An Open Letter to Bieber On Fanbase Etiquette

As many of you know, Justin Bieber recently put out a statement on social media stating that he is, “Done taking pictures,” with fans. While I am sure Mr.Bieber receives an overwhelming amount of requests for pictures, I found this announcement to be rather alarming and insensitive. If you missed his announcement, I’ve provided it below for your convenience.

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Justin, I am not a Belieber by any means, however I have developed a love for various bands and artists in my life time, so I feel that I can identify with your fanbase on this one. When these fans approach you in public, they do so because you have had a positive impact on their lives. Surely you will never meet every fan that you have touched, and your fans know this, which is probably why they often are shocked speechless when they meet you. Many of these girls and guys likely looked to you for comfort when they experienced hardships in their lives. They also stood by your side and defended you countless times while you got arrested and dealt with drug abuse. But hey, if a picture interrupts your trip to Whole Foods, I can see how that would be a tragedy. Justin, when you say that you are done with pictures, does this mean you also will stop charging fans to receive a picture with you as part of a “VIP” package on your next tour? Perhaps if you stopped capitalizing on the unconditional love your fans have for you, they would chill a little in public.

End rant. As for me, I have been lucky enough to meet many different bands and artists in my time within the underground scene. While nine times out of ten it has been a wonderful experience, I have met people like Bieber who are nothing but rude and disrespectful when meeting the individuals who help keep these artists alive. Here are the stories of the Loyolacore executive board and I.

Amber Loveshe

Best Experience: A few years back, I went to the House of Blues to see Mayday Parade, along with You Me At Six, and We Are the In Crowd. At the House of Blues in Chicago, the merchandise tables are always set up in a back hallway at the end of the concert hall room. While I was hanging out back there, Daniel Flint, the drummer of You Me At Six, happened to be hanging out by the table. If you don’t already know, YMAS is HUGE in the UK, where they are from. I was a big fan of them and had primarily come to the show to see them for the first time. I introduced myself to Dan, expecting to only say a few words, and instead he began engaging me in conversation, asking about who I was and why I like YMAS. It felt as if he was a good friend of mine, and not the drummer of one of my favorite bands. He took the time to pay attention to me when he didn’t have to, and I can’t thank him enough for that.

Worst Experience: When I attended Riot Fest for the first time in 2012, I was lucky enough to receive a wristband from AP Magazine to meet Of Mice & Men. My friend Kelsey and I stood in the hot sun for about an hour or so and couldn’t be happier. When it came time to meet each member, I remember telling Alan Ashby, the bassist, that I really admired him as an artist. Rather than receiving a smile or even a “thank you”, he merely rolled his eyes and looked bored. I felt hurt that someone I had looked up to and was eager to meet acted like he could care less that I supported him or the band in any way.

Joe Karamanski

Best Experience: “When I was working at Reggie’s the punk band Youth Brigade had a meet & greet going on that I worked to help setup. I’d never heard them before but I knew that were an influential 80s punk band. After their meet & greet finished they had a poster leftover and I asked if I could have it and if they could sign it for me. They signed it with personalized messages. I got off of work shortly after that and went down to their show to check out their set. They noticed me in the crowd and dedicated a song to me because they appreciated how hard I worked setting up for them. Getting such a personalized experience with a band thats been on the road touring for decades really showed how much they truly loved their music, touring and meeting their fans.”

Worst Experience: “Went to see the ska band The Toasters at the Beat Kitchen. I’d seen them twice before.They sounded great despite the singer clearly being far past drunk. I decided to buy some merch afterward. The singer was at the merch table and was talking with some girl. Overhearing parts of the conversation, this 60 something year old man was really trying to get laid and the girl seemed to be in the early stages of obliging. He knew I was waiting to buy merch but didnt care. Getting laid was more important than selling merch and having a quick chat with his fans. Not the worst interaction imaginable but it really left me with a sour impression of the band.”

Mike DeStefano

Best Experience: “My best experience meeting a band was with The Afterimage. As much as I enjoyed meeting Silent Planet, the members of The Afterimage displayed a level of genuine friendliness and professionalism that I still find very impressive. They said a million ‘thank yous’ for everything from helping load in gear to giving them a place to shower to simply showing them to the dining hall for breakfast. They were also really fun to hang out with. They treated me like one of their friends, and working with them at their show with Erra, Polyphia, and Invent, Animate was an absolute pleasure. They didn’t mind taking a bunch of pictures or playing Super Smash Bros together; they seemed to put their egos aside. At the same time, I would also like to mention that the other bands at the show were wonderful as well.”

Worst Experience: “On the opposite end of the spectrum was working with Close to Home. Their main person of contact—their guitarist JJ—was great to me, but the rest of the band seemed distant and a bit uptight. Hearing their tour manager refuse regular water because he likes mineral water better upset me a little. It was a pretty pretentious comment, especially coming from the manager of a band whose popularity had taken a nosedive since 2014. I was really looking forward to the show but the attitudes of some of those people made the day less enjoyable. I do not like to talk negatively about people, but I did not enjoy being brushed off while talking to members—or seeing the huge pile of garbage left in the green room at the end of the night. Things could have gone much worse, but they certainly could have gone better.”

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