Yes, okay, we’re all guilty to some extent. Even I fall into a few annoying stereotypes with my eclectic musical choices. You gotta love passion though … or do you? At the risk of alienating many of my friends (sorry guys, you know I love ya), here are my picks for the ten most annoying classifications of music fans.
Author Note: Sorry, this is my first attempt at a top-ten list like this, so I just posted it as one big article. I know this is wrong, and I have to break it into 400 separate pages, one sentence per page, with a shit-ton of adds taking up 85% of the screen, like Answers.com does. I assure you, #4 really will blow your mind, though.
While the very name conjures up images of the “patchouli hippie” stereotype, the fact is that these days there is no such thing as “the average Deadhead.” By now the rumors that “The Dead” (sort of a Zombie-offshoot of the Grateful Dead) officially disbanded in ’09 have reached even the farthest ends of the astral plane, and the last of the die-hard fans have moved on to real life and become lawyers and doctors and Phish fans. In general, these are about the nicest people you will ever meet. In fact, in the unlikely event one ever threatens to beat the hell out of you — because, (oh, let’s say … ummm … hypothetically for example) you refused his generous offer of a grilled cheese sandwich and instead asked if he knew where you could get a spotted owl burger (it was hilarious at the time, okay?) — you need only say, “Hey chill out, man. What would Jerry do?” and he instantly backs down and apologizes like Klattu in “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
9. Indie Evangelists
I recently hit upon the idea that indie rock, by its very nature, should be a lot more popular than it is. Let’s face it, ASCAP, BMI, and the RIAA are doing all they can to make their own music inaccessible between shutting down venues, suing fans, and DRM software that makes “authorizing” your player to accept the music only slightly less difficult than diffusing a bomb. Indie rock is everywhere, often available for free, is usually encouraged to be shared, and is produced by people who are more accessible, more talented, and more visionary than the computer-enhanced pop-tart-of-the-week that makes millions on stage each night lip syncing like an eight-year-old with a hairbrush. So what’s the problem? In my estimation, it’s the people trying to get me to listen to it. You know, the secretly self-loathing, PBR-swigging elitist indie music fan who is always right — unless everyone agrees with him about his music, in which case he’s “over it” and moving on to something else. Honestly, if you want to be a taste-maker in this genre, you gotta be an early adopter. Next time try getting into bands that break up before they even get together.
8. Metal Heads
Now, we’re not talking about the whisky-slugging, heroin-shooting, bar-brawling, roided-out meat heads in a mosh pit variety here. The true metal heads, in my experience, look just as scary, but in reality are talented, passionate, intelligent, and — aside from the ear gauges and persistent tang of goat’s blood on their unwashed leathers — are almost indistinguishable from Eddie Haskell. Consequently, this is something of a liability for them, since not only is it difficult to take anyone seriously when you’re trying to imagine sticking your finger through any one of the numerous gaping holes in their flesh, but also you assume they’re joking when they tell you that their band’s latest track, “Demonic Anal Monkey,” isn’t literally about Satanic simians with a penchant for “the other side of sexuality” so to speak, but instead are a metaphor for the deep emotional scars of the lead singer’s inner child. Their other redeeming charm, of course, is that they are genuinely baffled as to why their band isn’t more popular with the mainstream listener than it is.
7. Bluegrass Purists
There are certain immutable truths that all musicians must eventually accept. 1) You will never be famous enough to OD on caviar and drown in your backyard swimming pool because you didn’t wait 20 minutes before getting in the water. 2) You will never have groupies open minded enough to let you do perform the “mud shark” on them. 3) You will never be a true bluegrass artist. You see, in order to be “true bluegrass” you must be raised exclusively in the hills by indigenous local people who speak their own bizarre clicking language, thus requiring all of your lyrics to be phonetically transcribed to you. The wood of your instrument must be infused with at least one (preferably two) of Bill Monroe’s bodily fluids, or alternatively, bestowed to you by the ghost of Bill Monroe himself, or someone who breathed the same air as him at some point during their career. And finally, even though all music since the 12th century is derived from 19th century bluegrass, you must never have heard any of it, an must henceforth pledge yourself to a life of musical chastity, less the inferiority of other, less-evolved musical forms influence you and taint the bluegrass purity of your performance.
Mostly comprised of middle-aged, socially inept, computer nerds, the average prog rock fan requires that all “good songs” be composed in a time signature that cannot be mathematically proven, be no less than 17 minutes 38 seconds long (unless sub-divided into “movements”), and have a completely irrelevant and obtuse title that, as an in-joke, mis-quotes mythological, medieval, or 20th century bohemian literature. The most dangerous thing you can do to a progger is express any kind of interest in their music, as this will instantly trigger a veritable regurgitation of obscure trivia about the artist in question … and the session players … and the sound engineer … and if they’re a true fan, the janitor on duty at the studio that day. Mercifully, most know full well that your attention span ticks down like Jack-in-the-Box playing in 11/8 once you realize your error, and will thus spew this information at you faster than Rick Wakeman’s solo in the final movement of Journey to the Center of the Forest God’s Sylvan Temple of the Ancients. Trust me, it’s saved me getting a drink thrown in my face on more than one occasion.
