I Can’t Love a Band Who Won’t Love Me Back

Filed under music is my boyfriend

Back in the early 2000s, I was in love with the band Jump, Little Children and felt for them a passion unlike any I’d felt before. I fell in love with them slowly and accidentally but so fiercely that I followed them all over the country, sometimes driving 14 hours straight to make a show, and saw them well over 50 times. I joined their listserv and exchanged e-mails with their other fans for years, some of whom I became great friends with, and one of whom became my still-to-this-day arch-nemesis. We analyzed their lyrics, analyzed their personal lives, and analyzed our many meetings with them. This was a band who read and responded to your e-mails, knew you by name when you approached them after shows, and hosted heavy metal karaoke nights in Southern towns you’d fall in love with simply because you saw them play there.

(Here’s their most famous song, and here’s my favourite song. (OMG, isn’t Jay’s voice especially dreamy live?))

When they broke up in 2006, I didn’t die like I thought I would, because I had moved to NYC and was preoccupied with my new life. In fact, it was almost better that they were breaking up, because I had sold my car and wouldn’t be able to road trip to see them in five different cities on five different days anymore. I didn’t find a new favorite band to replace them, but I didn’t think I needed one.

And then I created a Pandora radio station based on The Shins and heard Band of Horses’ “The Funeral“. I fucking loved it. I listened to it 100 times at work and at home in one day and still wasn’t tired of it. Then Pandora played another of their songs the next day, and I loved it, too. And then it seemed like every time I was clicking over to my Pandora Firefox tab to see who the band was, it was Band of Horses.

I realized that I heard them before living in Ohio but hadn’t cared about them. I realized my best friend Tracey had turned off “Is There a Ghost?” one time while I was visiting her in Ohio because she was sick of it. I downloaded their albums. Then I got their songs stuck in my head. Then I started sharing them on my blog and on my old LiveJournal, hoping that someone would say something about how much she loved them, too. I watched their live performances on YouTube. I found the best cover possible of one of their songs and thought about hiring the singer, Chris Dodgen, to play in my living room if I couldn’t hire the band itself. I listened to all of the other bands the members have been in and Wikipediaed anything I could think of related to them. I stopped caring about anything else.

The problem is that the Internet is a bit of a different place than it used to be for fangirls. I remember becoming a silverchair follower in 1995 and finding entire webrings of fan sites dedicated to them, and that was true for every band at that time. There were communities with chat rooms built right into the pages, forums for sharing band gossip, and photo galleries compiling every live and promo picture the band ever had taken. The Band of Horses website, meanwhile, doesn’t even have a Contact link, and their fan community consists of individual people writing blog posts, apparently, though I have no idea how to actually view other people’s posts.

And when they tweet a new concert date and I tweet back a legitimate question about it, they don’t respond. I can’t help taking it personally after so many years of direct contact with my last favorite band, and I know that’s stupid, but I paid for the solo album from Jump’s lead singer, Jay Clifford, last night on iTunes, and you can bet I won’t be paying for the Band of Horses album that came out yesterday.


  1. Serial says:

    If it makes you feel any better, a guy I work with interviewed them and they were super duper friendly.

    Wait. Why would that make you feel better? Maybe you should become a reporter.

    • Oh, I’m sure they’re really nice guys. And obviously I’m not going to stop loving them. They clearly just don’t know how to cultivate super-duper fans. Otherwise known as stalkers.

  2. kimz says:

    Early reports have given the new BoH album pretty shitty reviews. And this from people who loved J,LC just as much as you did.

    • Umm, yeah. I was . . . given . . . the album, but I haven’t listened to it yet, because all of the pre-release stuff I listened to on the website totally disappointed me. They sort of sound like a pop band now from what I gathered, and I’m not ready to be disillusioned yet.

  3. kimz says:

    (Pssssst, go get Slow Runner’s newest EP off iTunes. Only 3 songs, but totally worth it! And no, I’m not biased because Michael is a good friend of mine. Not at all!)

