Dear M. Ward: Don't Be That Guy

Laura Musselman
M. Ward, shot with permission at the Showbox at the Market on Friday, March 6. Watch a slideshow.

"There was actually a pre-recording beforehand of a woman with a soothing voice saying, 'Welcome to tonight's M. Ward concert. No photographs or recording of any kind will be allowed.' And his roadies were policing the kids with the point and shoot cameras!"

-- From a note I received from our photographer at Friday's M. Ward show.

This is at least the third instance I know of where musicians have gotten all kinds of freakish about fans taking their pictures during shows. I just want to say two quick things.

1. I'm sure it's extremely annoying. And if I were you, I'd get so sick of it after a while, and I'd send roadies into the crowd and ask the kids who helped sell out the show to put their cameras away and just watch. Because, it's also annoying for other fans in the audience not taking horrible pictures from their camera phones, too.

2. You're never going to stop this, and the more you try, the more you look like an asshole.

Now, in the case of Ben Bridwell, I'm not so sure that's an unfair characterization, especially after he went all Christian Bale on a paying fan.

But, it's only going to get easier for fans to take your picture and capture audio and video. My suggestion is this: Do what the Dead, Phish, Cheese, and the jam band circuit did when their ravenous fans wanted to record and trade every note of every show: embrace it.

I'm not suggesting allowing everyone to get in front of the barricade and shoot, but instead of sending your skinny-jeaned thugs into the crowd, why not get everyone on your side? Ask the silk-voiced woman to announce that everyone is ENCOURAGED to take as many pictures with any camera they like for the first two songs. (You'll naturally ham it up, and go all Super Bowl Springsteen for the kids in the front row.) Now you're the good guy, because your fans get to experience the show they want to. And after the first two songs, let the crowd will police itself. What have you got to lose?

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