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Kettle Black Features


Do Musicians Have a Responsibility to Appease Their Fans?

I’ve noticed that people tend to become very invested in the goings-on of their favorite bands. When those bands do well, it makes the fan feel validated, like their own personal aesthetic has gained some odd social approval. But when those bands have problems or, worse yet, break up and disappear, fans feel the exact opposite. Some part of them has been shunned, withered and died.

Such is the case with Kurt Harland of Information Society. It has been said, numerous times, that Kurt has a life and, thus, has no time for things like, the website, etc. That may be true. I’m sure he’s a busy man, but I would like to point out that choosing to create music is a sticky sort of decision. Certainly, it allows the artist to present themselves to the world in a profound way, but the musician must also realize that, in making that presentation, their music (if it’s any good at all) WILL effect people. It will touch them and they WILL put a little part of themselves into the process of listening to that music.

For better or worse (and I would hope for the better) InSoc HAS touched people. For some, maybe hearing “What’s On Your Mind” takes them back to happier times. For others, like myself, InSoc was a very real part of their lives. I remember hearing “Hack” one summer, many years back and feeling like THAT album spoke to me, where I was at that point in my life (a young kid who was WAY too interested in the PC Jr. his dad had brought home from work and wondering what sort of damage he could do with this “modem” gadget it came with). For still others, hell... Maybe they just like the music.

My point is this: Kurt MAY have a life outside of InSoc, but I would encourage him, and any other musicians out their, to recognize that making the decision to create something powerful brings with it a certain level of responsibility. You DO touch lives. No matter how long it’s been since your penned your last note of music, there will always be people wondering if there’s a chance that you will bring them something else that will touch them, in some small way, like the work before had touched them. How the hell else can you explain the rabid fanbase of VH1’s “Behind the Music,” eh?

So to close, I just want to say this to Kurt, or to anyone, for that matter, who chooses to create something:

Don’t be surprised when your work continues to follow you. It isn’t your past haunting you, it’s a legacy that you created for yourself, which is something few people can ever hope to have. Don’t feel obligated to obsess on your past, or to dwell in it, but also try not to forget that there are always going to be people out there thinking (and talking) about what you have done. And that’s pretty damn cool, if you ask me...