About once a week, I read something on the internet that makes my blood boil. Today it was this article in the Riverfront Times, the St. Louis alternative weekly.
This article reads like instructions on how to spoil a young child beyond all possibility of repair; it sounds like a step-by-step playbook on how to coddle a human being into being the biggest, most self-entitled asshole they could possibly be. The author writes this article assuming that precious little musicians are deserving of special treatment within relationships, thusly assuming that most musicians are so stupid that they cannot act and behave like normal human beings.
Given the rampant sexism within the music community that all female musicians have to face, it makes it that much more painful to read such sexist beliefs coming from another woman. It really stings, it does.
My response to this sack of shit article:
1. Don’t Yoko Ono
Don’t “Yoko Ono”? Don’t “Yoko Ono’!? What the fuck is that even supposed to mean? Yoko Ono was a well-respected artist prior to meeting John Lennon. Everyone who loves to fap all over the Beatles so conveniently seems to forget that. People also tend to forget that Yoko Ono has continued to be an artist for the rest of her life, with or without John Lennon.
All the Beatles historians in the world can’t argue with the fact that there are so many reasons why the Beatles broke up, and Yoko Ono was certainly not the only reason. 99% of the criticism of Yoko Ono reeks of sexism and racism. Coming from a woman, it stings even more. Jesus Christ.
Seriously, it’s the biggest cliché in the book — do you want to be a part of it? Your boyfriend is a wonderful musician. He works very hard, but he is not always better than the rest of his band. He does not need to branch out and gain more recognition and individual praise from the music community. That is what you are there for (see The Support Factor).
One of the biggest clichés in the book is being a “band girlfriend,” period. If you’re dating a male musician, you’re absolutely not there to kiss his ass every minute of every day. Believe it or not, most male musicians have their ass kissed by everyone, every minute of every day. Simply dating a musician does not mean that your sole purpose is to support them.
In short, he is not always the best part of the band. The band unit is a highly important force — their bond fuels their collaborations and it is the combination of their ideas that make their music. They need to fight, they need to get trashed together, or break things or do whatever it is that feeds their inspiration. They need each other, and it is your responsibility to make sure that you don’t get in the way.
Do not beg him, in your infinite neediness, to stay home from band practice.
This sentence could not be more full of self-loathing if it tried. Guess what - it’s okay to be needy, whether you’re a woman or otherwise. It’s okay to have needs that must be met. It’s okay to ask your significant other to help you with something, and yes, it’s okay to ask your significant other to skip band practice if something comes up that needs his/her immediate attention. If you truly love someone, you will want them to spend the time doing what it is they love to do. And if you truly love yourself, you will know when you need to ask your partner to cancel something, or reschedule, or spend less time doing something that might be getting in the way of your relationship. More importantly, if your partner truly loves you, then they will give half of a fuck about what’s important to you, too. Being a musician doesn’t grant you a magic ticket to get out of any obligations that a normal human being has within a relationship.
Do not yell at him and tell him scornfully that the band is more important than you are (if it is more important, you’ll find out the hard way). Do not bogart his attention at shows (see Proper Show Behavior). In fact, do not bogart his attention ever, but especially from people within his music community. Music is a part of him that he cannot explain to you. It makes up a large part of who he is, how he looks at the world and how he sees himself fitting into it. To be a part of that, you must learn your place.
Absolutely. Don’t ask your partner for attention if you need it. Don’t do anything to ask your precious musician partner for something that you need. Don’t ask your partner to make sure they are spending enough time with you because their precious music needs to come first.
Definitely do not try to be your own person while you are trying to date the lead singer of a shitty local rock band. It’s just ill-advised. When you’re dating a male musician, you must absolutely remember that his needs are to come 100% before yours. If you need to pay his rent so that he can keep making shitty recordings instead of working, that’s what you need to do. Remember, it’s so rare to be able to date a musician that you must put aside every need and desire that you have in order to support your precious boyfriend. I mean, it’s not like every Tom Dick and Harry these days is in a band. No way. A man who’s in a band is such a rare catch that you definitely must do anything to keep him.
Excuse me while I vomit all over myself.
2. The Support Factor
You must support his music. After all, it is likely the reason you were attracted to him in the first place. In that case, there are areas wherein you can extend a helping hand. Help carry gear or merch if you can. Musicians have a lot of baggage (and more than just the emotional kind that seems to shine through in their songs). Instruments, amps, merchandise: They all need to make it to the gig. If your car is needed, offer it. And after you’re done loading it all it, stay. You should go to as many shows as humanly possible (see Proper Show Behavior). Your presence there is very appreciated. Encourage practices, bookings, writing; encourage the good stuff.
Ha ha ha ha ha!
I wonder if the author has heard this famous joke: What do you call a drummer who just got dumped by his girlfriend?
Obviously the author hasn’t been a “band girlfriend” long enough to learn about the despicable behavior that a lot of musicians engage in to get their needs met. I have more than a dozen stories of musicians who’ve kept their girlfriends in order to have a place to live, to have money coming in, and to have someone in their life with a steady paycheck to cover their expenses.
