The Voracious Soul Patrol’s Unsatiable Appetite

by


If you’ll look down the right-hand column of this page, you’ll see a little red button called “View Site Stats.”

I click this button about twice a day to see how we’re doing here at Monkbot.

On an average day, we have about 50 – 70 new hits (folks who have never visited the site before) and about 35 – 40 regulars (folks who have visited at least once).

It’s always my goal to raise the latter number…which we have…slowly, but steadily.

But as you can see from the chart I put at the top of this post…there are those rare days where our site visits spike.

And, other than the day I featured my interview with Gray Charles…which made Monkbot history by bringing more than 1,000 total hits to the site in one day…every post I make that mentions Taylor Hicks sees increased numbers.

It definitely helps when Gray puts a link from his site to mine…like he did with his interview and on Sunday, when I featured NOLAgirl’s Endymion write-up.

But I can also see by my little site counter that the mere mention of Taylor Hicks brings new folks and more return visitors to the site.

This is to be expected, I guess, but what always amazes me is the frenzy by which it happens. The visits are almost swarm-like. Folks will hear that there is a little tidbit about Taylor and they run to that tidbit…then run back to their favorite site to discuss.

It happens with every new group of pictures of Taylor…Swarm

Every news snippet of Taylor…Swarm

Every new video of Taylor…Swarm

Every new audio post from Taylor at Gray’s…SwarmFawnSwarm some more

And during the down times…between pictures and snippets and video and audio posts…there’s always some rumblings of how great Taylor is and what he should perform/record and how he looks and the like.

All of it is fun…to a degree…but what puzzles me is how it has managed to maintain the intensity.

Taylor Hicks was crowned the Season 5 American Idol nine months ago in an explosion of fireworks, a shower of confetti, and a simultaneous “WOO!” from the thousands of Soul Patrollers who had phoned, texted, blogged, chatted, analyzed, hoped, strategized, and prayed to get him there.

Not to minimize the magnitude of Taylor’s talent and general likability, but how is it now…after all these months…the fervor is still fever pitch? Why are we all still compelled to follow his every move? Download his every song? Watch his every video? Write blogs posts about it all?

Is he really that magnetic?

I mean…basically he’s just a soulful Southern boy with a killer harp and some really nice pipes…right?

Since Taylor’s coronation, a dozen or more Taylor fan sites have come to life on the Web…Taylor-related posts at Gray Charles have continued to bust at the seams with comments…Taylor’s performances have been very well attended…Taylor’s guest appearances are anticipated and watched with excitement…multiple copies of Taylor’s albums were bought by individual fans (me included)…reviews were written and read and argued…and tons of folks created fan vids at GoFish and YouTube.

Nine months is a long time. And in the pop culture world…it’s almost a lifetime.

In an age where fame is more fleeting than an Elizabeth Taylor marriage…how has this guy from Alabama…who, despite his propensity for f-bombs and his less-than-trendy bar blues sound…continued to cause a fandom ruckus?

Sure he’s cute…okay, really cute. And yeah, his live performances are totally electrifying. But his songs haven’t stopped the world from spinning and he’s hit a sour note or two. On more than one occasion he’s left one too many buttons undone on his shirt and he’s even tripped over his own words in the media. He’s far from perfect (who isn’t)…so, I don’t get how he’s maintained the magic.

But I do have a theory.

My theory is that…it isn’t solely Taylor’s charisma driving the swarm…it’s the general demographic make-up of the swarm…that drives the swarm.

Anyone who has paid attention knows that the bulk of Taylor’s fans (at least the online bulk) are women, age 30 to 60.

This group is quite a crew…women in the prime of life who are learning or have learned to speak their minds and not apologize for it. Women who love the fact that Taylor is still a young man but looks older and is singing music that spans a broad generational gap…which, can connect someone older with the sense of being a part of something youthful again.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some really great folks in this group…some strong women who have a lot to share and a lot of heart. But putting aside these folks and all the good that comes with a gaggle of women from ages 30 to 60, I have to say that the group that makes up the bulk of Taylor’s fan base is a little scary, too.

This group can be pushy and demanding. It can be biting and abrasive. The women in this group have worked long enough to afford pursuing what they want, and they have taken care of themselves long enough to feel entitled to what they want.

And what they want right now is Taylor Hicks.

Okay…I have to stop here and say that I’ve reached the point in my post where I feel I’ve made my argument…but I’m still confused.

I know these women want Taylor (maybe because he seems attainable in some way, maybe because he simply turns them on, or maybe because the whole “thing” makes them feel youthful or carefree or gives them an escape from reality) but I’m still lost when I try to figure out “why the swarm?”

Why is the hunger so great?

Why is the need to find out more so insatiable?

Why go to 15 concerts when one or two would suffice?

Why spend all the money? Admonish anyone who dares criticize Taylor? Download all the media? Comment on every post at Gray’s?

Does it feel good…does it give a sense of conquest…or has it merely become habit?

I’ve been in this crazy mix since Taylor warbled his first notes on AI. It wasn’t too long ago that I was all consumed. Heck…you may have noticed I even started my own blog about all this nonsense.

But, over the last several months, my fervor has died…a lot.

My crush on Taylor is gone. My obsession with seeing all his clips has vanished. I’ve even…gasp…deleted some of my Taylor media.

I’ve become sane again…well, as sane as I can be.

Sometimes I even feel like a kind of fraud when I put up posts on Taylor…because I’m so NOT in the know about this or that and I’m way behind on what’s happenin’ at Gray’s.

I think I know now what my co-workers and family were thinking about me when I was caught up in this whirlwind that is Taylor Hicks…because it’s what I’m thinking about everyone else still in the swarm.

I’m thinking…Huh? What? Really?

So, tell me, how has this managed to maintain? Is all the fuss just about making a fuss…or is it still about Taylor?

Will…or can…the Soul Patrol ever “get enough”?

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102 Responses to “The Voracious Soul Patrol’s Unsatiable Appetite”

  1. Jan Says:

    I understand your point. I ask myself the question “When is this going to end?” I am not traveling to any shows by plane during the tour and I have quit downloading most of the videos but I still find myself checking out a couple of blogs daily. I don’t have the time to lose mental focus while I catch up on news but I still find myself looking for news on Taylor. Why do I care? Why do I bother. What the hell is wrong with me?

  2. Holeigh Says:

    I’m not part of the majority of Taylor’s fanbase so I won’t even try to attempt answering that part of your query. However, that leaves me even more confused, because what has me hooked? Haha, I guess I’ve always been a weird one in my love of the “old fashioned”, whether it be books, music, or movies.

    I would like to report, however: I have had my share of fangirly obsessions. Mostly, Johnny Depp, Joaquin Phoenix, and Mr. Hicks. Buuut, over the past year or so, I think I’ve gotten better with that behavior. Like Shelley said about her TH addiction, mine has drastically went downhill. I still love his music and Taylor as a person, but I don’t visit GC as much anymore, I look at AI as a whole, not just for Taylor, etc. He (and consequently, you all) was a great thing for me to discover this time last year, in my first year of college, but I don’t need it anymore. I will always stick up for his artistic merit and buy his CDs and try to attend his shows (if he ever comes to MI!), but that spark is gone…I think that weekly AI fix was what did it. That group congregation feeling, of community. And he was what made that feeling.

    Now I am content in listening to some kick ass tunes and chatting with my girls. 🙂

  3. Libby Says:

    Shelley,

    You raise a good question. I only have tickets for a performance here in Atlanta. No money spent flying all over creation, as my Granny might have said.

    I admit that I have pondered about why TH’s album did not sell better. And what the charisma is that drives this little machine.

    And why? I have no interest in meeting TH personally — maybe I just like to root for the underdog. I enjoyed seeing him perform live and hope the best for him. He still reminds me of a dear friend with whom I keep in touch from time to time.

    I sincerely look forward to reading your blog, Shelley — and saying hello to Squee and friends on Gray’s chat.

    If some folks join the Gray chat — that are “scary” — I just sign off — but I do tend to check – in — most evenings…

    Being an analytical person by nature, I have pondered the “why’s” too — and I do not have a good answer. I like to be an encourager… and I like to think I found a small community of internet friends who accept me just as I am — sometimes opinionated and flawed — but well meaning.

    Perhaps, it is not important for me to understand why I enjoy coming to visit the Monkbot site —

    Right now, I am content at the moment to accept that it is what it is — and I would miss all of you if this fine community was not here.

  4. Rowan Says:

    A really thoughtful and thought-provoking post! The points you make about features of the swarm defining the actions of the swarm are very telling, Shelley! I think I would agree with you. There is a powerful sense in which a group has come together and felt, perhaps for the first time, empowered and influential – working as a swarm to make sure that our hive wins the prize.

    The dedication shown by Soul Patrol was quite breathtaking. The demographic – their organising principle, knocked my socks off. I stood back and watched as emails from organising Soul Patrollers told me what to download in order to vote, when to vote, who to contact if I was not 100% sure of how and when to vota, and what to download. It was enormous fun, but in some ways, i was blinking in the gloom, looking at those emails, the energy they reflected, the passion and commitment.

