The song "Martin Scorsese", by the band King Missile, exemplifies beautifully my problem with the term "fans":
I haven't checked the etymology, but I'm pretty sure "fan" can only mean one of two things: 1) Abbreviation of "fanatic" (like in King Missile's song; the kind of guy who wants to chew your fucking eyeballs and stuff), or 2) Abbreviation of "fancy", someone who "fancies" your work, which sounds very immature, wussy, high-schooley kind of stuff, not very recommendable to have around either.
So do you want to have fanatics and people who "fancy" your music? I know I don't.
I'd like to have an audience, but that term does not please me either because it defines a collective, it's like saying I want to have a parish to give my sermons to, or, more demeaningly, I have something to say and need "a group to address to". Audience. Gotta get me one.
I consider the collective aspect a subproduct. The artistic experience happens on a one by one basis. The guy with headphones who suddenly goes "wow, this shit rocks!". Then later, when several people are touched by what you do, fine, you put them side by side and you have a collective; but all that comes after the fact. I address to the individual. Each person who attends one of my concerts does it from a different vital position and for different reasons. They give me the privilege of their attention, and I do my best to prepare a "good meal" for them.
I'd like to be a sort of gathering point; to create the space where things, human things, can happen. People together, for once not yelling at each other, not divided in A vs B, but sharing an experience. Beautiful experience, but, let's not take the solidarity too far, all we share at that spot. After the gathering is done, I don't need the adoration part. I want them to dissolve peacefully and go back to their lives, lives that have been hopefully enlarged, as mine is also enlarged after the giving.
I don't know if the term "aficionado" transfers well into English. In Spanish it has the connotation of someone who is into something, but without making too much of a deal of it. I have the impression that in English it's used more in a negative way, as "a hobbyist, someone who is not professional at something". The Spanish notion goes with me, I'd prefer having "aficionados" who come to my concerts when they hear there's one, because they enjoy to some degree what I do, then thank me at the end in a brief and simple manner, if they are so inclined, and each of us can go back peacefully to our own lives. I find this simplicity beautiful. I don't have a use for all the hysterism traditionally associated with the term fan. I think we are more than well served of hysterism in our world these days.
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it