It will happen to us all. We will see a post online or overhear a conversation in a vintage store. An excited young person will make a public declaration about a cool band they just “discovered.” One that we’ve already lived several lifetimes with, tracking their ups and downs with each release, perhaps even abandoning them forever, only to come back around again with the forgiveness that only time brings. It can be tempting to speak up and tell the Wednesdays of the world that the “new” band they’re falling in love with actually belonged to you first.
That’s why we’ve put together these step-by-step instructions on how to not do that. This is the Hard Times guide to saying nothing when a young person discovers a band you like.
Step 1: Don’t Say Anything
This is always the hardest one to get right. How can you resist explaining to a Stranger Things fan that you’ve listened to Metallica for so long that you only like “Master Of Puppets” ironically now? Simple: Shut the fuck up. Just let people enjoy things and try to remember what that feels like. Besides, young people don’t need any extra help thinking you’re old.
Step 2: Be Quiet
Okay, you’ve made it through step one. The hard part’s over. But how will everyone know you’ve got an original pressing of the latest TikTok trend on vinyl? This one’s tricky, but it looks like the answer is still shutting the fuck up. It turns out that younger generations don’t share in your object fetishization, so the gate you’re keeping has already turned to dust. Just keep quiet and go back home to your precious possessions and be happy that your records will go on to make someone happy long after you’re gone, or whenever you decide to sell them.
Step 3: Did You See Them Live? Doesn’t Matter, Stop Talking
Quite possibly the highest form of clout to lord over a burgeoning music fan is having seen a band live in their heyday. But unfortunately this, too, is meaningless. There’s no magic that rubbed off on you because you got drunk in the same room as a cool band. Frank Stallone saw the Velvet Underground live and look what happened to him. Just write down whatever you were going to say and post it in a YouTube comment where it belongs.
Step 4: Keep Shutting The Fuck Up
Time to take everything you’ve learned and get out there and leave everybody alone. It might feel like your favorite music is a precious resource and that new fans enjoying it the wrong way will take away from how much it means to you. But for them to gain doesn’t mean you have to lose. Fandom isn’t a zero-sum game. Just be happy that your favorite bands are living on through new fans and the magical life experiences they’ll be soundtracking.