Carrie Brownstein has an interesting post on music fans today on her NPR blog. Interesting, because she writes as "first and foremost" a music fan, which she is today perhaps more than ever in some ways. But implicit in her writing is her previous role as a musical artist in her own right. When she talks about being a fan of music from the fan's perspective, I hear myself in the words she writes. The difference is that I have never been on stage powering through guitar solos in front of adoring fans. She has. So her thoughts about the creepiness that sometimes filters into our fandom are double-edged ... we recognize ourselves in her descriptions, but we can't help but wonder if this is what she was thinking when she was on stage and we were her fans:
[I]t is this secret code, this common bond among fans, which often becomes obnoxious en masse. The fans might not change your love for the bands themselves, but the way fandom of certain artists manifests itself can seem less like an innocuous gathering of like-minded people and more like an elitist, annoying tribe. (I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near my friends and I during our Fugazi or Bikini Kill listening days; admittedly, we were not very fun).
Today, the fans I have a hard time being around are the ones who deem their favorite bands precious, just shy of saintly, and evidence of their sophisticated taste in music. (Belle & Sebastian, Radiohead, and Magnetic Fields). Then there are the bands that, unfortunately, attract such a hipster fan base (like MGMT, Yeasayer, and Liars) that you want to attend the show wearing a fleece jacket, khaki slacks, hiking boots, and a fanny pack, then push your way to the front and line dance, except that you worry people will think it's ironic.
My friend Charlie has hinted at this ... what, disparity? ... between Carrie-as-fan and Carrie-as-artist. I think it is part of what makes her interesting, that she participates in multiple roles within the music. But I admit it's also a bit unsettling to imagine her onstage during one of the many Sleater-Kinney concerts I attended, thinking that perhaps we, her fans, were obnoxious. Hopefully we weren't those kinds of fans.