Luke Steele – “Prince Inspired My No Photos With Fans Policy”

Posted by The G on August 10, 2010 under Encounters with G | 6 Comments to Read

Photo by G.

Luke Steele of Empire of the Sun

It’s really hard to write this without sounding ungrateful, so I’ll just try and tell you the facts and you can draw your own conclusions.  After the jump, of course….

For the people who have known me since I was a little kid, you can skip the rest of this paragraph because you know what I’m about to say.  For those that don’t know me all that well, here’s a little G history: Along with my brother, we have a massive celebrity autograph collection that has far exceeded 20,000 signatures.  We’ve encountered the nice, the super nice, the mean and the ugly.  I know exactly how to handle rejection, and I know that nobody owes me anything.  I am also not an asshole to people I am requesting an autograph from.  Through the sheer volume of people I’ve been blessed to meet and the experiences I’ve had, I also know that denying a fans’ request for a picture or autograph can be devastating, especially when they spend their hard earned money to put it in the pocket of the person they admire.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to have the “people that were nice” versus “the people that were mean” ratio be something close to 10 nice people for every 1 mean person.

When I arrived at Terminal 5 to see Empire of the Sun’s second ever show in New York, I was super excited because I’ve been in love with their debut and only album to date, “Walking on a Dream,” since it was released in 2008.  As luck would have it, moments after arriving at the venue, the band had gone outside for a smoke break.  I approached lead singer Luke Steele.  I asked if I could take a photo with him.  He said no. Luckily, I just happened to have my “Walking on a Dream” CD cover with me and Luke Steele signed it for me.  Two other fans were standing there as well, but (as I found out later) they overheard Steele say no to a photo and didn’t want to ruin their liking of his music so they didn’t approach him.  I explained that I was a big fan and then he told me that after playing with Prince in Portugal a few weeks prior, he has decided not to take photos with fans.  I am reading between the lines and assuming that he asked Prince for a photo and we all know, Prince is notoriously a total prick when it comes to being nice to his fans.  The assumption continues that Prince has scarred Luke Steele and now Steele will do that in turn to his fans.  I would have been more than happy to leave it be, but since I am very knowledgeable in the world of Prince, I gave some advice to Luke Steele, mentioning a few examples of how Prince has been a total jerk and left fans crushed.  He was amused by my stories and one of his band mates even asked for my business card, but Luke Steele stuck to his guns and said no.  I am not worried about hearing from Luke via email because I cannot tell you how many people I’ve encountered that asked for my contact information to stay in touch and are never heard from again.

Now to switch sides for a second in Prince’s defense – Prince is a legend!  He’s maintained his status as being one of the top performers in music since his debut in 1978, so I am still not condoning prickish behavior, but in a way, Prince has earned that right.  Luke Steele, much as I love his music, has been on the scene for 2 years and in the American charts has scored one minor hit.  As we live in the 2 second attention span generation and as this show marked his second ever performance in New York (his first being the previous night), he doesn’t come around often enough nor has he established himself to really say no to fans and think that they’ll be repeat customers.

Now here’s the strange thing I have felt all night – he signed an autograph for me, he engaged in conversation with me, and he was pleasant to be around, but he denied the thing I wanted most out of our encounter and to top it all off uses Prince (who I have an enormous love/hate relationship with) as an excuse, so I walked away from our encounter being a jilted fan. I thought something must be wrong with me for feeling this way, but I was comforted by other fans who were all in disbelief when I told them this story as we were waiting for the show to start.

Luckily, because I go to so many shows and I meet so many nice rock stars, I erased the encounter from my memory and I watched Empire of the Sun take the stage with an open mind.  A review, images, set list and extremely bass heavy video of “Walking On A Dream” are all coming soon so stay tuned!  While I thought the sound was terrible and the show was extremely short (only lasting one hour), I left the show with a smile on my face and in spite of it all, I will be a repeat customer.  I do appreciate Luke Steele signing an autograph for me and for chatting, but seriously dude for your own sake – please examine the story of Terence Trent D’arby who put out a killer first album, was an arrogant prick to everyone around and is now making totally amazing music (his best ever, arguably), but only a handful of people are listening.

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  • Empire of the Sun live at Terminal 5 | According to G said,

    […] The night started off for me with a strange encounter with lead singer and sole original memberLuke Steele. Once the show began, we were “treated” to an hour long DJ set where the bass was so […]

  • Gail said,

    This Luke Steele guy will be a has-been in five seconds. I wouldn’t sweat it. His loss.

  • CiscoPike said,

    A large part of EMPIRE OF THE SUN is about fantasy. Once you start taking pictures — out of costume — for every Tom, Dick and Harry who approaches you, well obviously the “fantasy” begins to diminish quickly. A lot of artists want control of their image and are gunshy about what turns up on the worldwide web. So go easy on him, okay Geo? I know you have a picture with Lady Gaga, and she’s a humongous star, but it’s a personal decision for each celebutard on how they want to run/ruin their career. Love, Cisco.

  • Caroline said,

    I have been in love with the Empire for a little while. I always find Luke interesting; on camera for his music videos he keeps a straight face the entire way through. They end up amazing. When in interveiws, he’s just adorable. He smiles a lot more and he’s funny! On camera, of course it’s hard to put on an act so well but Luke can do it. He’s creative and unique, better than Lady Gaga. I don’t think he’ll be a has-been anytime soon if he keeps up the music-making with Nick Littlemore from Pnau. They are a wonderful team (or at least it looks that way; they’ve had tiffs here and there and been all no speakies with eachother for a while). I think it’ll be a long time before the Empire falls.

  • Miriam said,

    haha Gail, your comment was a few years ago, and Luke has become a huge star, also he is so creative and talented person

  • Liam said,

    I saw then play in Detroit a few days ago and after the show about thirty people were waiting by the tour bus, when emperor Steele finally came out he signed autographs and took pictures with whoever wanted one.