So I found out the other day that one of my favorite bands of the late 80s, The Church, is going to be doing an in-store appearance at Amoeba here in San Francisco. Most of you already know that their 1988 song “Under the Milky Way” is my favorite song of all time, so this little meet and greet is somewhat of a big thing for me. If they play it live (I’d be surprised if they didn’t, considering it’s one of their signature songs), I’ll be absolutely over the moon. I already have their new album, Further Deeper, which I downloaded straight from their site late last year, but I may just buy it again to get it signed. I’m that much of a fan.
Meeting a favorite band or music is always an interesting experience. I went to one or two in-stores back in my college days, but it wasn’t until I started working at HMV that I was able to get on the list, stick around and meet the band after local shows. I’ve gone to a few signings here in SF as well. The guys from Travis are all wonderful, very friendly Glaswegians, and I had a really good long chat about recording and bass playing with their bassist Dougie. The guys from the Verve Pipe were reserved but very nice guys (and Brian Van der Ark really is that tall!). Karl Wallinger of World Party is a lovely guy and was absolutely tickled to see people there. Then there’s the George Harrison moment, of course–the one time I was actually shaking afterwards. There were a few others I’ve met, where they hid behind a bottle or a few beers, or where they felt just as uncomfortable as I did at that moment…those sometimes happen as well.
One of my favorite things about meeting my favorite musicians, especially once I got over being starstruck, is that they’re all the same as us fans. They’re just regular people who are amused, maybe even a little bemused, that they have this kind of following. Sometimes you can talk to them on Twitter or Facebook like you do your buddies, sometimes you’ll get to know them well. Maybe not as close friends, but as acquaintances. Your job is pushing paper, their job is writing songs and touring. But the human interaction is the same.
It’s one of the many joys of being a music fan for me. I don’t demand anything of them, though I may ask for an autograph if they’re willing. But I truly enjoy meeting them face to face, and thanking them for doing what they do, letting them know I love their art.