There is only one constant in the world as we know it and that is change. Change is inevitable and will happen to you, me and everyone else in the world and there is nothing we can do to stop that. Change stirs many emotions in people. The fear of the unknown, the excitement of what potential prospects could create, the discomfort of having to leave a zone of comfort and need to not become stagnant. Change can create a sense of wonderment and happiness, but it can also create a lot of drama and trauma. I want to look at how change has created some difficult times for me as a fan of three different bands. Each band has created much change in who I am and also has had much change within itself.
Change will be present in this “Rant” today as it is a change from what I would normally write as I am going to have a little help with this one. I have asked Emily Hill, the owner and writer of the blog KISS Lordi Angel: The Diary of a Monsterlady, to give her insight on what it these three bands mean to her, have changed her and also the negativity that people can thrust upon you for feeling the way that you do.
The poster band for change is KISS as they have had a career filled with change that has garnered them both fans and fans who disagree with the changes that were made. Emily wrote in her blog that “I have to say that I love KISS but the fandom is difficult to survive in. Why? Because the fandom is divided into two sections: KISS fans, and KISS fans who hate KISS. “ I agree with this statement 100% as there are KISS fans who appreciate the band no matter the line-up or the musical style that they are portraying on the album. There are also those that do not approve of the members of the band or what the music sounds like as they are stuck in the 70’s with the original line-up.
I have been blessed to see KISS twice in my lifetime in 2009 and just this year. Both times the band consisted of Tommy Thayer as the Spaceman and Eric Singer as the Catman and both times I have had KISS fans say that they could not believe I would go to the concert to see “The Wannabes.” Both Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer have a deep history with KISS and have more than earned their spots in the line-up. KISS put on one hell of a show and Tommy and Eric played great! The band looks like they are having a great time as everyone is getting along and they sound amazing right now.
KISS has had many membership changes with the likes of Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Eric Carr, Vinnie Vincent, Mark St John and Bruce Kulick rotate in and out of the line-up. The ones who complain about Tommy and Eric dressing like Ace and Peter say that Tommy and Eric should have their own costumes and own make-up but remember when Eric Carr was the Fox and Vinnie Vincent was the Egyptian Warrior? Fans complained that Ace and Peter should have stayed in or they should ditch the make-up. When KISS stopped putting the make-up on they complained that they should have left it on.
As you can see it is a vicious circle with those types of KISS fans. The version of KISS I saw is the vision of what Gene and Paul want KISS to be and that is good enough for me.
As a KISS fan it can sometimes be a struggle. The KISS fandom can be as dramatic as the Lordi fandom also the same thing goes for trying to meet the band only not as much since KISS is a band that does tour internationally. For some fans it is difficult for us to deal with our jealousy of meeting the band because of the fact that we currently cannot afford to pay over a thousand dollars to meet them in full makeup and costume. As much as I would love to meet KISS backstage part of me does not want to do so because of how expensive it is. Let’s just say you thought you had enough money to buy a meet & greet when KISS is about to come to the nearest big city near you and, you decide to buy a M&G, you go, you meet the band, and then suddenly five days later after the event you have to pay for something more important like your monthly rent, groceries, car insurance, etc. and you don’t have enough for that sort of thing. Some fans may say it is totally worth it but to you it may not seem that way because of the price. Sometimes arguments arise between fans who say it’s worth it and there shouldn’t be any complaints because they’ve done it before and fans who haven’t done it but want to do it BUT at the same time they don’t want to pay for it because they believe that paying that much money to talk to someone you idolize for fifteen minutes is ridiculous.
Another struggle with being a KISS fan is dealing with KISS fans who refuse to accept KISS for who they are now. This can occur whether you are a new KISS fan or you’re a long time fan but you chose to live through all the changes, lies, deaths, words, etc. because you truly support the band. For instance if you see the official KISS Facebook page post a photo of Tommy Thayer on stage at last night’s show you’ll probably see a bunch of comments of conflict between fans calling Tommy “fake Ace” and fans who are demanding that Tommy be respected and that he has the right to wear the Spaceman persona because it does not rightfully belong to Ace anymore. The problem here putting up with this is that grown men and some women are the ones who are whining about this silly thing. They claim KISS is not a band anymore ever since Peter & Ace left and say it’s just a brand or cover band now and that the current music sucks as well as the lineup. Dealing with this is one of the hardest things a normal KISS fan has to deal with because this one is constant and has been going on for over ten years now. Sometimes even older KISS fans who refuse to accept the new KISS will often come towards younger and newer fans who do accept the way KISS is now and/or fans their age who choose to accept the changes as well and question their choice which in my opinion is harassment.
