Meeting People Is Easy: What To Do—And What *Not* To Do—When Approaching Your Idols - Features - Alternative Press

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Meeting People Is Easy: What To Do—And What *Not* To Do—When Approaching Your Idols

July 25 2011, 6:59 AM EDT By Matthew Bemer


MATT THIESSEN of RELIENT K
What is one question a fan should not ask you?
Don’t ask me to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance with you anymore. I’ve heard that one a lot.

What questions do you like hearing from fans?
Anything that sounds like they put some thought into it, like an actual conversation. Normally people don’t even ask questions, they just say, “Good show.”

Is there anything you would like to hear from fans after a show?
It really just depends on the individual. Unfortunately, there’s not always enough time to really have a conversation that you would like to have. The ideal situation would be to hang out with a couple people, sit back and talk with them.

Have you ever had a really bad experience with a fan?
There’s a few. The other day we had a day off in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and apparently these guys went around from bus to bus in town until they found ours and parked outside our hotel and were tweeting about me walking around my bus. I went into the hotel to take a shower or something, and when I came out they were waiting there in their car. talked to them for like twenty minutes but it was just weird to be stalked like that. [By] guys especially.

Turn the table. What’s the best experience?
One time I got an email from this guy, his last name is Jacobson. His whole family caught crabs up by Seattle. They sent me this email with pictures of the crabs and I was like, “Oh, that looks really good.” Ends up we had a day off up there, met up with him, went out on their boat crab fishing all day [and] had dinner with their family. It was like one of the most serendipitous, awesome days of my life. And we’ve been friend with Jacobson ever since.

One last piece of advice for fans?
Guys in bands aren’t anything special. It’s cool not to get your t-shirt signed sometimes, and it’s cool to treat people like normal. Meeting celebrities isn’t a big deal. It just really isn’t. I don’t know if anybody will ever get that.

SEAN PAUL PILLSWORTH and BILL MANLEY of NIGHTMARES FOR A WEEK
What is the one question that a fan should not ask you?
Playing in a band or being any kind of artist usually means that at one time or another, you were probably an excited fan dying to know everything about your favorite act. Most questions are perfectly fine. However, I would say anything super-personal would be deemed “off limits.” Like, if someone asks, “Hey, my buddy and I are going to be in your town over the weekend,” that’s already a little strange. [Then it gets weirder when someone says] “Could we have your number and maybe we could come crash at your place?” [SPP]

What one question do you like hearing from a fan?
We love being questioned about our musical influence, what we listen to or how/why we started playing music. These are very normal questions to ask but usually stir up some pretty awesome conversations about not only music but [also] life. [SPP]

What question are you never asked, but you wish you were?
“Would you guys like another round on me?” Can’t hear this question enough! Wish we heard it more. [SPP]

What is your best meeting-a-fan experience?
Any time you feel like someone appreciates what you do, it is a great experience. The last time we played at this smelly dive bar in Connecticut, we met someone who drove from six hours away to come see us. That’s a pretty awesome feeling. The only band I would travel from six hours away to go see is Bruce Springsteen. [BM]

What is your worst experience dealing with fans in person?
We never really have had any bad experiences. We feel we are lucky that we have people who support what we do. [SPP]

Is there a specific time when fans should “back off” and not approach you?
I really want to say no to this question. Though it is flattering to be recognized for something you love doing, people should practice common sense. Band members have personal lives, too. I know if I’m out somewhere with my daughter, you should probably give me some space. If you want to chat, chances are you’ll see me at a show. [SPP]

What’s the number one piece of advice a fan should remember when approaching a band?
Remember, beer is always appreciated. Even six packs! [SPP]

ANDREW BAYLIS of LIFE ON REPEAT
What is the one question that a fan should not ask you?
Listen to my band’s demo.

What is one question you like to hear from fans?
“How long have you been playing guitar?” or something along those lines. I really like answering questions that pertain specifically to our sound or playing style.