    I was happy to Skype vote for four hours, but I did feel alarmed when bidding on an audio cd on Ebay, just for a compilation of AI show performances (having purchased UTR from the legitimate source) to get am email admonishing me for my bid from an anonymous Soul Patroller.

    Like Libby, I would go to see Taylor in concert, and buy his cds, but have no desire to contact him or meet him in person. I would buy a cd of him singing the phone book, but just because that is inherently very funny and appeals to the Irony Patroller in me. Monkbot seems to me to be the Irony Patrol wing of Soul Patrol. We can laugh at ourselves and boldly go to seek out the quirky in every situation. There are going to be different facets to the swarm – it is a very interesting analogy. Different elements which seem to help maintain overall tip-top function.

    I am not an entymologist, nor am I an organiser. My house is a tip. But I will happily go on buying every cd Taylor releases for the very reason that he inspires a loyalty that is wholly well-founded. I am not invested enough to read any other site which references Taylor now – the intensity left with the end of AI, but the appreciation of his gifts, his legacy ( for me,the wonderful community of like-minded folks who make up Monkbot)offer real day to day benefits.

    Hey – I always feel a fraud, posting on a Taylor topic – I am totally out of the loop, and know next to nothing about Soul Music. I would see a new Artist With Soul, and hope they were still alive. I love the honesty of the genre, but was ever so glad that there was a feelgood messsage in Taylor’s music, a helping hand-up, so to speak, the “Heart and Soul” vibe: come on now, we all get down, and life can be grim, so get up and give what you’ve got a bit of a shake, and I’ll go get a beer ands some ribs when i’ve finished cheering you all up. Very cool.

    I think it is spot on that the swarm see what they have achieved, and do not want to abandon ship, to disband, to lose the common identity. Taylor is out there and clearly a very worthy performer. I do think there is an underlying maternal sense too. Someone posted at Gray’s long long ago that she felt she was a mom who had queued for four hours to buy Buzz Lightyear for her boy, and he was surely gettin it. Now that boy has left home, and he has thousands of moms and aunts and sisters and others with different feelings for him, but all sending him their best, still out there pulling for him in a very big way.

    Sheesh, this is way too long. Sorry. Better buzz off! Bzzzzzzzzzz

  5. rowan Says:

    Yikes..all that woffle and I didn’t answer your question! I think SP are keeping the momentum up – and it is very ineresting. As to them ever getting enough…guess it depends what each individual continues to get out of being part of the swarm. The group identity is very powerful, though. Not a group much considered or lauded or feted elsewere in popular media, the 30 -60s. Having a blog identity and the feeling of being a small part of an effective and recognised group is heady and hard to give up. I remember tearing up on several occasions when GC version one closed down!

  6. jenfera Says:

    Like Holeigh, I do tend to go through little pop culture obsessions. It all started with Duran Duran, which 95% of girls my age at the time were obsessed with too, so that was okay.

    The next one I remember vividly was figure skating. I was always a fan, but I admit that my interest was piqued that much more with the whole Nancy Kerrigan thing. It wasn’t a morbid fascination so much as after that incident, figure skating just became more accessible. It got a lot more coverage on TV and I sucked it all in. I even ended up taking lessons for the first time in my life, at the ripe old age of 25, and kept with it for 5 years. I don’t get on the ice as often as I would like to any more, but I can still pull off some little spins and tiny little jumps.

    Next up was Alton Brown, host of Good Eats on the Food Network. If you’ve never seen this show, you can’t imagine both the entertainment AND education you are missing. It’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy meets Julia Child. Cooking for the short attention span generation, raised on Sesame Street like me. The result of that one has been a passion for cooking, an understanding of food science, the purchase of two great cookbooks and one great book about kitchen equipment, and one two hour trek to a bookstore (followed by a two hour wait in line) to meet the man and get a picture and an autograph. Oh, and a food blog where I aspire to be even a tenth as amusing and informative as Alton.

    And then we have Taylor. I’ll admit to being a little slow on the uptake. I liked him from the beginning, he intrigued me. But I sure didn’t notice that he might be good looking till near the end of AI, and “if I’m being honest”, some of his manic-ness turned me off. If I heard him holler “Soul Patrol” one more time near the end, I was gonna spit.

    I never did any fancy voting techniques. I just called on the phone and voted a few times. I didn’t start following Gray’s blog until it almost ended the first time. I happened to find those 3 songs from UTR on that NPR website myself and thought I was listening to something barely anyone else was.

    But yet, here I still am. Checking Gray’s everyday, sometimes more than once a day, and visiting Monkbot daily (even though that took me a long time too!) I bought 4 CD’s, and gave the extra 3 away to people I actually knew would enjoy them, not people I was trying to convert. I am only planning on attending one show. But I do chat at Gray’s often, and can’t seem to help myself with checking out new pictures and videos.

    My only explanation is that I am a Red Sox fan! I love to root for the underdog. Winning AI was like winning the World Series in ’04, but that doesn’t meen that we Sox fans don’t still think of ourselves as underdogs. We still fret about beating the Yankees every time. And for me, watching Taylor try to find continued success in the form of record sales and well attended concerts is like trying to beat the Yankees. Trying to make it to the Series again. And that just has quite the appeal for a New Englander like me.

    So, being a Duran Duran fan didn’t bring me much except acceptance with my peers, but that was important at that age. Skating is a skill I will enjoy and be happy I have. And cooking, of course, is a fantastic reward. Being a Taylor fan has brought me a few things too. I have learned a few new things about music, gained an appreciation for some artists I might not have otherwise. And, I have found some intelligent folks to chat with here at Monkbot, which is a pleasure.

    Wow, I think I out-typed rowan!! Oops. I guess I am making up for lost time. Not sure if I even answered the question.

    (sits on hands to stop more typing)

  7. ivoryhut Says:

    Uh-oh. I am a Yankees fan. *ducks from Jennifer’s flying pretzel*

    But I also was a big Duran Duran fan, and I think Alton Brown rules.

  8. leejolem Says:

    Very thought provoking post Shelley!! I was just pondering this same question when I was scanning the posts at GC this weekend. I rarely, if ever, comment at GC, and I was thinking to myself–How do people find the time and emotional energy to post all the time? The analysis of all the numbers always amazes me. It’s as if their mortgage payment relies on Taylor’s numbers. I’m not criticizing, just don’t really get it.

    Here’s what I think it boils down to: 1.Taylor’s underdog-ness and his eventual victory=undying loyalty in a fanbase
    2.Taylor’s likeability and charm=people feel as if they know him personally and want to support him
    3.female 30-60 demographics=some strong maternal urges that can’t/won’t be stopped
    4.people need something to believe in and support in this jaded world.

    I have to admit I only voted 3 times for Taylor (it was always busy), so I came in a little late to the mix, but I do still like to check on GC daily and of course Monkbot. When I check Monkbot though it has nothing to do w/Taylor–I just like to converse w/the sistahs. I occasionally (1-2x/week) check out other Taylor sites, but it is dwindling. I like to watch the gofish and rehearsals.com videos, but there again it’s only 1-2x/week. I’m in the minority here, but I would really like to meet Taylor. I would like to be able to look him in the eyes and say “thank you” and give him a hug. Call it a crazy dream, but a girl has to dream, right?

    Anyway, the swarming doesn’t make total sense to me, and I think it might get worse before it gets better. I hope Taylor is grounded, and it doesn’t drive him crazy, and he just enjoys the he$$ out of himself on this tour!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I personally don’t believe I will ever get enough Tay.
    I can’t stop myself.
    I look for stuff about him every day – just LOVE hearing about him, seeing pics of him, listening to his music, and his “shout-outs” via G.C. – everything.
    Watched and bookmarked every YouTube, GoFish, Rehearsals and AOL vids…not to mention other fans videos and pics…every day.
    I would LOVE to go to more than one concert on his tour but simply don’t have the funds to do it.
    I would LOVE to meet him.
    I am not in it for the swarm effect or whatever, I am not in it for the cameraderie with other SPers or fans of Taylor (although that is a sweet reward). I am in it for my own pleasure – which doing all of these things gives me great amounts of.
    (I am in it so I can end my sentence with a preposition – LOL.)

    Not sure if there are more like me – but I am being honest. I do not see it ending – and hope it is never taken away from me. Gives me JOY!!!

  10. leejolem Says:

    Anon, hey, I’m with you on the JOY thing! Watching Taylor always brings me joy, and maybe that’s what it boils down to. Thanks for sharing.

  11. jenfera Says:

    (releases hands long enough to respond to ivory hut)

    Ivory, you are safe for now as all of the pretzels are long gone. I’ll excuse your taste in baseball since your taste in pop culture is obviously just fine.
    🙂

  12. leejolem Says:

    I just looked at the title of this post, and it made me think of Samantha on Bewitched when she got Voracious Ravenitis and had to call Dr. Bombay. Maybe there’s an epidemic/pandemic of Voracious Ravenitis among Soul Patrollers.

