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Advice Crush: Dear Boogie

October 6, 2010

Dear Boogie,
I’ve been a fan of a certain local band for a couple of years. Unfortunately, their shows are really hit-or-miss. Sometimes they are fantastic and put on a great show, and other times they don’t seem to care, play and sing sloppily, and forget their own lyrics. They have such great potential but disappoint me on a regular basis. Should I just keep giving them unlimited chances and try to enjoy the good times when they happen?
This A Pointed

Dear TAP,

You should definitely break up with this band. And don’t just send them a tasteful “It’s not you, it’s me” email. No, no – make a big public spectacle. Throw a drink in their faces and tell them how much they’ve let you down. They’ll think twice before they…

Wait, what did they do wrong again? Not meet your personal standards? It seems like you’re taking this whole being a fan thing strangely personally. In fact, if you don’t mind me saying so, you’re starting to come off a bit like a nutty cuckoo crazy person.

It’s always confused me, this sense of ownership people get over bands. Some people do it with sports teams, hometowns, film directors, radio stations and cable TV networks, Star Trek captains, vegan cupcake joints, Tiger Woods’ mistresses – you name it, someone can take it way way way too personally. But when it comes to music, people seem to bring it to a new level.

I don’t get it. I like many bands. But I don’t feel like I have to make life choices about them. For example, I’m a big Elvis Costello fan. I like the majority of his work, but there are a few albums that I pop in my CD player and wonder who replaced my favorite bespectacled entertainer with a giant stinky turd sandwich with a side order of suck. But I never think to myself “Hey Elvis, you better stop making songs I don’t like or you’re going to lose my eternal love and support!” I just stop listening to that record. And possibly not buy the next one. That’s about it.

Some people (like TAP) seem to partake in music fandom in a different (i.e. “crazy’) way. And you’re certainly not alone, TAP. I remember my first experience with this sort of thing when I joined Scamper back in 2004. I foolishly went on one of those local music discussion boards to read people psychoanalyzing why Scamper had removed and then started up again our signature synchronized jump. People debated for pages and pages about how we were trying to be less poppy, more poppy, trying to change our image, betraying our fans, being phonies, being lame, letting people down, selling out, settling down, trading up, ruining EVERYthing, etc. (The real reason, by the way, was that Keith had a new guitar part during the jump and wanted to get it right in midair so that he could avoid fucking up a chord and simultaneously breaking his ankle). But people actually cared enough to come up with long, convoluted conspiracy theories about the dis- and re-appearance of Scamper’s synchronized jump. It was breathtakingly time-wasting. I remember saying to Nate, “I haven’t put this much thought into Scamper and I’m IN Scamper.”

TAP, you refer to the band “disappointing” you. As I’ve discussed several times in this little column, disappointment is all about your expectations. It is almost as if you feel like this band owes you something. They don’t. They’re just a band. Like them or don’t. That has everything to do with you and nothing to do with them.

Soundtrack to your misery: Scamper “Longshot”

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