What question are you never asked, but you wish you were?
How did you achieve such a great guitar tone? [Laughs.]

What is your best meeting-a-fan experience?
I would say in St. Paul, Minnesota, where we met two girls that had our band logo tattooed on their legs. Pretty crazy!

What is your worst experience dealing with fans in person?
Probably when a short conversation turns into how can they get their own band signed.

Is there a specific time when fans should “back off” and not approach you?
We’re pretty easygoing! I think the only time that [it] is tough is if something breaks on stage during our set. Whenever that happens, I don’t want to talk to anyone, because I’m usually pretty upset or bummed about it. I just want to fix it and get back into playing. Other than that, I’m usually pretty flexible and always really look forward to meeting and talking with fans.

COLIN CORLEY of SO MANY WAYS
What is the one question that a fan should not ask you?
Anything about my personal life. Anything music-related is totally cool, ask me anything. But anything regarding someone’s personal life is just weird.

What is one question you like to hear from a fan?
I've never really been asked too much, but my favorite question I get is what bands are we influenced by.

What question are you never asked, but you wish you were?
What kind of underwear are you wearing right now, if any at all?

What is your best meeting-a-fan experience?
Since we’re a really small band, we haven’t had many. But one time I was working at Metro, the club in Chicago that I work at, and a kid came up to me randomly during one of the shows and said, “Hey man, you’re in So Many Ways, right? I love the new EP!” That was my first time experiencing [recognition] like that. So it was pretty cool.

What is your worst experience dealing with fans in person?
We haven’t really had any. Everyone that seems to like our band are pretty great people and luckily, we haven’t really experienced anything odd happen.

Is there a specific time when fans should “back off” and not approach you?
I would say if you see any of us seriously mad or pissed off, that would probably not be the best time to approach us.

What’s the number one piece of advice a fan should remember when approaching a band?
Just be yourself. We’re not cooler than you because we’re in a band; we’re just normal dudes. Just come and talk to us.

JEFF STINCO of SIMPLE PLAN
What are some questions that a fan should not ask you?
You know it’s very strange. When you decide to be in a band, you kind of have to let go of your privacy. There’s a certain limit that obviously you want to keep. I’ve got kids, for instance. I don’t really want to talk about my kids. That’s really got nothing to do with what I do, but besides from that, there’s really no limit.

What question do you like to hear from fans?
I like fans that talk about the music. A lot of times there is a strong emphasis on the artwork, the looks of the band. It’s always great to hear fans ask us about the process and the music, and our career in general. Those are always great questions to ask, and it makes this whole thing have a little sense.

Are there any questions you wish you heard more?
The shittiest question I hear all the time is, “What’s the craziest question you’ve ever heard?” Those questions are not very creative. I’d love to hear more creative questions about lyrics [and] the band in general.

What’s the worst fan experience you’ve had?
I can tell you of one. I think nowadays fans feel that they have—they should have—some sort of closeness with their favorite band. Recently, I had a fan hack into [some] of my [online] accounts. It was just pretty shitty to get tons of letters [and] emails and that person got angry at me for not answering at a certain point.

I’ve heard a lot of these bad stalker stories.
It was stalker-ish. That person kept their distance still. I never really met that person. It just felt very intrusive.

Is there anytime a fan should “back off” from you?
I’m pretty much always approachable. When you’re having dinner with people, that’s the worst scenario. You’re having dinner, sitting down and you’re having a good chat and someone just walks in, kind of barges in. That sucks. Besides from that, I’m pretty open. I think that most of our fans are very respectful, and they’ll wait for us to be done or take a break and they’ll come down and say hi. Honestly, we’ve been doing this for ten years now and we’ve had really, really great experiences with our fans.

Any last piece of advice for fans?
In general, whether you’re in a band or you’re a fan, just be nice. It’s very simple. There [are] a lot of egos in this business and I don’t know what for. Nobody’s saving lives here. I know some doctors who do save lives who are very humble. I think it’s a question of being a good human being and just doing your best.