  13. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I will have more insightful thoughts about other peeps behavior later today…til then, I’ll tell you about me:

    I have never been an uber-fan of anyone. My favorite bands have cd’s out that I’ve never purchased. I would never spend $400 to see U2 in concert. I would never lose sleep to read my favorite celebrity blogs…

    I would never drive 8 hours to see Taylor in concert…ummm…well, maybe I’d do that…say, sometime in March…maybe…

    Actually, I’m driving to New Orleans for the one reason I still hear anything “new” about Taylor…for the Monkbots! If it weren’t for this site, I’d never hear anything about Taylor. (Well, I still go to GC, but generally I skip the Taylor heavy posts…except when I think the comments are going to be funny…)

    I voted for Taylor on my cell phone, and would text message too…but I didn’t skype or buy more cell phones or anything like that. I bought UTR b/c I really wanted to. I bought the single when it came out (which is the only TH purchase I regret) and then I bought one copy of his album.

    I bought a Monkey vs. Robot t-shirt b/c it was funny…and I bought two Shelley-designed MB t-shirts b/c they were funny.

    So, basically I don’t feel I fit the SP mold. I’m a unique Monkotty kinda gal. I love this site BECAUSE we don’t have to talk about TH 24/7…but still get to hear about the important things about him…and see purty pics of him from time to time…

    I’ll give more thoughts later…

  14. Shrewspeaks Says:

    I have been mulling this one over in my brain. I even asked myself the all important…given no MonkBots, would I be DYING to go see TH perform say in NYC? I don’t think so. If I went in NYC I would be alone and THAT would be no fun. Albeit, there would be fans there…and perhaps a few would know who I was by screen name. I would however, need to screen out those with glittery T-shirts or signs that read “I thud for Taylor” Perhaps my crowd would be found off to one side looking shocked and amused at the crowd prior to curtain time, yet boogie-ing with the best of them well into the evening. So by the end of the evening,I would not be totally alone.

    Maybe this is the TH power…the community that has been built. This community is wide and diverse in many ways, yet there is this special period of time that binds us together despite our different ways.

    The collision of the glitternazi’s, the milkys, the gray elite, the MonkBots can be as contensious as The Navy, Maraines and the Army all at one USO dance. Yet, when push comes to shove, we are all bound by last year’s crazy ride. At the center of that crazy ride is TH. good. bad. indifferent. There he stands.

    I too, like Bama am going to NOLA to the HOB show. That show is the center piece of my trip…yet the reason why I have made it is to be with this crazy whacky community of Monkbotiness. It was TH who brought us together, but it is each one of you that keeps me coming back.

    Did I just make any sense?

  15. double d Says:

    Ok, brace yourselves….Analytics and logic, comin’ up. This might take a while….

    First of all, I don’t aspire to the “middle-aged housewife” as the majority of Taylor’s fan base theory. Perhaps the misnomer of this stereotype is that it is the prevalent demographic that we see. What I mean is the “fawning, fangirly” ladies who are buying 15 CDs and spending money to fly across the country to see 10 or more shows, are what we see commented on and therefore, assume is the “norm” or the bulk of Taylor’s fanbase.

    When in doubt, I try to look logically at the numbers. So, bear with me and let’s get “Dr. Spock”….(leejolem – one person’s “emotional energy” is another’s “creative outlet”).

    Let’s start with a breakdown of Taylor fans….

    While Shelley speaks of dramatic numbers, fact is even on “record” days, that’s only 800 unique visitors to her blog. Here are the “member numbers” from other well known boards:

    TOSP – 28,202
    TaylorHicksFan – 9,616
    Taylor Hicks MySpace – 39,360
    Taylormadeonline (Gypsee’s) – 3,597
    The Boogie Board – 1,881

    In the scheme of things, these numbers are VERY small, considering that there is overlap of many sites. I estimate that there are about 10,000 “core” Taylor fans who are “engaged” via the internet and “blogs”. If you go to Taylor’s MySpace and look at his “friends”, there are MUCH more young people. I think that many of these are fans or listeners, just not involved in the fansite portion of it. It may actually be the “silent majority” concerning Taylor’s fanbase. For instance, the GoFish videos/questions that were uploaded were mostly young people and here is a very young, dedicated Taylor fan who has started his own video series to let people know that “Taylor Hicks is great”.

    I think that many of the “middle-aged housewife” crowd isn’t comfortable with MySpace and the energy it takes to set it up and keep it up, therefore it’s a different crowd.
    Of the 10,000 core “internet” fans I mentioned, I estimate that about half actually fall in the “Towanda” category….My definition of this 5,000 or so very vocal, very visible minority can be best demonstrated by Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes after two PYTs steal a parking place from her. When she questions them about it, the PYTs reply: “Face it lady, we’re younger and faster”….to which she replies. I believe that these ladies have means and time and enjoy following Taylor, whether that’s via their new found internet skeelz or through traveling across country, a la “Almost Famous” to “be a part of it all” or to be a part of the group. I think that there is a gross generalization that this small group of ladies are lovestruck over Taylor and want to be his mother. I think that he’s caused some kind of “shift” for them and they now feel empowered to do things they may have never done or have not done in a long time. Having said that, EVERY artist/star has a faction of “rabit” fans…Taylor is no exception.

    However, back to the numbers. What I’m saying is that “the squeaky wheel is getting the grease”. You are seeing and hearing the 5,000 Towandas, where in actuality it takes a lot more than 5,000 folks to have a fanbase. Taylor selling out 2,500 seat venues across the country isn’t this small group going to 40 concerts. Also, Taylor selling 650,000 CDs isn’t these 5,000 people buying 130 CDs each. Going to the CD sales, I estimate that MAYBE 5% of the CDs purchased were by “multiple” buyers. That would constitute about 32,500 CDs of the total, meaning that roughly 620,000 CDs were purchased (one at a time) by other fans or people who just happen to like the music.

    I think it sells Taylor WAY short to say that the bulk of his fan base is 30-60 year old women who are mortgaging their homes to go off on “lost weekends”, yet that’s the label his fanbase has been given via the “mainstream press”. While this demographic may be the most vocal, there simply aren’t enough of them to make a dent in the kinds of numbers in concert and CD sales. Therefore, I think that Taylor has many more fans across the age spectrum than most people recognize.

    As for Taylor’s appeal….I still like the guy but about the same as I did before. Really didn’t/don’t have room in my life to be consumed, so I guess it’s really more of a hobby than anything else. To me, people are still interested because, let’s face it….he’s still an underdog. But he’s also a nice guy who appears very humble and thankful to be doing what he really loves doing. And to “pay that back”, he acknowledges his fans, tries to stay close to his fans, and gives people who come to watch him 150%. People really appreciate other people who appreciate them and work hard to give them something that they can remember and enjoy.

    I do think that his popularity will wane some with those who were AI invested (and maybe some MonkBots?), but I think he’s picking up new fans all the time. I don’t get invested easily. I like this guy. I like the music he sings. I like his genuineness and his love of the music. I like his commitment to his dream and the fact that he’s uber-talented and didn’t just throw that away. I like that he won, is a winner. He really IS the American Dream. I respect him as a person and of course, I’d like to meet him, if for nothing else than just to tell him that he’s done a great job and I appreciate what he’s done and is doing. You know, show him some support.

    Lastly, I like Gray’s and I keep going back because of the “gems” that come up every so often. Like the “Greatest Hits” and the stuff in “Extras” that very few go to or contributes to. (Where are you guys?) I like good, thoughtful discussion regarding music, marketing, psychology, etc. and we got that at Gray’s and here, although I’m not all into the TV shows and stuff. For me, Gray’s and MB has been about community….about belonging, about sharing and about laughing. Maybe it’s also what others were looking for in their respective “sites”.

    I’m going to New Orleans for two reasons – one is to be with the MonkBots and the other, truly, is to see Taylor in the HoB environs. Since I’ve never seen him live, I guess that still holds some interest for me.

  16. Shrewspeaks Says:

    DD…that could have been quicker if you just said “I agree with Shrew”

    😉

  17. double d Says:

    I, however, am DYING to see TH in Mobile. While I’m going with office friends and won’t be alone, I’m REALLY excited about seeing him live. Sounds like everyone else is “Over It”.

    **is sad**

  18. shelley Says:

    Great breakdown, DD…but are you saying I’m crazy with what I’ve actually witnessed…hell, what we’ve all witness as far as the “swarm.”

    It may be a gross exageration to lump all of Taylor’s fans in the 30-60 year old female category…but you can’t deny the behavior patterns and trends of those patterns over the last nine months.

    I’m thankful for your breakdown of numbers…and you’ve convinced me…we’re a small but highly visible faction in the whole grand scheme of things (although I doubt ANYONE under the age of 25 would call him or herself a “Soul Patroller”…a fan of Taylor Hicks…but not a Soul Patroller).

    But it’s not the numbers that confuse me…it’s the behavior.

    I want to understand the psychology behind the swarm.

    Taylor’s great, no doubt, but he ain’t raining manna down on us and he ain’t bridging social gaps between nations.

    So why has are faction (small or large) remained in such a tizzy?

    What niche does he fill or itch does he scratch? You really think it’s just the “nice guy underdog” aspect? Is that really enough of a reason to go ape shit for the guy?

  19. shelley Says:

    I’m not “over it.”

    I still really appreciate Taylor.

    But I’m just not gaa-gaa cuckoo like I was four months ago.

