Band break ups. We’ve all experienced them. There’s no two ways about it: they suck. Suddenly this thing that meant so much to you is just done, over, gone. And you’re left to pick up the pieces of your broken, music-lovin’ heart however you can.
But what happens when it’s the other way around – when you’re the one who outgrows the band?
I’ll admit: this is part of the reason I decided to put The Good Groupie on hiatus in 2017. Music wasn’t moving me. Or rather, new music wasn’t moving me.
I was finding the same old solace and comfort in the same old songs I always have…and it felt boring. The Good Groupie should be able more than how many times I’ve cried listening to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys or “Asleep” by The Smiths…y’know?
The band that it always comes down to for me is Hanson. (You can read why here.)
2017 marks 20 years since “MMMBop” hit the radio airwaves and killed off grunge once and for all. Twenty years. That’s a damn long time to love a band. Family aside, is there anything in your life you can think of that you’ve truly loved for that long?
It feels like my love has waned, though. The last full album Hanson released that truly moved me, truly made me feel something was in 2007 – 10 years ago. I’d just graduated from college, and somehow that summer I landed myself the opportunity to interview the band for the newspaper I worked for at the time. It was magical getting to spend 20 minutes asking Taylor Hanson all the ins and outs of the album, just like I’d always dreamed of doing one day. And I’m still incredibly proud of the piece I wrote as a result of the interview.
But if the last full work you loved by a band is nearly a decade in the rear view mirror…do you really still love them?
Sure, Hanson has released a few songs that have really hit home for me – two in particular on their 2012 fan club EP. But I haven’t had that feeling in a long time.
You know the one: where a song’s words or melody absolutely gut-punches you and leaves you wondering…what the hell just happened? Or it cracks open your heart and makes you feel something so deeply, you didn’t think it was possible. Or it opens your eyes and makes you see a situation you’ve been dealing with in a new light – and in a way that will allow you to move forward, move through it.
I haven’t felt that from Hanson in years.
And it’s scary because these three boys from America’s heartland quite literally make up my DNA. I didn’t listen to top 40 music before them. I didn’t travel the country to see a silly little band in hole-in-the-wall clubs for the love of the music. I didn’t have some of the best friends I would ever meet.
And I didn’t know I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing.
One band gave me all that through their lyrics and my experiences seeing them live.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel anymore, I wrote in an email to Katie this morning. I still haven’t listened to the stuff they released in October. I’ve barely listened to last year’s fan club EP. Whole albums and most of the club EPs haven’t moved me in years.
Are we breaking up? Is our time over? Do I just make a clean break after this year and say, ‘Thanks, it was a great 20 years, but I’m done now’? Do I keep listening, hoping to hear a glimmer of what I used to?
Or have I just completely outgrown them? I’m old enough to understand the world without needing Hanson to explain it for me…
I don’t know.
It’s weird to feel like you should let go of something that doesn’t mean much to you anymore…but you don’t feel like you should let it go either because it gave you SO much and is part of your DNA.
Katie could not have sent me a more perfect response:
I don’t think Hanson was there to explain the world to you. I think they were there to make you remember who you are. You’re the writer, the dreamer, the woman that was molded by their melodies.
Maybe this fan/band relationship is way more complex than we think. The band doesn’t simply need us to buy albums, buy concert tickets and buy merch so they can continue making music. We don’t need them simply for an outlet or a way to understand the world.
Maybe sometimes – if we’re lucky – we find a band that shapes us as much as we shape them. And that leads to a 20-year journey where you might not always feel completely in sync with each other…but at your core, you both always know what you mean to each other.
Sometimes the band will take a little more, sometimes the fan. But at the end of the day, neither of you would ever be who you are without the other.
How often do you find that?
Once in a lifetime…if you’re lucky.
And I’m damn lucky to have experienced it.
P.S. Just in case you’re wondering…I will be at MOE one last time this May, then I’ll probably be sticking to tours for awhile. So if you’re going and you’ve always thought, “I’d like to say hi to that Good Groupie girl“…Tweet me and let’s make it happen this year.