Lorde refuses fan-group 'disciples'

19:08, Jan 14 2014
NO DISCIPLES: Lorde doesn't want fan groups like Little Monsters or Beliebers.

So Lorde doesn't want her fans calling themselves disciples. Well, good luck with that.

The Auckland teenager who ruled the US charts for weeks with the worldwide hit, Royals, has noble intentions.

Quite reasonably she thinks "pun centric" nicknames for fans, such as Katy Perry's KatyCats or self-glorifying ones like Lady Gaga's Little Monsters can be a bit naff. What's more the tribal behaviour it can encourage can get out of hand, such as when Gaga fans launched into online tirades at fans of Miley Cyrus.

So when some of her fans suggested to her that she bestow on them the name disciples, Lorde recoiled, declaring she found such behaviour "grating" and demeaning.

"Never!" she told a magazine. "I have discouraged it. I've tweeted multiple times, 'No fan name, I do not condone this'."

The problem for Lorde is it isn't always up to her.


Tribalism is part of the landscape if you're attracting the most devoted fans.

Justin Bieber's fans declare themselves Beliebers out of pride - misguided though it may be to those whose wardrobe consists of 15 variations of black Metallica T-shirts - and mistaking them for One Direction fans would be, like, so embarrassing.

It's not new of course, it's been happening from the dawn of musical history, which for those who see the 17-year-old Lorde as one of them, could mean anything before 1980.

Way way back, Rolling Stones fans (proper rock'n'roll fans, they thought themselves) looked down on Beatles fans (soft, pop types).

And everyone looked down on Herman's Hermits (they're kidding right?). Within the Beatles fan base John fans (proper, cynical fans, they thought) looked down on Paul fans (soft, sweet stuff fans). And everyone looked down on Ringo fans (they're kids, right?).

That Gaga attracts those who romanticise their outsider status is another noble tradition. David Bowie's fans would walk to his 1972-73 shows in glitter and makeup, satin and heels - the girls too - flaunting their outsiderness and inviting ridicule when denim and denim were the only "appropriate" items of clothing. They weren't just interested, they were committed.

Even louder, and so serious that they doubled, or tripled the makeup, were fans of the cartoon rockers, Kiss, who called themselves the Kiss Army. Sure, the battles they fought were mostly with their mothers or older sisters as they raided the makeup drawer but they belonged.

Elsewhere the smoked and acid-washed fans of the Grateful Dead donned tie-dyed clothes, drove slowly with unfocused eyes and called themselves Deadheads (semi-mocked two decades later by fans of brilliant underground country man Fred Eaglesmith who called themselves Fredheads). And the dedicated followers of horror show metal band Slipknot revelled in the name Maggots, probably less a comment on their food or clothing as a bold claim to proper diseased minds.

Anyway, if Lorde's disciples or apostles or army or true believers, want to make a mark they've got a standard to meet. The fans of hip-hop's incendiary circus freaks, Insane Clown Posse, first came to call themselves Juggalos, before earning genuine files at the FBI who saw a threat to the nation in the band and its followers.

The last time a New Zealander got that kind of attention from the American authorities he was a prime minister barring the entry of nuclear ships from Kiwi waters and taking a chance of ending a trans-Pacific treaty. So, disciples, how serious are you?

Sydney Morning Herald