    It took me three months to pay off my phone bills for the voting.

    I was up until 2 a.m. almost every night during AI.

    I blogged so much at Gray’s all day long that I thought I was goign to get fired.

    I was obsessed.

    I’m now simply…a fan…a normal-enjoy-the-artist-while-keeping-my-perspective fan.

    I’ve finally managed to escape Wackadoo Island.

    But others are still trapped on that island…and don’t seem to mind…and aren’t looking for a way off.

    I’m just asking…why?

  20. ruhappytoseeme Says:

    Well I was going to say sorry you have lessoned in the crazyness of th but then i thought about it and i used to frequent many boards for many hours a day and now its only if theres a responce to a thread, or like your thing, when I get a email bout something if I feel I can contribute I will answer if I cant (like certain shows I dont watch) I read then move on. but I still love taylor and his music and am hoping he comes back to wilkes barre as i cant travel, i cannot afford to either lol. but the frenzy is over now i sit back and enjoy him. im having trouble watching ai tho, i do like a couple but so far not someone whos hit me as hard as taylor did, but im sure they will end up with someone good, they always have som good singers 🙂 any way i understand where your comming from, but im still lovin taylor just not as forum crazy i guess. but ive met some people who are awsomeand want to stay in touch with 😉

  21. double d Says:

    Again, you are only seeing the small, VOCAL faction of those in a particular demographic who have the access, time and inclination to be a part of “the Swarm”.

    The 5,000 or so Towandas are the ones “swarming”. Even at your height of hits, that was 800 people. Even though Gray sees much more people, I’d bet it’s not much more than the 5,000 or so I’m talking about. I bring up the numbers because we aren’t talking Elvis on Ed Sullivan kind of “fan crushing”.

    Think of it like usage channels. Different demographics use different channels. For internet information, i.e., pictures, information, audio blogs, commenting, the demographic is skewed to 30-60 year olds. So, in using that channel, those are the folks you generally see “swarming” over information there.

    However, in the whole of Taylor “information”, that 5,000 is a drop in the bucket of the evident fan base…and yes, I think that there are MANY under 25 that proudly call themselves Soul Patrollers as they don’t perceive a negative connotation of that. They only know “Soul Patrol” from Taylor and AI and haven’t been seeing “suspect behavior” from Soul Patrollers as we all do. (Take a look at our little friend up there as well the other younger folks making the GoFish vids…they all end it with “Soul Patrol”.)

    Taylor has star quality and a great back story. You’re from the South…you know that we love our heroes. However, I don’t think Taylor is near as well-known or popular as we’re accustomed to in the “blogosphere”. Again, it’s what we’re exposed to but in reality, is a FRACTION of the general population.

    The “tizzy” is the same thing that keeps Elvis fans going to his Memorial Birthday and Death Week events….it’s what keeps Mick Jagger fans going to endless RS concerts….it’s what kept fans begging Frank Sinatra to perform into his ’80s. CHARISMA. Can’t be manufactured. You’ve got it or you don’t. And those that do, attract certain people like a magnet….that’s why they call it magnetism. No denying, Taylor certainly has “IT”. Even David Foster said so. 🙂

  22. Gray Charles Says:

    I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind.

  23. shelley Says:

    listen buddy ^^^…if you want me to be brutally honest…i blame all of this on Y-O-U.

    so, let me throw this out…would Taylor be Taylor without GC?

  24. Shrewspeaks Says:

    But DD…is it all Taylor’s “It” or is it the community “it” that sustains the feeding frenzy? I believe some of the Towandas (and so beit if I am one) are getting something from this internet communal bowl that they ARE NOT getting from day to day life. The center may have started as TH 24/7, but now it has evolved has it not? or maybe I am skewed from my journey to date.

  25. baby duck Says:

    It would just a guess on my part based on the majority of comments I see on the various sites as to what drives Taylor’s fans. That vocal bunch seem to fall in two — make that three — categories: Women who want to mother him (“Taylor, please quit smoking”, or “Call your radio station to request his single so his numbers will go up”), and women who want to rip his clothes off and get personal (“Thud”), or a combination of both (Eewwww). It’s understandable that they would continue to follow his every move, interview, photo, audioblog, etc.

    I feel like I’m in a minority of fans who are interested in Taylor primarily because of his music. Perhaps that’s not the case, but that it’s just a less-vocal (fewer comments) segment. Unfortunately, actual discussion of music on Taylor boards is getting hard to come by. I’m no longer willing to scroll through tons of extraneous comments at Gray’s, looking for “gems”. A lot of those with ‘Street Cred’ seem to have disappeared. What happened to the masterclass vocal lady, or hwc? Or actual musicians who shared their insights on Taylor’s style or the music industry from an insider’s perspective? Links, anyone?

    The other thing that keeps me scanning articles that are Taylor-related, and the thing that has me a bit puzzled, is looking for evidence of more of a main-stream not just acceptance of Taylor’s music, but an outright conversion. I am a complete ditz over his voice and music style, and expected a quick trip to platinum, thinking the momentum of AI would have him picking up lots of new fans. I’m not ready to believe that Modern Whomp will end up as a (relatively) small niche. Although Taylor may be satisfied with that size of audience on a personal level, I’ve believed since his audition that his music would be a vehicle to a new-old sound that would affect the modern music industry. I would hope to see him influence other musicians, and I think there’s more chance of that if he is generating #1 albums and singles that stay up on the charts for a long time. That would mean increasing numbers of fans, not just SP buying more copies or flooding the radio stations with song requests. I honestly thought that this would happen instantaneously, like Beatle-mania or something. It’s okay for it to be more gradual; slow and steady wins the race. Just not what I expected.

    Like when you go shopping for a new scarf and end up finding the perfect sweater, I add a grateful “ditto!” to the comments of others who say Monkbot site is a huge and unexpected bonus to discover while in pursuit of things-Taylor.

    Shelley, you’re treading on thin ice to even bring up the make-up or motivation of SP, and I won’t be surprised to see some anonymous ‘How dare you?’-type comments in response to this post. But Monkbots are courageous! Either that or they have learned how to duck quickly :0)

  26. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Shelley…good question!!!!

    I am hanging on tender hooks for the big palooka’s answer.

  27. double d Says:

    Shelley, seriously….blaming your “a-DIK-shun” on Gray is like a junkie blaming the pusher. He is there to “get you hooked” (at least he is now). Did he FORCE you to click on that URL, download toolbars, get RSS Feeds, start your own blog dedicated to Monkey vs. Robot? Um, I think not. 🙂

    Taylor would still be Taylor but a different Taylor. I think that via Gray, Taylor realized that he can further kun-NECK with SOME fans. The internet can be a very “sticky” place, meaning that once goobers like us are “hooked”, we have a hard time breaking the habit of visiting the site.

    Taylor = Smart Cookie
    Gray = Even smarter cookie

    Keep folks “hooked” to ensure continual fanbase.

  28. double d Says:

    Shrew — I think that surely some have gotten residual benefit of friendships out of the experience, but if Taylor were a “dud”, it would have shifted.

    It is my ascertain that Taylor is the “IT”. He keeps doing very cool things, while mostly being the “average Joe” and THAT keeps people interested. If he was Chris, they’d be done.

  29. double d Says:

    assertion…dernit.

  30. shelley Says:

    DD said, “Did he FORCE you to click on that URL, download toolbars, get RSS Feeds, start your own blog dedicated to Monkey vs. Robot? Um, I think not.”

    Oh, no you didn’t.

    DD…true…Gray didn’t come to my house and guide my little browser to his site. But I think you’re oversimplying by saying Gray didn’t make me do it.

    He gave us one place to come to gather what we wanted. It was a smart, tempting, compelling site because of the community he cultivated. He did a lot to draw us in and keep us. You can’t miniminze that effort.

    And in my mind…Gray was a HUGE factor in Taylor’s success.

    H-U-G-E

    So huge, in fact, that Taylor couldn’t ignore it and climbed on board…even after he had already won.

    Yes, VFTW did a lot of politicking too…albeit in a negative way…but the fansites…especially Gray’s…were major contributors to Taylor’s success.

    Taylor wasn’t able to do it on his own for the 10 years he tried. It took AI and GRAY CHARLES to make it happen. I firmly believe that.

    And I’d venture to guess (GUESS) Taylor realizes that, too.

    Yes, we were a small group…but a powerful one.

    The Soul Patrol was like the Don of the AI voting family.

    If little Shelley Powers…a pauper on her best day…spent literally hundreds of dollars to see that Taylor won…I can only imagine how much more money was spent by other, more affluent, Soul Patrollers.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    Beats the hell out of me.

    I’m 45, never watched AI before Taylor and your description is very apt of my own experience. I have no romantic illusions about Taylor, and have not lusted after him (and cringe at discussions about his onion) although I think he’s a good-looking, strapping man. My maternal instincts still do still overtake my sense sometimes where he is concerned, but much less frequently than before.

    He’s not perfect, but I love Taylor’s voice even though I hear imperfections in his singing. Sometimes it’s actually the imperfections that make something beautiful or compelling. He has a talent for using his instrument in a way that effectively causes me to feel whatever it is he’s singing.