Finally another challenge with being a KISS fan is dealing with society’s view on KISS and that is mostly former KISS fans and people who are not KISS fans. Now of course a lot of opinions on KISS that comes from these types of people are different. Former KISS fans; this pretty much relates to the conflict between fans who hate the new KISS and KISS fans who miss the original KISS but have learned to love the new KISS as well. The opinions coming from people who never were KISS fans is a different story. They often only skim the surface of what they think KISS is: They think that KISS is a band that only cares about their stage makeup, explosive show and making millions of dollars and they don’t care about their music, or their fans so they will often say the music is bad for example. We KISS fans do not think the same way. We see through KISS to what they really are: They love their personas and performance yes, but they also love playing music and entertaining their millions of fans worldwide.
Gene Simmons said so himself on Twitter if you follow him on there. If you look up to a certain member of KISS like Gene for instance, society often looks at him the wrong way as well, believing that he is only a greedy cunt who does nothing to contribute to society. Correction: He DOES contribute to society. He’s done more than most people may realize. For example you know that charity Sophie’s Place that his daughter Sophie runs? Gene probably helped Sophie get started with that since he’s like an expert on business stuff as well as music. But there’s more than just that. Being a KISS fan can be a hassle but the most important thing is you remain strong as one and continue to support the band no matter what they go through.
It is fitting I became a fan of Lordi as the band are huge fans of KISS and claim them as their inspiration behind their look, stage show and music. From Finland, there is lots of change in my life attributed to my love of Lordi. Everything about the band has renewed my faith in the creativity of the musical artist but there is also a lot of people who would try to sour my enjoyment by adding their negative input. It can be extremely tough being a fan of Lordi as people will automatically pick apart the costumes of the band. A lot of people do not understand or want to understand the theatrics and what it brings to the table. Then there is the sound of the band and the uniqueness of the vocals of Mr. Lordi. In a world of music that all sounds the same, we are critiqued for liking the sound of someone who sounds different.
There are other difficulties in being a fan of Lordi. The band has had many membership changes since the original line-up debuted over 10 years ago and fans have attached themselves to some of these people and their personas. This can create issues as I feel that no other drummer will be loved as much a Kita and if Otus would not have died, he would have faced much scrutiny in stepping into the band after Kita left. A significant hurdle with being a fan of Lordi is also the inability to see the band live if you live outside of Europe. They do play major festivals in Europe like Hellfest, Wacken and others but to venture to North America is extremely rare as Emily notes.
Being in the Lordi fandom is not always an easy task. Especially if you are one of those fans that does not live in Europe. Lordi has quite a few fans worldwide but most of them live in Europe. If you wanted to see Lordi live today, doing so is not an easy task because of the fact that their management only makes them tour one continent on the globe. Lordi would love to go to other places one day but it is not easy for them at the moment.
The most difficult part for fans like us who live outside of Europe we have to deal with missing out on all the Europe only tours. Often what happens is we begin to envy the fans who get to see the band live for the first time or fifth time and they get to meet them. It is our dream too and sometimes we may feel like it will never come true for us until Lordi starts touring internationally. We could always save up our money and fly to Europe to go see Lordi but most of the time we say that we would rather just have Lordi come to us instead because it makes it easier for us to see them, depending on where you live it can be very expensive to fly from there to Europe.
The Lordi fandom is also a very dramatic place. Conflict can arise when you least expect it even if it comes from two fans having different opinions on something. For example one fan believes Lordi would have more success if they toured everywhere, while another will say it’s better if they stay where they are because they always get sold out shows over in just Europe at the moment. The connection to this is dealing with fans who lack sympathy for the fans who live outside of Europe and did not get a chance to see them live the last time they came overseas. Now I am not saying that all typical Lordi fans are like that. In fact there are also many Lordi fans who do have sympathy for fans who have not had their dream come true as well.
