I recently read an old article on AltPress where Chad Gilbert talks about Pop-Punk not being dead and what it means. Over all it was a great essay, but one line struck out to me more than anything. “Our fans define us.”
As soon as I read it the little voice in my head turned into Patrick Stump singing “Make us poster boys in the scene, but we are not making an acceptance speech.” Then it turned into Handguns and told me that they aren’t a Pop-Punk band, despite what their 16,000+ fans on Last.FM say. Then it was Gerard Way calling emo “fucking garbage.”
I guess it’s a difficult concept to submit to, after all New Found Glory has been around for over 14 years and it took Chad this long to realize it; but I think it’s something that every band should come to grips with. Without fans, bands are just 5 dudes hitting shit, trying to impress a wall or deafen themselves or something. I get where Gerard Way and the members of Handguns are coming from though, I used to think I was in a Pop-Punk band and if anyone said we were CrunkCore I probably would have been at least a little offended, so their defense of themselves is completely understandable. But in the end Chad is right, if you have 17 million fans and they all say you’re a Christian Folk Metal band, then I guess that’s what you are, genres are just names after all, and without those 17 million fans you wouldn’t be able to live your dream, so you owe it to them to call you whatever they want.
At the end of the day, being in a band is about playing the music you love, call it whatever you want but I play what I want, and I like to think that’s how most musicians out there work. So if you’re in a band, don’t complain about what someone calls you, the only reason they’re calling you anything is because they’re listening, and that’s exactly what you wanted.