I got to meet Matthew Sweet on Monday night. He signed his new CD, Sunshine Lies, for me after his show. I knew I was going to get to meet him before the show, so I thought of rehearsing something to say. But I thought I would just be natural. Which meant I hardly said anything at all. Just my name and "thank you", which was a much deeper thank you than it came across.
Meeting someone who has had an effect on your life in such circumstances is awkward, at least for me. I was wishing my dad was there. He knows how to talk to people on "their level", genuine, equal, friendly, knowledgable. My mom is pretty good at it too, putting people at ease. But I am frightfully aware of a discrepancy.
I have been listening to Matthew Sweet for over 15 years. I've seen him 4 times and have almost all his albums. He is one of the staples, one of MY artists, and I am loyal to him. I've cried while his songs have played, worked to his music, connected with friends over his albums. He is memories in sound, and a still inspiring presence. A presence in my life for almost half of it. And when I go to meet him, with all this history on my side, I am just another fan to him. I feel he appreciates that role I play, he was very nice and even said I had a pretty name. But I wish I could talk to him outside that fan-hero relationship, where I would be more at ease.
For this reason I feel like I do not want to meet Elvis Costello. I wouldn't want to dispel that feeling that we are connected by not being able to speak in his presence. (Though since he is a father of two toddlers, I actually think I could blather away quite easily about our respective kids!) And Leonard Cohen, egads!