Musicians are a sexy bunch. Something about black eyeliner, a spotlight and a slow ballad in a room full of smoke and lasers can drive any sane person to the depths of groupie whoredom in a back alley or a stinky tour bus. Not that we would personally know (ahem); we avoid romantic entanglements with rhythm makers at all costs. Sure, musicians have the best parties, connections to celebrities and always know the coolest music, but are they worth their own cover charge?
Listen up, ladies. While we all agree men in drag with guitars inspire copious panty-dropping, we also admit the inherent dangers of dating musicians. So we sounded out a few (anonymous) lovesick and broken-hearted ex-lovers of said musicians to offer up some pithy, yet slightly salty, advice on why you should never do it.
10. “PAYING THEIR RENT”
What’s the old adage? Something like, "What do you call a bass player with no girlfriend? Homeless." Musicians, through little fault of their own, rarely have two nickels to rub together after spending entire paychecks on expensive gear and spandex. These poor souls work lousy jobs to keep nights and weekends free for dates with you...er, gigs with other musicians. That means they require your love and support, especially around the first of the month.
9. “THEY LOVE MUSIC MORE THAN YOU”
Musicians' love for notes, arrangement, lyricism and performance never ends. Beware: They will commit more time to a practice studio than with you. If that’s not a dealbreaker, the time you do spend together they'll be dwelling on their music, conversation after conversation. Weekends will be spent listening to their music, and lazy afternoons will be spent listening to them practice their music. Run into old friends at lunch? The discussion will revolve around well, you know, their music.
8. “EXPECT TO BE IGNORED AT THEIR SHOWS”
At some point, you’ll either tire of hearing about upcoming shows and attend or be so desperate to spend time with them you find yourself at the long-anticipated gig. You’ve cheered on your musician, you feel their energy and enthusiasm and then you notice something — when they’re in the spotlight, you’re not. Worse, they ask you for space. Your musician, who once pledged his undying love for you, now gives his best smile, warm attention and a million full-frontal hugs (with butt grabs) to every tipsy broad who screams in his face how much she “just loves” him as you stand in the background.
7. “PEOPLE WILL ASSUME YOU’RE A GROUPIE”
If your musician should honor you enough to bring you backstage, expect to be treated the same way as other women who frequent backstage dwellings. You’ll find yourself throwing around phrases like, “Excuse me, I’m here with my boyfriend, the tambourine player!” as security harasses you for credentials. Except you won’t have them because your tambourine prodigy forgot to put you on the list. Remember, if Mr. Tambourine Man forgets to put you on the list more than once, see No. 4 below.
6. “STROKING THEIR EGO…FOR LIFE”
Musicians naturally tend toward melancholy and come built with painful insecurities. Art makes them vulnerable, afraid and exposed. As their closest ear, you will hear all the fears and heartbreak they carry. Will they ever become rock stars? Does anyone care? Do you? Prepare yourself for their other poles of emotional outbursts as well, such as jealousy. They will talk serious trash about other musicians in the scene. And, while they may verbalize their support for other bands, don’t believe it. Inside, they are seething with envy that success has missed their band again. Remain supportive, but whatever you do, don’t become the band manager — or worse, roadie with benefits.
5. “THEY WRITE SONGS ABOUT YOU...GOOD AND BAD”
Let’s face it, you’re the Yoko Ono of this ensemble. The love songs they courted you with will be revised and reworded upon your breakup. That love song will be replaced by a punk-rock anthem sung by him and his drunken buddies as they bond over your departure. The corrupted lyrics will now tell of your constant nagging and smothering while simultaneously celebrating how you didn’t break up the band. This song will be requested at parties and shared on EPs and demos. You will be immortalized as the ex-bitch forever.
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4. “CHEATERS/TRUST ISSUES”
Your musician (much to his pleasure, not yours) is now a sexual target, a conquest to be had by women far and wide you don’t even know. Yet one thing these women all share is a common hatred of you. If you’re the jealous type who demands monogamy or even loyalty, get out now. We’re not saying that your man is incapable of maintaining dignity in a relationship while also being a musician; we are saying no human is capable of withstanding that amount of temptation. Not even you; see No. 2 below.
3. “YOU ALWAYS COME SECOND"
To everything. To the song, to the performance, the record deal, etc. Nothing else matters to your musician but the music, including you. Don’t believe us? Ask him. What’s the most important thing in your life? If he doesn’t say music, he’s either a shitty musician or a clever liar.
2. "TOURING ABSENCE”
This is undoubtedly the hardest part of the relationship. Not only will you miss your musician desperately, but the lack of communication will wear on your last nerve. Your mind will wander to scenarios that create drama and mistrust where none existed before. You will convince yourself there’s more to the story. His bandmates aren’t telling you everything because they like you, they have his back and that one night in Amsterdam when he didn’t call you back — that one with the picture of the band on Instagram and that unidentified female — will haunt you like no restless soul in hell ever could. And when you think you’re ready to crack and buy that surprise plane ticket to Europe, you’ll find yourself running into an old flame at the grocery store who would love to stop by for coffee sometime with full-frontal hugs and butt grabs. Besides, you’ll tell yourself, it’s just coffee.
1. “DRUGS AND ALCOHOL"
Ahhhhh, when the party is over (sometime around your early thirties), and your girlfriends all have spouses with 401Ks and new suburban homes, you’ll start to look for the leak in your savings account. Since you’ll be carrying the health insurance and all the bills, be sure to get a PPO that covers not only the intervention but the inpatient stay with followup psychological care and outpatient care for any relapses. And when they finally come clean, join a church band and file for divorce in your common-law marriage, you’ll not only wish you had read this list but avoided homeless men with a talent for songwriting and a mean tambourine hand. Trust us, do yourself a favor and date a writer instead.