I started using “Kilgannon” as my internet surname back in 2005. Ever since the Coheed comics started coming out, I loved the sound of the name and the place it had in the story. As a result, it was the name I chose when I decided not to use my legal surname online for privacy purposes. “Kilgannon” turned out to be a very effective identifier, marking me as a certain type of Coheed enthusiast to other fans and people seeking the fan community. It didn’t take very long for my involvement in the fan community to grow deeper and deeper, and my name never changed. Other highly enthusiastic members of the community started using Kilgannon as well, citing the same reasons as mine for its usage – they loved the name, they were devoted to Coheed, they wanted to connect with more fans. All well and good.
But as Kilgannon became a quiet Coheed fan phenomenon (much like how we created the phrase “Children of the Fence”), its meaning began to change in tiny increments. While many of my old friends remain as true to themselves as they were when I met them, there are a number of people who have given the name a bad reputation. I am writing this to clear the air, make my loyalties known, and to distance myself from those aforementioned.
What is “Kilgannon”?
Kilgannon is a name of Celtic origin with its main American concentration located in the New York’s Hudson Valley and surrounding New England states. Kilgannon is also the family surname of the main protagonist (Claudio Kilgannon) in the Amory Wars, the story behind the music of the band Coheed and Cambria. It was a name given to his parents, Coheed and Cambria (the characters) when their minds were wiped and they were sent to live amongst normal citizens, where they created an entire family unit named Kilgannon. After the comics detailing the story were created (beginning in 2005), many fans started to use the name Kilgannon as an internet handle. Usage of the name generally meant that the fan was extremely loyal to the band and to the fan community, and that they were seeking to create friendships with other fans of a like mind.
As the name became more popular, its usage became much more widespread and no longer centralized in the active fan community. Which is fine - a name or a trend belongs to no one. But today, there are veritable hundreds of fans who use the name, and some fans started using it as a means to automatically be accepted as a “family member”, using it as a way to designate themselves “the biggest fan”, using it as leverage to judge other fans. Some fans started referring to “requirements” needed to “become” a Kilgannon. These are the people I do not wish to be associated with, as this alien and judgmental quality is completely detrimental to everything I love about the Coheed fan community.
What “Kilgannon” Means (To Me)
It’s the name I chose for myself. It’s the name by which I do all my photography, writing, and any other endeavors. It’s my identity, but that doesn’t make me a freak, a fangirl, or a one-track mind. I love a lot of things besides Coheed, but I never want to forget that loving Coheed restored my ability to love other things. Besides, it’s the name all of you know me by. If I suddenly re-adopted my legal name as a handle, none of you would know who I was. I’ve been “Jess Kilgannon” for six years – even if I wanted to change it now, it’s too late.
Why All of This is a Problem (To Me)
The nature of my contributions to the Coheed realm is such that I absolutely do NOT want to be connected to any of the negative connotation. I wish to be taken seriously as an effective, trustworthy, and enjoyable human being. However, if I drop the name, I lose my entire identity and therefore my effectiveness.
So, to be clear…
What Using “Kilgannon” Will Do
- Mark you as a Coheed fan
- Mark you as a giant nerd
- Make it easier for other Coheed fans to find you
- Make Irish people think you are their long-lost kin
What Using “Kilgannon” Will NOT Do
- Give you more “Coheed cred”
- Give you the right to judge other fans
- Make you a bigger or better fan than anyone else
- Make Claudio Sanchez like you more
What “Kilgannon” ISN’T
It’s not a cult. It’s not leverage. It doesn’t make you a mindless drone in the Coheed army. It doesn’t make you better, it doesn’t have requirements, and it doesn’t guarantee you acceptance.
What “Kilgannon” IS
It’s a purely fan-born phenomenon that some enthusiasts choose to implement. If you don’t use it, that doesn’t make you a lesser fan. If you do use it, that doesn’t make you a tool.
Guys, just be yourselves. Show your loyalty in the way you deem appropriate. There are no requirements to express love. Further questions and feedback for me can go HERE.