Mraz Groupie? Me? Hardly.

The weird thing about having written this blog for almost two years is that now people write to ask my opinion on things, or to see if I’m going to write a post about something Jason Mraz said/did/wore/wrote/sung/ate.

I try to respond to everyone personally, but I’ve fallen behind because work has been more work-like lately, so I’ll take a minute to answer a few questions that keep coming up.

1. Why am I traveling all over the place to see Jason? How can I afford it? And just how many shows have I seen?

First, let me say that I don’t see myself following Jason around, so much as he’s given me a reason to get off the couch and spend time with the people I care about, as far away as some may be. For the past few years I’ve told people I would visit and thought about making plans, but it was never a good time, or I didn’t want to spend the money, or I was just lazy about it.

In the last few months though, I’ve realized that if the friendships matter to me, I need to put in as much love and energy as I want to get out, and sometimes that means getting on a plane and going to Jacksonville, Florida, even though I would rather be going to Rome or Sydney or Hershey, PA. (Why can’t any of my friends live in Chocolate Town?) 

So when the fall tour dates came out I thought, why not do my own tour, spend time with the friends I haven’t seen in months or years, and take them to see a show and experience the Mraz love?

Seattle

Seattle

To me, this is the Old Friends Reunion Tour of 2008. Or Togetherness, Oneness and Nostalgia ’08. Or whatever you want to call it when you get to fly a thousand miles or more to hug someone you met on the first day of class your freshman year of college when he was a skinny kid and who now has a beautiful wife, gorgeous baby girl, a dog, a cat, a house (with a scary basement), and the waistline of a 30-year-old suburban dad, and who you haven’t seen in six years.

It’s been a really good time, and I have Jason to thank for the kick in the ass it took to get me to do it.

Back to the tour details: I’m hitting six shows on this tour and I did three earlier this year. This is the most I’ve ever done in one tour. Altogether, I’ve seen him maybe 20 times? My first show was back in 2003 when he toured with Maroon 5 and my friends, Kerry and Steve, and I drove from Boston to Providence for the show. I think it was only a few months later he headlined his own show in Boston and we took more friends to that.

I worked for a travel company once and am lucky enough to still have connections to help me out with flights and hotel rooms. Also, I’m single, childless and making decent money for someone in her early 30s, so I have the luxury of time and disposable income. Take that, breeders! 🙂 

2. Do you know everything about Jason?

Boston

Boston

Nah. I like him a lot, appreciate his music, his humor and his thoughts, but I don’t care about what he does off stage or out of the studio. I don’t care whether he’s with Tristan or Colbie or a local avocado farmer or taking up residency with monks. When people email me with dirty details about him, I delete them. It’s not my business, and if that’s what you’re looking for, start your own blog.

I’ve never stood outside a concert hall after a show hoping he would come out. I’ve never followed his bus around. When he walked by line of fans waiting outside the SF show last spring, singing with Bushwalla, I enjoyed the few moments he was nearby and the joyful energy he was sending out, but didn’t go running after him to get photos or ten seconds of footage to stick on YouTube.

And no, I have never met him.

3. What’s up with Jason’s blog post telling fans to stay away from him?

I don’t think that’s exactly what he’s saying. I think he’s politely baffled at why, after pouring his soul out on stage, people still think that touching him or getting a picture with him will be a more intimate experience. Maybe he’s naive (or maybe he’s just being a guy) to not get that girls are collectors. Relationships and experiences don’t count if you don’t have a souvenir to prove they happened. A sensory, up-close, physical encounter is better than an abstract experience, and physical proof is even better than that.

(And no, not all girls are like this, I’m just making broad generalizations because I have to be in a meeting in 10 minutes and don’t have time to edit.)

Let me sum it up like this, and put it in bold for those who are just skimming:

As much as I admire Jason Mraz, I admire the man he aspires to be even more – the kind of thoughtful, engaged, innovative, caring, aware human being we should all aspire to be.

And for that, I don’t need to meet him or touch him or find out what kind of toothpaste he uses. I just need to listen to him, and other singers and writers and President-elects that I admire, and think about how I can incorporate their ideas and ideals into the life I want to create for myself.

Jason Mraz the Artist is happy to give his all during a show, to create new music to share with his grateful fans. But Jason Mraz the Regular Guy wants some space to himself. I don’t think that’s asking a lot, considering all he gives. I think he says it beautifully himself:

“I’m not the person you want to meet. The music is. And the music is alive in you as much as it is in me. We created it together. Therefore, you already know me. We’ve already hugged and kissed. We grew close for a moment and then said our goodbyes. ”

Lisa

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5 responses to “Mraz Groupie? Me? Hardly.

