While my blogging partner had a chance a couple of days ago to comment on John Taylor’s South African interview, I didn’t. Obviously, she picked out a great deal of what I had focused on when listening to the interview. One line, in particular, has stayed with me, days after hearing it.
When talking about Red Carpet Massacre, John said the following: “The fans were like we can’t hear you, John. We can’t really hear Roger.” Okay, confession time. I said that and I know Rhonda said that. I also read something similar on many posts in a variety of message boards. Did I say it to him, personally, or to any other band member? Nope. Did Rhonda? Unfortunately, no. Did the countless other fans say it to him? I somehow doubt it. John isn’t typically out in social gatherings where fans would have access to him. Could fans have made comments to Roger or Simon who are? I doubt that, too as most fans don’t try to talk shop with the band in a relaxing setting. Even in non-relaxed settings, fans don’t often have a chance to provide in-depth thoughts during events like concert meets-n-greets or record store signings. Lastly, even when they do have a chance, would they utter something negative, even if it was constructive criticism that probably needed to be said? My guess would be probably not. I suspect that most fans use their few minutes with the band to tell them about how they have inspired them or touched them in some way. They might ask for autographs or pictures. Maybe they would make comments about the show but to talk seriously about the instrumentation of the album? I doubt it. Of course, I could be wrong. Besides, even if some fans do use that opportunity to make some serious statements, how many fans would that be? Should the band trust that those feelings represent most of us? I don’t think so.
How did John Taylor find out that many fans were thinking that about the lack of instruments on RCM? How would any band member? How does the band learn about what we REALLY think? It can’t be from face-to-face interactions, at least not in high numbers. Of course, fans can submit questions to Katy but those are usually questions and not comments. She controls what is shared there. Fans can also post ideas, praise, complaints, etc. on message boards. Would any of them go on message boards to see what the fans like? Would they do it on a regular basis? Which board would they choose? How would they sift through all of the other discussions to actually discover what we think? Do they hire someone to do it? How do they determine if the posts are representatives of the fans as a group, since some people just lurk. I have heard them answer the question about checking the message boards and I distinctly remember Nick saying something about how terrified he would be in an interview from 2005 or 2006. This leads me back to the original question.
How does the band learn what fans really think? If fans knew that they were watching and reading, would that alter their behavior or stifle their thoughts? Would this be a good thing for the fandom or a problem? I’m sure that most fans would love for them to know what they are thinking but I’m also sure that fans wouldn’t want them to think less of them. It would be an interesting sociological experiment to introduce the guys into a message board and see how it changes. Maybe it would only matter if they post themselves. I don’t know but it sure would be interesting to find out!