A query for the fanfic crowd

I get a fair number of hits to this site from people looking for rock band fan fic. I’ve seen that Franz Ferdinand, Duran Duran, and Morrisey are among the bands who get fanficced (is that a verb?). I had always associated fanfic with narrative genres, especially TV shows, so it came as a bit of a surprise that band fanfic even existed.

So I’m looking for a crash course. Are there some bands with TONS of fanfic about them? Are there particular kinds of bands more likely to get fanfic about them? How do fanfic stories about bands work? If fanfic based on narrative genres plays off of the ‘official’ story, what does band fanfic play off of? Is band fanfic considered just another part of the fanfic scene or is it off on its own? Is there any scholarship on band fanfic or readings about the phenomenon someone could point me toward?

Any insights on these or questions I should have asked most appreciated.

Thx to this thread on Fanthropology for heightening my curiosity.

Comments (18) to “A query for the fanfic crowd”

  1. Hey Nancy,

    I’m far from being an expert on bandfic, but I would consider myself something of an expert on popslash (the first huge intersection between media fandom and the music industry, so to speak : ).

    Afaik, there’s always been stories about bands (Ehrenreich et al’s wonderful Beatlemania essay addresses some of the fannish affect), but the fandom was fairly distinct from media fandom until about 2000/2001. As you may know, most media fans had fairly strict taboos about Real People Fiction, which got broken open spectacularly with LOTR RPF and boy band fiction at about the same time.

    Both these fandoms strongly intersected with media fandom, in the case of the former naturally, because of LOTR fandom, in the case of the latter due to the large number of (often quite well known within the community) writers who chose to write boy band fiction.

    A parallel development (about which I know very little : ) was the growth of band fiction for popular bands like Good Charlotte or Green Day or, more recently, My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy. Interestingly, for me, there seems to be a second wave of bandslash recently within the media fan community, at least if my flist is any indication : )

    The source text issue is a fascinating one and really differs from community to community, from writer to writer from what I have seen. Some purposefully write what I’d call bodyfic, i.e., wish fulfillments or AUs with simply the physical characteristics and some basic information about the singers. Especially some of those having come up through media fandom, however, are very canon conscious, with the canon basically constructed within the fan community via news information.

    And obviously, these are blatant generalizations and, as with everything, YMMV. I’m sure someone situated at another place and/or not coming out of media fandom may have quite different experiences.

    As for research: I hate to pimp my own writing *g*, but I have a short overview on RPF HERE that I wrote for a community a while back, but many of the issues still hold. I’ve also written a couple of essays on popslash (though, again, I think popslash may actually be the outlier, because as far as I could tell, most fans came to the music via the fanfiction and the community rather than the other way around), which I’d happily send your way if you are interested.

  2. Thanks Kristina! I suspected I could count on you on this one, and appreciate it. What does “AU” stand for (as in “wish fulfillments or AUs…”)?

    I am all for your using my blog to pimp your own work!

    And yes, I’d love to see your essays on popslash.

    Would love to hear others’ take on these questions too.

  3. Sending them your way.

    Alternate Universe. There’s a large number of AUs in all fandoms, but RPF is positively overflowing with them, future and past (Think NSYNC in space or BSB as medieval knights : )

  4. Interestingly, for me, there seems to be a second wave of bandslash recently within the media fan community, at least if my flist is any indication

    As someone who has just wandered into this “second wave” bandom explosion, I can try to be helpful about it if at all possible. I am not an expert, but i’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. As is my usual pattern, I came to the music through the fiction, and to the fiction through other fans. The music was initially very much not my thing, but after listening to it obsessively over the last few weeks, it has grown on me. I’m actually debating going to my first live show in over a decade, though I’m a claustrophobe and I tend to dislike live shows for related reasons.

    There are fanfiction stories about a wide variety of musicians – in addition to the (huge) genre that is popslash, I’ve read or heard of Sleater/Kinney, Mozart, Chopin, U2, Franz Ferdinand, Good Charlotte, Motley Crue, and several others I can’t remember. I also remain convinced that there is probably a secret treasure trove of Indigo Girls femmeslash badfic out there somewhere, which I hope I never find. RPF about individuals or bands or TV shows is everywhere, but usually in fairly small concentrations.

    The recent explosion in bandom, however, is (IMHO) due to the intersection of multiple popular and charismatic groups in an influence/touring matrix. Rather than fans of just one group writing stories (which is fairly common) you get fans of one group getting into other, related groups, and writing stories about all of them or the relationships between them. Pete Wentz’s Decaydance label and and the Warped Tour created personal linkages among a large group of (variously charismatic and good-looking) young men who run in the same circles and (a) get a lot of publicity and (b) spend a lot of it talking about one another. Other large RPF fandoms show a similar pattern.

