Superfans (for any band) are the greatest. These are the fans who love a band so much they memorize fun facts, like the current profession of the guy who used to drum for the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1987 (fun fact: he writes music for movies—in fact he wrote the music for “The Lincoln Lawyer”— now you know). Superfans are the people who dedicate a certain percentage of their brain’s capacity to learning lyrics to songs that have only been played live twice. They are enthusiastic, dedicated, and wonderful.
These are your Deadheads (superfans of the Grateful Dead), your Phish-Heads (superfans of Phish), your Led-Heads (superfans of Led Zeppelin), your Fred-Heads (superfans of the band Right Said Fred—fun fact: there is only one Fred-Head in the world, he’s the lead singer of Right Said Fred and he has a medical condition where often he is so sexy he is in pain).
I like being a superfan of Dave Matthews Band. I take pride in it. I’ve been to dozens of live shows. I’ve never not had a DMB keychain on my car keys. I have (I swear this is true) 18.9 days worth of Dave Matthews Band live music on my iTunes account (fun fact: the first Sherlock Holmes novel was written in less than three weeks—so, in the time it would take me to listen to all of the Dave Matthews Band live songs, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote an entire book that would make him famous). Part of me thought there was a chance I was the biggest Dave Matthews Band fan in the world!!!
...then I met Ann...
Ann is the newest member of HeadCount’s DMB touring team, and she and I have been driving to DMB shows for a week now. And here’s what I’ve learned about her... she crushes me in Dave Matthews Band superfandom.
- I’ve been to 48 DMB shows—she’s been to over a hundred.
- I have a dresser stocked with DMB tee-shirts—she’s designed and sold (for charity) DMB tee-shirts.
- I like DMB songs—she likes the original versions of those songs (some versions only ever played a dozen or so times).
- I know the middle names of the band members—she knows which tour bus belongs to each member.
- I buy some of the DMB tour posters—she tracks down the poster designs for each show before the design is even officially revealed.
- I have three or four friends who go to shows with me—she has known someone from her community of DMB friends at every show we’ve gone to.
It’s wild. After three days, I was convinced that she was the biggest Dave Matthews Band fan in the world!!!
...then I met some of the fans in the parking lots of these shows...
I’ve met superfans who have gone to over 300 shows. I’ve met superfans who have tattoos (plural) of lyrics scattered on their body. I’ve met superfans who carry heavy equipment to each DMB show just to record the concert and share it with other superfans (many of whom have iTunes collections that contain months’ worth of music).
Enthusiasm can get a bad rep—it’s easy to think of superfans as pie-eyed weirdos who spend too much money on some band (fun fact: the amount of money I’ve spend on Dave Matthews Band shows could probably take a pretty nice dent out of student loan bills... that’s not really fun, but it is a fact). For every Dave Matthews nerd like me who has a chart of the songs I’ve heard at each show, there are legions of hipsters who will make fun of that dedication.
...but, at the end of the day, it’s nice to know there is no limit on enthusiasm or appreciation for good music. It’s nice to see the creativity that comes out of this dedication for music. It’s nice to meet people who love something with all of their heart. It’s nice to see people who just might be the biggest Dave Matthews Band fans in the world!!!
So, go out and talk to some Deadheads. They are wonderful and weird. Next time you are at a Phish show, find Phish-Heads wearing a home-made Phish necklace with matching Phish pinky-rings. Try and find an internet community of Talking Heads superfans (I call them Heads-Heads). It’s always fun to see.