What makes a fan? Is it someone who spends thousands of pounds a year on their favourite band and goes to see twenty shows? Or is it someone who never sees a live show yet quietly appreciates an artist? Is it someone who is actively involved in a band's fandoms? Or someone who sits somewhere in the middle, never really participating but wanting to be a part of it all the same?
There's no definite answer to what makes a fan, nor should there be. As anyone who loves an artist knows, circumstances differ from one person to the next. Some people have the energy and resources to spend several weeks following a band. For others, anxiety, lack of money, or their location may stop them from attending live shows.
One of the reasons that I wrote the fan book was to explore the sense of community that springs up around bands. From the local guys playing bars on a Saturday night to the bands hammering away at sold out stadium shows, someone, somewhere will love what they do. And the communities that spring up around them are incredibly important. Not just for sharing news but for the support that they bring to those who reside within them. Support that includes shoulders to lean on during the tougher times of life as well as love and laughter for when things are going well.
People gravitate towards these communities for a variety of reasons, and the internet has made it far easier for us to find those who resonate with us no matter what our circumstances. Our own, local, communities may hold nothing for us and finding a support network can be hard at the best of times. The internet allows us to remain anonymous while also building up friendships with those who share our interests and passions.
As for the communities that surround the Foo Fighters, a quick search of somewhere like Facebook throws up a myriad of meeting areas from the large Foo Family groups to smaller, more niche ones which focus on everything from hotel shares to dating to news pages. All of them are interconnected, not just physically by the people who are in them but also by their love of the same band. It's a world that can, on one hand seem very tiny but, on the other, feel as though it goes on forever. And, like any community, it's moving from being an online village to a sprawling digital city with an ever-growing population.
For me, I found a home among the Foos community. At the time, it was a home that I didn't realise that I needed, nor wanted, and from which I'd constantly try and leave. But it was one that drew me in, one that was filled with the kind of fun, laughter, and love that I'd spent a good deal of time looking for. And, while I might not be the most active, or most talkative, of members I still enjoy the company and camaraderie of those that I meet. In an age where the internet can bring about a great deal of loneliness, these pockets of music fans have proved that they can also be a haven for those who are seeking a place to call home.