Many, many years ago, 1978 to be precise, I went to a Bruce Springsteen concert with my friend Cherie. This was Pittsburgh and he was playing at the Stanley Theater. We decided to go early to stand next to the stage door. Maybe we could see him. And sure enough, we did.
I had my Instamatic camera with the state of the art square flash bulb. When Bruce climbed down from the bus, I started taking pictures. It was just Cherie and me. He was not that well known yet, certainly not in Pittsburgh, and Bruce gladly signed an autograph while I played paparazzi. That same year, in December 1978, I went to the Stanley Theater to see him again. I had front row seats. It was back in the day when you would sit in line for tickets and if you were first in line, front row was yours. Bruce was singing Spirit in the Night and I was standing in front of him, singing and clapping along when suddenly, he ran to me, grabbed my hand, kissed it and ran away. Good Lord, I thought I was going to die of happiness. I still have not washed that hand.
I think it is fair to say that from 1975 to around 1984, I was a huge Springsteen fan. That is what people knew me for. I had his posters on the walls of my dorm room and college apartment. I had a Born to Run t-shirt that I slept in so often that it was nearly worn through. I had seen him numerous times in concert. But it was around 1984 that things changed for me.
I did not like his album “Born in the U.S.A.” It was too commercial. He was too big and it seemed to me that he was making music for the masses. I don’t know. It was like a switch went off. I never saw him in concert after that (with the exception of his appearance at an Obama event). I bought a few more of his records, was disappointed, and then drifted away.
People ask me, what happened? It is hard to articulate. But I just knew that he stopped speaking to me through his music. Sometimes I would get into stupid arguments with friends who were his fans about what I was missing and why I was wrong. The argument usually went something like, he is Bruce and you need to go where he goes. But I could not understand why. Why did I have to accept whatever he put on vinyl?
This is a pattern with me. I said goodbye to the Grateful Dead after Jerry died. It just was not the same. I love Bob Dylan. But there is a point where the guy just needs to stop. He sounds horrible. Just dreadful and just because Dylan puts in on a record does not mean I have to like it. I will sing along with him on many of his records. Blood on the Tracks is by far one of the best albums of all time. But his current croaking? Not happening.
Now I am afraid that I am going down that path with the Foo Fighters. To say that I have loved Dave Grohl for years is an understatement. I mean, that guy just makes me happy. Foo Fighters concerts are a celebration of loud rock and head banging. I love it. I have seen them so many times and I just rock out. But I have not liked their past two albums. Am I going to kiss him goodbye too?
Matt thinks that I am unforgiving and that artists need to grow. Sure, I agree. But maybe they are going places I don’t want to go. I don’t necessarily see that as unforgiving but a situation where I know what I like. Just because I like the Foos does not mean I have to like everything they do. Think of it this way—if I like Picasso’s blue period paintings, does that mean I have to love his cubist work? I don’t see why. But to follow the logic that I have heard so often, he is Picasso, you have to like everything he does. I just don’t buy it.
Does this make me fickle? No. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary to be fickle is to be “marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy, or stability: given to erratic changeableness.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines fickle as: “likely to change your opinion or your feelings suddenly and without a good reason.” I would say I am not fickle because I know exactly why I have changed my opinion. But nevertheless, I will be marked as fickle for deciding that I am just not that into [fill in the blank] anymore.