Your significant other is no more entitled to your car and gas money than you are entitled to anything that belongs to them. The above paragraph reads like a manual for how to let people take advantage of you.
Part of the local scene is networking. He needs to not only book his own shows, but also to go to other people’s shows. His friend’s, the local DJ’s event, this party, that party; he needs to show his face around town. Everyone knows everyone in St. Louis, and the more people he knows in the local scene, the better. Be the pretty face on his arm that understands him and his music. Be his networking buddy.
Yes, ladies! Let’s face it - this sexist drivel is directed only at women. The author says in the beginning that it’s not, but it is. Ladies, please remember that if you’re dating a musician, the only thing you need to be is a pretty face on his arm. Last time I checked, it was 2012, not 1951.
This shitty article, in addition to insulting most musicians regardless of gender, also serves to completely erase the experiences of women in music. This article, written by a straight woman who’s ~in loooove~ with a straight man who plays music, is so traditional and conservative that I could just vomit. (Full disclaimer: I actually have vomited about 12 times while reading this shit.)
In order to not Yoko Ono, you must be on board for whatever he needs musically. Lastly, if you don’t like his music, you are dating the wrong musician. Do not try to veer him a new direction. He creates what he wants to create — bottom line. Which leads me to number three….
He ~creates what he wants to create~ because he’s sooo special and there’s no one like him. Give me a fucking break. I’ve dated musicians before where I’ve not been a fan at all of their music. The simplistic logic present in this post makes me wonder if it’s actually been written by a 10 year old child. You can most definitely be in a relationship with a musician if you don’t like his/her music. You can respect what they do without being a fan. Case in point: I am not a Tori Amos fan. I have never been a fan of her voice, or her music. That being said, I can admit readily that she is one hell of a pianist, songwriter, and harpsichordist. I can support Tori Amos, and be supportive of her, and what she stands for, without being a fan of her music. If someone gave me tickets to see Tori live in concert, I’d happily go. The same thing is true for other musicians, too.
How many times do you go to see your friend’s bands that you don’t like that much? How many times do you grit your teeth at a show while supporting and giving love to your friends? Tell me? Honestly, tell me, how much money have you shelled out to see your friends who are in bands who happen to make music that you don’t like? I’ve spent over $1000 this year doing that for my friends. Tell me, with all your wisdom and logic: if I am willing to do this for my friends, why wouldn’t I be willing to do it for a partner? Anyone who is older than twelve is capable of separating this out logically.
Any musician who insists upon dating someone who is a fan of their music is a narcissistic sack of shit. True artists of all disciplines create their art, their music, for one person and one person only: themselves. If your lover is such a great fucking musician, chances are they know it, deep in their heart. The better the musician, the less of a need they have for validation.
3: Balance Your Opinion
You are not his manager. Maybe at home your word is law, but not here. Your opinion needs to be perfectly balanced. He will probably ask you what you thought of the set or new song or album. Remember, you are there to support, so you think it sounds good. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tell him when it sucked. Tact comes in handy. Start with what was good and then add your true opinion. If you are attending shows a lot, remember that not everyone there has seen the performance over and over and therefore probably didn’t notice the tiny mistake. Take things from the position of the crowd. When things are rough, let him know, that way he can improve them next time around. “Honey, you just can’t have eight whiskeys before you go on stage. Puking in the bucket did not make the set cooler.”
Yes. Remember, you’re only there to support him, so you must suppress your true thoughts about the performance. All of this. My thoughts exactly. Obviously your precious little musician boyfriend has the emotional capabilities of an amoeba, so do not be honest with him, by all counts. There’s no way that he could handle it. This paragraph needs no more than what’s already there. Your only job, ladies, if you’re dating a musician, is to constantly be stroking his ego and hiding your true thoughts and feelings so as not to hurt him. *pukes over railing*
4: Proper Show Behavior
Do not distract him from the show. He is focused, he is determined, he is trying to perform. So please, do not yell out “That’s my boyfriend” or “That’s my baby daddy” while he is on stage. You may get bored while he is up there. Maybe you have seen him perform over 100 times. No matter what, do not turn into a wasted mess. Save the nights that you need a babysitter for when he is not playing; he is not going to come off the stage and stop you from making an absolute fool of yourself. Plus acting a fool makes him look bad. St. Louis is a small city, people will find out. Do not be this chick.
He is focused, he is ~determined~ he is trying to perform, remember first of all that his needs are always more important than yours, and you’ll be okay! This reads like a ladies’ ethics book from the 1930’s.
"While you are enjoying his set, sipping casually on your drink, understand there may be a hole you need to fill. This hole is the merchandise booth: Work the merch booth if no one else can. This typically happens while the band is actually on stage, but it is during this time that fans decide whether or not they are going to buy something. If no one is there to take the money, one of two things will happen: They won’t buy anything or they will steal it."
Work the merch booth if that’s your arrangement. A considerate partner, musician or not, will make arrangements for this kind of stuff beforehand.
