Growing up I didn’t have many friends, and the ones I had I didn’t see on a daily basis. Some I saw in dance class weekly, others I saw every month at scouts or every few months for school group meetups. When I graduated most of the people I hung out with defriended me and I was left with a bunch of Facebook albums with the photo tags removed. I spent the next few months stumbling around pretending everything was fine. It wasn’t until college that I became aware of the full potential of the internet; I quickly started following and befriending people around the world on Twitter. I learned how to get noticed and stay relevant, and that’s when I started making Band Friends.
Band Friends. Noun. “Those people with blue checks on their profiles that, for some reason, take the time learn your name and shout it across radio station basements and start sneaking up on you by merch tables. Sometimes you run into them in The City at their friends’ shows and they invite you to hang, other times you only communicate through random tweets about Next Gen and Harry Styles. You aren’t really friends, but for those few minutes when you see them every couple months it’s like they’re your best friend, and nothing really compares.”
Do you know what it’s like to follow a tour on social media, watching other fans post pictures and stories about meeting your favorite people and waiting patiently for it to be your turn, only to have the most important person on the entire tour miss your show because they decided to go to fucking Denver?
I hate Colorado.
I’ve been considering what to post tonight for a while now. I watched a video recently about things people do to cope with anxiety, and one of them was tending to remember specific dates of traumatic events. I’ve always had a thing for remembering anniversaries, traumatic or not, and today is a big one for me.
Band Friends. They’re not really your friend, but they sure act like it when you need one.
Band Friends. They make faces at you from the stage when they catch you freaking out over their dangerous stunts. (Please don’t go on stage with a lollipop in your mouth!)
Band Friends. Sometimes seem like the only friends you’ve got.
Band Friends. Encourage you to do stupid things, like fly across the country during midterms.
Band Friends. Let you hug them 50 times in one day because they know how much you need it.
Band Friends. Whether they know it or not are some of the most important friends you’ll ever have.
At this point most of you reading have probably realized I’m getting around to talking about Nick from Night Riots. Ew. Nick from Night Riots, that sounds so fake. To me he’s just Nick. Some random kid I know from the internet, who just so happens to be in a band that I just so happen to be a fan of. And it’s cool. We’re not really friends (we’ve had a conversation about it, don’t worry), but every once in a while we get to be friends for like ten minutes, and, to reiterate, it’s cool.
I owe Nick a lot, without him I wouldn’t have made so many new friends, I wouldn’t have won a mentorship and gotten to go to Chicago a bunch of times. I wouldn’t have experienced my first large-scale music festival and wouldn’t know what it’s like to get stuck in the middle of a movie premiere in Hollywood. I think he kinda hates me now, or maybe that’s just my anxiety talking, but it’s okay. I wouldn’t change any of the things I did in the past year, and I’m so thankful to be able to call him my band friend.
One year ago today I took the 6 a.m. bus into The City, followed by two trains from the PABT down to Bowery. I sat in line for almost 11 hours, beat a bunch of AFI fans at Cards Against Humanity and only called my mom once. (I forgot to order decaf at Starbucks and started having a panic attack around 4 p.m.) After doors I was elbowed in the stomach and shoved so far stage left I ended up standing right under his mic, and honestly I was hoping he’d kick me in the face so I’d have an excuse to leave. Long story short, he didn’t.
After talking to their poor merch guy for about 45 minutes and then glomming onto some other band friends who were there it finally came down to the moment we’d all been waiting for. And when I say we all, I mean every single person I have ever spoken to on the internet. All of them. Waiting for me to meet Nick. Do you know how much pressure that is?
He hugged me so tightly that I can still feel my face being smashed into the shoulder of his leather jacket if I think about it hard enough.
People always say don’t meet your heroes, but I say fuck that. Meet them, hug them and love them, give them a chance to love you back. You never know what opportunities you might find if you give it a shot.
“I’m so glad you’re finally here.”
“It’s okay, I’m safe now.”
Thanks for reading.