Thursday, June 14, 2012

love and noise

On a particularly caffeinated night, I postulated to a couple of friends that being in a band is like being in a relationship, only there's sometimes more than two people and it's probably not romantic. I lapsed into incoherence shortly afterward, but I really think this is true.

There are expectations, differing degrees of give and take, investments of time and energy, some degree of inevitable emotional intimacy due to that whole expression of the soul thing, balances of power, and sometimes it clicks immediately and sometimes it takes awhile, and the duration is hard to ascertain. Is it a weekend warrior project or a summer fling, a gig on the side or a lifelong commitment? Does it fall apart due to incompatible personalities or tastes or differing expectations and desires? Do you stick it out because it's more economically feasible than severing those ties? Do you stay in it For The Kids?

I love music in countless forms, I love making music with other people, and I love hanging out with the male species, those two things being consistent life pleasures for the sheer intellectual stimulation and geeky camaraderie that most women around me aren't really into, but I've never been in a steady musical project or a serious relationship that lasted more than six months. Do I like the idea of said things better than being in them itself?

I feel like whenever it get past the just messing around with chord progressions in the basement or the extremely comfortable strictly platonic where we're admiring other things besides each other's eyes, I find myself looking for any exit out. It makes me feel trapped and obligated and a bit spooked. Maybe there's too many social expectations, or I don't feel like I'm taken seriously or that anything I say matters. I don't mind pushback, but I don't like being pushed to the side and taken for granted either. Maybe I don't want to play these songs in front of other people, that me and you don't have enough in common to really go anywhere, or that extra something just isn't there no matter how hard we try.

Maybe you want to move too fast, get too close too quickly, maybe you think I'm going to drop everything and practice three nights a week and gig on the weekends. Maybe the songs just aren't all that good, maybe you and me just aren't right for each other in that way and we can't get past our respective shortcomings. Can we just play music together for fun and make some noise? Can we just be friends? Is it just easier if it doesn't go anywhere per se?

I used to go along to get along and then realized I couldn't do that anymore, that it was easier to cut off things that weren't working before too much time and pent-up feelings piled up. It's easier to bail out before the other person makes plans or thinks things are heading towards a tour of the midwest or matrimony. I wonder if this makes me an awful person and a total flake to cut the losses so quickly over and over again. To leave before the acrimony gets too big.

So I brought this up to a fellow musician and dear friend with a couple extra years of wisdom on him in regards to the music thing, because we've both had our share of soured relationships and I don't want to go there. You just haven't found the right fit, he says, because we've been playing in the liturgical setting for five years now. It's not that you're not committed. It's just that it doesn't work all the time with everyone and it's better just to figure that out. I hope that he's right. I hope I find something that works someday somehow.


  1. In the meantime, you could always give being a basement black metaller a spin.

  2. I guess I could at least say I'd be better than Fadades.

  3. Only if you can screech with panache.