Let’s be honest. Being a musician isn’t glamorous. Truth be told, most of the time it sucks. Outside of the 30 minutes you’re on stage, you spend plenty of time questioning yourself, your ability and your life decisions. This is what that feels like.
Nobody gives a shit. 70% of every audience is at your show solely to get drunk. Only 30% will look up from their iPhones long enough to listen to two songs. A majority of your time on stage has been spent playing to uninterested, half-engaged yuppy hipsters. You’ve opened your heart up to inspection and judgement, but have been met with an ultimately more hurtful response: indifference. Welcome to life as a musician.
Touring sucks. It doesn’t matter if you’ve played 100 road dates this year. You dumped $100 a day into gas and food so that you could play to ten people… on the good nights. You can only afford one hotel room a week on your budget. Otherwise, you sleep in the van or drive through the night. You’re so blessed to be doing what you love. You’re one of the lucky ones.
Nobody understands your genius. You try really hard to innovate. Everything you release has been rewritten 50 times. You delicately weave through complex lyrical themes. You constantly invent new song structures and live sets. Eventually, you’re not too embarrassed to play what you’ve written, so you spend thousands to record an album. Then you work on a complicated and expensive promotion plan to build awareness. You hire publicists. You pay for photography. You invest in music videos. After all of it, nobody listens to more than 30 seconds of your most played song on Spotify. You’re selling your guitar tomorrow.
Your bandmates are irresponsible dicks. They only open their shitty little mouths to inhale weed, slug down another tall can or bitch about something they could easily resolve themselves. You will slowly resent each other more and more everyday. Your once beautiful friendship will devolve into a whining, crying, physical altercating Metallica-like therapy hurricane.
Nobody buys merchandise. “Industry people” keep telling you that merch is the only way for small bands make money. You feel like you’re losing your goddamn mind because every fuck head label person, manager or promoter has simultaneously mistaken “have a chance to break even” with “make money.” You haven’t sold $100 in merch in over a year. You are alone in an eternal vacuum haunted by your inner demons.
You don’t make any money. You’ve dumped enough time and dollars into growing a band that you could have easily launched three or four companies. Your life and job skills have been destructively retarded by an endless stream of late nights, drinking and daydreaming about a pointless lottery-like fantasy.
Gear is too fucking expensive. You chase the perfect tone as hard as you chase the audacious idea that one day your music will pay your bills. It never will.
All the “industry people” are idiot assholes. Most of them can’t write an email to save their shitty careers. They are unaccountable. They are unreliable. They have no concept of a deadline. No vision for the future. They exist in an alternate reality where piggybacking your way up the next trend counts as an accolade. They make sweeping evaluations of bands based on Facebook likes. Every time they grace you with sounds from their evil lips, they are attempting to get something they want from you. Their soul-sucking bullshit literally makes you want to die where you are standing.
19-year-old bloggers control everything. That’s why 9 of the 10 top songs in the country are awful EDM bullshit. Computers have ruined music forever. The dream has died. Buy some Led Zeppelin vinyl and never turn on your radio again.
You’re too old for this shit. You’ve been told it takes a decade to build and break a band onto the national scene. Meanwhile, an 8th grade metal band with one viral YouTube video just signed a $1.7 million record deal with Sony. Your friends have grown as humans to produce well-educated, beautiful, blossoming families guided by strong values and excellent personal communication skills. You cried yourself to sleep last night over a chord change and can’t explain to a single person why it happened.
You don’t think you can do this anymore. The pressure is too enormous. Your body has violently faded from existence. Your atomic structures have chemically transformed into the darkest, most lifeless form of matter in the universe. You have become a conglomeration of all of the most mournful, wailing sounds emitted in the history of conscious beings. Billy Corgan is in awe of your dreary, miserable existence and his new record is about your limitless failure.
But don’t give up.