I am a diehard #ATLHustler, which I think most people know. I’ve been a Hustler for 10 years now and there’s no going back.
- I have a group chat solely dedicated to talking about All Time Low. Well, mostly. Shout out to Yasmeen and Helen, two Hustlers a state away who keep me rooted in the fandom. There’s no friends like fangirl friends.
- I have a fan club membership. Hey, Hustlers get perks like first chance at tickets and free meet and greets. Plus all the official news.
- I have a tattoo. I have several music inspired tattoos but I have one specific to All Time Low. Nothing Personal got me through some emo times in my early 20s and I memorialized my love for this band, album, and the song Lost in Stereo with ink over 5 years ago.
- Merch. I own a lot. Hoodies. CDs. T-shirts. Pants. I think I own underwear. I definitely own stickers.
- Special tokens. I have guitar picks from lead singer Alex Gaskarth and also guitarist Jack Barakat. They sit on my signed guitar. Yes, I got a guitar signed by them.
- They have their own album of photos on my Facebook. Yep.
“People always try to pretend like fandom is some freaky subculture, but honestly, I don’t think it’s that far off from what most people do with celebrities, or even, like, the people you don’t know well at school, you know? It’s so hard to understand that other people are people, so we create them for ourselves. We create whole worlds to live in, and that’s fine. That’s necessary, I think, sometimes—and sorry to sound like a textbook, but it’s especially necessary if you’re a teenage girl living in a patriarchal culture. Which you are, and I was, until recently. A teenager, I mean. The patriarchy is still alive and well.”
- She’s flawed in a way all of us fangirls are. I don’t know about you but if you put me in front of the members of All Time Low, I lose my ability to speak and have to remember to ACT COOL. At age 33, Even though I’ve met them more times than I can count. So when Grace ends up in a room with her boys, she doesn’t exactly do the 100% right thing. But she does do what most young fangirls might do.
Even when she’s complicated and the boys are confusing, the music is just what it is. The song lasts four minutes, maybe just three and a half. No time to get sentimental. All she can do is raise her hands and open her mouth, close her eyes, sing along.
- Her online engagement is on point. If you are in the thick of your fandom, you know how things go. There are cliques. Levels of fan-ness. Your go-to spot for news. YOUR PEOPLE. Grace embodies it all with her online persona and Tumblr account. ‘
- She’s not 100% out about her obsession. To her IRL friends and family, her fangirl obsession ended in tween-land. Unfortunately, it’s just not cool to be a fangirl. I was teased pretty terribly about my NSYNC obsession in high school (whatever, don’t be jealous that I owned the dolls) and even in my 30s, people don’t quite understand my relationship with my fandoms. Or why getting meet and greet EVERY All Time Low show is the upmost importance. Or why I sobbed the one year I was too broke to buy my tickets during presale (thank you to Yasmeen who saved my butt with meet and greet tickets).
Her mother hated Grace being a Fever Dream fan: all the fantasizing and the wasted hours. You don’t know those boys, she used to say. I’m sure if you met them, you wouldn’t like them at all, and then wouldn’t you feel silly? That was the beginning, Grace has always thought, of the particular deep rift that’s between them now: her mother didn’t want to hear about Fever Dream, so Grace stopped talking about them. When she did, she found out that it was almost too easy to stop talking about other things, too.
Grace has always wondered about this: what it’s like to have someone you’ve never met before come up to you and say, You saved my life, and not just one of them, but hundreds of thousands, legions of people pinning their existence on you and your band and your songs.
- Watching a band from behind the scenes will remind you that they are people too. Grace gets a healthy dose of reality in getting to know her favorite band from behind the scenes. Hopefully it doesn’t ruin the magic ;).
GRACE AND THE FEVER
by Zan Romanoff
Published: May 16th 2017