Date: February 3, 2005
Author: Leah Collins
Publication: Vue Weekly
Headline: Tegan/Sara business
Considering they’re identical twins, just keeping the eponymous members of Tegan and Sara straight is a challenge. And while savvier fans might be able to distinguish one Quin sister from the other, they may find it a bit more difficult to pick the duo out from the slew of imposters that have sprung up on the web.

“Someone on had created a Tegan and Sara account,” explains Tegan (who, in case you’re curious, is the one with the labret piercing and impossibly short bangs). “I guess it’s that easy. They had just become us, and people believed them.

“It’s kind of weird—psycho,” she says before going on to assure nothing too serious came of the Myspace impersonation outside of a few promised T-shirts and backstage meet-ups and, well, the creepy feeling that someone out there borrowed her identity. But the whole thing might have gone unnoticed had it not been for a confrontation with a friend. “We found out about it, actually, because one of my friends was on Myspace and was like, ‘Oh, I was talking to you the other day and you weren’t messaging me back.’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’”

Since then, the duo has discovered a few other imposters—notably a livejournal writer posting supposed stories from the road—and Sara has been contacting fans to get to the bottom of things. “We’re trying to shut them down,” she says, “but it’s kind of tough. It’s weird out there. But our management has contacted the person and asked them to post that they’re not us.”

While this is clearly the sort of obsessed fandom that merits straitjackets and tranquilizer shots, overly devotional behaviour fits the Tegan and Sara fan profile all too well. Take the story of the Winnipeg fan who showed up to a concert directly after a life-threatening accident—second-degree burns, lopped-off digits and all. “After the show we were packing up the van and he was there,” Tegan says. “So we took a picture with him and yeah, he’d sliced half his finger off and he was all bandaged up and was on medication. And he had thrown up in the street just minutes before we had shown up. I was just like, ‘Holy crap, I can’t believe he still came.’

“But we get that all the time, actually,” she continues. “Not just weird, but sad or touching experiences. We were down in the States for five weeks, and on two separate occasions people came up after the show and said they had come from a funeral. We had this dad come with his daughter; his wife had passed away. They had been talking about the show and were looking forward to it and the daughter was there and talking about how the mom was a big fan and I was just, like, it’s horrifying. It’s horrifying, but it’s horrifying in this really great way. It’s really personal and emotional. And that’s why Sara and I always try to be as attainable as we can.”

Tegan attributes much of her and her sister’s success to the rapport they’ve maintained with their fans; they keep in touch through everything from website journal entries, post-show meet-and-greets and onstage banter. “I want everyone to know that we’re normal people,” she says. “We aren’t just a band or rock stars. So we’re always trying to get people to remember that. It’s like always educating people and connecting with them and it’s created this intensely loyal, devoted, personal audience.”

The duo has had the odd fangirl moment themselves. Their producers (New Pornographers collaborators John Collins, David Carswell and Howard Redekopp) worked with the duo on If It Was You and their latest record, So Jealous. “Some of our biggest influences over the past couple years happen to be bands they’ve been in,” she laughs. But when it comes to other star encounters, Tegan admits she could never be as daring as her own fans: “I’ve seen celebrities on the street before and never—I would never go up to somebody. I would never say hi. I’m totally intimidated and scared; I would be so shy. We’ve been at festivals and shows with people and I haven’t said hi. We shared a dressing room with Steve Earle and we just tried to get out of there and stay out of his way the whole time. And then about a week ago I was in New York and I was having lunch at this restaurant, and Steve Earle was having lunch beside us and kept looking over and I was so intimidated. I was like, ‘Ohmigod, I can’t say hi. How can I say hi?’ I appreciate that our fans are so candid with us.”

With Lindy • Red’s • Wed, Feb 9