What's in a name-dropping?

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I love reading press releases for bands and getting to the obligatory part about who they've "shared the stage with." It's usually the best part of the document.

Let's make it clear right off the bat:

Mick Jagger shared the stage with Tina Turner at Live Aid.

Angus Young shared the stage with the Rolling Stones in Toronto in 2003.

Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake shared the stage at Super Bowl XXXVIII -- you remember the boob, right?

But if a band opened for another band, no stage sharing was involved.

But I love reading lines like this nonetheless:

"Rainbows Kill has shared the stage with many rock superstars, from Nickelback to Default."

For one thing, hitching your horse to those bands isn't going to impress anyone with any taste. For another thing, playing the first opening set at The Zoo for a 2002 Nickelback show does not mean you shared the stage.

What it means is that Rainbows Kill was heckled mercilessly by a bunch of drunks who staggered into The Zoo early and got mad because they thought it was Amateur Stripper Night. Rainbows Kill then spent the next 20 minutes dodging beer bottles while some mulleted dude in a jean jacket repeatedly screamed, "Freeeeeeeeebird!" and "Take it off!" Then Rainbows Kill was paid $14 and told to get their gear the hell out of the building.

Rock 'n' roll! 

I understand the principle of name-dropping, but I'm pretty sure that anyone who's in a position to help a band's career knows random opening gigs are often the free space on the bingo card for bands. They mean nothing. It's like when I say I met Ian D'Sa of Billy Talent. What I really mean is that I staggered past him at the Pyramid at JunoFest and muttered "bitchin' solo, mofo," while he ignored me and tried to find a secluded place to make out with his woman.

Now don't get me wrong. If my band opened for Slayer, I might write about it in a press release and tell all my friends about it.

My band, however, only takes headline slots, so I don't have this problem.


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