    • Oh, neat! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’m in the middle of their first song on MySpace and loving it.

      So is Michael the one on vocals? Because it surprises me how much his singing sounds like the way Johnny talks.

  4. kinard says:

    You and Charleston bands. (Did you know BoH is from Chuck?)

    NO band will ever love us like Jump and Tinkers Punishment/The Films did. Then again, most bands have real, non-stalker fans to deal with, and things like major labels and national tours. Le sigh.

    PS – Wardie lives in NYC and is generally amenable to hanging out with Jump fans.

    • I looked up where they were from in the midst of my going-crazy-over-them-ness and was like, “Weeeeeeeeeeell, well, well.” There must be something drawing me to Charleston, figuratively and physically.

      Jump really did ruin us for all other bands with their never-getting-too-famous. I know that not getting famous enough probably broke them up in the end, but I’m selfish, and I’d gladly trade getting to see them in tiny clubs for 5 years over having them together and super-popular to this day. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Remember when they were supposedly being courted by a major? Oh, those days were so exciting. And horrifying.

      I read that Ward lives in Brooklyn, but I’m sure I’d never approach him. Sort of like Nada Surf and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Grizzly Bear and every other band who lives here.

      • kinard says:

        It’s ruined us. Completely. The Films got “signed” by “Warner,” and something fizzled, though I think they’re doing okay….

        Yeah. I’m the same way with the “celebs.” Though the singer from Grizzly Bear lives in the same building as a friend of mine, and that might be worth a touch of stalking.

  5. bluzdude says:

    I hate it when bands go “coy” on you like that. That’s what I like about the older bands. They really know how to treat their fans.

    Like when I invite Keith Richards over for a game of darts over cocktails and smack, he always shows up. And brings nachos.

  6. Michael Madden says:

    That’s so funny that you wrote this… I just bought my first Band of Horses album, “Everything all the Time”, about two weeks ago, and it was because my twin brother played the song “The Funeral” for me, which I love. I don’t think I’ve even listed to the rest of the album yet… your post has inspired me to burn it to a CD and put it in my car, because that’s pretty much the only setting where I listen to music regularly. I need something to replace Ben Folds’ “Rockin the Suburbs”, which I have listened to about 500 times now.

  7. Kim says:

    Oh, wow, you make me feel like the lamest Jump fan ever (as if I wasn’t CLEARLY so anyway) because most of the shows I attended I just walked to, and I made it to nowhere near 50.

    But this post does make me glad, in a way, that I never felt like I was on such a personal level with them (I was lucky enough to hang with them a few times in NYC, but that was when in the company of other “rock star” – HA – types so it was all like blow and hookers and the occasional crossword puzzle with Johnny, so basically I felt like I was in Bright Lights Big City featuring Jay Clifford as like a beautiful ghost in the background somehow, and it really didn’t work out the way you describe) because then I’d most likely be even more unjustifiably possessive of them (e.g. I have this former friend who is the Worst! Ever! and I introduced her to them, and am left cringing and spitting every time she spews about them because she DOESN’T DESERVE THEM) but also because I obviously hate deep personal attachments to anything and anyone, so I’d be sad if I enjoyed Band of Horses popping up on the soundtrack to a Gossip Girl episode (yes, yes, more than once) on kind of a lesser level because I was spoiled by a band that was TOO special and loved me back.

    Also, I think Say Goodnight might be Jump’s best song ever, so well-chosen. But my favorites are 15 Stories and Angeldust, despite Magazine being my favorite album.

    Oh hey, longest, most incoherent comment ever. It’s Wednesday, I’m drinking.

    Btw, if you ever run into the dudes from Nada Surf, totally approach them and hang out. Especially if it’s Ira.

  8. thekamamama says:

    You have an arch-nemesis. That’s awesome.

  9. Fucking ingrates! Don’t they know you’re Katie Ett of Internet Fame and Notoriety and you’re BBFFs with the Bachelor Girl?!