5 Things You Should Never Say To Your Musical Heroes

Do you remember the first time… you met your musical hero? I was lucky enough to meet mine during an internship at Rough Trade Records back in 2011.

You might have guessed from the pun that it was the lothario Mr Jarvis Cocker; you might have also guessed from the blog’s title that I completely struggled to think of anything witty and original to say (should I have told him that I thought he was ‘A Different Class’?).


Let’s face it, meeting your heroes – even meeting just regular people in bands – is an altogether awkward experience. With that in mind I decided to compile a list of things to avoid, which is reflective of why my loved ones tend not to let me out much in public places.

1. Avoid any forced jokes

I have to say that I am the worst at this. I went to Bloc Party’s signing of ‘Silent Alarm’ and the only phrase that came to mind was, “I’m your biggest fan… not literally”. Needless to say even I found that comment socially repellent. Similarly I asked two members of Noah & the Whale “where they see themselves in five years’ time”, like some bizarre Oxford screening process.


2. Don’t talk about your Mum

At an Interpol gig I met Everything Everything and after connecting over our hometowns of Manchester I then started talking about my mum. This made EE look more uncomfortable then a person trying to sing the lyrics to an EE song. From this I have learned that talking about mums should only be reserved for student radio.


3. Avoid mentioning personal details

Although completely not ageist I have tended to point out the ages of well-known musicians. When I interviewed Henry from the Young Knives we were discussing this year’s Royal Wedding. When the ‘young’ knife told me he remembered the first Royal Wedding, my reaction of “wow” somewhat stilted the conversation. I would also avoid mentioning their height and weight (i.e. you look smaller and fatter in person) – luckily I don’t yet have an anecdote for this one.


4. Don’t wait for hours outside a gig venue

Technically more of a not to do than say, and if you are stubborn then please wear a jumper. I learned my lesson about this one at a Flight Of The Conchords gig. I waited outside with my friend, surrounded by similar fans who were dressed up like robots; like a heartbroken Mel the boys never showed up. I’m not crying… it’s just been raining on my face.

5. Avoid trying to ‘make it’ in front of them

By ‘make it’ I mean sing/dance/act or get noticed: basically anything in Alan Sugar’s Guide How To Succeed In Business The Alternative Way. I went for Sugar’s advice when I met Jarvis and played the kazoo on his latest recording.

I should point out that I’m probably the only asthmatic kazooist that’s been in the studio with Jarvis Cocker. So this one counts as playing the kazoo very badly in front of my musical hero. Although, as terrifying as long breaths and a lack of inhaler sounds, I did get a signed kazoo out of it: “Anna, Take A Deep Breath.”