil McSorley

    http://i297.photobucket.com/albums/mm219/thesaluki55/DSCN0055.jpg?t=1262821455

    • The Satan Ov Hell

      This guy gets it! Praise be to outdated media formats!

      • Howard Dean

        I prefer no media format at all. I just have a small ensemble come over and recreate music for me in my parlor. Only orchestration is real.

    • McSorley For America 2014!

    • Janitor Jim Dvggan

      I love cassettes and I am more of a man than you ever will be.

  • Howard Dean

    Byaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

    • W.

      Is that a sign of approval? I’m actually curious to see what you think because you tend to be less perturbed by salty personalities.

      • Howard Dean

        That is indeed a sign of approval, Mr. Dubya.

        I agree with your statement about the interplay between people’s opinions of the music and their experiences with meeting the people who make it. I think a lot of people are deeply affected by meeting the musicians they admire–in both positive and negative ways.

        I am definitely less perturbed by salty personalities, and I don’t believe I would be affected by meeting an asshole musician in person to the same degree others might be. I don’t expect a lot out of people, and realize that the world has more than its fair share of assholes. Just because somebody is famous or notable for something, doesn’t mean they are any different than the rest of us. Assholes share a pretty even and universal distribution across the population. For this reason, I generally aim my admiration at the art that is created, and not at the artist.

        • W.

          I figured that’s how you felt. Thanks for the input though. You and Max always have interesting commentary.

          • Howard Dean

            Thanks! Keep writing solid, thought-provoking stuff like this! The Terlet always needs a good ol’ brain flexin’.

    • Beunhaas

      This.

  • Mr.CustodialArts

    In short, be like GWAR and RAMMSTEIN-FEATURE GIANT COCKS ON STAGE.

    • W.

      Well, the phallic objects are engaging.

    • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

      *one refers to the conversation regarding phallic objects one had in the previous post*

  • MoshOff

    I laughed too hard at the Luc Lemay thing. I thought I wasn’t too engagin onstage until I saw Gorguts last June.

    • W.

      Luc Lemay seems like one of the genuinely nicest dudes in metal.

      • Stockhausen

        Joe Lester, the bassist from Intronaut, talked to me for a long time and ended up walking me through whole rig and letting me hold a bazilion dollar custom bass. He was an incredibly nice dude.

        • W.

          I met Sacha after a show, and he was very friendly too.

          • Stockhausen

            Sacha is a nice guy, as well as Danny. I didn’t talk to Dave much, but he seemed like a cool dude as well. We hopped on a last minute show that Intronaut asked for in OKC, and it was at a small venue where everyone hung out and had an awesome time with all the bands. Quite neat.

        • Wizard Aura

          Joe is a totally nice guy, I met him when I by chance attended the like 3rd Intronaut show ever and he still remembers me from then.

  • Chance from Skeletonwitch once ran his fingers through my hair during a song. That’s rapport. It filled me with hope. And a bunch of other emotions which are weird, and deeply confusing.

    • I told one of the guitarists about how both times I’d seen Skeletonwitch before, I got whiplash. “Well don’t get whiplash tonight buddy!” “YEAH NO PROMISES.”

      I got whiplash again.

    • W.

      Lee Lemon.

    • Gurp

      Embrace them!

  • Mr.CustodialArts

    I met Kerry King once. It went about as well as to be expected.

    • MoshOff

      Did he charge you for the amount of his air you breathed, or was he in a bad mood?

    • Janitor Jim Dvggan

      That’s a shame. I know that he has a bad reputation among his fans but I knew someone who met him after a show Slayer did in my area. He said that Kerry couldn’t have been nicer for the five minutes he was outside the tour bus. He also said Jeff and Dave hung out with the fans behind the venue for two hours, talking with them and everything.

  • I always love getting the mic at shows. There’s been a few times where I’ve done vocals for entire songs. Always a great feeling.

    • Mr.CustodialArts

      You truly NAILED the chorus to “Whole”, bro. Respect.

  • Tyree

    An old friend and I once went shopping with John Mellencamp’s wife and kids at Target and then hung out back stage in Mr. Mellencamp’s tour bus. Biggest asshole I ever fucking met. He called me a motherfucker, told me that I was ugly (Which I am), told the bus driver to turn the lights out so he couldn’t see our faces, and then told me not steal anything or he was going to kick my ass.

    Great Job

    • MoshOff
    • Howard Dean

      This is a crazy/awesome/fascinating story. How did you end up hanging out with John Mellencamp’s wife and kids?