  • Alicia

    I totally understand these people that wait for him to come out after a show. They have been waiting so long to hear him play. They have not gone to over 20 Jason Mraz concerts like you did and maybe none of their friends like his music. They have nobody to share this with. These feelings are all bottled up – and they come to light in that night. I’m not saying that this hysteric behaviour is right but some of these people just want to thank Jason. Thank him for being such a great companion.
    It might be different here because he doesn’t tour that much in Europe.
    I also don’t stand there waiting for him to come out after his show but I somehow understand these people’s intentions.

  • curbsideprophecies

    Hi Alicia,

    First, let me apologize if what I wrote came off wrong. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that people who want to meet Jason are wrong or silly. I can completely understand the desire to get close to someone you admire, to want to shake their hand or take a photo or somehow connect with them on a personal level.

    I think that’s why something like 200,000 people in Germany showed up to see Barack Obama months ago, despite the fact they couldn’t vote for him or have any real impact on his campaign. They wanted to be closer to him than their tv sets would allow. They wanted to feel that connection.

    My interpretation of Jason’s message – and I might be totally wrong – isn’t that he doesn’t want to be bothered by fans, but just that he doesn’t think he can offer them what it is they want to get from him in person. He sees the connection between everyone happening through music. He gives of himself in song, and we show our gratitude by appreciating that music and message.

    You know the part in Notting Hill where Julia Roberts asks Hugh Grant if he’s disappointed to wake up with her (the regular person) and not the movie star version of her? Maybe Jason is afraid that people come up to him expecting to meet the funny, crazy, larger-than-life guy they see on stage and will be disappointed to find out he’s just a quiet dork. Or maybe not.

    But no, I don’t blame fans for wanting to talk to Jason, or share something with him, or thank him. And if I weren’t so old and jaded, I would probably be in line to meet him too 🙂 Maybe because I did that during my junior high New Kids On the Block years I don’t feel like I need to do it again. I don’t know.

    Apologies again, and thanks for sharing your feelings with me. I appreciate hearing what other people think, and letting me know when I’ve accidentally made a mess of something.

    Cheers,
    Lisa

  • Teri

    Ah yes, one of the reasons I’ve been hesitant to have kids myself – I too truly appreciate the luxury of time and disposable income.

    I wouldn’t want to meet Mraz just as one of the masses, for that moment or pic or 10 seconds of video because quite honestly I don’t believe I could think of anything to say that he hasn’t heard a million times over already, no matter how sincere I might be about it. So that would just feel like stealing his time & energy without giving anything back, and it would kill me to think I was at all responsible for that tired, disinterested look that’s so painful to see in his eyes when it happens.

    But would I love to be a true friend, the kind he tells about his toothpaste just because you share weird stuff like that with friends, and the kind he feels rejuvenated after seeing whether it’s to share joy or complain about a crappy day, so that I could give him back an iota of what he gives me? Absolutely.

    I think he’s wrong in thinking that his music is all we need, because while it may represent him it’s still only a fraction of who he is as a whole. In his music the message will always be finely honed, static and perfect, but I love finding out that he’s fallen off the wagon for ice cream or Honey Smacks (because you need a little test now and then to learn things like forgiveness and self-love and resilience), and the reasons behind his tattoos, and the umbrellas that keep him from drowning. Whether in joy or sorrow, I think if we all had a Mraz in our inner circles we’d be better for it.

  • Matt

    It’s so nice to combine traveling and seeing great shows! I can understand it well if you’re not so keen to meet Jason. Maybe it’s just better to keep the favorite artists distant and great, and enjoy the wonderful things they can give you that way. I’d still like to meet them, but that’s just silly me 🙂

  • Jason

    Hey Lisa – loved what you said here. After years of imagining it and seeing nearly double-digits in shows, I actually got to meet Jason the night before he wrote this. And everything he wrote was so clearly conveyed in his eyes, that it was hard not to feel a little guilty. Weird circumstances – a friend of mine is a local newspaper writer and they’ve known each other for years. So knowing what a fan I am, I got invited and got to snap my photo – gay men are collectors too – too irresistable not to. Nonetheless, it was cathartic to see the tired man yawning backstage psyching himself up to give back a token of his gratitude. There’s no question about his ability to inspire and levitate people with his voice, but he is just as much the quiet dork you mention, the burnt out celeb exhausted by fame, yet grateful all the same. And while I’m grateful too for the few minutes we got to talk about Hawaii and Justin Nozuka(check out his cd for an amazing experience!)and a few other things, I feel like I’ve taken something from him I didn’t mean to. The truth is he’s right, I did already know him, and the music has always been in me, and I wish I could give back a small moment of his privacy.

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