Stereotypes aren’t always true. As a musician who has also dated fellow musicians (drummers, lead guitarists, lead singers, songwriters), I felt the need to address some common misconceptions and truths.
1. They Write Songs About You…& Their Exes -The good, bad, and the ugly. It may not be evident to everyone else but you’ll know it and chances are, your friends will know it too. We know it’s super awkward but if you make a musician happy, you’re immortalized in the best way imaginable. Piss a musician off and good luck, my dear. The locals, and heaven forbid, internationals now know what an ass you are. (Hint: those are our best songs).
2. Cheaters– Not all musicians are cheaters just like we aren’t all brainless airheads. A cheater is a cheater because that’s who they are. Being a musician has nothing to do with it. If you don’t trust us, don’t be with us. Really, it’s that simple.
3. Demanding– Let’s face it, being in a relationship is a commitment within itself but being in a relationship with a musician is an entirely different level of commitment. When you’re with us, you’re with the music. Whether it’s at some dive bar and our set was pushed back several hours or you’ve heard the same song twenty times. Every show is fresh to the musician and there is no better way to show support and love than to be at every performance. If you aren’t there, we will find someone who will be there. Also, do not complain about staying out late during our show. You might as well go home. That being said, it’s okay if you go home after hearing us play a few rounds. You showed and that means the world.
4. Our Style– If you don’t like our style, it’s not going to work. I’m a singer-songwriter folk artist. If you hate Jewel’s music but you love rap, just go. There is no sense in discussing this. Our music is a major part of who we are and if you cannot understand that, you cannot understand us.
5. Free Tickets– Okay so yes, sometimes we do hand out free tickets for our gigs… when the venue’s owner gives them to us. Don’t hold your breath.
6. You’re with the Band– If being with the band makes you feel special, that’s great. Just know that being with the band is more than being with us behind stage at some show. You will most likely be at numerous rehearsals, sharing nights out and in with fellow musicians, and listening to our frustrated rants (e.g., “Why do I subject myself to this?” or “I can’t come up with the next verse”). It’s a lifestyle, not a crochet hobby.
7. Emotional– Are musicians emotional? Yes. It’s what makes us so darn good at writing lyrics that rip your bloody heart out. We aren’t all brooders but we do need our alone time to process, think, feel, write music, and play. Most musicians feel deeply unless they are fake musicians seeking sexual attention from the opposite sex (and are not worthy to be called musicians). We like to have fun but we are also serious about our outlet. Sometimes, we need you as our sounding board. Our feelings can build until that’s all we see. And just because we are good at relaying our feelings to the music doesn’t mean we are good with a heart-to-heart conversations.
8. Free Time– Expect to swing by music stores in your spare time, on dates, on road trips. That’s what we do and we want to share that with you. Also, we may need to stop whatever we are currently doing to write down lyrics or try out a new chord progression. Where would Einstein be without writing down the theory of relativity? Just go with it.
9. Give and Take– If we share a song with you, that’s like unveiling our soul and asking you to appreciate it. It’s actually a huge compliment, whether you like the song or not (in which case, see #4). And you damn well better have something good to say!
10. Conceited– Not all musicians are conceited but more than half of the musicians I know are self-centered. Their life revolves around the band, their band, and God help anyone who gets in their way. I’ve witnessed a situation that went so far as to exclude a significant other because the band didn’t like them. Now, some musicians are just dedicated and oblivious to anyone’s life except their own. I once dated a musician and everything was about the band. My music did not matter. My books did not matter. My life outside the band did not matter. Another spent more time on his hair gel, tattoos, and asking me to send pictures of himself. *Cough* Be selective.
11. People Will Hit on Them…In Front of You– Be cool about it. If we are impervious it’s because we are only thinking of two things: you and our music. Groupies don’t stand a chance. If we notice the advances, we will most likely blow it off so don’t make a big deal about it. If we wanted to be with them, we would be. Do not, I repeat, do not cling.
12. They’re Broke– Probably. Most likely. We play for the love of it, not for the gold coins so make sure Bob has a day job.
13. They Love Their Instruments More Than You– Okay, so this could be true. In which case, break up with us.
14. Mic = Public Announcements– Musicians with mics are like land mines. You never know when something embarrassing will blow. We don’t mean any harm, we’re just in the zone, possibly drunk (see #16), and happy to talk about the person we love… Unless you’re a psychotic ex (in which case see #1).
15. Stubborn– We’re stubborn and we know it. Hmm let’s see, buy a new guitar or go on vacation? Guitar. Play the same song for two hours straight until our fingers bleed? Yep. It also means that we refuse to give up when the going gets tough. Love us for that.
16. Dedication– If we can woo you with our unrelenting commitment to practice, write swoon-worthy songs, our talented hands, and our disregard for the materialistic, oh baby, you’re in for the ride of your life. We know exactly what we’re doing.
17. Druggies/Alcoholics– We’re not all druggies, alcoholics, or have emotional breakdowns circa 2007 Britney Spears. Check out the places your love interest performs at. Do his band mates use drugs? Do alcoholics frequent the venues she plays at? There’s your sign.
18. They Need Their Space– Of course. (See #s 7 & 8). “It’s not you, it’s me.” In this case, it’s actually true. Sometimes we need to hold our guitars and simply be.
19. They’re Lazy– It depends on the musician. We’re serious about what matters to us (see #15).
20. They’re Insanely Outgoing– False. Some musicians have horrible stage fright. Bearing your soul to unknown audiences will do that to you. Others, like myself, are ambiverts. We have interests outside of the spotlight and it’s nice to be reminded of that. If we need to regroup, suggest these things.
21. Unstable/Crazy– Some are… And they should probably seek help. Others are super normal with incredible musical gifts, but then again, you already knew that and it’s probably why you read this blog in the first place.
…And just in case you were wondering…
22. Tattoos– We don’t all have tattoos but the majority of musicians I’ve known, including myself, have them. Don’t worry, we won’t start a fight or eat your young.