Hi guys! I'm writing things again! It's like... putting on a comfortable wet sock. Or riding a bicycle strapped to a wheelbarrow filled with delicious pudding.
Ooooh, I've been looking forward to writing this for a while. It's beyond me why I haven't put this up before other blogs, but now, FINALLY, I can unleash this beast.
What IS a punisher?
For starters, I'm not talking about this Punisher:
I'll take this Punisher, guns ablaze, over the other kind
The punisher I'm referring to is a bit difficult to define, especially without sounding like a pretentious douchebag.
Here's my attempt:
Punisher (n) - An individual lacking basic social etiquette whom is a great admirer of another person's skillset or creation that, sometimes unknowingly, pesters that person about their creation to the point of insanity.
Have you ever seen someone you admired greatly and felt that "pull" towards them and wanted to just be around them in a fit of irrational behavior?
Could you imagine pursuing such an endeavor and achieving the opposite effect of befriending the person you admire? Can you imagine driving them up the wall with your admiration that they, out of courtesy, are nice because you ARE their fan, and they furthermore avoid you at all costs?
This is what a punisher is at its CORE. And don't worry, if I'm not making sense yet, keep reading.
Here's the pretentious, arrogant part: A select few understands what this "punisher" business is. Those who won't/don't understand will see this blog as me WHINING about having awesome, passionate, energetic fans rather than APPRECIATING them.
Oh, how naive those select few are. I am EXTREMELY gracious for every single fan who supports and contributes to any project I'm involved in. My gratitude knows no bounds. Matter of fact, I fully acknowledge and encourage supporting those whom you admire and are passionate about.
These "punishers" that I'm referring to only take up less than one percent of our fanbase. The reasons why I'm writing about this small percentage of people are because:
- It's funny
- It feels good to get it out of my system
- It can hopefully be informative and enlighten those who don't know they're punishers
- I drink way too much caffeine
Anyway. Remember this guy, nerds?
This is what user interface cancer looks like.
A punisher is the real-life equivalent of the Mr. Paper Clip guy, except worse.
Even those who do "punish" me (the act of being a punisher, as you maybe have deduced) I am extremely nice and courteous/accommodating towards. I refuse be mean to them because they're the MOST passionate and the MOST dedicated towards this silly band thing. They mean well, but lack the social queues and etiquette because they're just so freakin' excited.
Which I totally get.
This is an educational blog for those who enjoy someone else's creative project that enriches your life and have had an opportunity to meet and interact with those you admire. Hopefully by the time you finish reading this, you'll either go, "Nope, I don't do this stuff," or you'll say, "Fuckballs, I AM a punisher and should stop..."
Or, you can call me a pretentious douchebag and continue punishing.
Anyway, here are the several types of punishers I've encountered over the years.
(Note: I shall include a "do" and a "don't" for each punisher type to hopefully negate the egotistical nature of this blog, although at this point it might already be hopeless)
The Classic Punisher
Ahh, the good ol' classic punisher. This guy is the most common. He/she just wants to talk. A lot. About everything. Mostly about your project. He'll also quote your songs/movies/whatever.
Their logic is, "Holy crap, this is my one chance to talk about stuff with so-and-so! Must get everything out!"
Do: make normal conversation. Wanna make friends with the dude/lady you admire? Relax. Talk about stuff unrelated to their project. If you know anything about this person from any casual online stalking, you'll know that they have other passions. Talk about THOSE. Example: Gaming, knitting, roller coasters. You can even slip in a question relating to their main project too. Keep it interesting. I've made some great friends from fans because they're chill.
Don't: ignore social queues and body language just to corner the admired and get everything in.
Anyone who has a fanbase meets hundreds upon THOUSANDS of people a year. Even a month. Some people can remember names and faces, but most can't. Don't take it personally. Our brains are not wired to remember thousands and thousands of people (some are better at it than others). We definitely try to, I promise.
Do: acknowledge that they meet tons of people. Something like, "No worries man, you meet lots of people" will diffuse the awkwardness and all will be well.
Don't: give them shit. Guess what? You're not the only person on the planet. Not even close. Ditch the egocentricity and you'll go places.
Not much can be said here except don't hover and stalk. Should be obvious, right?
Do: give the admired some personal space. Not only will they appreciate this, they'll notice and be more receptive to you when you actually want to engage them in conversation.
Don't: hover. Don't follow. Don't wander around their bus/trailer waiting to ambush. It's just rude.
