December 7, 2021

New Fury Media

Music. Film. Media.

Bands who Don’t Respond to Fans: What to Consider when Meeting your favorite Bands

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Have you ever been to a show and were excited to meet your favorite musician(s), only to have the situation not go as you expected? Maybe they wouldn’t talk to you, they seemed disinterest, refused to take a picture, or even ignored you as you called out to them. It is extremely hurtful. You listen to this material over and over again to the point where you memorized every lyric and riff – of course you’re going to be mad. But this is what most fans don’t take into consideration: often, they can’t even talk to you.

As a journalist, I see this all the time. From doing press at shows I’ve learned the industry quite well, so if bands have to put off from an interview or a meet it’s totally understandable for me. For fans, there is so much emotional connection they don’t take the situation of being a professional musician into consideration. Last night for example, I was at a show. The band had to leave the venue; the guy who was letting the band stay with him was ready to leave and they had to follow him back to his house. Also during this time, there were a couple of fans who wanted pictures. The band quickly took a picture with the fans and immediately left the venue. The fans were hoping for more time with the band, that when they found out they left they were angry; one fan even said “I’m never buying their CD again!”

This is one of the many instances that are common and I see this all the time. And from both points of view: from the enraged fans to the bands stressed that they can’t get anything done.

So here’s a list of common situations fans should take into consideration when approaching musicians. That even though they want to connect with their fans, often it isn’t the right time.

 

They’re loading in/loading out

This is by far the most common I see. Immediately after a band’s set, fans come around to the back of the venue to talk with the bands. They just saw their set, they’re ecstatic to finally see one of their favorite bands, and they want to have that personal connection before leaving the show.

Here’s the issue: bands are usually loading out.

If you’re not sure what this means, it’s when bands load every piece of their gear off of the stage (this not only includes their instruments but amps, computers, audio processors, pedalboards, backdrop/scrims, etc.) and considering this equipment is not only usually heavy but expensive there’s a lot of pressure to load it back in.

While a lot of responsibility is put on gear, the bands are typically given a short amount of time to load out their equipment. If the band is supporting, it should be common sense: the next band has to set up their equipment and make their set time. But the headlining band even has a deadline; usually they have to pack up everything so they can get their guarantee and leave the venue – which is another pressure.

With that being said, obviously the bands have a lot of things on their minds and things to do. When fans approach them, of course they want to talk to you but can’t because of all of the pressure they’re under.

Since I mentioned this before, this will be my next point.

 

They have to make Bus/Van Call

So what is this? It’s a cookie-cutter and professional way to say “get the ‘eff out of the venue.”

Literally, it means the time they need to leave.

So, say the venue closes (meaning the staff wants to get home) at a certain time. More pressure is put on the bands to get their equipment and merch out and packed up so they can get their guarantees. If you’re a supporting band, this is pretty easy to make. If you’re a headliner, it’s way more difficult.

And can more pressure be put even more on the bands? When the venues have other events going on after the show, it definitely can. To make more money, venues open up their doors to the concert-goers and other who weren’t at the show to just drink. Some venues are even clubs when there are no shows. So they schedule shows and the drinking specials/clubs later to make more money. Of course, there isn’t much for the bands in this scenario (unless they want to stay and drink, but even will probably have to pay). As is assumed even the supporting artists are put under way more pressure to set up their equipment, playing times are cut, they are rushed to load out, and they don’t get as much time to spend with their fans.

So whereas bus/van call would be at 2 or 3 A.M., in this situations bus/van call is as early as 11 P.M.

So after a set if you approach the band and they shrug you off, that’s probably because they’re being rushed to leave.

They’re Tired as Hell

This is something most people don’t take into consideration but should: these artists are literally running on hardly any sleep. Sometimes after their set, they don’t want to hang and talk or even party. They just want to sleep. And if a musician is rude to you, don’t take it personal. They’re probably just exhausted and don’t want to talk to anyone. Especially when they know they won’t be sleeping anytime soon, they’re more likely to be on edge.

If you still don’t understand why bands don’t get sleep, they’re routing calls for anywhere between two-to-thirteen hour drives. Often, these extremely long drives (thirteen or fourteen hours) have to be done in a day. Bands are also forced to drive at night since they don’t have time to stay the night at a hotel.

So it’s obvious that these bands are trying to get as much of time to sleep as they can get. Usually, they have to try and sleep between playing and loading in/out.

It’s not that they don’t have any interest in talking to you. They just need to sleep.

Don’t Give Bands your Merch

This is specifically for bands who open for national acts.

I’ve heard this from my friends in bands: they hate it when opening acts give them their merch. Honestly, it has nothing to do with the bands. These artists bring only so much on tour (equipment, clothes, food, etc.) and often they can’t fit all of the stuff they get. It becomes more of an annoyance than a want to support bands.

Honestly, most bands end up throwing it away or giving it to someone else. Do they feel bad? Yes. But they can’t keep all of that material in their suitcases.

Now, if you want bands to have your merch there are better ways to go about it. Simply put, approach them and start a conversation. Ask if they saw you live and if so, offer that you can give them a CD and/or shirt. That way you’re not shoving anything in their face, making them feel obligated to take it.

The best way to stand out is to do something beneficial for the bands. If you buy them food or alcohol, trust me they will be thankful. If you want to do a little self-promotion, they will usually be more reluctant to give you guys a chance.

A friend of mine hit me up awhile back, saying he needed a place to stay in Orlando. I contacted another friend of mine who put them up for the night. The next day they played here in Tampa, and the guitarist of this band was wearing the homeowner’s band shirt. I pointed it out to him and he said something like, “yeah they let us stay over! They also bought us food and beer. He gave me this shirt, his band is pretty sick.”

Kindness goes a long way, especially in the music industry. So if you want your work to be known then do something for someone else first.

With that pointer, there are also good pointers to consider. Even if all you do is you want to shake someone’s hand.

  • Only approach the supporters after their set, but wait about fifteen minutes. That’s about the time they will finish loading their equipment off and packing it up. After that, they’re literally doing nothing. They have to wait for the show to end to get their guarantees. Usually the bands will be hanging at the venue, drinking at some of the local bars, or in the van/bus. It’ll be easy to approach them.
  • For the headliners, if you get to the venue early and see them walking around just say a quick hi. See if they’re busy before you start talking to them. Usually the bands have time to hang out before they start playing.
  • But if you want to be safe then go to their merch table. Buy some merch, ask the merchperson if you can have the band come out and sign your stuff. That way, they see you bought something: this goes way farther than you can even imagine. Anyone would take time to go out and autograph what you bought. If the band is selling the merch, then they will have no issue signing something for you. If they’re not busy you can even strike up a conversation with them right there.

It’s honestly easy to approach bands and talk to them. Especially bands of underground genres, they’re usually down to chat with their fans. But most people just go about it wrong. While you think of your day job of work and the show as fun, the show is equivalent to your day job for bands. Like how you have responsibilities at your job, the bands have responsibilities for their job: playing shows. If it’s obvious that an artist isn’t interested in talking to you, leave him/her be. Don’t try and be offended. It’s usually not you; it’s all of the stress they have to endure.

I hope this advice helps and that you’ll remember the pointers when meeting an artist, it will go the longest way. Just know the bands love what they do, but they are human. If you respect that then you’ll only have good experiences with them.how_to_prepare_for_your_next_show

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