Before we embark on this extremely personal journey of mine, I wanted to speak credit for a moment. Fellow MEB Staff Writers Alexandra Brueckner and Stephen Young indirectly influenced the creation that is about to unfold onto this screen – for that, I indirectly thank the both of you for helping me collect/gather my thoughts in a focused manner.
Let me first explain the correlation and then we can work our way back to the beginning:
This editorial (or whatever you wish to label it) is about mixing relationships with music and maintaining that connection for years and years – and so, perhaps this is an argumentative piece combating Alexandra’s, which discusses her opposing views on mixing these two. Her other feature, discussing what bands owe us – well, I will get into that much later. Stephen’s piece speaks volumes to me, as well as many other staffers I am sure, simply due to its stance on personal relationships with the bands and artists we come so close to. This discussion will bind a personal relationship and its clear linkage with a band that got too famous.
Much like Alexandra talks about with Muse and Stephen discusses with The Wonder Years, many around these parts know the same goes for me and Paramore. However, not many outside my immediate friends and family know the true reason my love for them goes so much further beyond just the music they create and what they decidedly share with me, and all their other fans around the world.
Eight years ago, after a handful of months stalking Paramore’s fan boards (back then, there were maybe 10-20 members involved), I finally decided to join and take part in the “community”. Not more than a couple weeks after that fact, a girl named Suzanne, from Long Island, did the exact same thing. Little did either of us know that eight years later, we would be where we are now: me sitting in her parents’ kitchen on Christmas morning typing her my own form of a love letter, and her in the other room planning wedding details with her mother. It’s amazing, the power of music.
Without digging into all of the minute/messy details of our entire history, just know that we instantaneously clicked. Obviously, Paramore was our common bond initially. Thus, we proceeded to see the band and meet them on several occasions, but never together, as the miles proved to be too much to bring us together in those memorable moments. Still, as with most online relationships, an almost obsession began to unfold – day and night, we would find ways to communicate and build this “relationship of sorts”. Every time she or I would see the group from Tennessee, she would be the first person I would tell about my experience – and vice versa. Back then, the band was very easy to reach out and grab and so we took advantage of that fact, hanging out with them as often as we could afford. I can remember all of the pictures with all the band members, old and new: Hunter, Josh, Zac – and of course, Hayley and Jeremy (Taylor came in during their “blow-up” phase), and talking all night on AIM or the Paramorefans message boards telling each other how “The next time, we will meet them together!” Sadly enough, that never did happen.
After two years of “having Paramore to ourselves” Riot! released in 2007 and things, well, changed.
A few months after, they were on a U.S. headlining tour for Riot! with support from The Starting Line and The Almost, and it was during that run they made a monumental stop at The Palladium in Worcester, MA. It was there that Suzie and I first met – in person, at least. We had planned it a couple months prior and being that it was a nice central location for the two of us (me, being from Maine – her, New York), it worked out as well as it could have. I vividly remember walking around the corner of the venue where the lined roped around the sidewalk, coming back from Dunkin’ Donuts reading a text from her, saying “I’m here, where are you?” And so, there we were after almost two years of communicating behind a screen. Awkwardness aside, it was one of the greatest moments in my life – and hopefully hers.
The show that Paramore put on was always special, but never more so than that night. Even after all the times I had seen them perform, nothing would ever compare to them on that day. Being the first time I had ever witnessed them in a fully-packed venue (up till then, it was always a fairly minimal crowd – since, not many knew who the HELL they were), I almost felt proud if that makes any sense. Looking around at all the new fans dying to get their way closer to the stage – I almost got teary-eyed in that moment – to witness what they had accomplished in so little time. Somehow I, just like most of the “original” para-fans, knew this day was inevitable – but it was magic to observe it first-hand. Stephen explained it brilliantly in his article. Nothing truly compares, I guess – maybe when I have my own child, or something like that. I’m sure that will trump this moment. Yeah, I think so.
Distinct memories of that night continue to fill my head, mostly looking over at Suzie to make sure she was okay – or having a good time, not getting crushed by the tight, un-moving crowd. Every time I did, she would always look back at me and smile. I think I always knew I loved her – but that night, I fell in love.
Since that fateful day in Worcester, we have since seen Paramore several more times (mostly together) and our love for them has never lifted. No matter how big they got, we would always stay loyal and faithful to the band. It’s funny, because Alexandra talks about what bands owe us in her article – and even though I agree with the subject matter within the piece, I’ve always felt as though I owe Paramore for what they brought into my life.
So, fast forward to a few months ago – Paramore announces their big “first ever” stadium/headliner tour across the United States. And can you guess where one of their stops was? Across the street from The Palldium at The DCU Center in, you guessed it, Worcester, MA. Now, it was around that time that I realized the time was now to finally propose to Suzie – exciting stuff! Over the years, she had become my best friend, my main supporter, someone I connected with on so many more levels than just the band. Even though the years had seen many ups and downs, I woke up one morning in August and realized that there was no one else built for me the way that she was. And, as lame as she thinks it sounds – we do owe all of it to Paramore.
Over the next couple of months, I tried whole-heartedly to reach the band and let them know of my plans. But, they were just too big to hear my requests. So, the day of, I somehow managed to work my way backstage with a masseuse (apparently she was hired to massage the band, weird) and some other fan-girl (we pretended to be her assistants, clever). All the while, getting angry texts from Suzie on the outside, asking where I ran off to. After an hour or so frantically searching backstage for a short, red-headed vocalist, security finally kicked me and the other girl out. And so I walked back to the line outside the venue, fairly upset by my failed attempts at contacting the band once more, to make this show even more of a spectacle than was already planned. Especially knowing just how easy it was to “run into them” all those years ago – oh, why couldn’t it be then?
A funny thing happened when I got back to the line and hugged her, though. I held tight and thought to myself just how little it really mattered. We were going to see the band we love, and had loved for so many years – a band that had unknowingly brought us together and created this union of friendship and love. That night, Suzie and I would watch them front and center – Hayley would reach out to us as she had done so many times before, momentarily recognize us and then probably think to herself “Gosh, how long are these two going to continue to punish themselves on the barricade for us?” After the set, we would look at each other, leave the venue and before getting into the car, and I would get the ring from the trunk. The rest, well, perhaps I’ll tell you another day.
So that night, disaster was averted and we were engaged – she said yes.
As I am sitting here now trying to conclude this rapture of thought, one can’t help but think just how differently the outcome of this story could have been. Countless friendships have been made, many miles traveled, tears shed, an engagement – none of which would have become honest, actual memories lived had it not been for Paramore. Again, I say this in mild disbelief: It is truly amazing what music can do.
Which brings us to the ending – don’t think I forgot. Alexandra’s article focuses on what bands owe us, and although I do not altogether agree with this – it couldn’t hurt to try, right? So, here it is: I am requesting an acoustic version of “My Heart” for our first dance at the wedding.
Hayley, Jeremy, Taylor – You do owe us.