The Band Guy-isher
Some of the worst punishers are BAND GUYS. Most of the time these guys have an adjenda: "To get you to love and promote their band." We always see right through it. Always.
I get it. You want to get your band out there. You want to tour. You want to "live the dream." Band guys on tour can't fulfill this dream for you.
The best thing you can do is simple: Be the best band you can be and create/write what you love.
Do: Ask for advice. Very rarely does a band guy ask me, "Hey man. We're trying to make it. We wanna do what you do. Can you share any advice/wisdom?" I'm more than happy to impart some hard-earned knowledge with those who are serious about what they do. The reality is that you are your own band and can't rely on others to carry you to fame and fortune.
Don't: shove demos in all the bands' faces. One is enough to one band guy. Don't harass the touring bands about YOUR band. Your performance and professionalism is what'll make the impressions that will need to be made.
Promoters are the individuals who book bands. They talk to booking agents and agree on payments, logistics, and other various boring music industy shit.
This is a side of the business most people don't see. Good promoters don't need to coddle bands because they did their job, made their money, and took care of things.
This is a weird thing to complain about. We'd rather promoters PROMOTE the show than buy us beer and food.
Every so often, a promoter will double as a Bandguy-isher and put his band on the bill (ironically, they won't promote the show because they're so focused on putting their band on the show, hah).
There's so much more to this too. Often times promoters don't even live up to their name. It sucks.
Do: promote your shows and stay professional. I doubt many of you reading this are promoters, but if you are, PROMOTE YOUR FUCKING SHOWS. Posting on Facebook isn't enough. Flyers, posters, radio - just do it. Touring bands can't promote locally as well as you can.
Don't: expect sympathy if you didn't do your job.
Drunkishers tend to be cool when they're sober, then they get drunk and think they're awesome.
This is probably my least favorite punisher. Getting cornered and punished (usually with his/her face a few inches from mine) by a drunk person causes me to find an escape as fast as possible.
I don't often drink at shows because I'm also the driver (that's what I spend 90% of my time on tour doing, yay), so I'll get crap like this...
Do: know your limits, I guess? Drink and be merry.
Don't: back someone in a corner and hoard them to yourself.
Wanna be "cool," do you? Stop trying to be cool. That's the "secret."
We all have our insecurities. I totally get it. I've got mine (stupid love handles). But seriously, approval-seeking is the one of the most obnoxious forms of punishment. Just relax, have a good time, and stop giving a shit about what others (even those you look up to) think of you.
Do: Engage in fun, no pressure conversation.
Don't: overdo your interaction to the point where the band avoids you. If they're trying to cut the conversation short, or they're not engaging you back, you're being avoided.
The Hot Chickisher
That's right. Hot ladies can be punishers. It's not common, but it happens. Crazy, right?
Hot women are used to getting what they want. You know, because they're hot. And they know it. And it can be extremely annoying.
The worst part is if you deny them what they want, they'll get "confused" as to why you denied them and keep BOTHERING YOU UNTIL YOU CAVE.
Band guys: Giving free shit to hot women (and damn near anyone for that matter) is a poor investment. Once they get home with their newly acquired items, they'll toss 'em on their pile of "free-shit-I-got-because-I'm-hot" pile.
Do: Be hot and nice and pay for your goddamned merchandise like everyone else. Easy.
Don't: Fucking demand free stuff because you're hot.
This one I have to be delicate with. I love receiving awesome messages from fans. I try my best to respond to everyone, as does the rest of my guys.
But... if you're going to message me, or anyone you're a fan of, please have a purpose to the message.
For example, this:
... is a great.
... is something I refuse to respond to.
And, for the love of all that is filled with creme, PLEASE take your time to read the FAQ. So many of your questions can be answered there.
As a personal favor to me and/or all of those you look up to, do not bother/punish bands with your angry demands that they play in your city. Generally speaking bands do not book their own shows.
If you REALLY want to see a band perform live, either:
- Make the drive to the closest show, or
- Find a way to get a venue near you to book them.
Everybody wins that way!
Do: Ask relevant questions and engage in low maintenance, fun conversation.
Don't: Send pointless messages and post angrily why the band you want to see isn't playing down the street on every tour they embark on. It's really discouraging.
There are so many more types...
There are Cockblockishers, Managerishers, Hagglerishers, Securityishers, Awkwardishers, but I think you get the idea.
The moral of the story is, don't be an "-isher" of any kind. And don't be a dick. Or a whiner. Or a paper clip.
Enjoy the blog? Please share with your friends/coworkers/smelly relatives!