[Dixielandjazz] Why musicians don't talk to fans - and/orlistentoother band

Rob McCallum rakmccallum at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 14 20:36:32 PST 2004

I didn't mean to imply that you, in particular, were making a nuisance in
your situation.  My comments were an attempt to understand, in general, why
some musicians brush fans off. I think that some fans do shoot nonstop
questions past what would be considered polite or appropriate and that some
players (especially those lacking in people skills) immediately slam the
door on any conversing. One night I actually saw a guy still talking, from
his first-row seat, to a trombone player once the band started playing!  The
trombone player had to tell him, from the stage, "Later...Later...This is
business now."

This isn't unique to musicians.  I went to see a reading by a famous poet
(one anthologized in the Norton Anthology) in which there was a large
auditorium full of people.  Immediately after the reading ended she was
hurrying out a side door with an escort (like she was the president), most
definitely not waiting around to sign autographs for the people that were
dropping $20 for her paperback.  I walked out the same door that she'd gone
out and noticed a young student, must've been just out of high school,
jogging to catch up to her and said "Miss ...., I'm so glad I got to hear
you tonight.  I didn't even know you were going to be here. I did my term
paper on you in high school...."  The woman never stopped walking and barely
turned her head and quipped, "Well, I never knew you were going to write a
paper about me." That was the end of the conversation.

I'm not making excuses for artists being rude.  I've experienced that
several times as well.  One time I went to a $25 per set show in Chicago.
It wasn't very crowded and I asked the leader if he'd mind giving an
autograph.  He was very gracious and I told him how much I enjoyed the show.
After that, I noticed the drummer and bassist sitting up at the bar by
themselves (they were a couple of guys who looked to be just out of college
that the leader was touring with).  As I walked by them I said something
like, "Hey, enjoyed the show."  They both just looked at me for a moment,
chuckled to themselves and turned back to their drinks.  They never even
said anything to me.  Talk about rude.  And I distinctly recall how awkward
I felt, like I'd accidentally made myself a part of their private joke.

Though I will say, I've found rudness to be the exception.  Most artists
I've ever had the good fortune to chat with have been, at the least, polite,
and many have expressed appreciation that I have an interest in their music.

All the best,
Rob McCallum

----- Original Message -----
From: "Arnold Day" <arnieday at optonline.net>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 8:13 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Why musicians don't talk to fans -
and/orlistentoother band

>   ----- Original Message -----
>   From: Rob McCallum
>   To: arnieday at optonline.net ; dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
>   Sent: Tuesday, December 14, 2004 11:36 AM
>   Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Why musicians don't talk to fans - and/or
listentoother band
>   Hi all,
>   As far as asking questions regarding particular historical info,
>   stuff etc., sometimes people simply don't remember.  I think that
>   fans know more about data like that than most of the musicians who
>   the dates!
>   Then it would be very easy to say, "Gee, I'm sorry, I simply can't
>   However, in fairness, I have witnessed, many times, overly eager and
nervous fans who
>   try to prolong their star encounter well beyond the boundaries of
>   politeness.  I'm sure it's not fun for a musician trying to take a break
>   have an over-zealous fan forcing themselves upon him.
>   Since the above is in response to my post, both I and my wife can assure
you that I ( like the vast majority of OKOM lovers) am a "perfect (in every
conceivable way!) English/American gentleman, and would never dream of
"pestering" a musician. (VBG). But, hey, just where would the musicians be
without the good folks who pay $300 to hear them for a few hours over a
weekend, and spend hundreds (even thousands) of dollars to buy their LPs and
>   If it seems an artist doesn't want to converse, but a fan feels the need
to say something, "I really enjoyed the set," and perhaps a handshake should
>   Of course, Rob, and I do think we "older generation" were brought up to
know good manners.
>   Regards,
>   Arnie
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