More On Cell Phones During Concerts, Or An Idea How Elliott Smith Would Have Handled Them
If you have read Iman’s review of ‘She and Him at Central Park’s Summerstage’, you know that these two fools had requested that people do not use their cell phones to take pictures and videos during their performance. This is a growing trend among bands, and I can only laugh at this obnoxious and pretentious idea! Think about it, these bands actually think they are interesting and entertaining enough that they can make people forget about the precious relationship they have with their phone for an hour or two. Guess what, most of them are wrong, it’s actually very hard to compete with an iPhone and its endless choices. Plus I respond very badly to such authority, if you tell me I can’t use my phone because you, people in the band, are soooo important right now, I certainly will use my cell, and I don’t think I am the only one. That’s why Zooey Deschanel and Matt Ward, Jack White, Prince can go to hell! Of course, all the young bands, which are obviously looking for publicity, always welcome pictures and videos posted on social media, so it’s only when they are big that some of them get an attitude.
But what about the musicians who lived and played during a pre-phone area? How would have they reacted to this recent tendency? My guess is that the ones who were encouraging the fans to freely record concerts (such as the Grateful Dead), would not have had any problems with pictures and videos posted on Facebook and Youtube, then I stumbled on this recent Pitchfork interview of Travis Morrison from the band The Dismemberment Plan. Pitchfork was asking him his opinion about bands banning cell phones at their shows, and this is what he answered:
‘I’d like to do that, but come on. I’m a grown-ass man. I can’t be, like, ordering people to put down their phones. I saw Elliott Smith play solo years ago at a bar. It was really loud, and then it started getting louder because all these people started howling like raging freaks to be quiet– “shut up motherfucker!”– which made it louder. And Elliott Smith was like, “Yo…” Well, he didn’t say “Yo, baby, it’s cool.” Elliott Smith did not say that. But he was like, “Listen, in a bar, people will buy alcohol and talk loudly and it’d be nice if everyone was quieter, but that’s not how it is. There’s not a whole lot you can do about it.” And everyone was just like [blank stare]. It was the craziest Jedi mind trick I’ve ever seen. Both sides were like, “He’s right,” and then just watched the show.’
By the way, Elliott had also absolutely no problems with people recording his live shows, so he probably would have never said to someone to put his or her phone down, that’s simply not who he was. He was the opposite of these pompous and arrogant musicians who put up ‘no cells allowed’ signs, but he didn’t need it to make people listen to him.