So it finally got to me. I’m pissed. I really am. Because greedy a**holes are ruining it for the real fans.
What’s a “real” fan, you ask? I’d say it’s someone who’s spent all his/her money on an artist’s records, merchandise and concerts. Someone who’s been standing in ALL kinds of weather for hours, sometimes days, for that precious little scribble by the hand of their idol. THOSE kind of people. Those who actually love the music and the artists that create the music – people who would treasure that autograph, frame it and keep it forever.
I’m one of those. I have spent countless hours waiting for bands, just to get something signed. I’ll never forget when I was given the opportunity to meet Rob Halford for the first time back in 1991, and brought my first Judas Priest LP, a worn out copy of “Unleashed In The East“. He took it to the rest of the band (didn’t get to meet them that time) to have it signed by everyone, and Glenn Tipton even drew a little moustache on himself, it was kinda funny. But it was worth more than gold to me! THAT piece of vinyl in paper and cardboard symbolized the beginning of my life in many ways. I would sell it over my DEAD BODY.
I stood in the pouring rain for hours, my lips were all blue, cause I wanted Lemmy to sign my leather jacket. Not only did he sign it, I was invited by the band’s manager to meet the band after the show for being so persistent. Those were different times.
That leather jacket was signed by everybody. Kiss, Black Sabbath (including Cozy Powell), Whitesnake, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Skid Row, Queensryche, Slash, Twisted Sister, whoever, I don’t even remember, but the amount of TIME could never be measured in cash. I was offered a few thousand bucks for it at an autograph-store in New York back then but just laughed and walked out. Are you kidding? No way.
Every single signature was a memory and I valued it more than money. I would have to be on the verge of starving to death before I would even consider ever parting with that jacket.
But then came eBay. And greedy motherf***ers. And desperate, lazy fans who either couldn’t or wouldn’t try to get their own autographs (I don’t even see the point BUYING an autograph, it’s supposed to be something personal).
So the artists stopped signing stuff, because they don’t like seeing it on eBay. And I don’t blame them.
But I have a few suggestions that might eliminate the problem:
- Always sign it “To xxxxx”. It’s gonna be a lot harder selling something that was signed “To Tina” to some dude named Bill.
- Sign people’s arms or whatever – you can’t sell a leg or an arm on eBay.
- Offer signed items at AFFORDABLE prices in the MERCH. That way, it’s easily obtainable for the fans and takes away the power from the eBayers.
- Sign lots and lots of autographs. The easier they are to get, the more they lose their value. A true fan will always want one though.
- Offer signed items at meet & greets that are ridiculously pricey. Even if somebody tries to sell it, they’d have to pay so much to get it in the first place, that they can’t profit from it.
- Only do selfies. In the video below, “Luke Skywalker” Mark Hamill says that he only does selfies. “If you’re a real fan, you would have settled for a selfie“. And he’s right.
I’d chop off my left arm for a selfie with Paul McCartney, you better believe it!
It’s sad when it gets to this. Fans and artists used to be a lot closer. You had to EARN that signature and it was like winning the lottery when you got that precious autograph.
When I die, someone will probably make a fortune from selling everything they find in my personal Hard rock cafe, but until then, you’ll never see anything of mine for sale on eBay.
At the end of the day – don’t buy it. If you’re a fan, go and get it yourself and make these eBayers go out of business. Power to the people – and the real fans!
One of the reasons why I love music – apart from the purely emotional aspect (music is what feelings sound like) is that there’s ALWAYS something to EXPLORE!
I’m curious by nature, I absolutely LOVE digging for facts, information, gaining more knowledge about something that truly interests me. I can lose myself in books or webpages for hours, sometimes days cause I want more!
I used to go to the library several times a week when I was a teenager (the days before Google and internet…) and spend hours in their music department. It was heaven!
There were all these books about ALL types of music styles, artists… Biographies, encyclopedias… And you could listen to records. Back then, there was a couch in a corner of the music department, with 4 pairs of headphones. You would go there with your pile of LP’s and listen through each and every one, just to get an idea what it was.
Music wasn’t available (for free) any other way before the Internet, so it felt like such a privilege to be able to explore.
I borrowed TONS of LP’s and cassettes back in those days – all kinds of styles, just out of curiosity. It could be anything from the brothers Strauss and their Austrian waltzes and operettes to one-hit-pop-wonders to country, blues, heavy metal…
Discovering something new that I liked was a true kick. Especially when I didn’t expect it.
It’s not quite as fun nowadays, because it’s not so much a sport anymore. Pretty much ANYTHING is available – easily and quickly. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes and I kind of LIKED the challenge.