      • Tyree

        Random I know. My buddy’s aunt was best friends with John’s wife at the time and he was playing a show in our town. So Johns wife invited my friends aunt and us to meet up with them at target until John was ready to leave the hotel. We got to the hotel after shopping and waited for him in the bus until he came out from his room to get on the bus. As soon as he got on the bus he looked at both of us and asked “Who are the these ugly motherfuckers?” in front of his kids and wife. We just introduced are selves and let him insult us the whole night. Really great guy.

        • W.

          Dude, that sucks. I’m sorry that happened!

          • Tyree

            It’s funny now that I think back on it. It’s always a good random story to tell people. But seriously, the guy is mega douche.

          • Mr.CustodialArts

            It probably didn’t help when you said “Hey man, you’re like a mix of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, but without the great songs and talent-FUCK YOU AND YOUR PINK HOUSES.”

          • I am fucking dead. Amazing work.

          • Tyree
          • Max

            Well, I suppose when you spend an entire career making such pointedly middle-of-the-road music, you need an outlet for extremity.

        • KJM

          I can only hope there was a worthwhile reason to endure that.

        • Howard Dean

          I just phoned the man himself, Johnny Cougar Mellencamp, to get his side of the story. Here it is:

          “Fuck you, you ugly motherfucker! I fucked Meg Ryan! How do you like them apples? Little ditty about Jack and Diane! Rain on the Scarecrow, motherfucker! Blood on the plow! That’s a metaphor, motherfucker! Get it? Plow?! The way I plowed Meg Ryan. Ugly motherfucker. Get surgery!”

          http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/2001_original_hi_rez_320.jpg

          • Fuckin’ Byah Buddy!
            GL

          • Tyree

            It hurts so good!

          • Howard Dean

            Maybe he was showing his appreciation for you all, and “motherfucker” was a term of endearment. You never know. Sometimes love don’t feel like it should…

          • Tyree

            Could be! Being young and in front of a celebrity, I thought he was just a big mean poopy head though.

          • Howard Dean

            I’m not serious, I just wanted an excuse to use the John Mellencamp lyrics “sometimes love don’t feel like it should…”

            Dude is most definitely an asshole.

          • W.

            He was just trying to make Tyree’s walls come crumblin’ down.

          • Howard Dean

            Hahaha.

          • Tyree

            Come tumblin’ tumblin’ doowwwwwn!

        • Gurp

          I bet you were just itching to buy some merch.

    • John Mellencamp is a cvnt.

    • You’re beautiful inside and out, Tyrizzle.

      • Tyree

        All I wanted in life was for John to think I was beautiful.

        • W.

          I think you’re beautiful!

    • TrickleDownTacoRiff

      I bet on you mano y mano in the parking lot Tyree…fuck that hack!

    • crazytaco_12

      HAHAHAHA holy fuck dude this was so hilarious, that “Great Job” sent me over the edge

    • Scrimm

      Nothing wrong with being ugly. I consider it a point of pride. On a side note, you look like you could be our buddy’s younger brother.

    • John Mellencamp is now John Mellencvnt.

    • were you wearing the keg hat?

  • Poseur Diposeur

    It’s really a pleasure to read good, intellectual writing about metal. I mean seriously, can anyone imagine Axl Posenberg even understanding a post like this?

    • W.

      Thank you! This piece was a labor of love for me because I got to combine two of my passions into one post.

      • Poseur Diposeur

        I am also an educator/metalhead, but I haven’t gone to grad school. I have learned a bit about systems theory from my mom though (who is an educator who teaches people to be educators, a metaducator if you will)

        • W.

          This stuff is fresh on my mind because I just completed training as a teaching consultant.

    • Janitor Jim Dvggan

      Axl cannot write anything to save his life. His articles are usually him criticizing something a band that he doesn’t like did. It doesn’t matter how trivial it is, he criticizes anyone he doesn’t like. Look at the Kerry King article about Chick Fil A from earlier this week. Do you think that he has any clue on how to write anything? He can’t write so he covers that up by making fun of bands like Attila and Korn and other bands he doesn’t like.

  • Janitor Jim Dvggan

    I liked this article a lot but the whole hair metal stars being dicks bugged me. The only real hair metal people who are dicks to their fans are Guns N Roses and Kiss. People say WASP is as well but I cannot say anything about the band who wrote The Crimson Idol. There are hair metal bands that are very nice to their fans like Y&T, Dokken, Ratt and White Lion.

