John at EMP Pop Conference

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pahouk
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John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby pahouk » Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:02 pm

John is going to be on one of the panels at this year's Pop Conference at EMP. He's scheduled for Saturday, 4/18, at 3:15. The topic of the round table is "Reconsidering the Groupie". I'm guessing this has something to do with his column in the Seattle Weekly last year.

Sean Nelson is also going to giving a talk that day, at 1:00. His talk is titled "Let’s (Not) Get it On-- Or, “Fucking to Songs About Fucking and Other Uncomfortable Developments in the Awkward Relationship Between What We’re Going to Have to Just Agree to Call Indie Rock and Sexuality in the 1990s.”"

The conference is free and it sounds like it could be fun.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby hotavocados » Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:27 pm

this is why I live in Seattle.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby Liesbeth » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:47 am

totally off-topic: i totally didn't realise the EMP has a SFM counterpart. A museum about science fiction, how cool is that.

more on topic: the EMP website recommends registration for the pop conference. Just letting you know.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby sour29 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:47 pm

This sounds absolutely spectacular.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby Liesbeth » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:48 am

so, is anyone planning on going to this, and willing to write a report?
I know it's Record Store Day, but the two could be combined (on an entirely unrelated note, why is combinable not an adjective in English?)

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Flyn
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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby Flyn » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:55 am

Liesbeth wrote:on an entirely unrelated note, why is combinable not an adjective in English?)


who says it isn't?

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby NatureBoy » Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:23 pm

I am registered and plan on attending, but I'm pretty sure revealing the secrets of "groupie-fu" is a crime punishable by death.

Rumor is Ken Stringfellow teaches this class to graduate students at Oxford or the Sorbonne.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby Flyn » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:51 pm

NatureBoy wrote:Rumor is Ken Stringfellow teaches this class to graduate students at Oxford or the Sorbonne.


"are these your kisses I'm feeling?"

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby Liesbeth » Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:46 am

Flyn wrote:
NatureBoy wrote:Rumor is Ken Stringfellow teaches this class to graduate students at Oxford or the Sorbonne.


"are these your kisses I'm feeling?"


NONONONO, this is so wrong!
i don't want that image with such a beautiful song - those things are SO not combinable (the spell check of this board really doesn't like it)

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby zach » Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:40 am

So, first of all, I thought the conversation that unfolded was endlessly fascinating. After this roundtable, I could easily be convinced to attend a weekend conference focusing entirely on the gender roles surrounding groupie-ism and the changing face and function of these roles in today's technology-driven society. Each member of the roundtable contributed something worthwhile and expressed interesting individual perspectives despite the moderator's obvious 'angle'.

The conversation traversed a number of related topics ranging from the history of the groupie and personal experiences from Margaret Moser, who was the organizer of the 'Texas Blondes' groupie organization, and John. It discussed the varying viewpoints of 'feminists': insistence that groupie-ism was/is a form of sexual liberation and empowered/empowers women vs. the notion that groupie-ism is harmful to the idea that women could be autonomous rock stars in their own right. It also focused on groupies in the age of the internet and the modern negative connotations with the term "groupie."

A bit of a misunderstanding came about on the panel when John talked about his own experiences with women in the music industry. He mentioned being, at times in his career, in a position of powerlessness under the supervision of women. The moderator quickly assumed that he was saying that the power structure evident in the rock star:groupie relationship was the same as the rock star:'industry career woman' relationship. This didn't appear to be what he was saying, but he did make and stand by the somewhat controversial assertion that women and men have equal power in the music industry these days.

There was quite a lot of talk about the ways today's technology ("the Facebooks") made artists available in ways that never would have been possible some time in the past. In some ways it seems like this process (combined with the advent of AIDS, etc.) has replaced more traditional groupie roles. John mentioned people being able to email him directly and alluded to the many ways he was available to fan feedback. I kept thinking he would bring up the message board because, in some very core ways, the more music-focused aspects of groupie-ism is unambiguously present here. This is a community of people that feel enough of a connection to the music and spirit of John Roderick and The Long Winters to spend hours conversing about the details of their records, shows, appearances on panels, and tiny somewhat-related minutiae. In essence, that was what many of the groupies of the 1960s and 70s sought, as well: to be in on it all.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby sour29 » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:51 pm

John mentioned people being able to email him directly and alluded to the many ways he was available to fan feedback. I kept thinking he would bring up the message board because, in some very core ways, the more music-focused aspects of groupie-ism is unambiguously present here.

The Long Winters music captured my attention, but the band's -- specifically John's -- online participation is what kept it. I checked out the website after seeing the Long Winters for the second time, and was amazed that a band leader not only communicated regularly online with fans, but treated them with such love and respect that it really felt like a real community, if not a family. There was no condescension or pretension to John's contributions -- he was just one of the people who happened to sign on and chat about whatever was being discussed, whether it be the band or otherwise. I really respected that, and I don't doubt for a second that it strengthened my new love for the band.

That being said, I think that would have been an interesting panel to observe (and perhaps more so, participate in), and John was an excellent choice to include in the conversation. He is, as far as musicians go, extraordinarily accessible, and almost unfailingly willing to engage any sort of contact from fans of his music. You bring up an interesting point about music-focused aspects of groupie-isms online, and you're right! Even if this core community is comparatively small, it would be difficult to argue that its members are anything but exceptionally passionate about the band and its oeuvre. I think it's fair to say that, removed of the sexuality-laced connotations often associated with the word, every regular participant on this board would gladly wear the Groupie title.

*phew*

In conclusion, thank you Zach, for an awesome review/summary/commentary on the Conference. It sounds like it was a real treat, and I'm glad you got to experience it!

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby NatureBoy » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:08 pm

That was a well done recap, Zach.

One of the things I felt was really glossed over during the session was a sense of the mutual benefit both parties gain from the groupie/musician relationship (I don't mean "groupie" in the pejorative sense of the word - just using it as the name). Unsurprisingly there was a lot of harping on gender roles and feminism, but to emphasize those things now I think is to dismiss the whole idea behind the relationship to begin with: fun.

Additionally, much of the discussion was about how much of a downer the 80's were in destroying what were pretty fertile times for groupies and musicians to coexist and how "things just aren't like they used to be anymore". I was not an adult in the 70's and I have no first hand knowledge of all this, but to me it seemed like more of a symbiotic relationship than a parasytic one.

While the HJ's might not be doled out as they once were, I have to believe it's huge drag for a lot of touring musicians to put in all the work to get to the level at which this was at one time commonplace, and to find out that the girls now are just acting out a burlesque of what they think a groupie is, unwilling or unable to comprehend the true nature of this relationship.

Ironically (given the slant of the session), I might feel pretty used as a musician in the modern touring rock band situation.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby Moni » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:24 am

sour29 wrote:
I think it's fair to say that, removed of the sexuality-laced connotations often associated with the word, every regular participant on this board would gladly wear the Groupie title.

I certainly wouldn't, but that's because I only know the term Groupie in a derogatory connotation, even with the sexual aspect removed. But now after reading what Zach and Adam wrote I guess I have no idea what a Groupie really is and who that term actually applies to, anyway... oi.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby NatureBoy » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:16 am

Moni wrote:
sour29 wrote:
I think it's fair to say that, removed of the sexuality-laced connotations often associated with the word, every regular participant on this board would gladly wear the Groupie title.

I certainly wouldn't, but that's because I only know the term Groupie in a derogatory connotation, even with the sexual aspect removed. But now after reading what Zach and Adam wrote I guess I have no idea what a Groupie really is and who that term actually applies to, anyway... oi.


I don't think it's fair to say that at all, and I'm with Moni here in strongly disagreeing with Sour. Even with the sexual connotation removed, there is a transaction there: a groupie exchanges their presence for access.

Even though the film(s) have afforded me special access, I would be a supporter and fan of this band without them and in exchange for nothing.

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grant
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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby grant » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:10 am

How can you have access without presence?

(and yeah, I'm fully aware of the irony of asking that in this format.)

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby Liesbeth » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:16 am

Interesting discussion here. For a long time I equalled groupie with sex, and even now I wasn't sure what exactly else a groupie is, so I looked up the Wikipedia definition: "A groupie is a person who seeks sexual and/or emotional intimacy with a celebrity or other authority figure." I suppose there is a sliding scale between a groupie and a fan, but what I kinda miss in the analysis in this topic is that all along there have fans who weren't groupies. Fans of the music, who wanted to know more about the people making it, but not necessarily seeking access beyond writing a letter or waiting for an autograph after a show.

I'd say today's internet technology has to a large extent replaced the original fan club. What has changed is the speed of the exchange and a more easy personal approach - replying to an e-mail is so much easier, faster and cheaper than hand replying to a letter. Those things could account for a shift: where in the old days a fan might have had to make do with a standard reply letter, nowadays it's much easier to get in touch directly. That in turn might make that more fans see this as an emotional bond, thus moving closer to the groupie-end of the fan scale in terms of seeking emotional access.

However, I too strongly object to being called a groupie for being on this board and investing time in fan-based activity. In the old days I might have photocopied a fan club magazine and been penpal with fellow fans, now I make a website and spend time on this board. I won't deny that one of the things that I like about this band is their approachability, and the fact that when I met John briefly after my first show he actually knew who I was from the board was really cool. But this is not about personal access to the band: what I'm after is sharing my love for their music and their talents and interaction with other people and this board makes both possible.

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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby A Brutaful Smile » Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:18 am

i'm not a groupie, i'm a band aid.

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sour29
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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby sour29 » Fri Apr 24, 2009 5:37 pm

OK, apparently I have a completely naive concept of what a groupie is/means. I retract my former statement. We can now continue to talk about the Conference.

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grant
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Re: John at EMP Pop Conference

Postby grant » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:29 am

I always thought of groupies as being part of the entourage. That was sort of the line for me - a fan wouldn't be traveling on the bus....


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