How Deep Is Your Love: The Levels of Music Fandom

Melissa Fossum
Safe to say you're a huge fan when you wear costumes at the live show, like these Lady Gaga fans recently did. Full slideshow here.

Steve Wiley is Up on the Sun's resident Record Store Geek. Biweekly, he shares stories of great music and wacky characters from his continuing 27 years in Valley record stores and the always-zany music biz.

I was hanging out at Revolver Records the other day, and Andy (friend, former hoodlum, and store manager) and I struck up a conversation with this kid.

The kid told us he was a fan of The Cars.

"Cool," we said. "It's always cool to see vintage music carry on to the next group of music lovers."

I asked him which album was his favorite. He said he didn't know any of the albums.

Uh, kid, I love your attitude, but think I need to set you straight. You can't really call yourself a fan of a band if you don't even know any of the albums.

But I've Got Four of Their Songs on My Phone!

In case you weren't aware, the word "fan" is short for "fanatic."

You know, someone who is over-the-top. Really into a band.

I'd use sports as an example, but as a lover of both forms of entertainment, it's hard to compare the two. Music fans are cooler. They party equally hard, but they don't go to the same extremes as sports fans.

In other words, to be a fan of a band, you don't need to paint your face and go on the road, but you at least need to be deeper than a couple of songs.

Let's take a closer look at the levels of band fandom, shall we?

Wow, I Really Like That Song

Songs are beautiful.

I like a good song as much as the next cat.

Many, many musicians have made a career out of just one.

I'm all for dialing up a good playlist for driving or working out or countless other situations.

Songs are music.

But that's where you start. You hear that song, and it's so damn good that you need to know more about this artist.

Cars Example: Most people first hear the radio tunes, like "Just What I Needed" (that's the one that hooked me), "Drive," or "My Best Friend's Girl."

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Gary Trayler
Gary Trayler

I guess you would need to be gay to understand that photo.


I know people who have followed bands that aren't even household names around the country for 30+ years.  THOSE are fans.  The rest of you are just music consumers.


You must be your own biggest fan. Jesus Christ, get over yourself.

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