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.
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.