It happens every few weeks. A band everyone collectively deems “legendary” comes out of retirement to announce they’re dusting off the gear, getting the band back together, and playing a reunion show, likely at a big music festival. Everyone you know is super excited! There’s just one problem: You’ve never heard of them. Oh no! You want to get in on the reunion hub bub too, but how are you, a very busy music fan, supposed to keep up with all these reunited legends who probably called it quits before you were even old enough to pick up a record? Don’t worry, whether it’s Drive Like Jehu or Slowdive or the Replacements, we’re here to help you get caught up like a pro. Just follow these steps and you’ll be a superfan in no time…
Step 1: Tweet about it a whole bunch (and hurry).
Time is of the essence here. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anything about the band. Their reunion has become a trending topic on Twitter and the last thing you want to be doing is be tweeting about some boring ol’ global issue like Iraqi genocide or war in Gaza while all the cool kids are tweeting about a band’s reunion at a music festival. So get tweetin’! Careful though, you don’t want to expose your complete lack of musical knowledge—just tweet something vague and general. Here are some examples you can use:
“OMFG [INSERT BAND HERE] IS REUNITING? IS THIS REAL LIFE?”
“[INSERT BAND HERE] IS REUNITING AND I AM HAVING ALL OF THE FEELS.”
Or simply post a link to the band’s cryptic announcement on their website and add the following non-descript commentary: “!!!!!” or “My heart” or “Dead” or even an emoji will do (the heart eyes face is your best bet).
Step 2: Get learning!
OK, crunch time. Does the band have any documentaries about them on Netflix? Did your favorite music website pump out some rushed, last-minute overnight oral history of the band? Consume it all. Become an expert. Download all knowledge of the band to your brain (with the minor exception of the real-time experiential context of why they were significant in their day).
Step 3: Start memorizing lyrics.
Pro tip: You don’t have to memorize the band’s entire discography. Chances are, at the reunion show, they’re not gonna play the b-sides. So you can take a shortcut to fandom by just memorizing the hits. Sure, their lesser known material might give you a better understanding of the progression of the band as artists and as people, but you only have a couple of weeks to cram a decade’s worth of lyrics into your brain. Plus, on the off-chance they do play the b-sides, you can either mumble along or just make like you are reeeaally into the rhythm of that particular song and air drum with your head down.
Step 4: Form very serious opinions.
Remember: You’re trying to pretend you’re a longtime fan here, and longtime fans have Very Serious Opinions about bands they love. One quick and easy philosophy to adopt as your own is that the band’s earlier material is their best work. Like American Football, for example. Only their first album is good. They rest is just kinda meh. Or if one of the original members left the band, stick to the mentality that they were never the same after that member quit. You will sound very opinionated and smart.
Step 5: Make up some stories.
Get your story straight, here: One time, you saw the band open at a VFW Hall or basement show. It was really great. If only you could remember exactly when it was. You went with your Canadian girlfriend. Maybe she remembers.
Step 6: Talk often about how the band changed your life.
If anyone asks: Mineral changed your life.
Step 7: Merch up!
Start scouring eBay for vintage band shirts. Then, once you’ve paid over $100 for a t-shirt that’s been sitting in the back of some middle-aged dad’s closet for two decades, snap a photo of yourself in it and post it on Throwback Thursday. Say it was taken circa 2005. No one will be the wiser. (And you’ve aged wonderfully, by the way.)
Step 8: Be somewhat jaded about it.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the true experience of nostalgic fandom, remember: a true fan loves a band so much that they’re almost a little bummed about the idea of a reunion. If you want to prove yourself to be a true fan, say things like, “I almost wish they’d stay broken up and not ruin my memories of them” or “let me know when Fugazi reunites.” Then shrug your shoulders. Everyone will be very impressed by your dedication to the band’s memory.
Step 9 (Optional): Stay up on new music and emerging bands so that you won’t have to feign enthusiasm when every over-the-hill act buries their personal grudges with each other long enough to cash in on our nostalgia-hungry culture.
Or you know, whatever’s easiest for you.
Dan Ozzi is on Twitter and OMG is so excited about that reunion everyone's talking about. - @danozzi
Also check out: