Sufjan Stevens on “Friend Rock”

Hot on the heals of “GGBB,” Sufjan Stevens writes a column about Friend Rock:

“Consider carefully your motivations for being at the show in the first place. Are you bringing to the performance an anxious, pathological obligation (by sheer, relational proximity) and an unfaltering, unquenchable desire to chatter, gossip, and talk about said friend onstage, capsizing your ability to enjoy anything about the music at all? If so, you may be in the midst of Friend Rock. But there you are, biting your tongue, with an iron will, the will to love, a stoic cheerleader, a loyal comrade, a cheap listener, you are sticking it out because that person onstage is your Friend.”

Sufjan’s cues to recognizing Friend Rock:

1) you are on the guest list

2) you know more than 40% of the people attending the show

3) you have a backstage pass

4) you have drink tickets

5) you brought a book and/or The New York Times Magazine to the club

6) you watch the performance with your arms crossed

7) you know the set list (you may have even helped write it)

8) you have loaned gear–amps, mics, a drum kit, a tambourine, an oboe

9) you are selling merch (How did you get suckered into that one?)

10) you would like more than anything in world to leave before the encore, but you stick it out and wait around backstage to say, “Oh my God, that was great, thanks for putting me on the guest list!”

11) the band asks if they can crash on your floor

12) you make up some story about your cat having a terrible yeast infection (can’t sleep, howls all night, pees all over the kitchen, etc.)

13) you agree, at least, to meet them for “breakfast” (lunch, really) at Kellog’s Diner

14) you go home, tired, relieved, a little bitchy, a little boozy (all those drink tickets!), an armful of promo CDs that you will try (unsuccessfully) to sell to Other Music later that week (shrink wrap still intact).

Of course sometimes your friends are in your favorite bands, which makes the whole situation much easier…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *