Stan that Band: The fan craze is alive and buzzing

Teacher Allison Haley throws her hands up in front of a concerts stage. Shes in the crowd to see her favorite band, Dave Matthews Band play.

Teacher Allison Haley throws her hands up in front of a concert’s stage. She’s in the crowd to see her favorite band, Dave Matthew’s Band play.

Morgan Trowbridge

Screaming, singing, yelling, dancing: the sounds of a happy crowd witnessing a live concert that will bring them a lifetime of memories. The people filling the space all have different reasons to be here; whether they’re just simply with friends or like one or two of the artist’s songs. But for the lifelong fans —for the stans— they’ve been waiting for this concert for years.

A stan by definition is an overzealous, obsessive fan of a particular celebrity. The term originated from an Emenim song about a fan of his named Stan, who took his passion for Ememin a bit too far when the artist didn’t respond to his fan-mail. The word stan is a combination of “fan” and “stalker”  that reinforces how crazy some fans may be. Although some may not call themselves obsessive, these fans go to drastic measures to follow along with their favorite artist.

For freshman Atlas Spurlock, despite never having seen their favorite band in concert, they’ll still put on their “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” vinyl record to jam to their treasured group: My Chemical Romance. They first discovered them in fifth grade and have been following the group ever since. Unfortunately for Spurlock though, My Chemical Romance broke up after being together for 12 years from 2001 to 2014. But one special holiday evening brought surprising news.

 “I remember being in sixth grade on Halloween [already excited] because of the holiday, then getting the notification that they were back, and playing a return show,” Spurlock said. “I never saw it coming, so I was seriously bouncing off the walls.”

Since their return that Halloween night four years ago, new and old fans alike have been able to relive favorite memories attached to songs. Some stans may not get to experience this live, but they can still join in from the comforts of home.

“I haven’t been to any concerts of theirs considering how far away most are, and mostly because of how expensive their tickets were. When they came back after splitting up, it was a super huge deal, so tickets ran really high,” Spurlock said. “Their tour also got rescheduled three times because of COVID, so it was just hard to keep up with. But I would really love to see them live at some point.”

Part of what may make a stan so invested in their favorite group is the childhood connection they may build with the group. Not every stan may have known the artist when they were young, but they might still have ties that go back.

“I only really knew the big hits for a while, but now I know them cover to cover, and I think younger me would definitely be proud of myself for that,” said Spurlock. “My favorite [songs are] most definitely Planetary Go, or Headfirst for Halos.”

Even though Spurlock may be considered a My Chemical Romance stan, their musical interests extend much further.

“I listen to lots of other music. I think there’s a weird stigma that if you listen to traditionally punk or ‘emo’ music, then you can’t like anything outside of that, but I definitely do. I love Taylor Swift, I love Fleetwood Mac, and I like Alanis Morissette a lot,” said Spurlock. “That surprises people sometimes, because they’re so drastically different, but I was raised on a lot of [different types of] music and I’ve learned to love a lot.” 

Although Spurlock is a faithful stan of many different genres, senior Cami School remains to Taylor Swift. It’s worth noting that Schott has an extraordinary passion, as she’s followed the artist for many years.

“[I’ve been a Taylor Swift fan] since I was seven,” Schott said. “I was really young but I have vivid memories of my grandparents introducing me to [the album] Fearless a few years after it came out.”

Schott has her favorites, but she tends to mix up her track list daily.

“I listen to a new album of [Swift]’s everyday,” Schott said. “[My favorite songs are] ‘right where you left me’ and ‘I Bet You Think About Me.’”

Dedicated fans such as Schott will do anything to follow their favorite artist. Whether it may for a limited edition CD or concert tickets, stans will take drastic measures to get their hands on these close to hear things.

“For Record Store Day this year, I woke up at 4 a.m. to get in line to get the  exclusive ‘Folklore: the Long Pond Studio Sessions’ vinyl,” Schott said. “When pre-sale day dropped for the Eras [Tour], I stayed home and waited in a virtual line for tickets. After seven hours I finally got them.”

Along with vinyls, Schott has put together a collection of special CDs she gathered with her mother. The two are both big fans of Swift and share a bond over her music. 

“I have many different signed CD variations that [Swift] drops when she releases a new album. For her album, Midnights, I received her signature and a heart by it, which she only does a handful of. My mom and I loved it so much that we wanted to get it tattooed,” said Schott. “Not only is it meaningful for my mom and I to get something matching as a symbol of our relationship but also to have something in the writing of someone who I consider to also grow up with.” 

Schott is a life-long fan of Swift but her love for the artist has not hindered once. From Schott’s childhood since, she’s witnessed Swift’s journey in the music industry.

“I love growing up with Taylor Swift and watching someone who I grew up with also grow, as she makes new music and continues to do bigger things,” Schott said.

Not all stans are teenagers, like English teacher Allison Haley. She too has been following a band for years now: Dave Matthews Band (DMB).

“I have been a DMB fan since about 1997, I saw my first DMB concert in 1999 at Ruoff (then called Deer Creek),” said Haley. “I started listening to them in middle school because my friend’s older siblings listened to them a lot.”

For 26 years, Haley has listened to Dave Matthews. Her favorite song is ‘The Stone’ and she’s gone through extensive measures to see the group.

“I have seen Dave Matthews Band 65 times since 1999, and I’ve never missed a show at Ruoff,” said Haley. “I have traveled to see them many times; I have been to The Gorge in Washington State, Madison Square Garden, New Jersey, Atlanta, Charlottesville, etc.. My favorite memories are always traveling and meeting new people.”

Schott and Spurlock both being long-term fans of music artists raises the question: why do people become stans in the first place? Psychology teacher, Micheal Rothrock provides some insight.

 “I think that is simply the personal satisfaction that is derived by music we like. It can also be the connection between a positive event and that music [such as a first kiss, tied to a song, band, concert, or event]. The central meaning behind [Stan Culture] would be to simply satisfy needs and wants, which is a fundamental psychological/economic concept,” said Rothrock.