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What Has Happened to Respect?
It seems as though a lot of bands nowadays assume that if they can create mediocre mainstream music, people will love them. And because of that, they believe they can just be absolute jerks. Fans will think those rude actions are funny, fans will ignore the deeds, or if they’re like me, they'll speak out. I have been keeping this on the back burner for too long, and it has been happening so often now that I simply cannot continue to ignore it.
That being said, what has happened to respect? If you're a musician, or you have a fan base of any sort, you should be so unbelievably thankful for each and every supporter you have. Those followers are especially important to so many people's jobs today. Without fans, musicians would not be able to make a living doing what they love.
Now, I've met a lot of fantastic musicians, and I've met a lot of rude ones. Normally I just write it off, or excuse it as a bad day; we all have them. But you know what? First impressions are everything. And I for one have had enough.
This writing stems from two recent events. Both were extremely surprising: one outstanding, the other miserable.
If you know me you've probably heard the story. More than likely you don't, but maybe you have had a similar experience. Let me start off by saying this: I am not here to put down anyone. I know for a fact that the vast majority of musicians have worked hard to get where they are, and no matter how unpleasant an experience I have, I would never, ever want to cost someone their job. Therefore, I'm not going to name names. I wish I could say that everyone is a great person, but I know that no one is perfect. But can you at least try to be a tiny bit appreciative of what you have?
Anyway, here’s the story. About a month ago, I went to a show with some friends. At least a few times a month I go out to a show, so believe me when I say I've seen a lot of bands and met a lot of people. The show was one of the most fun I have ever been to, but that doesn't matter here.
After the show we got a quick bite to eat and then waited outside the venue to see if we could meet anyone, as one of my friends favorite bands had played. We met a couple of people from other bands who were all very nice, which was pretty ordinary. The last person we talked to told us he had to run because everyone on the tour was going down the street to go bowling. We said goodbye and decided to start toward our car, figuring everyone would be leaving. Just as we were about to leave, the lead singer from the band we had wanted to meet walked past in the middle of the road. He happened to glance over at us as he walked by, so we waved, told him great show, and returned to our conversation. No more than two minutes later I feel a tap on my shoulder, turn around, and am face to face with the singer.
"Hi!" he said, "I didnt want to seem like a jerk and ignore you so I came to say hello!" I was stunned! I have met so many people, so many musicians, that I can't keep track of the number. Trust me, I have never seen a single musician approach a group of fans just to say hello. If it happens, there's always some sort of catch, like pushing you to buy their CD, or buy tickets to their show. This man stood with us and talked to us about anything and everything for a solid five minutes. Not a single thing was said about his band after our initial praise and thanks about the show. I cannot even describe the number of times he thanked us just for appreciating his music, let alone coming to see his band play. He even offered to sign autographs and take photos before he had to leave.
For a minute I thought, Wow, maybe things are changing in this industry. Maybe musicians are finally realizing the amount of competition that exists in the music industry today, and how they act truly has an impact on whether or not they make it.
Two weeks later I found out just how wrong I was.
Back at the same venue, I was supposed to be covering the show for a local newspaper, writing a review on one of the bands and photographing their set. Something happened and I didn't end up on the press list like I was supposed to be. Things happen, and I understand that. In no way at all was I upset about it. I still had a ticket so I would be able to review the show, and I could photograph from the back of the venue, instead of the photo pit, which was fine with me. A few minutes later, while inside the venue, I recognized a member of the band I was supposed to photograph. I introduced myself to him, quickly explained the situation and nicely asked if he might be able to help me out. He answered me all right, in one of the rudest tones I've ever heard, saying, "I think it's a little late for that now, honey."
I was appalled. It's one thing to be disrespectful to a fan, but it's a whole new level to speak that way to someone who is working for your band. Not only am I a fan, who has spent money on the band, but I had also been planning on publishing an article promoting his band! Needless to say, I nixed that article and wrote it about another band that played. In fact, I met the singer of that band, who was extremely nice to me and thanked me multiple times for coming to the show. Now is that really so hard?
So I guess what I'm trying to say is, what happened to common courtesy? Go ahead, make fun of your fans all you want - mock them, diss them, what have you. But please, do it after they have left and are out of earshot. It's the least you can to do be considerate to those who support your work, or you might not be doing what you love to do.
And really, what they say is true - nice guys really do finish first. There is no denying that.