[Note: I'm focusing on bands, here, but this entry could have just as easily been "Your Skills On Your High School Football Team" or "Your Reign as the King of Your High School Theater Department."]
In Your Mind
Your band was important to you. You got a chance to live out your rock star fantasies, you had some time in the spotlight and for a few nights in your youth, you played music you loved on a stage and people screamed for you. Maybe you played a few big shows and seriously started preparing yourself for the possibility of actually making it as a professional rock musician. You readied yourself for a life in the studio, on the road and in front of sold out crowds.
Naturally, you think, people need to know this about you. The people you see every day see you as an office drone or a salesman or a programmer or whatever it is you do professionally. They have no idea that, once upon a time, you strapped on a guitar, screamed into a microphone and a crowd of fans lost their shit. It's time for you to tell them about life as an almost-rocker, about the managers that approached you, about the amount streams your songs did on your web page (before it got taken down when you eventually stopped paying for it), about how you sort of maybe had a good chance of possibly doing this one showcase where, like, a ton of record label execs and this writer from the RollingStone were supposed to be in attendance, but then it fell through at the last second.
Your coworkers have no clue that you used to be Dio, and they really should.
In Everyone Else's Mind
You know what's not interesting to anyone on the planet? The idea of a band. The stylistic concept of a band. The life of people who used to be in a band. The any-way-at-all-to-experience-music that isn't listening to music. When you're talking about your old band, that's all you're doing: talking. You don't get people to like the Beatles or Jay-Z or Kid Rock by telling them that the artist won a shitload of battle-of-the-bands or freestyle-rap-battles or shooting-beer-cans-off-a-log competitions, (respectively). You don't get people interested in Dylan by saying, "Boy, Bob Dylan could really draw a crowd in his youth, and he wasn't just popular in his own high school; his MySpace Music page had, like, thousands of plays." You get someone interested in a band by playing the band's music.
"Take those headphones off, I want to tell you how many people Jack White brought to the Stone Pony."
Anything else is just mindless nonsense to a listener. It's just the ramblings of a guy who keeps saying, "No, trust me, we ruled." Plus, there is absolutely nothing sadder than a person who is still reliving his glory days of being in a band when he was younger.
No matter how awesome that band was.
Note: The author of this piece is ALSO sick of listening to Cancer brag all the time. All "Ooh, I'm cancer, blah blah blah, I ruin shit, I'm the best, check out my baby or whatever." In an effort to shut cancer up for good, this Sunday, the author will be participating in a 5K race designed to raise money for Ovarian Cancer research and awareness. If you would like to donate, even as little as $5, you can by clicking right here. It's our little way of saying "Shut the fuck up, Cancer."
Special thanks to Soren, Michael and Charley, who helped me research this article even though they probably thought we were just having a conversation.