A mysterious group calling itself Concert Talkers of America (CTOA) announced today its ambitious plan to “create a steady, audible, and obnoxious torrent of constant talking and to utterly ruin the concert experience for as many concert goers as possible” by the year 2010.
In its defiant statement, CTOA also boldly declared: “Our aim is to return the concert experience to its purest, most primitive, and least civilized form. Concerts are meant to be talked through with conversations ranging from the banality of modern life to Jimmy’s bizarre and unusual sexual proclivities to Susan’s doctor who totally misdiagnosed her, not listened to with rapt attention, or danced to in enjoyment. We are certain that both the majority of music fans and musicians themselves would agree with this.”
Although the group admitted its strategy for achieving these goals is not yet solidified, it reported its first successful test run at The National’s opening slot of the May 29 R.E.M. show at the Hollywood Bowl. “Conditions were perfect for this experiment,” the group stated. “An indie band with increasing popularity playing the bottom of the bill for a Voltron-like legendary band. Only the most dedicated National fans would be there for their set. A perfect setting for ruining the experience for those indie hipster kids.”
The group declared their first victory once they heard a tape of the band’s performance. “Even the loud songs are compromised by our constant, inane chatter. We worked in topics ranging from Bud Light Lime to circus freaks to that one’s girl’s haircut. We even received several requests to sit down and shut up, from clearly agitated fans. One little indie fella even said we were more obnoxious than post-Exile in Guyville Liz Phair, whatever that means. Our mission was a complete success."
Although CTOA was not willing to divulge its current number of members, the group did announce plans to actively recruit throughout the United States. “Our requirements are simple but strict: anyone wishing to join CTOA must pay their own money to attend a concert, find a dedicated fan who really wants to hear the band or dance the night away, turn their head immediately to the left, and loudly talk nonstop for the length of the concert. Requests to be quiet must be swiftly answered with either an F bomb or a rabbit punch to the spleen. Intoxication via pink-hued beverages ending in ‘tini’ is also strongly encouraged.”
The CTOA statement also placed the group in the larger context of American concert talkers. “From the most famous and influential American musicians of the 1960s to the least-known and most-talented unsigned band pounding away in some dingy, poorly-ventilated shithole club in Fort Wayne of today, Americans have a fine history of treating live music as an incidental backdrop to more important concert activities, like playing grabass with old college frat brothers or talking about the finer assets of Janine in Payroll. We aim to expand that tradition into all genres of music.”
In an attempt to gain increased exposure, CTOA is targeting Tom Waits’ upcoming American tour as its next foray into concert sabotage. “Waits shows are rare and tickets are difficult to get. His fans are fiercely loyal and appreciate his music. There will be many people who have never seen him in concert before, complete with excessive expectations of musical transcendence and the simple desire to listen to the music without extraneous background talking. Our forces will be mobilized and our vocal chords will be well rested to ensure that simply doesn’t happen.”
Finally, CTOA has its sights set on expanding overseas. “Our methods will likely be different in Europe,” the statement concluded. “A quick, jarring first volley is needed. We likely will begin employing the primarily American practice of talking during the entire concert, and then screaming hysterically like possessed drunken louts when the one song we recognize is finally played.
“Ambitious? Sure. Unrealistic? Possibly. But with dedication, perseverance, and blatant disregard for that short guy in the Sufjan Stevens Illinoise t-shirt who’s nearly in tears as we chat during the entire show, we can achieve these goals.”