Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tweet Me White: Being a Fan in the Age of Twitter

As you may have already noticed, I have officially become a major fan of Kings of Leon, a straight-up American rock and roll band from Oklahoma/Tennessee, who keep things simple and rock out prodigiously. I’ve already seen them twice and plan to see them again. I own some of their songs and would like to own more.

So far, it sounds very much like what it has always been like for me to be a fan of someone. My first concert was Santana. I owned some of their music (on vinyl, of course) and wanted to own more. I’ve been a fan of James Taylor’s and can remember seeing him somewhere in Port Chester, New York when I was in the 11th grade. My tastes opened up and I started going to shows by Elvis Costello, the Clash, the Who, U2 and the Talking Heads in college. Again, I owned their records and saw all of them live.

After college I can remember seeing many other bands, including the Rolling Stones at the Corrida de Toros in Madrid, a real treat. Again, the relationship consisted of Go To Show and Buy Album, not always in that order.

Fast forward to now. I go to see a fantastic KoL show at the Frank Erwin Center. It is clear that this band is performing at a very high level. The excitement at the show is palpable, and their last couple of albums are masterful. Then, a day or two after the show, my friend, Ken Weinstein, emails me the following, from Kings of Leon drummer, Nathan Followill (aka #doctorfollowill):

Thank you Austin. I hate your football team but I love your city. Y'all were fucking amazing and I can't wait 2 get back 4 some more. Boomer

Oh wow. This was a message to me from the drummer I had just witnessed rocking out in a major way (“melting faces,” as he likes to tweet). I began following him on Twitter shortly thereafter. Then I started following Caleb, (#caleb_followill), Matthew (#matfollowill), and Jared (#youngfollowill).

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a stalker, but it’s been a fun way to keep track of their tour (they’re in the UK right now), video releases (“Going Back Down South” just came out yesterday) and general fun stuff, random thoughts, and even personal photographs.

It’s a level of personal access that we didn’t have to our rock stars when I was a younger man. Sure, there may be people who employ assistants to do their tweeting for them. (I follow Sheryl Crow and have a feeling she may do this.) But I prefer to think that they type their thoughts onto their iPhones and Blackberries, just like the rest of do in this age of tweeting.

Oh and by the way, I was really hoping to get through this blog about Twitter and tweeting without mentioning Anthony Weiner’s name. But I just did.

Oh well.

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