Saturday, February 26, 2011

Rant: The Great Fan Divide

A month or two ago, I bought tickets to Linkin Park's latest tour with The Prodigy and I was really excited about it. I've been wanting to see LP since their break out takeover with Hybrid Theory, but I wasn't that big of a concert goer as I am now and when I started attending more, my only option was Projekt Revolution (which is equivalent to KoЯn's Family Values Tour, featuring several other bands with them as headliners). I wasn't interested and waited around for that very moment. Unfortunately, the date was postponed to March. I'm not bitter about it at all and this post has nothing to do with the cancellation either. This post has to deal with some comments I've been reading since I added the event on my account.

I already knew that since the long awaited release of Minutes to Midnight a fan division was formed due to the changes of LP's sound. I thought this would've faded, but the fan hate is still alive. All I saw were constant complaints about how Prodigy fans felt sorry or didn't understand why they would be opening for such a "shitty" band. I was appalled and a little bit ashamed as I am a fan of both bands. I couldn't believe that LP fans were still bickering over the band's experimental choices and jrock fans have stopped months or even years ago.

Now I don't want to strictly keep this centered around LP, I wanted to focus all my irritated energy towards all the bands that caused a fan division. Most of them have calmed down and people have moved on, at least from my point of view, and others, like the example above, have yet to let go. It's partially the reason I have the indies vs. major poll up for the month.

Back in 1997, a talented visual kei band by the name of Dir en grey was born. They brought controversy and thought provoking lyrics to music listeners around the country. They slowly evolved into a less visual creation to a more normal state. After branching outside of Japan, they set their sights on America and became inspired (or influenced moreso) by the bands they were touring with. Marrow of a Bone and it's singles leading up to it were released and caused an uproar within the fandom with their "Americanized" sound. There was an instant divide and people complained about their music, lack of self mutilation in live performances, and their less visual appearance, but soon all things calmed down and Uroboros opened some fans' minds that their roots were still there within their growth and experimentation. Sure, there's still a divide in the fandom, but it has become less rowdy compared to LP's fanbase.

In 2008, Girugamesh released their third album, MUSIC, which caused a divide in their fanbase. They took a different direction with their unique rock sound and added new dance, rap, and a few pop elements to some songs. A lot people wanted them to go back to the emotionally intense sounds of "VOLCANO" or even something that still captured the essence of "Owari to mirai".

In 2007, former An Cafe guitarist Bou left the band and two new members were added, Takuya (guitar) and Yuuki (keyboard). People bitched and moaned over how Yuuki looked like a freak and wouldn't give him a chance just by basing it on appearance. When Kakusei heroism ~THE HERO WITHOUT A 'NAME'~ and Ryuusei Rocket were released, some fans were constantly comparing Bou and Takuya's guitar skills to each other. They would strongly cling to their thoughts that Bou was a better guitarist than Takuya, but honestly, in my opinion, Takuya is better. At least, the above examples I can understand there being a division within the fandom, but an argument between Bou and Takuya is a waste of time.

Last year, Jaejung, Yuchun, and Junsu left DBSK due to contract issues and decided to form JYJ while Changmin and Yunho continued on with DBSK. Now this fan division ranks up there with LP and I'm so happy I'm not a fan of them, because I'd probably be equally annoyed with this division. Fans were torn and felt betrayed. They felt obligated to like both instead of just sticking with whatever they enjoyed without regrets or even just sticking with old DBSK.

Bands change. You can't stop that and deep down you wouldn't want them to. Think about it. If Dir en grey, Linkin Park, and any other band that has evolved into something else played the same type of music, you would be just as annoyed and bitchy about it. It's impossible to please everyone and I'm glad that these fan divisions haven't hindered bands from exploring their creativity. As fans, we need to accept that we're not going to like everything no matter how die hard of a fan you are. You don't have to feel guilty about it either. It won't kill you to admit to yourself or anyone else that you dislike something from your favorite band/artist. Most importantly, we need to stop yelling at each other, because originally we were brought together because we love the band or artist. We need to agree to disagree too.

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