Never Date a Musician

never date a musician

By David A. Barber
Author of Gigging, Everything You Need to Know About Playing Gigs (Except How to Play Your Axe)

Over the years we’ve seen countless relationships come and go and we’ve noticed a trend. It’s always a bad idea to date a working musician.

Now, we are generalizing here, there are many musicians who have perfectly good, successful long-term relationships, it’s just that these are the exception to the rule.

To women, male rockers have the same mystique and allure that strippers have for men. They’re on stage, everyone wants one and almost nobody gets one. Indeed the successful stage musician (of either sex) can take his pick of attractive young women in the crowd. This is part of the problem as we’ll explain later.

Relationships with musicians have all the same problems as other people have but some of them are more exaggerated. Here are the main ones:

  • Money: Many musicians are also starving artists. This is more true for younger rockers than older guys because, by the age of 30 most have either reached some level of success, at least enough to make a living or have given up and taken a day job. Some, however, find ways to eke out a living and never really grow up. Others go from one woman (who is willing to pay their bills) to the next, living homeless in the interim. Many have never held down a day job for long and never want to.
  • Drugs: This has always been a part of rock and roll and probably always will be, but it’s always a problem. It’s a rare band that is filled with talented guys who keep themselves clean. Drugs are always readily available and are offered up free to band members on a regular basis. If you think your guy is gonna stay clean and sober for a long time, you’re probably being naive.
  • Alcohol: Just like drugs, only not quite as illegal, alcohol is always a danger. Drugs and alcohol are obviously problematical in any relationship, but suppose you had to work in a bar every night. Do you think you could keep sober? Most people can’t.
  • Infidelity: It doesn’t matter how ugly or talentless a musician is, if you put a guitar in his hand and put him on stage, some hot girl will think he’s the hottest thing since Sting. This is more of a problem when the band is on the road. We know bands who have a rule: “What happens on the road stays on the road.” Kinda like Las Vegas, but it applies even with short trips to Nebraska. This one is the biggest relationship killer, especially if the band tours a lot. Even if he’s not cheating, how can either partner know that the other is being faithful? And if the jealous spouse decides she’ll just come to every gig to make sure he doesn’t stray, that usually causes problems with the rest of the band. It can throw off the delicate dynamic the band has worked so hard to achieve amongst themselves. It’s a sure-fire recipe for drama. An insecure spouse won’t be able to handle the idea that part of her husband’s job as a rock-star is to flirt with beautiful young women, in the hopes they will buy CDs and come to more shows. It’s part of the gig and even if he’s being perfectly faithful, it’s hard for many women to watch.

And god forbid if the significant other should decide to embrace the band by becoming their manager. That will almost always spell disaster. A lot of smart, experienced bands have a rule: No wives or girlfriends allowed at gigs.

Many musicians consider themselves artists and as such, they are elitists, thinking they are better or smarter than most people. This commonly leads them to believe they can live differently than most people and it’s OK because they are “artists.” These guys (and gals) think it’s OK to get high a lot and that society owes them something, so they shouldn’t have to work normal jobs. There’s a high incidence of drug and alcohol abuse, poverty and generally bad decision making. How many famous musicians have died of drug overdoses? I can tell you that a hundred times more not-famous musicians have met similar fates. And if their “art” is perceived as being rejected, they are also susceptible to suicide.

If you think you can handle all that, and heaps of stunning women throwing themselves at your boyfriend, then, by all means, go for it. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find one that has his shit together, but probably not.

Never Date a Musician!! I can’t say it often enough, and no, I honestly don’t expect you to believe me until it’s too late. Just please try not to repeat your mistake over and over again.

This is where I usually provide a real-life example or two, but rather than tell a specific tale I’ll just tell you how it usually goes:

A male musician meets and marries a perfectly good woman at some point before he becomes serious about working in music. Maybe they meet in College or even High School. It’s all good until he joins that special band where everything is working out well and the band decides to tour further than they can get in a day trip. The woman he left behind feels resentful that she can’t go with him. After all, she has a job and has to support him. Sooner or later on the road the musician is approached by a very hot girl who wants to sleep with him, he cheats on the wife at home and you can guess how it goes from there.

Need we say more?