    • W.

      Motley Crue, Steel Panther, Poison, etc. Most of the hair metal guys are terrible people.

      • The Satan Ov Hell

        At least with steel panther it’s ironic humour.

      • Janitor Jim Dvggan

        I have heard good things about Motley Crue. My friend Pamela said that Crue couldn’t have been nicer to her. Steel Panther are terrible people? I never heard anything about them considering they are technically a joke band.

        • W.

          They’re super pervy.

          • Janitor Jim Dvggan

            That seems obvious. I’m sure that they were probably attracted to Pamela considering she is one of those people that men are attracted to. I never considered her anything more than a friend though.

    • KJM

      Many people have told me how much of an asshole Blackie Lawless is, even random people who weren’t trying to meet him.

      • Janitor Jim Dvggan

        I cannot say anything bad about the man who wrote the album The Crimson Idol. That album saved my life and changed my life and I will love him until the end of time for writing it. He can do whatever he wants and I will still love him.

        • KJM

          Obviously that’s a situation specific to you and I respect that. As much of a music listener that I am, I can’t pinpoint one album that saved me at a bad time. Too many.

          • Janitor Jim Dvggan

            It is good that you see where I am coming from. That album has had more of an impact than any other album ever will. I cannot say anything bad about Blackie or anyone who was in the band when the album was recorded. This album came into my life after having broke up with a girlfriend and during a really ugly fight that became public between us. This album saved me from dying not only that once but countless other times as well. I regret what I said to her and I regret losing her but I do not regret finding this album.

  • JWG

    Subjectivity does figure into this all greatly, but I think the fan engagement part is far-and-away the reason I remain a fan of Huntress despite detractors opinions that they fail both points #1 (I disagree) and #3 (I agree sort of, but I’ve also been following them long enough to have seen a definite improvement trend that shows no sign of stopping).

    • W.

      Subjectivity will always be a big part of commentary on art. That’s what makes it so interesting, but always what leads to so much confrontation.

    • Wizard Aura

      It sucks when dudes talk shit about Huntress because the dudes in Huntress are all super cool, un-pretentious dudes who love metal (and weed), but I kind of get it. Theres just something about Jill Janus in the front that makes them seem like they are trying too hard…

      Also, if you are a Huntress fan and don’t know about Professor, I suggest you learn… http://professor.bandcamp.com/

  • Stockhausen

    Great writing Derbs. I think about this stuff a lot as a frontdude, and I really like meeting engaging and accessible musicians. It doesn’t negate my love for the music too much if the band members are jerks, but it definitely has a positive effect when they’re awesome.

  • George Clarke

    yes

    • W.

      hey George!

  • Max

    Having never met any of my idols I can’t contribute much to this otherwise neat article. The few “rock stars” I have met have all been personable enough.

    I did once attend an Opeth after-party and got talking to (I think) the drummer and keyboardist. The drummer was very shy, the keyboardist very talkative and I had a great conversation with him about the Sunlight Studios guitar sound. Very cool it was – although if you consider the fact that I didn’t actually know who the guy was (still not sure of his name), technically that makes ME the asshole; because I made him assume he was devoting his time to a fan when really I wasn’t a dedicated one at all (I’ve only got one Opeth album).

    Later on, Mikael Prog70s arrived, and I shook his hand and asked him if he was gonna do another Bloodbath record because it was a great album (this was back when they only had one). “I don’t have the time, man…” he replied, as he walked off. I’ve made him sound like a douchebag brushing me off, but he wasn’t being, really. He was obviously pretty tired at that moment, and with the position Opeth were in, he probably DIDN’T have the time for Bloodbath. It was a pretty ridiculous drunk fanboy question to ask somebody who’s just shown up at a party in honour of their main band.

    But I have always jokingly harrumphed about it to myself now that he’s since done other Bloodbath records and even toured it. “Well, apparently you DID have the time, Mikael…”

  • Janitor Jim Dvggan

    I met one of my heroes down in Florida at a Marlins game last year. I had no clue it was him until I saw his goatee and then I realized it was him, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. I always enjoyed him more than Bret and I still watch his matches whenever I can. He was nice but he was twitching and scratching his neck a lot. I think he was on some sort of drug as he has apparently had drug problems and still does have drug problems. He was there for some legends of wrestling celebration the Marlins were doing. Bret was also there as well as Goldberg. Bret was nice and Goldberg was extremely nice. I got photos with the three but I took them on my old iPhone of which I sold so the photos cannot be recovered.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    This article reminds me of training to teach English as a foreign language. Passed the course ( it was pretty intense and not everyone did so I must have been doing something right) but I’ve never used it as I would suck as a teacher.

