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For Those About to Stalk: How to Handle Your Fans Now That You Actually Have a Few

HMXHellion is Senior Writer/Producer at Harmonix. She does not have that many fans, but the ones she has are very loyal and much appreciated. If she lived aboard Battlestar Galactica, she thinks she would probably want to be a bartender, because it seems like that’s where all the tasty military types hang out and it doesn’t involve doing push-ups or shoveling anything (1).


I am not the popular one in my band. That would be LoWreck. Here is a sample of the type of email we receive on a fairly regular basis:

Hey dudes I mean ladies ha aha ha!! Yins gals are awesome, you are 2 crazy like so crazy like a cat lady hahaha. Lowreck is soooo hot I wanna merrrrry her! Has my babys Lowreck!!!!!! Love, George W. Bush

I’m not bitter about it – it makes sense. LoWreck is very cute and she tends to call people “feces wombat” less often than I do (although not MUCH less often). In fact, I think that LoWreck should be jealous of me. Because although the majority of fan mail is, in fact, for her, the fans who do prefer me are way, way, way crazier – which is far more interesting. Here is a sample of the type of email that I receive on a less-regular basis:

Hey dudes I mean ladies ha aha ha!! Hey Hellion remember when you were taking out your trash yesterday and you were like ‘la la I am taking the trash out I hope no one is watching me’? Sometimes I like to punch myself in the neck just to feel thingz. You know what I meen? I KNOW YOU DO BECAUSE we are SOULMATEZ. I bring the nightmare to your face!!!!! Love, George W. Bush

Frankly, I appreciate the crazy. In addition to having much better stories and a part-time unpaid security detail lurking outside my house, my weirdo fans are easier to get rid of. It seems contrary to logic, but it’s true.

Example of LoWreck’s typical fan interaction:

LoWreck’s fan: “Hey, you were great. Can I buy you a beer?”
LoWreck: “Oh, no thanks. But thanks a lot!”
LoWreck’s fan: “Ha, no problem! Hey, you were great!”
LoWreck: “Oh. Thanks a lot!”
(And so on for eternity.)

Example of MY typical fan interaction:

Helen’s fan: “Hey, you were great. Can I buy you some shoe polish?”
Helen: “THERE ARE PANDAS HIDING IN YOUR NOSTRILS!”
Helen’s fan: “OH NO NOT AGAIN.”
(Fan runs off to deal with nasal pandas.)

Now, of course, I exaggerate – most of our fans are amazing and not scary in the slightest bit. But it can sometimes be tricky to tell the difference between a fan and a stalker. This is a particularly important skill to learn, because you need to treat the two totally differently. You need to be nice to your fans and harsh to the stalkers – but if you make a mistake in which is which, you could end up looking like a total jerk diaper and dating a mental patient.

If you’re having trouble figuring out whether your newfound pal is just a diehard fan or a psycho killer, here is a handy quiz that you can print out and go over at your shows:

How would you describe this person’s eyes?

  1. Nice
  2. Nothing special
  3. Vaguely dangerous
  4. Wildly dilating pupils, seems like there are vast oceans of pain and baggage behind them, looking directly at them makes me feel ashamed and violated.

What is this person wearing?

  1. Your band’s tee-shirt
  2. A pleasant windbreaker
  3. A Cannibal Corpse tee-shirt
  4. A suit composed of newspaper clippings about your band, clumps of your hair stolen from your hairbrush while you are onstage, and awesome Star Wars: Return of the Jedi-print fabric that appears to be the sheet set from your childhood bedroom that you keep in storage (2).

What did this person ask you to sign?

  1. His copy of your CD
  2. Her tee-shirt
  3. Bosoms – yowza!
  4. A piece of paper with lots of legal writing on it that you don’t bother really reading because you are busy and tipsy, but you think maybe you recall seeing the words “Marriage License” but you couldn’t really tell because your fan was covering most of it with his thumb.

What is the first thing that this person says to you?

  1. “I am a big fan.”
  2. “That was a great show.”
  3. “You aren’t as good as the Dropkicks, but I like your TV yellow guitar.”
  4. “Haha, sorry, I just wanted to see what it was like under your car. Everything seems fine… JUST LIKE YOU! Haha. Ha.”

Where have you seen this person before?

  1. Shows around town
  2. The supermarket
  3. Broke the heart of a good friend of yours
  4. It is the face that you think you see outside your windows whenever the power goes off suddenly but no one has ever seen it but you, and also, once, hiding in your washing machine

If you chose 4 for each of these questions, then you are dealing with a legitimate stalker. (If you chose 3 for each of these questions, get that person’s digits and send them to me because he/she sounds mega foxy.) When dealing with a stalker, it is very important to be firm and clear in your lack of interest. If you give mixed signals or act too polite, the stalker will believe that she is your secret girlfriend and will start calling your actual girlfriend and using phrases like “chopstick to the eye socket” and “expired restraining order.”

For some people, it can be difficult to be this firm (3) when it comes to hurting someone’s feelings. If you find yourself having these thoughts, go home, watch Best of the Best nine times, and MAN UP. This is important and you can do it.

For the rest of the fans, be nice. We love our fans. Sometimes I am a little too nice to them, like the dudes from Sweden who came to see us at the Abbey that I felt I should be nice to -- I invited them over to my house, except the Celtics were on, so I was literally staring at the TV drinking PBR quietly while two Swedes looked around my living room in awkward silence (4). That made me feel bad later, because I kept imagining what it would be like if I met Jimmy Page and he was like “Oh seriously? You’re a big fan? That’s SO COOL, wow. Gosh. Well do you wanna come over to my house? We can watch sports! Yaaaaay!” My first thought would be “Whoa. Jimmy Page is kind of sad.” If I ever meet Jimmy Page, I hope that he is polite but clearly mildly irritated by me since he has better things to do with his time than talk to me… and then does naked bedtimes with me.

So, to sum up, be nice to the fans but don’t be “sad nice” like me and imaginary Jimmy Page. Be stern with the stalkers and do not, under any circumstances, let them have access to your hairbrushes or discarded beer cans. And repeat after me: God grant me the serenity to be nice to the fans even if I am in a bad mood because my bassist’s friend said my hair needed more “product”, the courage not to date the stalkers even if they have wildly attractive abs and bring me homemade shortbread, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

 

 

1) How about you, what job would you want? No spoilers please, I just finished season 4 and am wicked psyched for the final season.

2) Look, I am aware that Empire Strikes Back is the COOL movie to like. I even acknowledge that it is a superior film to Return of the Jedi. I don’t give a unicorn’s patooty – EWOKS. ARE. AWESOME.

3) Ha ha.

4) Then later we played beer pong and they videotaped me saying dirty things in Swedish. So hopefully it wasn’t a total wash for them.