Superfan of the Month: Ryan

Meet Ryan, our October DCX Superfan of the Month! He's seen the Chicks live 7 times, got to go on stage with them, attempts to convert all his friends into fans and even has a Dixie Chicks tattoo! Read his full story below! 

Ryan's tattoo of the DCX Crown symbol

Ryan's tattoo of the DCX Crown symbol

 

What part of the country do you live in? 
Columbus, Ohio

Ryan at the MMXVI Tour Stop in Columbus

Ryan at the MMXVI Tour Stop in Columbus

 

What are your top 3 favorite things to do? 
I love talking about cars and airplanes, traveling when I can, and listening to the Dixie Chicks! 

What do you do for a living? 
I am a graduate student at The Ohio State University studying City and Regional Planning, with a focus on aviation and Airport Planning. I also work for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority in their Planning and Engineering Division. 

How many times have you seen Dixie Chicks live? 
I have seen the Chicks live a total of seven times. 

Tell us what it means to you to be a fan of DCX? 
Being a fan of the Dixie Chicks means that you’re smart (laughter). This is a band that genuinely cares about their fans, and it means being part of a bigger Chicks family (I love my Superfan Family!). Attending shows is a chance to strengthen the camaraderie that began over the shared interest of the greatest band there is.  

How do you show your fandom? 
Anyone who knows me understands (kind of) the length of my obsession. Their music is always playing at my house or in my car. I use concert photos as wallpapers on all my electronic devices and I have (force) all my friends to watch Shut Up & Sing at some point or another. I am a teaching assistant for an aviation class at OSU. I give a presentation about where I come from academically and professionally every semester and I always work DCX into my material. Then a question or two about the girls usually shows up on the quiz I give at the end of the week in that class. I haven’t figured out yet if my students love me or hate me! I also have the Taking the Long Way album logo (the crown) tattooed on the inside of my upper arm.

What in your mind makes the Dixie Chicks stand out from any other band? 
This band is such a rare example of true musicianship, beautiful harmonies, unmatched onstage energy, creative songwriting talents, genuine patriotism, and an honest sense of self. Unapologetically being yourself in the wake of a career firestorm looked like a difficult feat, but one that they accomplished with grace.  Toward the end of the MMXVI Tour, the girls were allowing fans to stand onstage with them during the closing song, Better Way. I was lucky enough to be onstage twice, playing tambourine both times. I don’t know if other artists bring fans onstage with them, but I’d only lend my tambourine talents to the Chicks. ;)  

Ryan on stage for 'Better Way' finale. 

Ryan on stage for 'Better Way' finale. 

Ryan under the X for final salute to the crowd.

Ryan under the X for final salute to the crowd.

 

What currently is the most played song in your music library?
If you look at the iTunes count next to each song, almost any DCX song will beat out other music in my library. But, I love other artists too, like St. Lucia, Adele, Patty Griffin, Sia, Pink, Grouplove and Pharrell Williams. 

What’s your favorite song from Dixie Chicks and why? 
This is an unfair question! I love them all, but The Long Way Around resonates most with me. I was in 6th grade at the time of The Incident. I witnessed the backlash of death threats and boycotts without truly understanding politics or what was happening in the world at the time. I remember reading and seeing TV footage surrounding them and thought that people were so mean. When they came back with a brand new album, image, and message, I was empowered by their strength in light of such negativity to deliver art the reflected their true emotions and stories.  I played “The Long Way Around” for a while before and after I came out to my family and friends because it made me feel secure and empowered to be honest, regardless of what anyone might think of me. It felt like the song was written for me and I can’t help but play it in my car even today as I drive to an interview or similar event. It’s my pre-game warm up song! 

What is your favorite album from Dixie Chicks and why?
Taking the Long Way, because it’s their “middle finger” album. It’s the purest music they’ve ever written, and the stories on that album are genuine. The sound of their voices and instruments, their image in the liner notes, and that it won five Grammy awards is mind blowing.  I love the other albums, too, but “Taking the Long Way” boldly says “we are the Dixie Chicks”. 

How do you stay connected with your favorite artists?
Twitter and Instagram are great for that, especially when the artists post content themselves.  

What’s your favorite piece of DCX memorabilia? 
My favorite piece of memorabilia is the photos I was lucky enough to take with the girls after the Toledo show on the MMXVI Tour. A close second, though, is my signed copy of Amelita by Martie and Emily. 

Ryan backstage with Natalie & Emily

Ryan backstage with Natalie & Emily

DCX Superfan Meetup backstage with The Chicks

DCX Superfan Meetup backstage with The Chicks

 

What was your first concert ever, the last concert you’ve seen and what will be the next?
First concert: Kings of Leon
Last concert: DCX MMXVI
Next: I hope it’s more DCX!

How many DCX MMXVI shows do you plan on attending? Which ones? 
I went to five shows. I was at the opening show in Cincinnati, then I went to Detroit, Indianapolis, Columbus, and Toledo. 

Ryan with Dean, Hair & Makeup artist for the Chicks on the MMXVI Tour

Ryan with Dean, Hair & Makeup artist for the Chicks on the MMXVI Tour

 

What’s the furthest you’ve traveled to see a show?
The farthest I’ve traveled to see a show was for the Dixie Chicks (but you knew that). I drove with two friends from Columbus, Ohio to Hamilton, Ontario (about 400 miles) for the 2013 Long Time Gone Tour.

Ryan with two of his friends that he has converted to DCX fans at the Detroit MMXVI Show.

Ryan with two of his friends that he has converted to DCX fans at the Detroit MMXVI Show.

 

Tell us something about the Dixie Chicks that a lot of other fans may not know?
Natalie drives my favorite car - the Tesla Model S!  I learned that from Twitter, by the way! ;) 

 

If you could tell Dixie Chicks one thing, what would it be? 
I think I would just say thank you. It’s incredibly cliche, but I would say thank you so much for the music and memories that my life is, in a way, almost built around. Growing up idling such musically skillful, daring women with an indestructible sense of self taught me in grade school that it is just fine to be yourself. I learned that it’s OK to be honest about myself, which lent me the courage to come out when I was 21. They taught me there is nothing more important than being happy by doing what you love and not caving to outside pressures that want you to conform in some sort of way.  I still remember the first time I heard “You Were Mine” play on bus 28 when I was on my way to second grade; my sense of bravery was crafted by watching the DCX stand up for their beliefs amongst a firestorm surrounding their careers; and, my strive for innovation is strengthened by witnessing their continual pursuit of art and a moving production of sound that they ace every f*cking time they play. I would also say if you need someone to throw confetti at a show or shine your guitars, my phone number is…

If you'd like to share your fandom of the Chicks with Ryan, you can find him on Twitter @1RyanDittoe or on instagram also @1RyanDittoe