Taking a break from my regular programming of a somewhat sober story, here’s how I befriended a rock star. And some easy pointers on how to do the same if you’d like to, and got a couple (or five) years to do it. Yes, it takes time. It will take you years to get noticed (depending on the size of their fanbase).
I’ve had my names in the thank you sections in several booklets (really cool, really geeky, but I’m proud of that). Done official websites, decided on a bit of track listing for an album and what not. All fun.
First of all, you can’t befriend guys like Corey Taylor, Steven Tyler, Slash or Angus Young et.al. These guys are the A-list of rock stars and impossible to get to. However, I know of one guy who managed to get involved with Axl Rose and Guns N’ Roses through online website dedication. How many years did it take him to hang out with DJ Ashba and Tommy Stinson? About a decade. So, forget that unless you want to dedicate a decade or more. Hopefully you like big bands, you like medium popular bands, and you might even like some underground bands. Pick the medium band or the underground band. Give them a helping hand.
I don’t know if the guy involved in my story here really considers himself a rock star, but he’s the lead singer of a medium-known metal/rock band with a four-decade long career with its ups and downs. It doesn’t matter to me what their fanbase is like or how many they/we are. He was my childhood hero, and to be able to consider him a friend is pretty cool. He is quite active on social media, and I see lots of people trying to be “mates” and most of them approach it way way wrong.
My journey started about 2001. I frequented the band forums, and made a name as a bit of a troublemaker within an even then aging fanbase. I wasn’t afraid of voicing my opinions, and I was critical when I felt like it. I was dedicated, and he noticed. I often had a “hunch” for saying things he agreed with. Even when I didn’t know it. I could write something and I would later understand I was right even without knowing. I kept doing this for years and years. The guy noticed me, took a liking to me, but I was cautious about over-selling myself. It was about trust, and I had to show that he could trust me. I never spammed him with messages or e-mails. I wrote when I had something important on the agenda. Band stuff. Not personal stuff. Never go personal. Over 10 years later and I still call him a friend. I’ve heard interviews online where he’s been using my posts online as a source, or simply referring to me as “fans turning friends” and so on. It’s geek, but it’s fun. Mostly fun because he was such a hero when I was growing up.
Here’s a three steps/tips;
First tip: Stop kissing so much fucking ass. Musicians can write the most ridiculous status updates and people will be so up their asses “agreeing” with them it’s not even funny. Have some balls. Musicians, painters, artists, authors are often bloody weird. Don’t buy into all of the bullshit all the time. What you see on stage is often the absolute best a musician can muster. He may not even be able to create a Facebook account in real-life. Honestly. You’re good at computers, you suck at singing. He’s great at singing, but suck at computers. Just like you, they are not Gods or perfect.
Second tip: Your a fan of the music, show it by giving honest reviews and have your own opinions. Bands appreciate it. However, don’t be overly critical and NEVER, EVER be the guy babbling on about “the first album was the best” asking for every album to be the same five, ten, fifteen or twenty years on. Let the band evolve, but always be honest. Get a feel to what your guy prefer of his back-catalouge. Hopefully it might be the same as yours. If the band got songs with different line-ups and you want your guy to be playing some other guys stuff, you’re on thin ice.
Third tip: Be loyal. If there’s a band split, know where you are at. Take a stand. There was a split back like 10 years ago with “my” band, and I stood loyal to the singer. I was on his side, defending him online against half the fanbase siding with the guitar player. I did it because it was the right thing to do. All water under the bridge now though, but just stay loyal. It was a bloody soap opera and all really silly stuff, but I was there doing it anyway.
Bonus tip: Don’t keep sending messages or mails if there’s no reply. He/she will reply when he/she is comfortable with you and know that you’re not yet another weird stalker.
In conclusion: Don’t rush it. Time is your friend. Be present. Make an effort. Promote the band online. Stay on course. Be patient. Don’t be a fucking weirdo.