You’re not a hero, you’re a liar

As a young girl, I grew up with a mother who is seemingly unhealthily obsessed with Led Zeppelin. Her main squeeze is lead singer and rock god Robert Plant. For a good portion of my life, I was told that Plant is my real father.

As I grew up, I began to understand my mother’s undying love for music and concert-going. It rubbed off on me, and the moment that I got my driver’s license, I began driving to concerts by myself and making my best friends because of it.

Much to the dismay of my mother, I found out fans can easily meet musicians just by waiting outside of the venue until late in the night.

I have been lucky enough to meet at least one member of all of my favorite bands (aside from Green Day). Unlike my mom, who has never met her rock god.

I noticed that the rock ‘n’ roll stigma that existed in the 1970s doesn’t exist anymore. Musicians are no longer these godlike and untouchable figures.

With the crash of record sales, it’s now a means of marketing for musicians to hang out with fans after shows. With Twitter and YouTube, it’s all too easy to know what bands are doing every second of their days.

However, even though they’re seemingly untouchable and make fans feel as if they’re a part of something special, the reality is that no matter how many shows I attend, I’m just another fan.

I’ve seen my favorite band, All Time Low, perform live 11 times. I’ve traveled all over Ohio and Pennsylvania for their shows and own more than 30 All Time Low shirts and hoodies.

Some have told me I am unhealthily obsessed. If only those people knew that my obsession is anything but unhealthy.

I first heard of All Time Low in 2007, but didn’t pay much attention. I just casually listened to their music. I also noticed the guitar player was super adorable.

Earlier that year, my uncle had passed away, but it wasn’t until the holidays rolled around that it really hit me.

The memories of my Uncle Greg giving me a make-your-own chocolate bar kit swept over me, and I began to resent that drugs and alcohol took his life.

So, in an upset stage, I took out my iPod, plugged in my earbuds and started blasting music. A song on All Time Low’s 2006 EP release, “Lullabies,” was the first song to come on my shuffle. I had never listened to it before and decided to give it a chance.

The song is about lead singer Alex Gaskarth’s brother who passed away and how Gaskarth resented that he was no longer around to teach him the things that a big brother should.

I felt like much more than a fan in this moment because Gaskarth and I lost loved ones in a similar manner.

Ever since, they’ve been there to hold my hand by composing music for me to listen to whenever life hits hard.

Their live performance never fails to impress me. Their on-stage banter is interactive and fun for fans, and it’s clear they have a genuine love for performing.

In 2009 on the Glamour Kills tour, I met them for the first time. I’ve met at least one member at every concert since then. I was able to tell Gaskarth about my uncle and how their music has helped me through not only that situation, but motivated me to do well in school so that I can make a career out of loving music.

If Gaskarth is the big brother figure for me, my main squeeze is Jack Barakat, guitarist, whom I have met nine times.

Barakat is the class clown of the group.

The first time I met him, I was extremely nervous, but he broke the ice by saying, “Wow. We’re both wearing black. This looks like an emo Christmas card.”

My heart fluttered, the world stopped and I felt so close to my favorite band.

Over time, he began to recognize me and now knows me as the girl who broke her hand in Toledo, but that’s another story.

I had this idea in my head that my hero actually cares about me personally, and I have no doubt in my mind that he does, but he also cares about his other thousands of fans. Leaving me just another face in the crowd.

The opportunity of a lifetime came about for me to interview All Time Low on Oct. 15. My level of excitement was through the roof. Ask any of my co-workers at The Jambar. It was all I talked about all day.

Alas, the band had a prior obligation and I was told they couldn’t do the interview that day.

This isn’t a good feeling. To those who have never been emotionally attached to a band, it’s like when you have a crush on someone, someone you know is completely out of your league, and you essentially don’t stand a chance.

But then I had a moment as I was getting kicked in the head by a crowd surfer when Barakat and I locked eyes during my favorite song. There is no doubt in my mind that he recognized me and smiled.

However, at the routine gathering outside of the venue, I was left with 5 seconds with Barakat as there were hundreds of kids waiting outside, and he wanted to get to everyone.

Still, it was admirable because he clearly loves his fans, and none more than the other. Still, it was a dagger to my heart. I was left on the sidewalk in Cleveland as a bitter girl with a dream to interview her favorite band and my best friend saying, “You’ll get another chance!”

And, yes, I will still be at every concert I can attend, and I will still be waiting outside.  

1 comments Zosorus Wed Nov 14 2012 23:28 Loved this article. Anyone who loves music can relate to Marissa’s feelings. Her writing really puts you in the moment with her. Rock on!