JOEL KANITZ of THIS CENTURY
What is the one question that a fan should not ask you?
“Boxers or briefs?” I’m tired of that one.

What one question do you like hearing from a fan?
Any question that has to do with the music itself is always great to answer. Sometimes, even a simple, “How are you doing?” is nice to hear.

What question are you never asked, but you wish you were?
“What motivates you to keep working at a career in music?”

What is your best meeting-a-fan experience?
I can’t think of a specific person, but I enjoy when people tell us about how our music, or music in general, has affected them in a positive way. There’s something refreshing about talking with an individual who truly appreciates music for what it is.

What is your worst experience dealing with fans in person?
We once had to deal with a girl who wouldn’t leave and let other fans come and talk with us. It’s hard to know what to say in that situation. I really don’t like having to tell someone that they need to leave, but at the same time, it’s just so rude of someone to do that to other fans. She then decided to touch us inappropriately when we weren’t looking. I don’t know if it was some sort of dare, but I nearly lost it.

Is there a specific time when fans should “back off” and not approach you?
Not really. I’m down to talk with someone whenever, as long as they’re respectful. Maybe if I start doing steroids one day, then fans should worry about approaching me. I don’t see that happening, though.

What’s the number one piece of advice a fan should remember when approaching a band?
You don’t have to put on an act when talking to bands. Just be respectful and speak from the heart.

ERIK “GOOSE” HENNING of POLAR BEAR CLUB
What is the one question that fans should not ask you?
My least favorite thing fans ask is to be put on a guestlist, and [then they] take it for granted. I completely understand not having any money at all and making a last-ditch effort and asking via Twitter or Facebook to get on a guestlist, but there are people we have never even met before that ask every single time. Or asking for a free T-shirt. It’s crazy how much it happens. Get a job, ya hippies!

What is one question that you like to hear from fans?
“Where’s Jimmy? Want a beer?” [Laughs.]  Honestly, I like when people ask me questions that have nothing to do with Polar Bear Club. I like talking about new music I'm into or music I have been into for a while. There is usually no small-talk bullshit with those kinds of conversations. If someone asks, "How’s [the] tour?" I probably just say, “Good!” without thinking too much about it.

What question are you never asked, but you wish you were?
"Do you want a ride to the nearest Chic-fil-A?"

What is your best meeting-a-fan experience?
[It’s] kind of a "typical" story I guess, but a girl came up to me and was talking about how her father passed away the week before, and how listening to Polar Bear Club helped her through it.  Really cool.  Also, Party Marty from Pomona, California, is a living legend. I hope he hasn't partied himself to death.

What is your worst experience dealing with fans in person?
A guy came up to my from behind while I was peeing in a urinal and started kissing me on the neck and drunkenly started singing our lyrics to me in my ear. It was very strange, but honestly [it] didn't really bother me. After talking to him for like twenty minutes and him singing lyrics of his band in my ear, and the never-ending kisses on the neck and cheek, I told him I had to go. He called me a homophobe and told me I hated my fans. Bummed me out.

Is there a specific time when fans should "back off" and not approach you?
If you see someone on their cell phone, it is probably not a good time to go talk to them.  I learned this the hard way when I ran up to [wrestler] Bad Ass Billy Gunn when I was a kid and he was on his phone. In not so many words, he pretty much told me, "Fuck off, I'm on the phone." Broke my heart.  But I'd like to send a shout out to Bad Ass Billy Gunn, and pretty much all of D-Generation X for teaching me manners.

What's the number one piece of advice a fan should remember when approaching a band?If you meet your hero, remember he's still probably just a regular dude or a fucking asshole. No need to try to impress a dude or an asshole.  Unless it’s Justin Timberlake. If he's as cool as he seems, don't even try and talk to him unless you are wearing a fedora. Show some goddamn respect.

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