    Then, of course, there are other factors, like fannish “access characters” (a particular band member or several that fans identify with more than others, perhaps) or a tipping point where “second wave” fans like me start to access bandom through the existing fans rather than through an initial interest in the music.

  5. Also, poking around some archive conversations just now, I found a link to a bandfic-only archive. It requires registration and is very heavy-metal heavy as far as I can see, but it might be interesting to look at. It does not cover ANY of what i understand to be “bandom” or “popslash” and probably appeals to a very different sector of fandom than media fandom generally does.


    Many archives don’t take RPF, and fans of different music genres seem to share very different online spaces, so finding any kind of central repository for musicianfic-in-general is … there’s no chance. I know where to find fic for individual musicians/bands/groups of bands but it’s pretty scattered about.

  6. Hanson has a ton of fanfic out there about them. It ranges from love stories, to horror stories, to incest stories, to everything in between. Fans take control of their lives and create a new one for them. It is quite interesting.

  7. Makesmewannadie and Stefanie — THANK YOU. That rockfic.com link is interesting, especially the extent to which they hit you over the head with “THIS IS FICTION.”

    I am loving your insights, so please keep them coming.

    It seems so weird to me that fiction could lead you to liking a band you hadn’t heard before. Not ‘bad’ weird, just a little foreign to me. In my own case I almost feel like reading fanfic could potentially ruin a band for me. The last thing I want when I listen to my beloved Madrugada, for instance, is someone else’s fantasies about them in my head. Even the truth comes dangerously close to messing up the experience sometimes.

  8. It seems so weird to me that fiction could lead you to liking a band you hadn’t heard before.

    Hmmm, correction. Fans led me to liking the band. But, as I am a reader before a music fan (and a fanfiction reader at that) I saw the photos and read the interviews through other fans, became weirdly obsessed with the band, then read all the fanfiction, then bought the music, became more obsessed with the band…I am a little backward.

    Actually, I am not usually a fan of any celebrities at all, except in a passing “hey neat” way, and this is my first real brush with it. I am finding it uncomfortable and disconcerting, being so interested in these people and who they are, developing this personal relationship that only goes one way. It’s kind of freaking me out. I know other fans do it all the time, but I have always had a much more detached relationship with my “canon,” particularly WRT celebrities.

    But, on the other hand, fiction has led me to liking many shows and books and movies that I didn’t know about before. Why should music fandom be different? The fiction introduces the characters, and the characters are why I’m listening to the music, though as I said, it’s grown on me.

    Usually when I listen to music I don’t think much about the musicians at all, though, so this is an anomaly too. Still feeling my way through it, and I’m a bit of an outlier in my approach to almost everything, I fear.

  9. I don’t know if Kristina has sent you her work on popslash (which is excellent, and has very much helped me to situate myself theoretically as a one time popslash fan and current bandom participant) but I would like to chime in to suggest that the immediacy of “real person” slash–the awareness that the person whom you are writing does exist and that there is not, in fact, an actor or an author behind said person–encourages intimacy among fans that does not occur in many other fandoms. For me, RP fandoms have always inspired much more interpersonal communication with other fans, which is one of the major draws. And, like makesmewannadie has suggested, has often brought me much further into the source “text” than I would have otherwise been.

    That said, I want to suggest something that I haven’t seen mentioned above (although, it’s late and I’m sleep deprived, so it’s possible I just missed it) band fandoms present friendship as a text in ways that very few other fandoms can manage. For instance, in Harry Potter, there is the trio, which is an intense friendship that has launched a few thousand fics. Friendship, so far as I can tell, by the conversations I have had with other fans over the years and the comments I have received in response to several of my fics in a variety of fandoms, is a widespread and–for many–bulletproof kink within fandom. But those friendships are fictional friendship purposely constructed and written.

    Bands are a unit of friends. At the very core, they are three or four or five people (in fandom, generally male, and male friendship is a fascinating textual site all on its own) who have formed a alternate family structure from friendship. Panic! at the Disco, one of the forerunners of second wave bandom, has two members who have been friends since they were five and who started playing together at the age of twelve. If you ask me, one of the most serious draws of any band fandom is the very real aspect of friendship, and the way that can be played out as a place for fans to project their own fantasies of friendship, particularly in regard to other fans.

    More superficially, celebrities are de facto sites of sexual fantasies. I suppose it really isn’t that surprising that we would want to see them engage in sexual acts with each other.