Another example of struggles in the Lordi fandom is dealing with loving certain things of Lordi that most people may no longer like or be tired of. If you’re a new Lordi fan you might take interest in one of their popular songs like Hard Rock Hallelujah first before you start buying the albums. I must admit that Hard Rock Hallelujah is an amazing song but most fans do not like hearing it anymore on places like the radio. Hearing it live is a different story. If fans do not like to listen to it anymore that is their choice and I respect it but personally, I love that song.
Being a Lordi fan is a challenge yes, especially if you live where they don’t tour at the moment. In our hearts we still remain strong no matter what happens and we always hope that Lordi will return to touring outside of Europe and hope that they don’t forget to tour our country and we enjoy the music, costumes, news and so on. Being a Lordi fan is fun and as Mr. Lordi once said: “Be strong you are our bosses! But most important of all be yourselves and dare to be whatever you’d like to be!”
There is another band from Finland that will really test your loyalty with the fanbase and that is Nightwish. There is always difficulty with seeing bands live that are from other countries overseas as they do not tour over on this side of the world often as EMily and I have already discussed but Nightwish is a little different. They do support all their latest album releases with a North American tour, even if it does lave my part of Canada out in the cold. I will have the chance to see the band live but I will need to travel to another province to do it.
The real firefight in the Nightwish fanbase is with the position of lead singer and what it means to each fan. The fans all have their favorite vocalist and all will defend that choice until they are blue in the face and passed out. When Tarja Turunen was asked to leave the band, fans were in an uproar as to some fans…Tarja was, and still is, Nightwish. When Anette Olzon joined the band as the new vocalist, the fan base split into two halves. One half that would only accept Tarja in the band and the second half that saw a new chapter in Nightwish history unfolding. Anette had a very tough time being accepted by some fans and I think they championed the cause to have her leave due to their actions. I saw this as a black eye on being a Nightwish fan as Anette offered something unique to the band. A different vocal style that created a different musical sound. It allowed Nightwish to grow and experiment in a more mainstream way but some fans were against that.
Change reared it’s head again last year as Anette and the band went their separate ways and once again Nightwish brought in a new vocalist, even if they said it was only for that tour. Floor Jansen ushered in a new era and may be able to meld the split fan base into one entity as the Anti-Anette fans stated Floor should have replaced Tarja but guess what I saw? People posting how Anette should have still been in the band. I suppose this should not have surprised me. We potentially have the one vocalist would could bridge the gap between both halves and I am hoping that Floor is announced as permanent vocalist as it may finally allow Tarja fans to let go of the past and Anette fans to not have to defend themselves constantly.
Being a Nightwish fan is not completely a struggle. Basically it depends on what you’re dealing with the most. In some situations it can relate to which female vocalist of the band is the best and sometimes there can be a conflict between fans that comes from this. First there was Tarja Turunen who had a very opera like voice that seems to fit with symphonic metal in general. Then comes in Anette Olzen who has a more typical rock-like voice that could be used for a band like this. At first, many fans were not satisfied with her replacing Tarja because of the way she sounded. Nightwish recently finished their Imaginarium world tour with Anette in it for half of it later she was replace by Floor Jansen when she decided to leave just halfway through the North American tour. I managed to catch Nightwish live last year on one of the last shows Anette had with the band before she parted from it. I barely recognized her that very night for some reason because I was used to seeing her with long black hair but instead when she came on stage she had blond hair that was tied in a bun. She is a beautiful singer. And Marco Hietala is an amazing bass player.
Seeing Nightwish live can sometimes be a challenge too depending on where you live. Although their most recent tour was worldwide they did not go everywhere. For instance when they toured North America they only had two shows in Canada and the rest in the US. This can create a problem for Canadian Nightwish fans who don’t live in major Canadian cities like Toronto and Montreal which were the only two places Nightwish played at on this tour. Nightwish is a great band to be a fan of and I believe these challenges in being in the fandom can be overcame just like they can for Lordi & KISS.
Emily and I wrote this joint project as a way to show fans of these bands and any bands that there can be difficulties with liking the music and bands that you do. It can make you feel as if you are on your own but you aren’t. I did not know Emily until last year but it was her fandom for Lordi, KISS and Nightwish that caused us to become friends. That friendship and this blog is proof of that. It is also proof that not all fans are difficult and trying to make people’s lives hell for their feelings.
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