So I was waiting for the band to show up for an interview. Rock stars, as usual, were late. I came prepared. I scoped out the surroundings. Some were community members waiting for their rides, and a few scraggly looking teenagers hanging around hoping to catch a glimpse at their rock idols.
Knowing the concert was sold out I turned to the 15 year old in hipster frames next to me, ‘Are you trying to get a ticket to the show?’
He pulled out his earphones from watching a cartoon on his ipod. ‘What?’
I repeated myself, ‘you need tickets to the show?’
‘No,’ he answered. ‘I’m just a huge fan and want to get the best seat.’ I glanced to the receptionist’s clock; it read 3:30 p.m. The kid must have come straight from school. His braces betrayed his age. ‘I feel embarrassed, I just heard their stuff for the first time a couple of months ago. None of my friends know the band.’
‘The band’s still at the hotel. They’re running late.’ I shared while seated beside him by the artificial Christmas tree while the mentally disabled kids cried about slipping on the ice. His eyes widened- I knew where his beloved band was.
‘I’m a journalist.’ I volunteered. Saying those words aloud made me realize I’d been in that kid’s shoes a bunch of times before and I sympathized. It had been eight years since I’d transitioned from fan to media. At least he didn’t have to wait outside like I’d done at a thousand punk rock clubs. I filled him in on what I was writing for and when he could expect to read it. Simply having that connection to his favourite band you could tell made him instantly in awe.
I kept being friendly recognizing myself in him, ‘Have you ever been to a show here?’
He shook his head, ‘I’ve never even been in here before.’
‘Ok,’ I cleared my throat, ‘I’m going to tell you how to get wristbands so you can make sure you’re right up front for the show.’
The mental thought process revealed he had no idea what wrist bands were. ‘So when you get into the theatre take the very first seat in the very first row and as soon as the opening band says get up, get up and RUSH to the stage. You’ll be assigned a wristband then for you and your friends.’
He was excited but took a downnote, ‘No one’s coming with me.’ He paused, ‘I’m a loner.’ I looked at his young face to study it a moment. Kid, I thought, years from now people are going to think you were so cool for going to this show alone. Making that decision to come by yourself was probably one of your first acts of independence so right on. Buy that band tshirt and wear it proudly to your school; I bet you’ll find at least one person that would have gone with you, and that one person will go with you to the next one too.
I stared off at the door still anxious to meet my band contact. He optimistically stared in the same direction. As we watched no one come through our conversation died. I went back to checking my phone for any messages as to why they were late for another five minutes and debated walking into the concert theatre as they taught us in journalism school, like I belonged there until my phone went off.
As soon as I answered the tour manager walked up to me and introduced the man I’d be interviewing in front of this bug-eyed kid. We swooped ourselves away to another world. I half wanted him to sit in on the interview just so he could have an idea of what the band was all about. Basically, what I would have wanted a music media type to have done for me. We marched out of the main foyer after brief introductions. The interview went well and in fact might have been the most famous band I’d ever interviewed (arguable).
I opened up my notes and began to ask questions like with any other interview I’d done all while in the back of my mind thinking of this kid. I had been that kid. I taught myself the interview skills I was using now by stepping up from just being a fan to curious question asker, a.k.a. journalist.
Watching the show and getting lost in the epic transplendance of the band’s live performance I thought I spied the kid bobbing along front stage. I hoped it was him. And I hope I, if not the band, inspired him to think beyond being just a fan.
And just to prove to you all what a music/writing nerd I was – here’s me at 19 years old with Tim of Rise Against after an interview
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