When I met The Cure’s Robert Smith nine years ago in Canberra, Australia, the experience was so great, so life-changing, that I still to this day have not been able to write about it.
When I met Emarosa’s Jonny Craig last Wednesday night at Mr. Small’s, the experience was shitty and slightly crushing, and because of that, it’s about to be written.
I first met him a year ago in Buffalo when I was there for the Pierce the Veil tour. He was disingenuous, monotone, and seemed to be bothered that Christina and I had the audacity to bug him while he was idling behind the merch booth. This was after he had urged his (twenty) fans to come see him after the set. I had heard stories that he was a dick but thought, “Yeah, but I’m an adult. It should be different.” It wasn’t different. Maybe the fact that I’m older even made it worse, who knows. Christina tried to Novacaine the situation by pointing out that he seemed to be high, that maybe we just caught him on an off night.
So last week, when I saw him and Will from Dance Gavin Dance enter the bar area during Of Machine’s set, I decided to test Christina’s theory. I waited for Of Machine (who killed it, as did Of Mice and Men) to finish up before approaching Jonny, who was sitting at the bar mere feet away from me. We made eye contact as I rose, but by the time I took the TWO STEPS over to him, he had suddenly become extremely interested in his phone, like the fucking White House had just Tweeted him.
As I said hello, he and Will conversed solely with their eyes while I stood in front of them frozen for what seemed to be hours and I suddenly understood the term “pregnant pause” because I felt that in that time I could have easily got fucked and carried a bastard-child to term, and let me tell you I’d rather go through all the nausea and the hip-spreading and the nine-month sobriety than have to ever be snubbed by some golden boy of the scene. Knowing without a doubt that this wasn’t going to end well, I said hello again and something fucking cliche about being excited for Emarosa’s set and somewhere during this awkward verbal spewage, he gave me the limpest handshake, loosely gripping nothing past my fingertips, and I wanted to say something like, “You know, this is how the Amish fuck” but he wouldn’t even look me in the eyes and at that point, I thought, Well shit, I’m not going to exalt this pompous motherfucker, so I muttered something like, “Enjoy Pittsburgh” or some other Board of Tourism staple and sulked back to my stool. It couldn’t have been more clear that he wanted nothing to do with me at that moment, ever, and made no attempt to even pretend like he gave a shit about anything some lowly life form such as myself had to say.
I’m not some giddy, hyperventilating pizza-faced 15-year-old girl with braces trying to fuck him. I’m a thirty-year-old woman trying to show this piece of shit some respect, and he should be doing the same. I wasn’t looking for an extended tour of Emarosa’s van, for him to halt his entire universe in order to show me his appreciation by giving me head against a dumpster in an alley; I wasn’t even expecting to take more than a minute of his time.
All I expected was for him to hear what I had to say and at least pretend like it meant something to him, so that I didn’t have to walk away feeling like a blown-off asshole.
When I sat back down, Alisha – who had been within earshot – said something to the effect of, “Are you fucking kidding me?” I just shrugged and said, “I don’t have time to care. The fucking Penguins are playing tonight.”
Jonny proceeded to sit at the bar (not talking to fans) during the next two bands (Tides of Man and Of Mice and Men), not stepping away from his booze until god forbid his band was ready to go on.
And god bless his band members – they’re really fucking energenic and passionate musicians. But Jonny ruined the set. His voice was off. He was showboating. He was wasted. He had the nerve to rant about respect. It was Alisha’s first time seeing them and I felt bad, because my exchange with him had tampered with the way she viewed him. And who does he think he is anyway, motherfucking Bono? If there were 100 kids in front of that stage during his set, I’d have been surprised. He should consider himself lucky he got THAT many people to care.
In some cases, I could brush it off. Band members are humans too and they can’t be expected to make time for every single fan; I know this. But it wasn’t like there was a throng of maniacal fans shoving CD inserts in his face and hanging off his shoulders for photos. Because Jonny’s music, his voice, has had an impact on me, it really was a let down. It sucks to know that I’ve spent hours listening to old Dance Gavin Dance (he was the original singer before they kicked him out and Emarosa took him in), letting his voice (which has always been like hot tea in a cavity to me) super glue the synapses in my head when I felt like I was at the end of my rope and I can’t tell him that because a) he wouldn’t care, b) he doesn’t even deserve to know at this point.
I watched him after he left the stage, watched him bypass all the kids on the floor and come straight back to the bar. I won’t lie, Emarosa is a young band with young fans. There were very few of us in the bar area. He should have been out at his merch table, where his fans – the kids – could have talked to him. If he wanted to get wasted at Mr. Small’s without having to “deal” with fans, then he should have brought a bottle of fucking Patron with him and drank himself into a stupor backstage, far away from the feelings of the people who have spent money on t-shirts and albums and shows, where he could send out a hundred misspelled Tweets in private begging for his fans coming to the shows to bring him packs of white Fruit of the Loom t-shirts, size small. Yes, this is what he tweets about and you know what? I’m not your fucking mother, get your own fucking mommy to buy you t-shirts, you supercilious beady-eyed fuck stick. Seriously, I have never seen eyes so small and close-set, except on a fucking mole. In fact, he should take the stage by popping out of a mound of goddamn soil, that fucking ginger Napoleon. Who the fuck does he think he is? He hasn’t been in the scene long enough to be able to get away with acting this exultant (shit, he isn’t even HOT enough to pull that off), but even then, there are guys like Craig Owens and Anthony Green who command respect yet are so gracious and appreciative of their fans, because they get it. THAT IS HOW THEY GOT TO WHERE THEY ARE. Oh, and also the fact that their lyrics aren’t vapid exercises in mediocrity.
Clearly Jonny Craig has a circus peanut dick.
Dance Gavin Dance was fierce as shit, though.