guitar broken

Being in a Band Ruined My Life: Essay

Five compelling reasons why joining a band is a terrible life decision

I suspect that being in a band ruined my life. In fact, most of the major ills in my life can be sourced to the fact that I have committed so much time and resources into playing music.

Being in a band is sort of like an addiction itself – the whole sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll thing is a harsh, hazy reality. Additionally, I have far too many comrades who were given the ultimatum: leave your rock dreams or leave me. Being in a band, it seems, has ruined many lives.

But, as someone who has a very mild and specific set of talents, being in a band is also probably one of the best things that will ever happen to me. I also suspect that if I ever get out I will be that old guy who endlessly bores his grandchildren with stories about that time we played with The Sheepdogs.

Being in a Band Destroyed My Relationships

An ex-partner long ago once told me that the worst thing for her was looking at other girls look at me. She said it was the worst when she would come to watch my band play. Mostly because she would have to pay $5 to watch these girls. The relationship didn’t last, but the sentiment did. Sometimes you put your band first before everything else, including the people you love. I’ve ditched out on countless family engagements, BBQs with friends and canoodling with hotties so I could go plunk on a guitar with band mates. Why?

Being in a Band Was Not An Exceptional Career Choice

Granted, being a broke-ass musician is living the dream, but balancing this with a job is more akin to a Dickensian nightmare. Constantly badgering your boss for time off to go touring is a surefire way to never, ever get a raise. Concurrently, I’ve noticed that some of my most successful musician friends (success could be but is not limited to: touring, making albums, getting articles written about in half-assed blogs) tend to work jobs that come with espresso machine burns and grease-pit wipe-up towels. And while we are on the subject…

I’d be rich if I wasn’t in a band

I’ve lived life perpetually in some form of debt thanks to buying semi-expensive guitars, amps and pedals. Similarly, we’ve all had to put down money to repair tour vans, pay for guitar strings that will break in a matter of minutes and pay off studio fees. Granted, being broke comes with the territory – every musician knows this all too well. But mentally totaling all the money that I’ve spent on these sorts of endeavours over the past decade or so makes my testes shrivel. I probably could have bought a Ferrari or something instead of being in a band.

My body hates that I am in a band

I’m going deaf – standing next to a sludgey, tinny, cranked-up amplifier for hours on end will do that to you. But there is an untold physical toll that most musicians have to pay, including bad backs from lifting gear and arthritic fingers from endless hours of practicing scales. Not to mention becoming morbidly obese from eating at the perpetual smorgasbord of gas station hog dogs while out on tour.

My liver hates that I am in a band

There is a reason why so many musicians turn into drunk, blotto losers – venues tend to make money off the sale of liquor, and pitching a band a free case of beer is no biggie. Concurrently, it would be really amazing and nice to play a show in a juicery or organic farm, but no one has ever asked. And those hi-balls aren’t going to chug themselves.

-Photo taken from Flickr user “wherearethejoneses” – Creative Commons.