There’s almost nothing worse than receiving bad news about your favorite band. They fight, break up, get arrested and do all sorts of crazy (or annoying) things that induce nail-biting anxiety in fans. It’s not that we’re paranoid; we just value the music above all else and can’t stand to see anything put it in jeopardy. We want to see our favorite musicians succeed, but sometimes, they are their own greatest obstacles. At one point or another, all music fans have shared the same fears about their favorite bands. This is the news you don’t want to get. These are kill-the-messenger situations. These are the nine biggest fears of all music fans.
1. They’re going to break up.
Let’s start with the obvious. Perhaps the greatest fear of all music fans is that their favorite band would/could break up. It’s a terrifying thought, really, and the sinking feeling that comes along with learning this most-dreaded news is on a level of its own. Sometimes, you see the breakup coming from a mile away, as it looms like a shadow over the band’s failing career for a considerable time. But other times, it just comes out of fucking nowhere and completely blindsides any hopes you had of getting a follow-up to Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys.
2. They’re going to tour—but not in your city (or country)!
Hey, guess what? Your favorite band are going on tour! It’s going to be their best and biggest tour yet, and they’re bringing along some amazing opening acts. Maybe they’ve even reunited with their original singer for the trek! Perhaps they’re playing your favorite album in its entirety! But, because your life sucks, they’re not playing your city, state or even a neighboring state that would totally be worth the four-hour drive. Sucks to be you, man.
3. They’re going to change their sound too much.
It seems like all bands have their “experimental” album. You know, the one that earned unanimous love and praise from critics for its “bold new vision,” but, at the same time, left fans feeling completely alienated and wondering why their favorite band “don’t want to be pop-punk anymore.” This isn’t always the case, though. The experimental album may look like a gem next to the “sellout” album, where the band signed with a major label, started making radio-friendly tunes and completely abandoned their roots. Musicians, we get that you want to grow and mature, but slow down—you’re making us nervous.
4. They’re not going to change their sound enough.
Artists, fans may hate it when you change your sound and feel an unreasonable, unrelenting sense of ownership over your creations, but, believe it or not, we actually don’t want you to just make the same album over and over again. (Well, maybe some fans do.) Playing it safe almost always equals boring and lame. You have to find that perfect, special balance between evolution and keeping us happy. Sometimes, we may want you to mature and change your sound a little, but we just don’t know how to tell you—or we don’t even really know it ourselves yet. So you just have to read our minds, and do what’s best for us.
5. They’re going on “hiatus.”
Fuck hiatuses. Is there anything worse than your favorite band telling you, “Oh, hey, we’re just not going to tour or make new music for an indefinite amount of time”? An indefinite hiatus is almost worse than a breakup, because of the unbearable duality of hope and dread it leaves fans wallowing in. (“What if they never get back together? No, wait, they will! I know they will!”) Even worse, sometimes a hiatus can slow a band’s momentum to a point that no one really cares when they’re finally ready to come back around. You might as well just take a blowtorch to your collection of their merch.
6. They’re at war with their record label.
As we’ve unfortunately often witnessed, going to war with their record label can be a serious disrupter of a band’s career and momentum. (See: Hawthorne Heights vs. Victory Records.) Messy legal disputes between bands and labels can arise for any number of reasons, but unpaid royalties on the label’s part and breach of contract (say, the refusal to release a contract-specified number of albums) on the band’s part are usually the two most common factors. What’s especially dreadful about these legal disputes is they can take a really long time. Bands may be unable to release new material during the dispute and sometimes for a set amount of time after a settlement.
7. They’re getting a new singer.
Oh, you want to replace the most popular member of your band? You want to try and survive without the original creative voice behind your band? You want to replace your universally adored and worshiped frontman with some poor sucker who will have his head ripped off and be digitally tormented for the remainder of his career? Good luck.
8. They’re going “mainstream.”
It’s strange, being a music fan. While we hope and wish the best success for our favorite bands, we don’t want them to get too successful, do we? What’s more annoying than hearing your favorite, little, unknown band blasting out of the speakers of some jock’s yellow Jeep? What was once your little secret has now become the world’s favorite new “buzz band.” For harder bands, going mainstream often comes at the expense of screaming and other more aggressive sounds in music—much to the dismay of fans. “I saw them play a basement show before they were big,” you’ll say. No one will listen.
9. They’re going to get in a bus or van accident.
Is it just the digital age’s transparency (i.e. are we hearing about them more via social media?) or are bus/van accidents actually a growing problem? The winter months are especially heinous on touring musicians: Vans flip, crash, tumble, slide and spin. You can safely place your bets every winter that at least one band you know of will be involved in some sort of bus or van accident. Next time you get a snow day, remember your favorite musicians are still out there, driving through Mother Nature’s fury.