The artist-fan relationship can be awkward and intense. On the fan end, it’s no doubt a thrill and a rush to be in the presence of someone who’s art you’ve enjoyed or even outright worshipped for years. There’s an intrinsic urge to want to hold onto the memory of that moment forever, and historically, the best way to do-so has been through an autograph. However, as Stereogum recently pointed out, if you’re a Mount Eerie fan, it might be best to keep that pen and record in the car when you go out and catch a gig.
In a lengthy note posted during a Reddit AMA, Mount Eerie’s mastermind Phil Elevrum laid out his case against the act of signing autographs while asking his fans to abstain from the activity when they meet him. “I believe in equality and I don’t believe in god,” Elevrum explained in the extremely lengthy missive, which he turned into a pamphlet. “I believe that successful and well known people are regular people, of course, and I am made uncomfortable by our tendency as humans to elevate some people while not elevating others.”
“The harsh reality is that when I am at my concert sitting behind the merch table, or even just walking around the venue, there is a built-in imbalance in power. I’m the person who was on the stage. I’m the person whose name you maybe know from the thing you read on the internet, whose picture you’ve seen, whose backstory you’re maybe familiar with. I don’t know you. You are the un-met person who pays for me to live, who paid to come to the show and paid for the record. I owe everything to you and I don’t know anything about you. You are my anonymous employer. When we meet, we are inherently shouldered with this burden of imbalance and alienation. You act deferential to me because I have been placed in this higher status position by my circumstances, when really I am your servant, traveling and singing to please you. It’s fucked up. These are big pre-existing barriers to the two of us having any kind of sensible interaction.”
You can read his entire, thought-provoking pamphlet here.