There have been a lot of new releases in the rock musicverse as of late. So far this summer, we’ve heard newly released singles and album tracks from upcoming records - The Killers, Aerosmith, Muse – as well as new LPs from the likes of Gojira, Fiona Apple, The Smashing Pumpkins, Linkin Park, Periphery, Serj Tankian and Tenacious D. Of course listening to the music is always the main attraction, but it’s also interesting to hear the overall fan response to a band’s new or upcoming release.
Glance over the comment sections of music news articles or visit a band’s social media platform and you’ll often see varying fan responses. Some fans are expectedly enthusiastic about the new material; some nitpick small details; some sing praise while others troll the Interwebz to voice distaste over the band’s recent musical direction. Not only does the fan response say a lot about the quality of a band’s fan base, but it also reveals how many different types of music fans exist.
Going off the wide variety of fan responses to the aforementioned artists, I’ve come up with a list of 10 different music fan types. Granted, these mostly stem from my own observations and experiences, but I’m sure you’ve run into at least one of these fan types over the course of your life.
To set the scene, imagine you’re at a show to see a rock band called Meat Thud. Meat Thud has just released its 4th record, "Carne Assada" and is touring in support of it. So far the record is selling much better than previous efforts, the band is drawing large crowds and attracting more widespread attention. As you wait around for the band to take the stage (maybe you’re getting a drink at the bar or taking a piss), you encounter several Meat Thud fans and they’re eager to chat with you. Here are some characters you may come across...
1) The Casual
The Casual likes a wide variety of music and states that he "likes pretty much anything". He enjoys Meat Thud’s music, but is familiar mostly with the more popular songs and or albums. The Casual has heard a good amount of Meat Thud’s music but doesn’t know much about the individual band members or their history. He’s there for a good time.
2) The Super Fanatic
This guy loves everything Meat Thud has released, even the critically slammed and musically uncharacteristic jazz odyssey EP. He feels a strange love and connection to the individual band members and speaks of them on a first-name basis. He immediately buys the new record and will be hooked no matter what comes through the speakers.
3) The Bandwagon Hopper
You know this guy. Once Meat Thud started to become more popular with a wider audience (especially girls), The Hopper jumps on board and presents himself as a longtime fan. He buys a t-shirt in support of the band and is delighted to talk about the band’s hit songs, which serve as common ground topic with those surrounding him.
4) The Objective Observer
Similar to The Casual, The Objective Observer knows a good deal about music and likes to form his opinions based on the quality of the music, regardless of whether or not he loves a band or not. The Objective Observer finds aspects of the music he likes but will be quick to point out parts he doesn’t like. At the concert, he tells you he enjoys Meat Thud’s new record overall, but criticizes a few songs that he suspects were included more for commerciality’s sake.
5) The Nostalgic Listener
This dude listened to Meat Thud when he was in junior high. He pops them on every now and then for a nostalgic listen and a trip down the alleyway of fond memories. He’s really stoked to hear the band’s older songs during the set.
6) The Scenester
This fan primarily listens to music that pertains to whatever "scene" he’s involved in. When bands release new material that deviates from the accepted standard scene criteria, the Scenester will write them off, either losing interest or expressing extreme disappointment. He stands out of the crowd at this particular concert and you wonder why a hardcore kid even go to a rock show.
7) The Fan From Underground
The Fan from Underground generally prefers smaller bands that haven’t hit the big time. He loves a band’s early releases and selfishly resents the band’s graduation to a higher level of financial success and exposure. Like the Super Fanatic, he feels a personal connection to the band and hates the fact that guys like The Bandwagon Hopper have discovered them. He’s quick to point out, "Yeah, but dude, I’ve been listening to these guys from the beginning." His knowledge of the band runs deep, yet he’ll never be fully pleased as he watches Meat Thud rise.
8) The Oblivious Elitist
This person knows enough about music to throw terms around. Upon first glance he appears knowledgeable and musically educated; however lengthy talks with this person reveals an underlying condescension. He implies that because he understands music on a deeper level than most people, he is better qualified to judge whether or not a band is worth listening to. He is oblivious to the fact that nobody really cares what he thinks. Your mind starts wandering when he criticizes the absence of harmonic counterpoint on "Carne Assada".
9) The Sponge
The Sponge is eager to listen to new and exciting things. He is (for the most part) not prejudice against genres or musical trends. He usually gravitates toward metal, but appreciates the aggression and guitar work of Meat Thud. He looks to other music fans to turn him onto new stuff and also explores new musical territories. When he finds a particular artist that piques his interest, he has a habit of dedicating a considerable amount of time researching the band and explores their discography.
10) The Sh-tter
This guy! The cynical Sh-tter seems to know a lot of details about a band, but you soon realize he only says negative things about the music. Through a conversation in which he argues why Meat Thud should be considered overrated at this point, you wonder why The Sh-tter even bothered to come to the show in the first place. Seriously, why is he there?
After all that, Meat Thud takes the stage and puts on a pretty damn good show. You can’t help but grin when you see the Oblivious Elitist lose his balance in the pit though.
So would you identify yourself as any of these fan types? More than one, perhaps? Can you think of any other types of music fans you’d see at a show like this?
Pick of the Week: "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" - Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991)
As a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, I would call myself The Casual. I remember "Californication" was a HUGE record when I was in middle school and nearly everybody was familiar with Chili Peppers tunes.
Lately though, driven by my bass studies, I started learning a bunch of Flea basslines and in turn, have started to appreciate the Chili Peppers in an entirely new way. I’m turning into The Sponge and have started researching the band and really diving into some records. Plus, Flea’s basslines on "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" are intense.
If you’re not already familiar with this extremely popular album from RHCP, here are a few details. This Rick Rubin-produced album was recorded during the early summer of 1991 in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. The band, given the task to record the follow up to 1989’s "Mother's Milk", lived in the mansion, free from the constraints of a recording studio and able to fully concentrate on recording.
In terms of production, each instrument crisply and brightly shines through the mix, giving the guitar, bass and drum presence a punchy, bright quality. In my opinion, the excited vocal performance of Anthony Kiedis, although impressive, takes a backseat John Frusciante’s unique, funky guitar styling and Flea and Chad Smith’s driving, groovy rhythm section. Standout tracks include "Suck My Kiss", "Breaking The Girl", "Blood Sugar Sex Magik", "Sir Psycho Sexy", and "Power Of Equality". Seriously, blast “Suck My Kiss” and appreciate how heavy of a track it is!
Now, if you’re already familiar with the record and want a fresh perspective, check out "Funky Monks", a documentary directed by Flea’s brother-in-law and shot during the "BSSM" recording sessions. When watching the black-and-white documentary, you get a sense of the creative high the band was in at the time and how the physical setting helped them write some of their strongest and mature songs to date.
At one point in the documentary, Frusciante states, "We’re making an amazing, amazing, groundbreaking, revolutionary, beautiful, artistically-heightened, incredible record." Kiedis then echoes the sentiment in a more stylized fashion: "If Baron von Munchausen had ejaculated the four of us being the Red Hot Chili Peppers onto a chessboard, I would have to say that Rick Rubin would be the perfect chess player for that particular board."
On The Next It's The End Of The Week As We Know It:
An announcement is made revealing Travis Barker’s replacement on Blink-182’s upcoming tour; the lucky drummer is none other than Mike Portnoy.
After Queensryche singer, Geoff Tate, files a lawsuit against his former band mates and spits on drummer, Scott Rockenfield, Tate escalates the feud by TP-ing the guitarist’s house and taking a dump on his lawn.
Queensryche retaliates by burning down Geoff Tate’s apartment.