Maynard Has Some Interesting Thoughts on Fans Who Film with Phones at His Shows


No matter which side of the cell-phones-at-concerts debate you fall on, I think we can all agree on the following: they’re not going anywhere. Having to crane your neck to look past hoisted phones in front of you is just part of the concert-going experience now, along with paying for overpriced beer and exorbitant “convenience fees” on tickets. And no matter how much you complain about it (which I certainly do), we’ve all reaped its benefits, too: I guarantee you not a single person reading this hasn’t watched fan-filmed footage on the internet to hear a band’s new song or to get a sneak peek of a show they’re planning on attending.

Tool / A Perfect Circle / Puscifer frontman Maynard James Keenan has an interesting take on the issue that he shared on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. The basic premise: without dwelling too much on the annoyance of seeing so many phones held up at shows, he believes that having everything recorded all the time — instantly available at our fingertips whenever we want — ruins the “storytelling” experience of recounting events, taking away from an oral tradition of sharing that dates back literally thousands of years.

“This stuff annoys me – because I’m a firm believer in oral tradition. I embrace the storytelling – being able to describe to your friends that, sitting around that fire after a good long day of hunting. Where you tell the story about hunt and you do all those things, and those family stories, and your grandfather, and your great-grandfather’s stories are told in that setting. And you’re not writing it down. It’s a tradition of understanding the details and being able to explain and expand on the details from your recollection of what you saw.

“But if you have no skills in absorbing what you saw, if you rely on this thing [holds up a phone] to capture their stories for you… First of all, nothing you’re gonna get at a show is gonna represent what you just saw, or what you were there for.

As a postcard I suppose it works. But stay present! Stay with these people to be there for this thing. That’s far more important. Also, as courtesy, maybe the person behind you would like to be that person who’s enjoying this and now your shit’s in their way.”

He’s got a point. And anyone that’s ever had a friendly argument with friends about something trivial can surely relate: there was something fun about arguing about that shit all night long, and whipping out a phone to look up the answer takes the fun out of it. I also agree with his assertion that no cell phone footage EVER captures the magic of what the show was like in that moment you were there.

Still… it seems pointless to me to complain about the way things are now. Concert-goers aren’t going to stop taking footage at shows any time soon. I don’t think these points are lost on Maynard.

Watch the full episode below:

[via Metal Injection]

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