We’ve all been there: you’re at a party, chatting it up with some friends and doing a little mingling, when the conversation moves towards music. You get excited – you love music! You can’t wait to unveil some of the deep thoughts you’ve been having that you have – ever so regrettably – been keeping all to yourself. So you let fly with some opinions, and just like the last time you did this, the conversation screeches to a halt. Someone rolls their eyes and everyone begins to fade away towards that drink they now desperately need. Why does that always happen? you wonder. Well, I can tell you why. Though you have the most noble of intentions, you – my friend – are a pretentious dick.
You see, there’s a pretty big gap between what you think you’re saying and what other people hear. And in the space of that gap, your innocent musings warp and change so that you end up coming off as a monumental douche. So take a deep breath and look over the following, because you might be one (or, God forbid, a combination) of the following:
1. The Guy Who Likes Their Early Stuff
What you think: Oh man, I love this band! Their first album was just incredible. The second and third albums? Well, they were pretty good – I mean, I definitely like them – but they were nowhere near as mind-blowing as the first release. I guess it turns out that there’s some truth in the old adage: “you have a lifetime to work on your first album and only a year to work on your second.” But their fourth record? The one with that single that got all over the radio? Well that album doesn’t sound anything like their first one – it’s like they’re a whole different band now, and I guess I just don’t like their new sound.
What you say: “Yeah, I guess they’re pretty good. I mean, I really liked their early stuff. But their new material? Not so much.”
What everyone else thinks: Here we go again. If there was ever a sign of someone trying to look cool, it’s when they say they only like a band’s early material. He’s just dying for us to think that he liked that band way before anyone else. It’s like he’s furiously typing “FIRST” in the comments section of this conversation. Only the dickiest of turds acts like that. Ugg, no one cares if you have a cassette tape of the bassist’s high school band concert, just shut up already.
2. The Fan of Side Projects
What you think: Man, I love the way that guy plays guitar. Actually, I’m really glad that he made some other music on the side so I could hear him play even more. I should talk up his side project – just really talk it up – and then maybe if other people get into it, they’ll do another record. ‘Cause, man, I need more of that dude’s tasty licks! I love when his licks hit my ea…never mind.
What you say: “Hey, have you heard of Thunder Dump? No? It’s the guitar player’s side project. It’s pretty sick – like way better than his main stuff. Yeah, I’m really into them right now. You should definitely check it out if you want your mind to be blown.”
What everyone else thinks: This guy seriously thinks he’s cool because he knows about some shitty side project that the guitar player has? Talk about hero-worship. Either the guitar player is his cousin or he gave him a handy at the last show. Either way, this guy is a total shit-bagel.
3. The Guitar Player
What you think: Well, I’m no Hendrix, but I know how to handle a six-string. I know a good guitarist when I hear it, and jeez, can this guy play! I mean, it’s not about just shredding, he’s playing some deceptively complicated stuff. After all, even I can shred a little. Like I said, I’m not a guitar-savant or anything, but I can play, and this stuff is beyond me, so you know that the guy who wrote it is super talented.
What you say: “Have you heard this guy play? I mean, I can play a little- Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, yeah, I mean, I play a little. I dabble. But anyway, as someone who knows how to play, I can tell you: this guy’s got chops.”
What everyone else thinks: Oh fuck, not again. Why do I always end up next to this guy? I hope to God there’s not a guitar at this party, because I just know that John Mayer here will bust it out for a private concert, like he did for Jenny on her birthday last year – because yes, we all know about that. What an oblivious, no-talent doucheburger.
4. The Guy Who Saw Them Before They Were Big
What you think: Oh, he saw them too! Awesome! They put on a great show. Maybe I should tell him about the first time I saw them, back when they were opening for the Gutter Scamps. Actually, I think maybe Mike and Todd have heard that story, but I don’t think anyone else here has, and it’s such a great story – I mean what are the odds! You know what, I’d better tell it. They’ll all love it.
What you say: “Aren’t they great live? Yeah, I actually saw them back before they were big – before their first album came out, actually. It was downtown at the Trout Room, right, and so I get there and…”
What everyone else thinks: Someone please, please, please stab me in the eye with a screwdriver. Honestly, just gouge my kidney with a spoon or something, anything to get me away from this story. He tells this story every damn time that band is mentioned. Every fucking time. Who cares if he saw them ten years ago? You know who else did? A shit ton of people. This does not make him special, and I refuse to validate this with – oh shit, he made eye contact, smile and nod, smile and nod. I mean really, what kind of idiotic troglodyte went to a Gutter Scamps show in the first place?
5. The Old Pro
What you think: I’m really glad that band got picked up by a bigger label. They work so hard and it’s just so damn difficult to make it in this industry. And I would know, I mean, I played bass with The Flying Chimps for like six months. Well, it was on-again-off-again, but still. It was experience in the business. The biz, as they say. Maybe we weren’t the best band in the world, but we were good – a damn sight better than a lot of the shit that does get picked up by labels. I don’t know, I guess we were just too edgy for any label to want to take such a risk. But whatever, I know how hard it is to make it. The Flying Chimps for life!
What you say: “Yeah, I’m happy they got a major label deal too. It’s not easy, let me tell you. I played in a band for a while and we- Really? You haven’t heard about that before? Oh, weird. Anyway, we put on a pretty good show – I mean, a few people said that we changed their lives. So, yeah, I mean we were pretty good, but we just didn’t get the breaks we needed. Anyway, I totally know how hard those guys must have worked to get a big label deal. I totally understand what they must have gone through. It’s hell out there, man. [Thinks to himself: The Flying Chimps for life!]”
What everyone else thinks: The Flying Chimps? Again? This fucking guy. As if we haven’t heard the story a million times already. God, just because you played bass in your neighbor’s ska band for two weeks during the seventh fucking grade doesn’t mean that you’re an expert on the music industry. An expert on one shitty pre-pubescent ska band? Absolutely! The music industry as a whole? Not even close. The only lives he changed were those of his poor neighbors who probably had to move out rather than hear that screeching monkey racket every time they practiced. What a pretentious, soaring primate of a dick.
Sorry friend, but there you have it. Now you know. Don’t be that guy.
This post originally appeared at Type In Stereo.