    My frenzy has died down too. There are certain bits of Taylor media I can’t watch or listen to because of some little thing that bothers me, but on the whole I think his work is enjoyable, consistent and worthy of respect and appreciation. I guess I can say that I’m settling into the Taylor fandom for the long haul.

    That said, I still swarm when there is something “new” on the blogs or websites.

    I think the community aspect of this is part of why this is going on. I have made real friends as a result of my interest in this particular artist. I have enjoyed the brassy, snarky, hilarious, poignant, heart-breaking posts of fellow fans of Taylor. I think that’s what makes it hard to break the habit.

  32. leejolem Says:

    DD, I’m interested in these kind of numbers. I just don’t understand people freaking out over TH’s sales or lack thereof. I spend enough time worrying about how I’m going to pay my bills–I’m certainly not going to worry about Taylor paying his. Alas, I am so not “over it”. I can’t wait to see Taylor in Columbus,OH, and am still keeping my fingers crossed for an IN, KY or Cincinnati date. I would drive up to 8 hours to see him, but no dates have cooperated. I am kind of over the “reading every post” at GC thing, but still check in every day.

    Shelley, HC4S is 14 and calls herself a Soul Patroller, but she won’t wear her Soul Patrol t-shirt to school. I’m not sure what that says about fans under 25, just an fyi.

    I wonder how Taylor feels about the fans’ interest/obsession in his life. Does he have any regrets about being so available to his fans? Does it freak him out how people dissect and analyze every word on his audioblogs? Things that make you go hmmmmmm…..

  33. baby duck Says:

    “Would Taylor be Taylor without GC?”

    By that do you mean would he have won American Idol? If everyone is like me, then maybe not. Graycharles is where I found Taylor’s pre-idol music. Forever Man, Naked in the Jungle, Use Me, and the rest kept me voting for 2 hours on Country Roads night. Since I had access to that music, and it influenced me heavily, who’s to say if I would have been as enthusiastic if only exposed to AI performances.

  34. Gray Charles Says:

    Frankly, I don’t think so much about this whole issue anymore. Oh I used to, quite a bit. I wondered, agonized, worried and guess what? It ate my life away. Almost all of it.

    I almost lost my job – that’s how bad it got. Becoming more “professional” about it has helped me tremendously. The thought that I don’t need to know why has relieved my burdens and might be an interesting one for some of you.

    I’d like to ask a few questions? Why do you care who Taylor’s fans are? Why is it important to figure them out other than to set yourself apart somehow? I stopped thinking about it and it has done me a world of good and brought my life back (sniff, sniff). Correction, I’m thinking about it again but in a totally different context.

    Of course Taylor would be Taylor without GC. Better question, would the fans be the kind of fans they are without GC? All of this access to Taylor – did it set expectations? Was it too much?

    Is this really just a symptom of American Idol?

    There are so many questions that it begs for a panel discussion doesn’t it? Someone put together a charity event with all expenses paid for the panel participants – I’m there!

  35. claire Says:

    Well, I am a bit removed from all the madness, physically at least. My introduction to Taylor on TV coincided with the purchase of my first laptop, so not only was I introduced to this charismatic artist, but I was introduced to the world of the Internet Fan. And now almost a year later, I can look back with an objective eye.

    Yes, at the start I was a little invested and fangirly. the reason being, for the first time, I had the OUTLET (the laptop) to communicate with lots of other people who shared the same interest I did – Taylor. Over here, Idol got very little attention, so I had nobody else to talk to it about!! And I drank it all in, as anyone would a new experience. And now the glitter has worn off, so to speak (glitter=evil, btw…) I can appreciate him for what he is, just a seemingly nice, decent guy with a voice that captured our hearts. I don’t need to be Posty McPoster on several different boards any more, as I did last summer. I hardly post at the Boogie or Grays any more, although I still lurk at both places and enjoy it. I only post if I have something to say, or to throw in a pithy quip. 😉 I will confess to having virtually NO TAYLOR MEDIA DOWNLOADED. I have some of the ODC set, a couple of nice pictures taken during the AI tour, and – well, that’s pretty much it. Any other links I just open, watch, and close again. I don’t feel the need to clog up my hard drive with stuff that is available on the Web anytime I choose to search for it.

    There will always be the element of the OverInvestedFan who believe it is their mission to get Taylor to the top by whatever means possible. (Or at least make sure he has a warm sweater on). Either that or we have the THUD Patrol who just want to get into his pants. (Baby Duck, you read my mind!!)

    I think the majority of Soul Patrollers fall somewhere in the middle: women who love Taylor’s voice and music, want him to succeed, and yes, find him attractive also. As for the age demographic thing? My personal opinion that women say, over 45 may remember the original Soul Music that Taylor sings, that genre, and their adoration may be a combination of nostalgia at hearing a genre of music not commonly heard nowadays, and a resurgence of hormones for this young guy with GRAY HAIR who LOOKS like someone of their own age. And, as pointed out by other posters, women of this age may have raised their families and now have the time and disposable income to spend on their newfound passion.

    But my point? Again, I’m reiterating what has already been stated. It STARTED OUT about Taylor. It BECAME about the COMMUNITY formed around him. Real friendships have been formed, various boards and sites have established their characters and identities, and become an online home to many. Personally, I think the FanFranzy is borne out of this sense of community. Although the genuine crazies are certainly in the minority, perhaps some more moderate SP’ers are being swept along in the flow of the tide?

    I think the frenzy has died down somewhat now that the “TV Show/Summer Tour/Recording of, and Release of, The Album” hoopla is over. It will no doubt pick up again with the start of the tour. Ack, I’m just waffling. I have two words:

    Mob Mentality.

    Vive le Monkbot!

  36. shelley Says:

    Gray said, “Why is it important to figure them out other than to set yourself apart somehow?”

    Because I don’t understand and I just want to know. It’s the same reason why I want to understand how traffic on the Interstate can come to a crawl because folks are looky-loos who rubberneck to see someone changing a tire.

    Sure I want to set myself apart from the crazies. But even when I was a crazy (or just crazier), I recognized it.

    I think the curiousity is just human nature.

    Social sciences have always fascinated me (remind me to post one day on my middle school science fair project that involved me dressing like a punk and shopping for shoes just to observe the salespeople’s reactions…I won regional and placed in state).

    Gray said, “Of course Taylor would be Taylor without GC. Better question, would the fans be the kind of fans they are without GC? All of this access to Taylor – did it set expectations? Was it too much?”

    Well, yeah, he’d always be Taylor…but I meant “Taylor the big winner.” I guess that’s a question we can never really answer.

    Your question is better. And my answer is “no”…the fans wouldn’t be the same without GC.

    Although…GC was originally about feeding the rabidness…but as you offered more…folks took more and wanted more and did so in a not-so-pleasant manner.

    Maybe you did pamper us too much.

    But I enjoyed it…fully.

    However, I think it did/does perpetuate the belief that Taylor is “attainable” be it to meet or to date or to hug or to…sing a duet with.

    Ha.

  37. shelley Says:

    * Although…GC wasn’t originally about feeding the rabidness

    sorry about that

  38. double d Says:

    WHOA, Shelley….if that’s what you got out of what I said, then I was TOTALLY unclear. I was joking about the addiction and as far Gray, I’m HIS biggest fan. I would certainly NEVER diminish his accomplishments.

    Certainly, Gray provided a great place to “be”, and he certainly helped to get folks organized and voting — as did several other sites. To me, Gray was more instrumental in defining the REAL Taylor. Gray’s site was more about the music — which I believe Taylor is about — than JUST about Taylor. While the other sites were “All Taylor, All the Time”, Gray highlighted others who I think he thought were on the same plane with Taylor — Artists with Soul. He brought in Dave White, VFTW, and others that a “traditional” fansite wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole.

    Gray gave Taylor “street cred” as “Hey, this is a cool, hard working musician, who does some great music”, whereas other sites were “OMG, OMG, Taylor is HAWT.” I think THAT’s what Taylor liked/likes…that Gray was most indicative of HIM.

    As for the Towandas, I say each to their own. It sometimes gets on my nerves, but then sometimes so do you guys. If they want to gush, spend thousands on trips and CDs and it makes them feel good — more power to them. It’s not my life but hey, it’s really not hurting anyone and oddly, probably helps Taylor more than it hurts him. A fanbase is made up of MANY parts and they are just a small portion, as are we.

    It’s similiar to LSU fans that decorate their house in purple and gold, name their kids after players, know every player and their stats, etc., who may come off as obnoxious to some but they are fans nonetheless. Most LSU fans are mild in their allegiance but still yell out “GEAUX TIGERS” when they see a logo.

    Baby Duck — you make some interesting points. I halfway thought that Taylor would also “take the world by storm”, yet that’s been a little slow to happen. I think that’s because we really don’t have MEGA-stars anymore, or everyone is a MEGA-star. Although everyone that meets him seems to really like him and while he certainly became a household name with MANY in America and otherwise, there are still many that don’t watch AI or even follow music. Therefore, “Taylormania” may take a while.

