Cherish Your Inner Fangirl

by Julia Phillips Smith

Every artist is influenced by other artists. Most of the time, this dialogue between creators is in slow motion. An emerging creative impulse responds to a song, a painting, a film by another artist.

An artist may even study a favorite influence intensively, until he or she is ready to express a truly original response to that dialogue by creating something unique.

In some instances, artists have the great luck to study personally with an admired mentor. More often, though, creators have one-sided crushes on their heroes, spending hours imagining what it would be like if...

No matter how far along an artist has developed, there is always someone who turns him or her into an instantaneous fanboy or fangirl.

This special moment from a 2008 Foo Fighters Toronto concert truly moves me because of what it captures. The camera work is earthquakey at times from excitement, but bear with it.

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins likely always dreamed of what it would be like if he was onstage with Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee from Rush, having named Rush drummer Neil Peart as a major influence on his own career.

Well, during a Toronto stop on the Foo Fighters' 2008 tour, Taylor Hawkins performed a drum solo for the Foo Fighters song Stacked Actors.

At the 1:49 mark in this clip, Hawkins stops playing and looks up, realizing the crowd is cheering far too wildly for his solo.

Only to find one of his dreams coming true--Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee are there in front of his drum kit. Just like all of his what ifs, except there they are, for real. Such a look of joy on his face at the 2:20 mark, when he decides to go for it and launches into YYZ, a Rush favorite.



My favorite part of all, however, comes at the 6:34 mark, when Hawkins can barely contain his excitement long enough to finish the song. His leaping hug at the end is made of pure joy.

Sometimes the day to day struggles of writing can mask the joy of telling stories. At those times, look back, look deep for that fangirl inside of you. Even Alex Lifeson has his fanboy moments...   










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