5. Freedom Rockers
It seems strange to say that one of the defining moments of my life was while “relieving myself” in the 1st turn men’s restroom at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The “troughs” there are legendary. To think that I was making use of a stainless steel tub that had been used by hundreds of thousands of other men (and a few women while I was there) over the decades. There, on the historic walls, great minds of the ages exercised their First Amendment rights and left wisdom for a captive audience representing a true cross-section of Americana. So, what holy litany was evoked on the wall across from whence I stood? What battle cry of the oppressed was permanently etched on that stone so that others may feel the author’s pain and take up his holy, righteous crusade?
The human race is apparently doomed to be ruled by people that think that there hasn’t been any good music written the past 40 years, isn’t it? Q95 rocks, man!
Back in the 90’s, very tight regulations limited these people exclusively to pretentious coffee shops, but now strict smoking bans and lax enforcement have inadvertently allowed them to branch out and emasculate brewpubs, tasting rooms, and man caves all over your city. The singer/songwriter is easily identified by hair color about three shades too dark to be natural, spray-on hip-hugging jeans, cats-eye glasses, and a plaid shirt with plenty of exposed cleavage. (The girls dress similarly, but you can usually distinguish them by the addition of a knit cap.) Singer/songwriters spend the majority of their time drinking water, playing the same song to five people for 45 minutes at a stretch (we’re not fooled by the capo, by the way), and complaining that they should be paid for all the time they spend practicing, driving to the gig, and waiting for the waitress to bring them the water they ordered, like, fifteen minutes ago. I mean, sheesh, no wonder this place loses money, the service is terrible.
3. Nickelback Defenders
Okay, admittedly, these aren’t all bad. A sizable percentage in fact are Franzia-slugging MILFs who, to their credit, have been fans of the band since they were hot co-eds, and who can still do a fairly decent job of grinding a bar stool at Applebee’s whenever “How You Remind Me” comes on the Muzak. No, we’re talking about their husbands, the former high-school all-star jocks, now fat and balding, who think it’s just not a barbecue unless “Silver Side Up” is blaring so loud on the CD Player that it can be heard three suburbs over. Certainly the word has been trickling out to the masses about this “lowest common denominator” music for almost a decade now, and many of these fans have repented, often denying they’ve ever been down The Long Road. The problem is, Nickelback ranks as the 11th best-selling band of all time, so statistically speaking more than one of you bought a damned CD!
They once dominated the countryside in an endless sea of Hawaiian print. Now the increasing impact of climate change, and an aging baby-boomer population, has caused a mass migration of the North American Parrothead to the warmer, more hospitable climate of Florida, and the few stragglers that remain, while incredibly annoying with their tequila-soaked antics, are a mere shadow of the flock’s former glory. The number of indecent exposure charges has been sagging for years, and most specimens have been resigned to simple public intox or drunk-driving charges, occasionally possession of a controlled substance (usually Viagra) and, in the case of one local mayor, beating up girlfriends in the parking lot. In a surprise announcement last week, the National Audubon Society decided that, despite it’s endangered status, modern ticket prices mean it’s no longer cost-effective to attempt preserve the species, saying, “Sometimes you just gotta give one up for the greater good.”
1. DMB Fans
I really want to like Dave Matthews. For a minute there, I think I actually experienced an emotional reaction to one of his lyrics. Turns out I just misunderstood him. I would, however, like to thank him for providing his Fire Dancer logo in the form of easily-spotted window decals. This means we may now identify DMB fans safely from parking lots, without actually entering bars they frequent. You see, the other fans on this list might play one song by their favorite band, followed by a half-dozen obscure anthems from other bands they are into this week. The DMB fan, however, is unique in their single-mindedness — and lack of knowledge about the existence of any other music. Do not engage these people. Have no commerce with them and above all do not let them get control of the jukebox. You see, apparently DMB is like a potato chip — you cannot stop at one song. You apparently must play entire set lists … often back to back … you know … for comparison. You never know if “Crash Into Tree” is better when played after a 20 minute yodel of “All Along the Watchtower” or a 15 minute slow jazz version of “Where the Hell Do You Think You’re Going?” I suspect it’s the later, since the whirring sound coming from Hendrix’s grave has to get distracting after a few minutes. Frankly, there’s not enough pot in the world to get me to sample objectively however.