"Lastly, do not get jealous if chicks hit on him. Remember when you were gazing at him from the crowd all googly-eyed? Well there are other chicks out there doing the same thing."
Yes there are, and this is the main reason most male musicians are in bands. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise.
They are going to want to flirt with him. They do not know or care if he is in a relationship with you.
No, they certainly do not. I’ve been cheated on more times than I can count by male musicians. Hence the reason I will never date another one! Peace out, motherfuckers! Part of my anger at this article is all the shitty behavior I have been subjected to by men in bands. Anytime you put any person, but mostly a man, in a situation where they are being coddled and having their ass kissed 24/7, they’re going to take advantage of it. Watch your back.
Trust and have faith, unless you have already broken some of these rules, he is still most likely coming home with you at the end of the night (especially if you have driven him and helped carry all of his gear).
I wouldn’t put my faith in a male musician that I was fucking if my life depended on it. I would say: watch your back. Just because you’ve paid his rent and his bills and paid for his food and driven him everywhere doesn’t mean that he won’t turn around and take advantage of a situation like this one.
Flirting with girls is part of the job. It usually gets them to buy stuff.
You can sell merch without shameless flirting. If you’re a musician (or if you’re not) and your partner is important to you, you will behave in a manner that your partner would approve of. if your boyfriend is in a band and tells you that he has to “flirt with girls” in order to get them to “buy stuff,” I’d recommend dumping him as fast as you possibly can.
5. Be a Modest Muse
Accept that he may write songs about your personal lives. Then, he will sing those songs to masses of people that you know and don’t know. He will describe your deepest romantic moments and most insane freak-outs to strangers. Possibly worse than this, is that he will tell them to your closest friends also. They may learn your favorite sex position, your secret nicknames, or that you like to pee with the bathroom door open.
As far as being a muse goes: I’ve both been a girlfriend of a musician and a musician myself; I see both sides. That being said, there is a way to write songs with people as inspiration without letting everyone know that they’re about a certain person. If you’re a great songwriter, you can make sure that no one knows what your songs are really about. Perhaps, except for the person who is your muse.
However - no one deserves to know what sexual position you like unless you’ve given your express consent! There’s no need for anyone, musician or otherwise, to expose your private life unless you’ve given your consent. Fuck, get me the fuck out of here.
Get used to it, but don’t get a big head about it either. No one wants to continually be reminded that “This song is about me!” They probably already figured that out. (If you need to get out the excitement that you are a musical muse, go listen to the Naked and Famous’ “Girls Like You” in your headphones while you dance around your bedroom in your underwear, double checking how hot your bod is in the mirror.)
You’d actually be surprised about the lag time that songwriters have. From my experience, you’re not going to have songs written about you until your musician partner decides to break up with you. But that’s just me.
Accept that he writes song about other people. You are probably not the first girl he fell in love with. They have songs too, and he’s not going to stop playing them. Plus, not every song out there is about romance and heartbreak. Inspiration finds him in the strangest places. His father, his love for booze and weed, his best friend, all the times he got mugged: All these and more will probably enter the picture at some point. I once witnessed a city squirrel inspire lyrics: “Ghetto squirrel, where do you hide your nuts?”
Meh. The author should have stuck to this kind of advice. Then, my head might not have burned up and exploded.
6. Music Talk 24/7
He’s a musician. He loves music. He will want to talk about music at every chance he gets.
Your partner is definitely a one-dimensional person. If you’re dating a musician, they will only want to talk about music because that’s all there is to them. They have no other interests, and certainly cannot carry out a conversation about anything but music.
Not just his music, but his friends’ music and the music that he loves and strives to emulate. If you’re not into this music, that’s okay, but don’t sit around bashing the things he thinks are great.
Yes, by all means, here is this idea again that you should not share your opinions with your partner. Again, this concept that musicians are somehow too fragile to deal with life like real people. Why does this keep rearing its ugly head? To the author, musicians are emotionally and developmentally stunted, to the point where they cannot function as normal people in society. This is ridiculous and insulting to musicians. Musicians are not people who need to be treated with kid gloves. If you set low standards for the musician in your life, chances are, you’re setting low standards for everyone else in your life.
If you can’t find common ground when it comes to music, you are dating within the wrong genre. You can have different tastes, but you are going to need to be open and understanding to his likes and dislikes, as he will need to do the same. Sometimes you won’t want to hear about the same album that changed his life over and over again — but you are going to. Get used to it, and try to love that album also.
In short, if you’re not into talking about music, going to shows, or hearing songs about yourself…you need to stop dating a musician.
I’ve written so much about this that I literally cannot write about this anymore. This is ridiculous and I’m so pissed off now that I have no other choice but to get drunk and go to sleep. This article is the musician equivalent of the “How To Please Your Man” Cosmo sex tips article. Fuck this and fuck people who think like this. More importantly, fuck the people who treat male musicians like this, making them even more insufferable than they already are.
……… (incoherent ranting and raving)