    I am reminded of my previous AI experience. Watching Season 4, I really liked Carrie Underwood. I told everyone how great she was and voted for her each week — once each time. When she won, I was really glad, but moved on giving her not the slightest thought until Season 5 rolled around…I wasn’t on the internet or blogging about Carrie or otherwise…don’t even know if she had a fansite. I didn’t buy her CD when it came out and still didn’t buy even when “Jesus, Take the Wheel” became popular even though I really liked the song. I only recently purchased it now that she’s won some CMAs, AMAs, a Grammy, etc., and really “got” my attention. I think that is what will have to happen with Taylor for mainstream America to “get it”. Remember, we are all Early Adopters in this process.

    As for that panel discussion, sign me up…I’ll even pay my own way.

  39. baby duck Says:

    “Why do you care who Taylor’s fans are?”
    Well, I care because like them or not, we’re all part of this cyber fan club known as Soul Patrol. It’s from the blogs that the Mainstream Media (as in where people mainly get their information) gets it’s impression of who Taylor’s fans are. Maybe that’s why HC4S won’t wear her t-shirt to school.

    “Why is it important to figure them out other than to set yourself apart somehow?”
    Rather, more than to figure out how I fit in. Look, I can listen to and appreciate Taylor’s music without visiting websites. But since I do go to websites, I’m looking for those that I have something in common with. Thank God for MonkbotTalk, and GC extras.

    “There are so many questions that it begs for a panel discussion doesn’t it? Someone put together a charity event with all expenses paid for the panel participants – I’m there!”
    May I humbly suggest a little Taylor Hicks official blog site to host it? Who would you be, Gray, a panelist or Jim Lehrer?

  40. shelley Says:

    DD…thanks for clarifying.

    I really did misread.

    And isn’t it great to be able to tell folks that they get on your nerves without reprise…well, maybe a little passive agressie reprise. 😉 ha.

    Let’s all pitch in to bring Gray to NOLA and we’ll put together that damn panel…over some stiff drinks.

    Baby Duck…spot on. thanks.

  41. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I like cookies very much, especially smart ones and snickerdoodle ones.

    I wouldn’t be as “into” Taylor if it weren’t for Gray. As a matter of fact…I’m a much bigger fan of Gray than I am of Taylor. He’s so much more fascinating…maybe b/c he’s a book I haven’t been able to open and study, I’ve only seen the cover…whereas Taylor is a book I read, enjoyed, put on my shelf and like to take down from time to time. (BTW- I don’t mean any of that in a gross way….so don’t even go there!)

    DD- I feel like you’ve analyzed to the point that you aren’t seeing the “big picture” of Shelley’s musings. I don’t think she gives a rip about numbers and all that hoo-lolly….it seems to me she used some numbers to illustrate her points.

    I’ve been to two Taylor “venues”, one of which he didn’t show up at until after everyone left. At both of these venues I’d have to say that me and my bff were far and away the youngest…and I’m 34.

    The second show was an “after the AI concert” appearance thingy and these women dragged themselves out to (in their opinion-which I know of b/c they said it to my face and wrote about it on the Boogie Board) a low-rent dive in a sketchy part of town. It was late at night and LiMBo played until well-after midnight…but these ladies were not deterred AT ALL. I was impressed and/or stunned at their willingness to stay out til all hours of the night…in the scariest part of town.

    (I don’t have a point. I’m just telling a story.)

    I agree that we prolly hear from the really rabid fans the most. I’m sure they are the loudest too. But why do they care so damn much??! I don’t care that much so I can’t answer for them…Are they really drawn to Taylor…or more to the community? I’d say the latter…because there is no need for blogging, commenting, etc. in order to know Taylor better…or support him more. You can simply find and read the info.

    I came to MB after my initial shock of GC closing…more b/c I craved the community. I knew I could find out TH info on my own. I wouldn’t still be here if it was 24/7 Taylor Talk. I find all the info I need on my favorite bands by googling. I stay at MB for my sistahs!

  42. claire Says:

    May I humbly enquire: who, or what, is Towanda??

  43. double d Says:

    Bama — appreciate your opinion, but no, don’t think I lost the big picture at all. I was trying to bring perspective to the big picture. You have to know what you’re looking at to properly “see” the big picture.

    Regarding the why’s on the “tizziness”, I think I clarified that. Maybe it’s as simple as this quote about Elvis:

    “If you’re an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you’re not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible.”

  44. double d Says:

    Claire — in the movie, Friend Green Tomatoes, there is a story about Towanda, the avenger.

  45. Gray Charles Says:

    I’d love to come to NOLA, really. Unfortunately real life often intrudes. I have a job and vacation time that I value. I take that time with my family.

    What kind of great setup would it be to have money, time and no responsibilities and be able to travel around and do something fun with people I enjoy. Maybe it’s not so strange after all.

  46. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Gray- I want to set myself apart. I’m a very special person in my own head…I want to make sure I stay that way. 😉

    I’m just jibber-jabbering away at this whole question b/c I can only answer through my own perspective and experiences. I, like Shelley, wonder about other peeps motivations, beliefs, traditions…etc. I’m curious about mankind. I watch peeps on the street and wonder why in the hell they are dressed for summer in 20 degree weather…I’m just a wonderer.

    But, yeah, the truth of the matter is: I want to be set apart as better than, smarter than, wittier than “the rest”. Too bad that won’t actually happen…because it’s not true….but I don’t mind exposing MY motivations.

    (Oh, and I am one of those chicks that dig Taylor, in part, b/c I think he’s hot. Sorry. Although I don’t condone the use of the “T” word.)

  47. double d Says:

    Gray Charles = Towanda Wannabe

  48. double d Says:

    Bama, if I was a young, single, woman about town….I’d think Taylor was HAWT, as well. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

  49. bamaborntxbred Says:

    And…if I were a rich man(lalalalalala-lala)….I’d pay you kajillions of dollars to be at home with yer family, running GC and hanging out with the Monkbots.

  50. shelley Says:

    DD…I hear what you’re saying and appreciate the bigger picture and sense of perspective…but Bama’s right…I don’t care about numbers, really.

    I know we’ve made nice and all…but I have to say…

    “”If you’re an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you’re not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible.” “

    That’s a cop out.

    I’m a Taylor fan…and I still don’t understand the swarms propensity to maintain its fervor.

  51. Rowan Says:

    I don’t think that I would be the kind of fan I became without GC. I loved the articles on popular culture as much as the Taylor discussions and media – loved the interaction with likeminded folks. It became my second home, until I was living in two timezones, staggering about myopically having sat in chat from 2am till four, feeling the vibe of the play by play, enjoying the fervour and the fun. I did Skype vote for four wee small hours btw, but never got one vote in… : (

    I don’t know whether the two addictions merged, or if one sparked off the other, but I felt, as AI drew to a close, that i didn’t want to lose the great community of smart and funny folks I’d grown to care about. Taylor was the catalyst, but what he had to offer certainly appealed to a fanbase who saw the tired and jaded value system of TPTB challenged by an unconventional guy who knocked us in the aisles, and just by being himself. I am not in the least moved by AI this year. There are personalities out there, but to me, there was an endearing genuineness about taylor and his unfailing committment to his music, rather than playing to the camera. Consequently, the audience loved him for being himself.

    I don’t think I am in any way qualified, unlike other posters here,whose comments I love, to make an attempt to quantify to what extent Taylor would have been Taylor without GC. I am not a media exec or statistician. I am just a person drawn in by a casual search and arrested by the quality of the editorial posts and discussions. Huge amounts of votes were generated, as strategies were mooted, dissected and refined. I can’t add any more to what has already been said, but agree with Shelley that GC was a huge influential factor in recruiting an internet fanbase for Taylor, potential net junkies who had often not delved very far into the mysteries of the pc. There were quite a few of us Luddites out there who aquired a technical education by means of fellow GC posters and Gray himself (Thanks Gray!) for the sole purpose of following and promoting the career of Taylor Hicks.

    That aspect of things still intrigues me. I still have all my Taylor media, and I will dip into it sometime…it is my archive, and record of five months which gave me cyber-jetlag and the best entertainment I’d ever experienced. Taylor clearly had the spark,in a big way, but GC fanned the flames and gave us tinfoil hats which which to reflect on the issue further…ponder..and I am still chewing my fingers, a habit acquired on performance and results night…(off to find my ibuprofen rub for those ailing digits)

    Bama — very troo. Hee hee.

  52. double d Says:

    Wow, ok. Know when I’m beat. You guys are right…there’s no explanation for it…maybe it’s aliens?

  53. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Oh, DD…come now. I know you aren’t going to give up b/c a couple of us aren’t into analysis the way you are. We haven’t given up in the face of your strong argument.

    Besides…I’m not really arguing about anything here. I’m just offering ideas and thoughts.

  54. Gray Charles Says:

    And maybe you’ll be commenting on it in the indie-documentary that I’ve been laying out in my head – what do you think?

    And yes, I’m partially serious on this.

  55. claire Says:

    Gray – you’ve got my attention! Care to expand?? 🙂

  56. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Rowan- I love your perspective from over yonder! You have the quaintest way of saying things…and you make me feel like life is so rich…yet simple at the same time.

    Im “chuffed” by your posts!

  57. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Gray- Documentaries made me excited to vote, made me not “want to” eat fast food, and caused me to never eat veal again!