It’s also funny HOW you end up listening to some bands. The turns things can take and where it can lead you. That whole FIREWIND-thing for instance.
Went to see HALFORD when they were opening for OZZY at Madison Square Garden. I was jetlagged and tired and just wanted to get some sleep. The plan was to skip Ozzy after a few songs, had already seen him many times so I figured I wouldn’t be missing out on a whole lot.
UNTIL I noticed the “new kid on the block”, the new guitarist GUS G, who was absolutely fantastic! I forgot about being tired and stayed throughout the whole show.
Then I ended up checking for more info – who’s the dude? Firewind? What’s that? Gotta check it out. Found myself on the next flight to London and Relentless Garage to see that Firewind-band. Absolutely LOVED the energy they produced on stage – and yeah the rest is history.
I didn’t go digging as eagerly into FIrewind’s back catalog, as I did trying to find interesting stuff that Gus had played on in the past. So I got most of THAT, just for the sake of having it. The music was not quite my thing to be honest, but in order to appreciate an artist for who he is today, you need to know a bit about his past as well. It just gives you a different perspective of the journey that they’ve made.
When Firewind parted ways with former singer Apollo Papathanasio, I was bummed at first because I love Apollo’s voice. It’s the next best thing to Tony Martin who is my #1 all time favorite singer ever. Nobody comes close to Tony Martin in my book, but Apollo comes pretty darn close.
I was looking for video interviews of Apollo on YouTube before I did my own interview, just to have something to compare with, but instead I ended up seeing his name on what felt like a million different projects!
THAT got me curious! First I bought MAJESTIC, simply because I know a few other guys who played in that band.
Then I got FAITH TABOO – another band Apollo sang with in the 90’s and I loved the sound and the versatility of that album. His vocals were great even back then, but it also shows how much he’s prospered over the years.
Next thing I know, I’m typing “ebay.com” in my browser, searching for all those Apollo-fronted old bands and projects…. The CD’s were CHEAP for the most part, guess it’s cause it’s not as “cool” to buy CD’s, as it is to just DOWNLOAD shit. But I want the REAL DEAL. I want the booklet, the lyrics, the credits, the thank-you’s, the pix, just the whole thing!
And I had synchronized my eBay account with my PayPal, which means that it was easier and faster than EVER to buy shit on there! Dammit. Bad idea. ;)
I kept clicking away just for the fun of it – “oh look! There’s one! I’ll get THAT… Ah! Another one! I’ll get that as WELL…! Cool, check it out, don’t have THAT….”
An hour later…errrm… Well – take a wild guess. And now that I started, I have to finish it.
Always been collecting records – I love it, nothing like having an artist’s complete back catalog…!
When I started collecting TONY MARTIN stuff, I found his solo-album that HE didn’t even have HIMSELF (long story), and old demos, bootlegs and stuff… I couldn’t just quit half way through, either I had to have ALL his shit or NONE of it. And since he was – and still is – my favorite singer, of course I had to get ALL of it.
[When I started my Tony Martin-collection waaay back in ’95 or ’96]
Apollo has this amazing voice, I just love it. To me a good rock’n’roll voice is not about belting out high notes. I always hear people using M Matijevic of STEELHEART as an example of “good singers”. Sure, the guy can sound like his …uh… boomstick is stuck in his zipper or something, but I get pretty tired listening to that range after more than one song.
I do, however, love the deeper, masculine voices with an edge and a dramatic vibrato (NOT the “Dickinson wannabe”-vibrato or the German power-metal singer parody type of vibrato).
So I’m like a kid in a CANDY STORE right now! Here I’ve been following Firewind all over the globe the past few years just because I enjoyed their live shows – yet I never bothered to start digging deeper into the musical history of anyone except Gus G’s.
Getting all these old Apollo-projects on CD now is going to absolutely rock! I even found that very first vinyl single he recorded with CRAZE like a hundred years ago, yesterday!
In a way, it’s a good thing that the guys went separate ways, cause now they can try their wings doing different things. Gus G is working on his solo-project which I’m DYING to hear… And Apollo trying something different with stoner band Spiritual Beggars and the one-off Craze-reunion and whatever else he’s got up his sleeve.
Everything happens for a reason in life – as well as in the music business. Firewind will start a new exciting page in their history, there is a different dynamic in the band now with what Kelly is bringing to the table. I’m convinced that it’s for the better. :)
Well, regardless what band or artist rocks your boat – isn’t it just awesome to be able to lose yourself in MORE of whatever it is you like about what they do?! It’s what keeps the rock’n’roll spirit alive!