Band Etiquette 101
So you’ve managed to find yourself face-to-face with your favourite artist or band. You might have snagged the elusive meet and greet or are just in the right place at the right time. You want to make the most of it but your heart is racing and your mouth’s gone dry and you have to no idea what you should or shouldn’t say. Lucky for you, this edition of Tune Up Your Mind addresses just that.
Here’s some basic guidelines for the DOs and DON’Ts when meeting a band.
DO take a breath. Take a few if you have to.
DO chat IF it is convenient to them. If they are with family, friends or otherwise busy, be respectful and move on. It’s not the right time.
DO think of things to talk about or ask beforehand if you expect to meet them. There’s nothing worse than staring at them in silence, mouth agape. Chances are, you’ll freak them out.
DO break the ice by talking about their performance. Strike up a conversation about the show you’ve just seen, if you’ve seen them before, or even what made the show stand out above the others you’ve seen. Who doesn’t love positive feedback?
DO know about the band you are trying to talk to. This way, you will be able to make intelligible conversation. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll even talk about their future projects.
DO ask questions related to their craft, about their instruments, how they prepare before a show. Chances are, you’ll learn something new.
DO ask for an autograph if the situation permits and they seem open to the possibility. Sometimes, however, it’s just not in the cards. Remember to respect their decision either way; sometimes they’re just not in the mood.
DO ask before taking any photos. Some musicians are fine with this. Others are not. Find out before you start snapping away. The same goes for video. If you are chatting comfortably, know that by whipping out your camera, you may ruin that dynamic.
And most important, the DON’Ts…
DON’T ask personal questions or anything that is likely to make them uncomfortable. If your goal is to scare them away, this is probably the best way to do so.
DON’T freak out over everything they do. Cooing because they sneezed does not put them in a comfortable position. You may love and admire them but if you put them on a pedestal, they will only ever see you as a fan and your conversation will reflect this fact.
DON’T ask them to sign every album you own or every piece of paper you can find. It’s inappropriate and greedy.
DON’T make food for the band. I can't stress this one enough. Do you eat from people you’ve just met? Even if your answer is yes, don’t do it.
DON’T hog them. While you want to get as much time in as you can, it is more than likely that there are others around who want the same thing. If they miss that chance because of you, it won’t be pretty. Just saying…
DON’T try to keep them for longer than they want to be kept; if they’re edging away, let them go graciously. They want (need) time to prepare for a show and to wind down afterwards. This time is precious to them and it is sometimes their only “free” time for the day.
DON’T put them in an awkward position. Asking to go backstage is a big no no. Telling them you want to have their babies is probably not the best idea, either.
Remember, artists don’t have to share their free time with you. Consider the time you receive a privilege. Not everyone will have the same opportunity. Just relax and have fun!