    Documentaries make the world a shinier place.

    Please, please do as Claire asks…Enlighten us!

  58. leejolem Says:

    Claire–“Posty McPoster”–I’m ROFLMBO. I want to be known as leejolempostymcposter now. That’s hawt.

    I have to say one of the reasons I was drawn to GC and Monkbot is because there was no spot for fangirly fiction about Taylor. I think Taylor is sexy, but that kind of creeps me out.

    No deep analysis, just a couple goofy comments–my specialty.

    GC, An indie documentary would rawk!!!

  59. double d Says:

    Ok, you bunch of blunt-skulls…

    Here’s a National Geographic Article on the Psychology of Fan Mayhem>. It is written from the perspective of Sports Fans, but I think there are several appropriate points.

    Experts say fan identification with sports teams is psychologically important for many people, particularly in our increasingly transient and insular society.

    Grieve, of Western Kentucky University, said the thinking is akin to “I have a group of friends who are like me because we root for the same team—that gives me a network of valued connections.”

    “Identification with a team gives you a kind of social support network that provides a buffer from things like anxiety, loneliness, and depression,” he said. “There’s also evidence that people who have established social support networks have some protection against physical illness. There are a whole host of benefits.”

    Such group identities can become especially intense in the crucible of a big sporting event when the entire group is charged with adrenaline.

    “When tens of thousands of people are chanting ‘We’re number one,’ wearing team apparel, our group identity is strong and we want to fit in,” End noted.

    “So if we see someone throw a beer bottle and it draws cheers from our group members who we’re really identifying with at the time, we might be apt to match that behavior or up it,” he added.

    “You can see it with heckling, if people laugh and provide reinforcement, others act out that way.”

    While an extreme, I can see some parallels. So, maybe the “tizzy” continues because it’s validation that they picked the winner. Their efforts, cheers, etc. were for the “right guy”?

    I think Claire’s “mob mentality” has alot of merit in the discussion. As I said in my example of the LSU fan, folks can get carried away for their “team”.

    GRAY — I am SO down with a indie-doc….can I be an intern? Or best boy? Seriously.

  60. double d Says:

    Here’s another quote that might explain the fervor and unflailing participation of “the swarm”:

    “At times, one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid.”
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  61. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Gray…eyepopproductions.com

  62. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Shelley, DD and Bama: what we have here is a pure question of Quantitative analysis vs. Qualitative insights…neither are wrong or right alone…it is the combination that makes truth.

    Now, that panel discussion Gray…sounds like a nice research project for the firm to put together…save a space for the MonkBots at the table.

  63. double d Says:

    or Winonarulz Productions or a personal favorite….

    CharlieBuckett Productions

  64. bamaborntxbred Says:

    What is a blunt-skull? Never heard the term…

    I’m a subscriber/fan of National Geographic…(again, my sociological-fascination tendencies showing) so I appreciate the article on spec. I agree with most…if not all those points.

  65. claire Says:

    double d – what about SoulChirren Productions Inc?

    Sorry Gray, I got swept up in the fervour – mob mentality, doncha know… 😉

  66. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Shrew- look at you with the best argument of the day!!

    Hope her little tummy feels better!

    I’m homeward bound folks! Must go prepare myself for the awesomeness that is AI Top 12 Boyeez.

  67. double d Says:

    Claire — I likee….

  68. leejolem Says:

    I’m thinkin PostyMcPoster Productions. It’s got a nice alliterative ring to it.

    The sports fan article hits home here in Indy since the last couple of weeks the city has been on a high from the Colts win. I was just discussing that the other day–why does a group of men winning a game where they run and throw a pigskin ball around make a whole city so darn happy? The Taylor phenom is definitely similar–rooting for something and winning with a group of people/supporters is socially relevant I guess.

    DD, awwww, you must really lerve us to tell us we sometimes get on your nerves and to call us “blunt-skulls”. I feel like we’re monkbot family.

  69. claire Says:

    Lee – Posty McPoster? I’m copyrighting that!!! 🙂

    Have a nice evening of debate, Monkbots. I’m off to bed.

  70. double d Says:

    OK…blunt-skulls…hint

    Coneheads

    Blunt-skulls = Non-Coneheads

  71. Anonymous Says:

    Shelley,
    I hope you are missing the excitement that we all had getting Taylor “elected”…it was a huge election. I had met Taylor a couple of times, knew people that new him and a couple of other private, not to share here things, and I wanted him to win! So, I was fully invested from the time I heard he was going to be on AI. See, I have a really good reason for being one of the crazies. It was fun too. But now that the voices have stopped haha, I still enjoy my hobby Taylor Hicks and I hope to see him in person again and see if he remembers me. So what lol

  72. jenfera Says:

    double d – thank you for validating my Red Sox theory! I knew I had a point in my ramble there somewhere.

  73. Libby Says:

    This was a great discussion. Glad to hear Gray share his “insight” too. Certainly, GC website helped draw me into the fold. I have learned about soul music, artistry and a certain snarkiness. I agree with most of the commenters here — that I would not have stayed as engaged and interested without GC and the MB family.

    Love the idea of a documentary and panel discussion by Gray.

    So glad to be a small speck of a part of the community here at beloved MB and over at GC.

  74. Anonymous Says:

    So I’ve been obsessed with th for almost a year now and when I say obsession that is an understatement. Thi s has never happened to me before and I can think of a thousand reasons I feel this way about th but I’m just going to address one of them and it’s one that I think some people must be in denial about. That man is SEXY and his sexuality just pours off of him with every move he makes and every sound that comes out of his mouth.
    His body language…watch how he moves his hips, how he squats down low, how he dances in a frenzy.
    Thesounds he makes…the growls, the moans, the high-pitched wails, the pain of lost love.
    The words…soooothe me baby and I do NOT think the song he wrote, “Limin'”, is really about picking limes in the afternoon. I have children older (and younger) than Taylor so there is just a small part of me that wants to mother him but the bigger part of me finds him the sexiest man on the planet. You can eewww if you want to at that combination but that’s how I feel. Look how that man blows his harp and tell me that’s not sexy. I saw pictures of him taken last summer where sweat was rolling down his face and I all I wanted to do was lick it off!
    I’ve been married 37 years and am reasonably happy, have not had sex with anyone other than my husband since we were married but if Taylor happened to come to my house one day (not highly likely) I wouldn’t hesitate for one second!

  75. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Anonymous (#2) I appreciate your candor. I think Taylor is definitely a hottie.

    BUT-in case you didn’t realize: Shelley’s family, including her teenage brother, read her blog and the comments!! She’s clocked us on the head for being a little too “colorful” before!

    Just FYI.

  76. Anonymous Says:

    I am truly loving this discussion! While I am not a professional, I have an education in social sciences and would love to add this. Here me out.

    I have also found myself lost in Tayland over the last year and have stepped back and asked myself…Why? That, in itself, should give me some credibility because crazy people do not question their sanity, or lack thereof. I blame my (do I dare admit it..?) obsession to the fact that I can relate to him, in ways that have outright scared my friends and family. The night AI aired Taylor’s audition, my phone was ringing off the hook. I have had fettish for gray hair since I was old enough to look at boys, have subsequently dated men that are typically much older than me. I have been collecting 45’s since High School. Remember Taylor’s first audition song? It was a song written in 1964 by Sam Cooke, and the name of the song was the first tattoo I ever got, when I was 18. I have spent most of my adult life pursuing my passions, believing that my lucky break is just around the next corner, to the point I could have/can be considered a vagabond. I could continue on and on, but I have given enough information to make my point. Don’t we all see a little bit of ourselves or who we aspire to be in Taylor? Keep that in mind when looking at the statistical demographics, sex and ages of his fans.

    I am prepared to catch a lot of hell for my next statement, or shall I say thesis. Understand that I am in no way discounting the guy’s talent. But…

    Would his fan base be as big if Taylor was a woman? Same situation, same life story, just a different gender? But wait…the plot thickens…What if Taylor was happily married? I have enough formal collegiate education in business, marketing and sociology to believe Taylor is not single. Oh…the conspiracy theory. Face it kids, sex sells.

  77. Anonymous Says:

    I was the last anonymous post, just above this one. I forgot to mention my age which I think may change the way you view it. I am 26.

  78. baby duck Says:

    Anon, There’s no denying that Taylor is very good looking. Of course it’s a contributing factor to what I like about him. If he just stood on stage like a big lump and didn’t show any personality, then I don’t think he would have made it as the American Idol.

    To my knowledge, there’s never been a survey or poll done (Gray, Democracy Inaction?) of why fans continue to swarm to all-things-Taylor, so any comments in response to Shelley’s question are speculation, other than what individuals choose to share about their own motivations. I’m guessing that there’s alot of women who share your obsession. Thanks for being honest, even if a little more graphic than is appreciated on Shelley’s blog.

  79. shelley Says:

    Hey everyone…I’m digging all the conversation and new faces.

    However…please type your name or A NAME instead of being “Anonymous.”

