SALT LAKE CITY — Longtime Imagine Dragons fan Katie Graham celebrated her 11th birthday this week with a dull celebration modeled after her favorite band’s music, local partygoers confirmed.
“Can’t fuckin’ believe it. The big 1-1”, said Graham, while taking a drag on a freshly lit Marlboro Red. “I’ve been seein’ the boys since ‘17 — I was young, the guys were on the road fuckin’ hard with ‘Believer.’ Shit was real back then, and we loved every minute of it… though I don’t know how much longer my body can take it. I’m almost in middle school now and I can feel myself slowing down: I can’t listen to ‘Thunder’ 25 times in a row anymore during my dance parties without feeling like I crashed from a sugar high. But that’s growing up, I guess.”
Birthday party attendee Frankie Khan is proud of Graham and her milestone, but is concerned by the changing identity of Imagine Dragons fans.
“Look, I saw Katie at shows back in the day… and let me tell you something, that shit was different from today,” claimed a somewhat jittery Khan, scratching at a poorly healed tattoo. “This younger generation still shows up, and they’re alright, but it’s changed. Things are a lot softer now — I think the energy is moving towards darker bands like Twenty-One Pilots and X Ambassadors these days.”
University of Arizona music history professor Lucinda Grenfell confirmed the evolution of a band’s typical audience is not uncommon.
“Many artists who benefit from strong representation in the 8-to-10-year-old demographic group risk losing their most passionate fans to puberty and pre-pubescence, or trading those fans for a crop of neophytes,” said Grenfell. “Veteran fans may not see eye-to-eye with the new fans in a legitimate way, so the 11- and 12-year-old elders transfer their loyalty to more mature, and often heavier, bands.”
“When I turned 11, puberty took me from Backstreet Boys to Linkin Park,” Grenfell added after a wistful pause. “But you can never fuckin’ compete with the goddamn early days.”
For her part, Graham shows no signs of losing passion for her favorite band despite her advanced age.
“I want to start putting together shows in kindergartens,” said Graham. “You can’t keep a scene alive with a bunch of old fuckers from back in ‘17 like me.”