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The Life of a Superfan

Friday, May 28, 2010

In his new memoir Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, music writer Steve Almond looks at rock music from practically every angle: the fans, musicians, artists and "drooling fanatics."

Along the way, he peppers his writing with caustic insights and droll vignettes. At one point, for instance, he dissects Toto’s "Africa," calling it "…the lovechild of Muzak and Imperialism." Almond joins us today from Boston, MA.


Steve Almond

Comments [15]

Deb from Brooklyn, NY

being a drooling fanatic for most of my life i can see, now, that from an early age music; 2 songs in particular at age 5: America's Horse With No Name and David Bowie's Space Oddity; got me through emotional hard times that i wasn't sure how to process on my own. Music, those songs in particular, helped me to be ok about feeling sadness, or loss, or even joy when there wasn't that kind of emotional stability in the home.

May. 28 2010 02:47 PM

I'm a 13 year old boy, and I have a classmate who is obsessed with Asian bands, almost to the point of stalking them. Last year it was a band which I believe was called "Super Junior", this year it is a Korean band called "SHINee". I am worried about her, and I am wondering when, if ever, her scary fanaticism will end.

May. 28 2010 02:36 PM
Louise from brooklyn

The lead singer of my favorite band in high school- Discount (who I saw for the first time at age 16 in a bagel store basement in Albuquerque) is now successful in her 3rd group The Dead Weather which I unabashedly love. Her style has grown with me and I am happy for her success-unlike alot of artists she has really worked for it.

My fandom of the X-files has also only grown over the last decade it is the rubric to judge all other tv series.

May. 28 2010 02:35 PM
Nick from Flushing, NY

Long live rock, and jazz, and blues, and country, and reggae, etc., etc., etc. I'm one of those people that Mr. Almond mentioned who absolutely NEED music. Can't live without it, wouldn't want to live without it. Life withiut music would be boring and sad.

May. 28 2010 02:34 PM
Jack from Brooklyn

I love the "Yeah Yeah Yeahs", but you don't take 8 and 10 year-olds to their shows. Let them listen to Barney, Raffi, Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus or whatever. It's their choice!

May. 28 2010 02:32 PM
EK from NYC

Through high school and into freshman year of college, I was strangely, crazily obsessed with Weezer (to the point of obsessively tracking down every track they'd ever recorded up through their second album), as were many other people around my age (now 28). They tapped into something unique at the time - their aesthetic appealed to quirky nerds who were kind of afraid of talking to the opposite sex everywhere! They were an antidote to the typical rock bands who, unlike us, were TOTALLY getting laid. They disappeared for a while after their second album, but by the time they came back, we'd grown up a bit and so had they, and the obsession became hollow. I think they've made a few albums since then, but who really knows...

May. 28 2010 02:31 PM
Jon from New York City

I wonder if the guests might comment on listening to an album after smoking marijuana. I have found that it can utterly transform and enhance the experience -- and particularly affects the emotional dimension of music.

May. 28 2010 02:30 PM
danielle,wife of Tom from upper west side

I am wife of drooling fan Tom(though in all fairness he doesn't drool).His fandom with Allman Bros has extended to Derek Trucks band.Since he mostly plays in small places I'm convinced we are recognized by the band and considered stalkers.One day Tom saw Derek and wife on Broadway and said hello and "I love you man"(just kidding). I wondered if they ran away convinced they had meant their stalker face to face!

May. 28 2010 02:23 PM
Allison from NYC

Girls need an artist to cry to, not merely drool. Joni Mitchell told a weepy wannabe boheem of 16 how to be a Woman of Heart and Mind. The boheem's 50 now, with time on her hands, no child to raise. I can still name any Joni tune in one note (needle drop on Court & Spark), and have Joni to thank for guiding my life and loves, and heart and mind.

May. 28 2010 02:23 PM
Rick Bruner from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

This segment makes me think of a funny T-Shirt I've seen, "Your favorite band sucks.",4/

May. 28 2010 02:21 PM
william from Williamsburg


May. 28 2010 02:19 PM
Tuf Pak from Crown Heights

I've been such a superfan of My Bloody Valentine that I've been obsessively waiting for a new album from them for 20 years, every year, convincing myself that this must be the year.

I even once woke up in Brooklyn at 4am to get online and buy a ticket for a concert in Glasgow, even though I knew I'd be in Hong Kong on the date of the show. I thought, "I'll figure it all out later"

May. 28 2010 02:17 PM
Tommy B from upper west side

I first heard the Beatles when I was 5 yrs. old. I went to see the Grateful Dead in 1970 when I was 13; that is when I first saw the Allman Brothers Band. I wouldn't call myself a fanatic; but I love listening to these bands all the time. They make me feel good no matter what mood I am in. I still go to Allman concerts; I always have fun and enjoy their shows. Now I am into the younger musician Derek Trucks.

May. 28 2010 02:16 PM
Robots Need to Party from NYC

Do over:

Does the author have any insight into how fans feel a sense of ownership for the bands that they think they have discovered? When those bands get big and successful, I think the goal of most bands, this type of fan feels betrayed. What's up with that and how can I stop doing it?

May. 28 2010 01:59 PM
Robots Need to Party from NYC

Does the author have any insight into how fan's sense of ownership for the bands that they feel they discovered. When those bands get big and successful, I think the goal of most bands, the fan feels betrayed. What's up with that and how can I stop doing it?

May. 28 2010 01:57 PM

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