    Never really met any music heroes, not sure I’d want to as I’m dreadfully nervous. Always nice to hear when musicians are cool people though. Few years back a friend of mine was having lessons with the then guitarist of Cradle of Filth, who is apparently a good dude (they’ve remained buddies of sorts). Actually the guy invited my friend to play with his project after Cradle but my friend turned it down because he thought it might be bad for his political aspirations. I met him once but I didn’t do more than politely smile and nod at him, I was pretty high. It was at a festival and Children of Bodom were playing, at one point he commented something like “Alexis never plays this part right, I should know because I taught it him”. That made me chuckle.

    Never met any of my heroes really. Don’t even tend to ask questions after festival movie screenings, except this year after Nekromantik as Jorg Buttgereit was doing a full hour session. That was pretty cool.

    • crazytaco_12

      Did you see him at the Housecore Horror Fest? Saw him around and every time he was a nice guy, though I’m not a huge fan of Nekromantik

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        Frightfest in London. Does seem like a pretty cool guy, plenty to say, not too weird or pretentious, still has a sense of humour. Nekromantik is one of my favourite films and quite a lot of the audience seemed to think the same so it was a fun time for all.

        • crazytaco_12

          Nice man, glad for you!

  • crazytaco_12

    Great write up W! I would have to say personally that Kirk Windstein is probably one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. The dude wears his heart on his shoulder and is really down to earth and it shows with everything he does. Also, Phil Anselmo and Dave Chandler were both insanely cool when I met them.

    • W.

      I’ve bumped into Kirk a couple times, and he does seem like a very genuine guy.

  • crazytaco_12

    Also gotta mention I was at a signing with Attila from Mayhem and the dude in front of me spent a while trying to talk him up and get him to sign everything while I patiently waited behind him. After the dude finally left, Attila looks at me and my gf and gives us this roll of the eyes that was indicative of “well those guys in front of you took a while!” He then seemingly tried to make up for it by giving me the craziest fucking autograph I’ve ever seen. Probably took him like a straight 2-3 minutes just to sign it. It’s a pretty fucking burly autograph though. Nice dude, though we didn’t really say much.

  • Simon Phoenix

    Thoughtful article, Dubya. Though you could have easily replaced Axl Rose with Blake Judd or Erik Danielsson.

    And yeah, Luc is the perfect example of someone who has a good connection with fans. Seriously one of the coolest dudes I’ve met in the realm of metal.

    • W.

      Oh man, I should have slapped Blake Judd’s face in there somewhere. He’s such a tool.

  • Sponge Of Mystery

    i accidentally saw Drowning Pool live once and they put on an amazing show and after they played they all hung out by their booth and were super cool and nice and seemed like they genuinely enjoyed talking to their fans. I was so impressed I bought a cd, too bad their music isn’t very good /: they had everything else going for them

    • MoshOff

      “I accidentally saw Drowning Pool…”

      Sure, we believe you.

      • Sponge Of Mystery

        no you should believe me, cuz the main band that i actually went there to see was about 10 worse….Flyleaf……*shutter* #WhatWouldYouDoForSomePoonTang?

  • Scrimm

    Luc Lemay was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Also the Internal Bleeding guys around their first album, very cool to a group of kids at their first death metal show. The exact opposite of Glen Benton and Ben from Goatwhore.

    • W.

      That’s awesome when band members give teenagers the time of day.

      • Scrimm

        Yeah. Their original vocalist introduced me to my first real moshpit.

  • Lacertilian

    That James Hetfield video ripped from Channel [v] is almost certainly the heaviest song I’ve ever seen on that channel.
    What a joke.

  • Old Man Hetfield

    Come on W. I was off the Sweet Amber. Just getting a bit forgetful in my vintage years.

    #TheMemorySortOfRemains

    • W.

      It’s okay, Papa Het. You had a good run.

  • KJM

    Lemmy was an absolute Prince of a man when me and a few friends hung with him for a bit after an in-store. He even took it in stride when my friend beat him at Video Pinball 2 games straight.

    • W.

      I can certainly believe that. He has always seemed like an easy-going and cordial man in interviews.