How Being Patient got me Backstage to Meet Jónsi: Part 2, The Band & Arkanoid


When we last left off, myself and 5 others had just been invited backstage at The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee.

In this 2nd part of the story, we meet the legendary Icelandic musician Jónsi face to face. (If you haven’t read the 1st part yet, be sure to read that first.)

Meeting Jónsi

In the center of the room were a few small couches and a record player blasting a Prince album. There were only about 10 people scattered around the room. Just as I was noticing a couple arcade machines in the corner, Doddi (the nickname of Thorvaldur Thór Thorvaldsson, the drummer of the band), came up to me and shoved a beer into my hand and welcomed me to the party.

Now this is more like it!

Over the next hour, I got to talk briefly with almost everyone in the band and thank them for such an amazing show. One or two were still a bit nervous speaking English (after all, they’re from Iceland), but I remember my conversation with Alex the most since he was the most confident in speaking English. I told him how much I enjoyed Jónsi’s solo album and how I’d found it especially good for getting me motivated in the morning, and we had a great conversation. Apparently, he’d studied music theory in the US, but ended up coming back to Iceland. And then he asked me if I’d met Jónsi yet.

“Not yet, but I’d love to!” I said.

He brought Jónsi over, and I congratulated him on such a great show, telling him how inspirational I found his music. He spoke quietly and sometimes it was hard to understand what he was saying, but he thanked me in return. During the conversation, I noticed that one of his eyes wasn’t focusing on me, pursuing instead its own independent explorations. Only later did I learn that Jónsi is blind in one eye. And I thought I had challenges. How would you like to have zero depth perception? Or no visual perception, at all?

Toward the end of our conversation, one of the people I’d waited with asked me if I wanted a picture with him. Thankfully, I’d kept my small camera in my pocket the entire time and managed to get a decent, albeit somewhat noisy, photo with Jónsi.

If you would have told me at the start of the night that I would end up being able to personally thank the musicians that have provided so many hours of listening inspiration and enjoyment, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But my patience paid off in spades.

A Final Memory

Jonsi playing Arkanoid arcade

One of my favorite memories of the night was watching the band take turns playing Arkanoid, one of the arcade machines that I’d noticed earlier. Basically, Arkanoid is a simple breakout-based arcade game from 1986, but it was pretty hilarious seeing Jónsi and the other members of the band get so invested in the game, often shouting when one of them lost a life and cheering each other on when one conquered a level. The band pulled together in the game world just as eagerly as it did in real life.

Perhaps that’s why they’re able to tour internationally for months and months and avoid killing each other in the process. Being on the road can be a drain to say the least, but I’m sure that inspiring millions along the way makes it more fulfilling than we could imagine.

So that’s what patience, and a good amount of luck, got me on that chilly April night. The luck was there, but without patience, it never would have manifested. What about you? When was the last time you pushed the boundaries of your own patience? What positive results could result? Any stories of flexing your “patience muscles”? Share them below. 🙂





2 bits on How Being Patient got me Backstage to Meet Jónsi: Part 2, The Band & Arkanoid

  1. I liked your story. But you have to know that you were extremely lucky, it’s not only your patience: we had the same experience in Europe, I mean, the same beginning.

    We waited in front of the little venue and the tour bus after a wonderful Jonsi solo concert. We knew they were partying backstage because it was the birthday of a member. After about one hour, we were only 4 people waiting in the cold. Jonsi came out, we prepared our pens but he run in front of us on the same sidewalk with a big smile and didn’t stop! He went into a tour bus to pick up a bottle of wine and run back the same way without stop and returned to the party. They didn’t invited us.

    Maybe if it was Alex who came out things would have been different (sorry for my bad english). We waited at least one more hour until the end of the party. So because they had to go to the tour bus and leave the town, we could finally get autographs from the whole band. I won’t give details, but they were, at least Jonsi and some of them, very drunk… 🙂

  2. Wow, Marco! Thanks for sharing. That’s a great story, even if you weren’t invited in. At least you got to say Hi 🙂