Inventory: The most annoying fans in music
Here is a Think Tank piece I wrote for Harp a while back that was never published. I think it's a'ight -- probably good that it wasn't published but certainly good enough for the blog. I thought of this story recently because in recent months I have started to not hate The Dead and Phish; I actually kinda enjoy them now. Does this mean I'm more open-minded or much lamer than I used to be? I'll let you know when I find out. Anyway, I still hate their fans, which kinda supports the point of this story: Stupid fans prevent a lot of great music from being heard.
"It not the band I hate/It’s their fans.” Sloan, a band I don’t hate, said that once in the song “Underwhelmed.” In two lines this criminally underrated Canadian power-pop band summed up a profound universal truth: Even a super group composed of John Lennon, John Bonham, John Entwistle and Jesus Christ will be unbearable if the fans make your skin crawl. It’s too bad, because fans can and do ruin a lot of great music. But annoying fans also can be a tip-off that your ears aren’t as sharp as you think. While annoying people can be found among any band’s legion of supporters, some bands seem to attract morons like emo kids to a trucker cap sale. Here are the top five most annoying fans in rock.
THE textbook case when it comes to annoying fans. The problem here is even if you can look past the patchouli, the stoned self-righteousness and the white guy dreadlocks, it's too late. Both bands are done. You will never see them 35 times in one summer or be able to claim you did on a fan message board. (Don’t lie, because there might be a setlist quiz.) Becoming a Deadhead and/or Phish phan at this point makes you low man on the Jerry/Trey totem pole, and the opportunity for advancement is zero. You will be stuck packing the bowl, taking the last toke and paying the pizza guy.
The single most disturbing event in popular music from the past 10 years is Woodstock ’99, which made you think nu-metal would burn down the world before something else came along. Coming in a close second is the Dashboard Confessional episode of “MTV Unplugged,” which made you wish nu-metal had burned down the world before this came along. Seeing throngs of red-cheeked teens belting out Dashboard’s sad bastard anthems is like watching a very special “Children of the Corn” inspired episode of “The O.C.,” only it is real and therefore 10 times creepier. I can’t name a single Dashboard Confessional song, and since I don’t want my head lopped up with a sickle, I don’t plan on learning.
Five reasons why punk rock fans are insufferable: (1) Punk is supposedly about being your own person, but if you go to a punk rock show everybody wears the same punk rock costume; (2) Moshing; (3) “Sell out!”; (4) Punk is supposedly about ignoring musical boundaries and being noncommercial, but any band that dares to expand its sound beyond three chords and “Rocket to Russia” is accused of not being punk, as if that means anything anymore, and ostracized; (5) I am no longer 16.
When I was in high school, Cure fans were the most annoying music fans because they dressed strange, they always looked at the ground while talking and they appeared to perpetually be on the verge of tears. You know, kind of like the Cure themselves. Looking back, I don’t find these kids to be nearly as irritating. And I like the Cure a lot more than I used to. But for a long time I didn’t bother listening to them because Cure fans were on a lower social strata than I was. I’m not proud of subscribing to this blatant brand of high school classism, but anybody who wore R.E.M. T-shirts as often as I did had to be cooler than somebody.
I include this only because I loved a girl in college who loved Belle and Sebastian, and she didn’t love me. For years I couldn’t hear “If You’re Feeling Sinister” without thinking about all the times I tried to make out with her in her dorm room. So, please, feel free to substitute this selection with a band you hate because some girl/guy you once loved didn’t love you back. If that’s not a good reason to despise a band, I don’t know what is.
That's my take. What do you guys think?