    On a personal note, I graduated from KU with a Masters in English last May and I used one of your books to write a paper my last semester there in a class I was taking with Terese Monberg that was an English/Comms course. I had no idea you were teaching there, but the book was of great help.

  10. Wow. Even more great insights. So let me ask this — “popslash” is a term I think I understand, and thx to Kristina I’ve now got 3 papers in my inbox I look forward to reading. But how is “bandom” defined? Is it specifically limited to the band fanfic phenomenon? I ask because I’ve been DEEPLY immersed in being a music fan whose social life and music fandom were deeply intertwined since I was about 13 and I don’t think I’ve ever even heard this term. My ignorance, I’m sure, but it also suggests a limited meaning I want to be clear on.

  11. Yes to the friendship observation – just, YES. I was thinking about that just yesterday. Friendship is absolutely a key element. Friendship and loyalty.

    (I also wanted to say that another instance of my backward musical approach just occurred to me – I got into Heavenly and Marine Research through my fangirl crush on Cathy Rogers, the host of Junkyard Wars and the keyboardist for both bands. So my bandom approach isn’t isolated, though the fact that there is an existing fanfiction fandom for the group(s) is new.)

    “Bandom” as I understand it, revolves mainly around Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, My Chemical Romance, Gym Class Heroes, The Academy Is…, The Hush Sound, Cobra Starship, The All-American Rejects and The Sounds, with Fall Out Boy, Panic!at the Disco, and My Chemical Romance being the three beiggest draws.

    Fandoms for other bands are just fandoms for those bands – Good Charlotte fandom, for example, is “Good Charlotte fandom,” not “bandom.” Just as “popslash” does not cover all pop, “bandom” does not cover all bands.

  12. Seconding makesmewannadie’s assessment of the actual specificity of “bandom”, which I feel was mostly coined as a term to separate the phenomenon of what I often think of as “emoslash” as opposed to “popslash.”

    That said, I think the term “bandom” is tricky precisely for the fact that it is intensely contextual, and if one didn’t know better, “bandom” could easily cover something like Beatles fandom (which, yes, does exist). Then again, almost all of fandom is intensely contextual, so I’m unsure as to why this should be the point at which is sticks for me. Perhaps it is because I have had other fandom members–those deeply immersed in the language and context of fandom–ask me about the term.

  13. MMWD & Arsenic, what do you make of GC fans suddenly writing MCR? Are they considered bandom? In other words, is the term contingent not on the subject of the stories as much as on the community writing it? [I'm sure you've both heard my spiel about NSYNC Nifty stories not being popslash to me.]

    Also, why not stick with emoslash? Was there a particular problem with the term or just natural terminology shifts?

    Finally, Arsenic, I know we’ve talked about that, but where is bandom drawing from as far as you can tell? Mostly straight up media fandom? Band fan newcomers? Any particular fandoms? MMWD? Any thoughts? Where’ve you seen your favorite writers before?

  14. To start with, I would argue that I view fandom much like I do religion–or, well, okay, Judaism, which is what I practice. While I realize that there are strictures on what makes a person Jewish–those strictures shifting within different sects–overwhelmingly I feel that if a person decides she is Jewish, i.e., if she finds her own ways to practice, aligns herself with the community, then she has the right to be called so. In other words, let’s say a GC person, or, for that matter a Due South person, decides to write an MCR. Does that person identify herself as being part of bandom, or was that a one-off that she simply felt like getting out of her system? If the former, then certainly, she’s part of bandom, if the latter, then I would say no, that she’s someone who participated in or contributed to bandom culture, but isn’t necessarily part of that fandom. So, yes, I suppose it is communal rather than subject-oriented.

    (And re: Nifty, I very much agree, as I would argue that while people who hang out at say, the Leaky Cauldron boards are a piece of Harry Potter fandom, they are not the Harry Potter fandom that I am speaking of when I say “fen.” I actually have not seen your arguments, regarding that, but I would be interested, particularly given Nifty’s bent as a porn-driven archive and the interesting ways in which porn, romance, and communal dialogue plays itself out in fanfic. Have you read Catherine Driscoll’s essay in Kristina’s book?)

    Sorry I’m so tangential this morning.

