Below is an All Axess exclusive opinion piece from Chris Howorth of In This Moment, presented without editorial comment.
I felt compelled to jot down some of my feelings on the response to my new album Black Widow that just recently came out. I’m really proud of it – it broke all the sales records of our previous albums, it’s our highest charting album in our career so far and it was released on one of the biggest record labels. Our live shows are selling out, our videos have millions of views…it’s really remarkable that we’ve grown so much so quickly and it’s all due to our fans. Our FANS! You guys have always been so amazing.
I have noticed as I browse around online a rash of negative posts and hatred from people calling themselves fans and also from people who legitimately hate us. It’s interesting how a band and music can evoke such strong emotion in people, but I totally get it because I was that kid who felt betrayed, too.
I’m pretty much a normal guy, I think. I grew up loving music and I bought every album or magazine I could that featured my favorite bands. I was obsessed – music was everything to me. Growing up, I had my favorite bands and followed them through all their ups and downs and different albums. I didn’t always like everything they did and sometimes I even felt upset or slightly betrayed because a band did something I didn’t like or agree with. If a band I liked changed the music, image, or a band member left, sometimes I even went as far as saying they “sucked” or “sold out” to my friends. Now that I am a man and on the other side of this, I realize how ignorant I was about the whole thing. I mean, who was I to think I should have any say or input in what a band creates? Why did I feel the need to trash talk someone’s life’s work just cause I didn’t get it? In my mind, I was the center of the universe and how dare my favorite band change a member or try a new sound or direction…aren’t they making music just for me? Me, me, me, me, me…
Reading the comments and rhetoric on news sites and even our own social media pages, I can’t believe some of the things people say. People act like they are inside our heads and write three paragraphs detailing how we changed, why we changed and all this shit that they have absolutely no knowledge about. It’s so freakishly personal to them, but to us we are just making our music, OUR art; and it’s extremely personal to us….because it is us. Our record label didn’t have anything to do with what we created for Blood or Black Widow, they let us do what we wanted. We made these albums ourselves, we grew and evolved ourselves. There was no pressure or guidelines from anyone other than ourselves.
Now we have all these “old fans” that are complaining how we changed and we need to go back to our old sound and I just want to ask every one of them, where were you when we could only draw 300 people to a show? Where were all of your friends? If we were so great, why were we playing to half empty clubs for 500 bucks? I am proud of our old music and our past but why would we want to go back to barely existing? Back to being on the road away from my family for ten months out of the year with nothing to show for it in the end? Back to when breaking even was considered a success because the money didn’t have to come out of our own pocket? It was either grow and succeed, or break up.
Maria and I wrote Blood at a time when our original band fell apart and the end was in front of us – it saved our career. It changed everything for us. We didn’t say “Hey, let’s sell out for success.” We wrote what we felt and developed a show to go along with it. People liked it, came to see us and bought our album. How dare we betray our old fans? Really?
I remember everyone being all up in arms when Metallica put out The Black Album…or when they cut their hair. Man, people actually got upset that Metallica cut their hair! How dare they?! Ha ha…. Personally, I didn’t like “Let’s Put the X in Sex” by KISS (if you know me at all you know KISS is one of my favorite bands) or a bunch of other stuff they did over the years, but at that time I would never have written them a letter or gone out of my way to let them know how I felt. The Internet makes it way too easy for people to get negativity to the artists who bear their souls on their sleeves.
In the end I really do appreciate everyone’s passion, even the haters. (FYI ,your hatred makes us more popular, so thanks!) Passion is part of what drives all humans to learn, grow, create and dream. The lovers’ and the haters’ passion both drive me. I couldn’t do what I do without ALL of you.
(And hey, this is just my personal observation and doesn’t reflect the views of my band members.)
Related: All Axess review on bass guitars that rock.