    Here are instructions:

    First, choose an identity (by clicking in the circles by the following
    choices)

    Google/Blogger
    Other
    Anonymous (don’t choose this)

    If you choose Google/Blogger, you will need to register for a Google
    Account (or use an existing Google Account, if you have one). Just go
    to Google and follow the steps. You will be asked to select a password
    in that process. Then use the username and password from your Google
    Account in the blanks on the “comment” page. This is the best method,
    as you can stay logged into Google and not have to worry about typing
    your information with each post.

    If you choose Other, simply type your name and personal web page in
    the appropriate field boxes (both are optional). I believe you will
    have to type this information with each comment you make, by I’m not
    sure.

    Thanks! 🙂

  80. Rowan Says:

    Thanks Shelley! I am getting a bit long in the tooth and aphasic to copw with multi anonymi! (Not sure if there is such a word, but I likes it! : )

  81. Rowan Says:

    I mean, multiple anonymi…yeek, aphasia-tastic!

  82. double d Says:

    So, Taylor is married? Wow. If he can pull that off over the last year, he needs to be in charge of the FBI AND the CIA.

  83. baby duck Says:

    Anonymous with the education in social sciences:
    You had me right up until the conspiracy theory.

  84. leejolem Says:

    I have a confession to make–I am Taylor’s wife. Now I’m swimming back to Wackadoo Island.

  85. Chaos Says:

    I am the above mentioned anonymous with the conspiracy theory.

    I didn’t intend to imply that I believe he is married. I don’t believe he is single though. I was just trying to present a different aspect to the entire popularity question. I know I am treading on uneven ground already but…

    Would it be different if he was socially presented as completely unattainable?

  86. baby duck Says:

    Oh, I get ya now, Chaos. Like, Taylor is romantically committed but it’s being kept under wraps by his handlers? I don’t buy into the theory. To believe it would mean that Taylor had no faith in his music, and that he thinks he has to rely on his single-status/available appeal to get fans. Is that what you believe?

  87. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Chaos…interesting question…I guess I would answer with an observation…the fact of being married hasn’t stopped some fans from engaging in the fantastical about Taylor…so why would his marital or connected status matter?

    I will say this, if we are playing purely hypothetical cases here…not that I would care one bit…but I do believe his fan base would change drastically if he was gay. He would loose some who maybe are less tolerant, but perhaps gain a whole new crowd.

  88. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Chaos- I wouldn’t be as invested in Taylor if he were a female artist. I just don’t care for them as much. (Excepting ” REL=”nofollow”> Amy Lee from Evanescence.)

    However, I’d love him just as much if he were married. I’d still think he was hot too…I’m not much for fantasizing about celebrities so I wouldn’t be missing out on anything. I can appreciate their hotness without “going there”. Ya know?

    I’m glad your’e commenting with us now!

  89. Rowan Says:

    Leejolem – ROFL! (Chuckling so hard am making even more typos than usual. Delete, backspace, delete…)

    Great discussion! Whoo hoo! o-{:8)}

  90. cher Says:

    Chaos said….would it be different if he was socially presented as completely unobtainable?
    He is unobtainable…he’s only available through fantasy.

  91. leejolem Says:

    Bama, I agree w/you. I’m not as into female artists. I don’t know why. I just never have been. Part of it is just the whole sexy package of Taylor performing/singing/dancing/ so passionately. It wouldn’t bother me if he were married, cuz I am too (to him, lol). No really, I’d still find him attractive, but I have no illusions of marrying him. Would it affect his fan base if he were gay–probably. I think some Clay-mates are in denial about Clay because they want to hold on to the fantasy. The same would probably hold true for Taylor. It’s a moot point though cuz Taylor is so not gay! It’s just my opinion, but I work a lot w/the gay community, and they agree he is so not gay.

    How about if Taylor gets a steady girlfriend? How will fans react to that? I pity the girl.

    Rowan, Come with me to Wackadoo island where you can rest your weary hands in the gentle salty surf–then you will be able to type again.

  92. Chaos Says:

    Is it getting warm in here? Oh no, I’m sorry…It is just baby duck chasing me with the torch and pitchfork. Go put it out in the ocean, pull up a log, I’ll roast you a ‘mallow and we can talk about it. We are all stuck on this island together. Thanks for the welcome Bama.

    I did not comment to force my opinions onto others, just wanted to add a different perspective. Isn’t that why everyone posts? I believe he has earned everything he has received through his talent, passion and hard work.

    I’ll be in the hut if anyone needs me. Please wake me before high tide.

  93. leejolem Says:

    Chaos, trust me, Taylor has made us all part-time inhabitants of Wackadoo Island (and by the way Shelley gets credit for that great concept–it just cracked me up). I thought your perspective was very interesting. Half the stuff I think about Taylor is speculation. It’s not as if I go out to lunch w/him on a regular basis (although I would clear my calendar for him). Hope you come back again and comment.

  94. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Chaos…don’t run for the hut….stay here and chat…love your added perspective. We call each other out here from time to time, all done with respect and a love that until recently had no name…MonkBot love.

    MonkBot, MonkBot candlelight
    Doin’ the blog and doin’ it right
    In the evenin
    Its pretty pleasin

    MonkBot Shelley, MonkBot Bam(a)
    Doing the conversing out in MonkBot Land
    And they query
    And Bamas so silly

    And we debate and we laugh and we giggle
    Shelley is singing those jingles
    Floating like the heavens above
    It looks like MonkBot Love

    Nibbling on pop, chewing the fat
    DD says to Squeebee, did you think about the numbers?
    And she says yes
    With her figures

    And how we talk about our fancies
    What shrew says nobody knows
    Muzzle to muzzle, now anything goes
    As we wriggle and Womp starts to giggle

    And we debate and we laugh and we giggle
    Shelley is singing those jingles
    Floating like the heavens above
    It looks like MonkBot Love

    La da da da da…

  95. shelley Says:

    Brilliant, Shrew…simply brilliant.

    And she’s right Chaos…we debate freely here…and when I don’t agree, I get to hit them upside the head with a wet fish.

    It’s really all in fun. 🙂

  96. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Shrew-Levaquin much? 😉

    Just kidding my sweet friend! I LOVE it!!!!!

  97. leejolem Says:

    Shrew, I know I’m a junior Monkbot, but I would love it if you add a verse to Monkbot love to include me. Pop another Levaquin and get the creative juices flowing!

  98. baby duck Says:

    Chaos, What’d I do? What’d I say? I certainly didn’t mean to chase you off or diss your comments! Please re-read my post and take it for what I wrote, not anything perceived between the lines. I don’t think you were forcing your opinions on others, and I want your perspective. That’s why I posted a question as to what you believe.

    I still stand by my opinion that Taylor is not romantically involved and keeping it under wraps to avoid losing fans. Am I wrong in assuming that is what you meant by ‘conspiracy theory’ and ‘socially presented as completely unattainable’? It would help if you could clarify.

    Shelley, it’s not my intention cause trouble or create problems for your blog. Maybe I need to tag any future comments with “The opinions of baby duck expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Monkbot Division”.

  99. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Baby Duck is funny!

  100. Chaos Says:

    Wow…

    You guys are all pretty cool. No offense was taken and I am really suprised how well this discussion is being handled. Baby duck…no trouble was caused.

  101. shelley Says:

    I’m in meetings all day and just poked my head in to check on everyone…instead of going to pee.

    THanks to all of you…I’m sure to get a bladder infection!

    I do want to say…in general…no specific person…please read the Monkbot Manifesto again and again and again.

    We are all people with feelings…some with more sensitive feelings than others.

    Let’s be cognizant of those feelings AND let’s also not BE so sensitive to others’ opinions.

    Everyone is entitled to share their opinions….EVERYONE…and EVERY OPINION.

    The key here is to be KIND…and also to not be overly sensitive.

    We owe it to each other to keep that in mind and to let each other know when a line has been crossed.

    Sometimes some of y’all hurt my feelings…or really piss me off.

    I’ve learned to either get over it or let you know so we can work it out.

    That’s the only way to keep ourselves sane and refrain from resorting to judgement and resentment.

    Okay…now I’ve GOT to go pee and get back to my meeting.

    Love and kisses and puppies and ice cream to all.

    O–{:8)}=

  102. double d Says:

    cher — GET OUTTA MY HEAD!! I was gonna say that.

    Taylor IS unattainable….single, married or gay. The world is SO unfair. In his world (now), people like him hook up with Jessica Simpson or “she who shall not be named” (rhymes with Xmas tree). The only “star” that I would be satisfied with for Taylor is Norah Jones (quelle supris), for the Soul Chirren. Other than that, I hope he finds a good Southern girl who’s never watched American Idol or heard “Soul Thing”.

    Seriously, I don’t think people would be affected AT ALL regarding his popularity if they found out that he was married or even seriously attached. Brad Pitt, McDreamy, Denzell, and hell, even Chris Daughtry are fawned over by women the world over and they are all “attached”.

    Chaos, I posed your theory MONTHS ago. I believe the black band on his left wrist is a statement to someone. Whether he’s actively with that someone or plans to eventually be with that someone, it’s definitely a reminder of something. Or maybe it’s just a rubber band to keep him from smoking. 😉

    Yeah, yeah… rainbows, leprechauns, and furry bunnies to all. (Hey, it’s the season.)

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