    I came around after the terminology had been established, but if I had to guess, I would imagine that it is because bandom is largely made up of a VERY young crowd. (I would guess at the median age being eighteen to twenty one. Young enough for me to feel ancient at twenty-six, which is new and different after eight years of being in fandoms with a contingent of women who could remember fandom before internet access.) The term “emo” clearly has negative connotations in a larger societal sense and I think, at eighteen to twenty, when people are still a little invested in taking themselves seriously, it’s hard to be associated not just with fandom, itself a marginalized community among the more intelligent, creative women (and some men) who tend to self-select into it, but a fandom based on bands that are largely frowned upon within the circles of higher culture. In other, less rambly words, “bandom” is more generic and more respectable.

    But that’s just my guess.

    I would say three places. There is actually a HUGE influx of previous popslashers who have been out in other fandoms in between that one and this one. I’ve seen a ton of names that I used to know in that fandom, and I’ve had a fair amount of people leave comments like, “I remembered you from popslash,” in their feedback to me. That said, I’m noticing a fair amount coming over from HP, SPN, SGA, some smaller media fandoms. It’s a burgeoning slash area, people are going to come from all corners. But, going back to the “wow, YOUNG,” thing, a fair amount of these girls do seem to be pretty new to fandom, if not wholly new. I would be interested in what MMWD has observed, since, of course, my beliefs about this are skewed by the fandoms in which I participate.

  15. And clearly, I’m not just tangential but completely out of it. I haven’t seen your thoughts on Nifty.

    *shakes head* Sorry, serious sleep dep.

    Are they memoried at your journal?

  16. where is bandom drawing from as far as you can tell? Mostly straight up media fandom? Band fan newcomers? Any particular fandoms? MMWD? Any thoughts? Where’ve you seen your favorite writers before?

    I’m seeing a lot of overlap with popslash, comics, and media fandom, but a lot of names that are new to me, too. I think you’d have a better chance asking cimorene111 about the population, as she is reading both goodfic and plebefic, and I am working off of recs and del.icio.us for my reading, which obscures my view of Sturgeon’s 90%.

    I’m unfamiliar with the term “emoslash” but it sounds awful. *g* And yes to the community identification being the salient aspect. I say I am in “bandom” or reading “bandslash” and so I am.

    I’m interested (and personally slightly horrified) to note that almost half of MCR is married or long-term-partnered and they are still a huge RPS draw. That’s…unusual. Hello, fandom, and your ever-increasing lack of lines.

  17. MMWD has it in the rights. What I consider bandslash, in it’s most recent incarnation, is in one sense the natual heir to popslash, which has been on the continually downward slope since about 2003–though I don’t think it will ever disappear completely. There’s too many people who are fans of the boys in their other incarnations to ever truly abandon the fandom, not unlike due South or The Sentinel, slash fanfic/general fanfic fandoms which persist long after the end of the media itself. (And one of the fascinating things about RPF fandoms is that the source material never actually goes away, for the duration that the person is in the public eye. Something to consider more thoroughly some other time, when I have more than one brain cell.)

    The thing that is interesting to me about bandslash–the FOB, MCR, PATD, TAI, etc–is that it’s utilizing a number of the same premises that popslash was using, in the sense of exploring the friendships and the greater potential of the frienships as seen through a camera lens, but enacted by real people.

    Bandslash, also, is drawing a lot of people that I associate with popslash, which is interesting itself, because with the dissolution of Nsync and BSB (for a time; they’re back together now, but it’s not enough to piece back together what was always a lesser half of the popslash fandom, bless their hearts) the fans went a number of different ways–not unlike Buffy, and eventually Angel, whose fans suddenly found themselves looking for something new to replace what the Jossverse ended. Where do all the fangirls go when the fandom loses its structure? I think that is, partly, at the root of the more multifannish trend that has been developing in fanfic-media fandom since about 2003, around the time of the loss of both Buffy and Popslash from their greater foundations.

    Though please note that I speak to what could be a comparative minority–my fannish world is that of livejournal, of the ficwriters and readers and vidders and artists, but firmly entrenched in the world of creative fannishness. So my perspective is coloured from what I see at the production level. It may very well be different for other fannish folk.

  18. I’m interested (and personally slightly horrified) to note that almost half of MCR is married or long-term-partnered and they are still a huge RPS draw. That’s…unusual. Hello, fandom, and your ever-increasing lack of lines.

    It’s probably that I have a skewed perspective here, too, but this isn’t new to me. I’m thinking particularly of SGA RPS and punditslash here, both of which often wildly ignore the constraints of the people-characters lives to better serve the story. It’s something I’ve kind of just…gone with the flow with, at this point. It wasn’t that uncommon with popslash either, really, for which I am thinking primarily of Brian and Kevin’s marriages in BSB which were often handwaved away, or ended in divorce, or ignored entirely in service of the story.