Should We Even Have Heroes?
I have been told many times to not meet my heroes – that it is either not all it’s cracked up to be or that I will come face to face with an interaction that will leave me largely unsatisfied. It is a tale that has been passed down, a sort of innate understanding that these encounters do not usually turn out well. And how could they?
When it comes to music, I know that I have personally spent hours upon hours listening to these bands, watching and reading interviews, seeing these shows. These regular people transform into something almost ethereal after all this energy we pumped into who they are as musicians, not people. It is a wall I had to learn to break down early on in my listening career, but that does not seem to stop people from chasing this grand idea of meeting their respective bands of rock royalty.
Unfortunately, it is my experience that these illusions tend to shatter. Especially lately when it seems that every day when I log into Twitter it seems as though a new musician is being exposed for some form of sexual misconduct. It is almost as though nothing is sacred anymore. Bands I have followed for years seems to be coming out with some sort of sordid past. Hell, just as I am writing this I logged on to find someone else finally coming forth saying a member of yet another band manipulated her when she was younger.
I came home to allegations of Brand New’s Jesse Lacey with my friend, noticeably upset, asking “Have you heard?” She was wearing a Brand New shirt, she had just seen them last week. He was her hero no longer. Left confused and hurt, she says she does not know what to believe anymore – that the music sounds different knowing another facet of this man’s history. There is a noticeable void, still deep a week later.
These sorts of allegations are nothing new and the behavior is nowhere close to being normalized, but these allegations are shifting into a new music scene – trickling down to one where the fans are still considerably young and the surprise is still fresh. For many it is simply heartbreaking and the first time this illusion of greatness is being shattered. No longer does it feel like you can you be naïve when listening.
Tours keep getting cancelled. And as fans today are quick to denounce their heroes. It feels almost as though we are forced to do this. How are you supposed to feel comfortable condoning behavior when it feels like you know the truth? Do we stop listening to music? I do not think so.
I think we remain optimistic. But how are we supposed to continue on having heroes? Is this supposed to be the mental tectonic shift where we as a whole start dismantling this us/them ideal when it comes to those who play in bands versus those who don’t? It leaves me at a loss, questioning how I am supposed to respond to situations like these. Does the heartbreak continue or are these the lessons that lead to overall humanization of this fortified “rockstar” or hero ideal? I truly do not know but hope that the truth reveals itself.