In the past few years, I’ve been extremely fortunate to interact with and/or meet several of my favorite musicians. In such a finicky industry, you would assume that these musicians would be eternally grateful with this situation. After all, fans are their base source of income. While this is true for most musicians, I have met/interacted with some I would happily never interact with again. And there are some musicians I wouldn’t pee on, if they were on fire.
Below are my thoughts and reactions to a small smattering of musicians I have met in the last 2 years.
The Good Musicians are the ones who never seem to be unhappy to see their fans. They are the ones that understand kindness, manners, and a smile will get them far. My list has actually grown very extensive in this category. I would like to highlight a few that are, in my humble opinion, some of the politest and sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Chris Catalyst–Chris Catalyst has to be one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He greets every fan with a genuine smile. As he signs autographs, he takes the time to ASK questions about his fans. He jokes and laughs with you like you’re old friends. He’s very humble upon receiving praise.The best anecdote I have about Chris is in regards to a concert Amy and I attended. Amy is a HUGE Chris Catalyst fan. She was complimenting him on his solo album. As she scurried away and Chris resumed talking with some other fans, I politely and discreetly asked him if he would give Amy a hug. (I knew it would mean the world to her.) Chris burst into a large smile, said “sure,” and proceeded to ambush Amy with what can only be described as the biggest of bear hugs. (I believe he may have even kissed her cheek!)
Now, he didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to do any of that. But he was a complete gentleman throughout the entire situation. If it hadn’t been for his bus call, I think he would have stayed out on the street chatting with us for a few more hours.
When Amy and I saw him at another venue a few days later, he was actually happy to see us. He remembered us and chatted with us briefly about the shows we’d seen, etc.
Again, he didn’t have to do that. But he did. Chris Catalyst is probably, to date, my favorite musician I have met.
Phil Anselmo– You can say what you want about Phil Anselmo, but the guy is kinda a living rock legend. I know he’s had some bad publicity and made some not so smart decisions in the past, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was extremely polite when I met him. Granted, he was pretty high when I met him and people who are high generally tend to be pretty mellow.He asked me about the show, signed a set-list, and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Now, I honestly think the hug and kiss might have been a pity hug and kiss. Why? Because I had explained to him that just 24 hours earlier, I’d been chaperoning Senior Prom. I think he felt sorry for me. But again, he was extremely polite to me, and as you can see manners go a long way with me.
The Whole of Stone Sour– Okay. I want to know if I can just adopt this whole band. I had the pleasure of meeting all of Stone Sour in June. I had Meet and Greet tickets. Now, I’ve done Meet and Greets before and they are always so awkward. Stand here. Smile. Ok, leave that way. And what do you do with those photos? Mine often never see the light of day. But that wasn’t exactly what happened with Stone Sour. I had this brilliant idea that I would ask them all to look like they were in trouble. I figured I could hang it in my classroom. Smart idea, right? Oh my goodness! These guys just ate it up! They loved the idea. They made the saddest faces and changed their body posture. They literally look so dejected in the photo while I’m smiling like a loon.The photo actually hangs in my classroom with a caption that says “Stone Sour forget to put their names on their papers. No Name=No Credit.” I get the biggest kick out of it every time I look in the back of the classroom. Especially when I look at Josh Rand and Christian Martucci. Boy, oh boy, did they ever play it up. They both look like they’re about to cry! Hahaha! Still one of my favorite Meet and Greet photos.
When you tell a band to look like they’re in trouble and they totally ham it up.
I love the fact that they were willing to play it up and have fun with it. I love the fact that they were all so polite and willing to make small chat.
Chris Motionless of Motionless in White– For some reason, people love to hate Motionless in White. I don’t get it. I think their music is fantastic and has progressively gotten better with each album. At Warped Tour 2016, I bought Amy’s daughter tickets to Chris Motionless’s TEI workshop. She is a huge fan and I wanted to get her something special to celebrate all these achievements in her life.Anyway, we get to this TEI workshop and I was incredibly impressed by Chris Motionless. Not only is he articulate, he has a great sense of humor. See, he was bagging on teachers and it kinda set me off. I mean, I work my ass off AND teachers today are not like the teachers he and I had in school. Teachers now are much more aware of the social-emotional problems that teens go through. And… I felt the need to defend myself… And… I did. After I put my foot in my mouth, I really thought he was going to be so rude and indignant to me. Not true.
After the TEI workshop AND Motionless in White’s set, I purchased the band posters that could be signed during their signing session. As Amy’s daughter and I stood in line, I silently watched as Chris Motionless was really the only band member to engage with fans as they came through for autographs. He laughed, smiled, and joked with each of the fans. When it was my turn, he stopped and just kinda looked at me. Then he paid me one of the greatest compliments I have ever received. He said “Thank you for doing what you do for our kids, our fans.” D’aww. I tried to thank him for creating great music and he just put his hand up and said “Naw.”
The Bad Musicians are the ones that go through the motions. They don’t seem to really want to interact with their fans, but they understand it is part of the job. Thankfully, this list is rather short.
Mauro Rubino– This broke my heart. After traveling up and down the West Coast, I saw Mauro Rubino not once, but twice after shows. The first time, he walked by all of his fans like he just didn’t even care. The second time, he came out to the fans and pulled four behind the barricade to the bus. He said, “We’ll be out in a few minutes to sign autographs.” An hour later, no band no Mauro. What really really broke my heart is that there were kids waiting for him and the band. I don’t understand how you can be so cruel to kids.
Andy LePlegua– Apparently if you aren’t a size zero with double-D boobs, Andy LePlegua doesn’t have time for you. This really saddens me because I think he’s extremely talented. He’s also incredibly dynamic to watch on stage. But when 1 of 6 people waiting to meet you at an autograph signing simply wants to shake your hand and pay you a compliment, don’t be a douche bag. Andy LePlegua literally looked at me like he had stepped in gum.
Henrik Palm– Another extremely talented artist with douchebag ways. I don’t understand how you can walk by your fans when they are asking for autographs and look at them like they are the scum of the earth. Look, I understand that at the time I ran into Henrik Palm and Mauro Rubino things weren’t exactly peachy behind the scenes. But that doesn’t excuse you from being an asshole.
The Ugly Musicians are the ones who go above and beyond when it comes to being rude. They are the ones that don’t acknowledge you when you speak OR yell at you. Again, this is a relatively short list, but still… I can’t deal with the rudeness.
Ronnie Radke– I have never been a Falling in Reverse fan, but they happened to be touring with Motionless in White. My friends and I arrived late to the show and were walking from the parking lot to the venue. In order to do so, you had to walk by the venue entrance for artists and their buses. As we were walking and talking and passing the bus, Radke came flying out of the bus. He knocked me flat on my ass and then told me to “Watch where the fuck you’re going bitch.” (He quickly scampered away because my friend’s fiance is easily twice as big as Radke and was ready to hit him.) Ummm… Excuse me? You knocked me over dumbass. And how am I supposed to know you’re coming off the bus? That is no way to endear yourself to people, fans or not. Where is the common decency?
Zac Baird– Okay. I was already skeptical of this guy before meeting him, but I decided to give him a chance. I took piano for 15 years and can appreciate talent where it is. Like him or not, Zac Baird is a decent keyboardist… maybe not the keytair. After a show, I was attempting to pay him a compliment about watching him on stage. He literally walked away from me while I was mid-sentence. Obviously, I can’t tolerate rudeness. This was rudeness on a whole nother level. This is rudeness where The next time I saw him I kinda wanted to throw my shoe at him. But my momma taught me not to be a vindictive bitch.
Devin “Ghost” Sola– Another talented musician who has no idea how to interact with people. I do not understand how this guy can be in the same band as Chris Motionless and be such a douchebag. I would think some of Chris Motionless’s attitudes and mannerisms would rub off on this guy, but I guess not. He won’t look you in the eye. He looks bored to be talking to people. He treats everything like it’s a true imposition. I mean, how dare we (the fans) try to pay him a compliment.
Final Thoughts: I get it. Being a musician is tough. Long hours, little sleep, and you’re rarely home. But you have to remember why and who you are doing this for. Feigning a little humility and politeness will get you a long way. If you continue to act like you don’t give a shit about your fans, your fans will turn on you.