Tarnished Silver

Breaking the Stereotype of the Band Wife Life

This past weekend I went on a weekend trip with the husband, or I should say, following the band around. It was a hot, exhausting, and very fun weekend full of great memories and friends. Yes, another weekend trip away, this time with The Husband. I left the kids at home and hit the big city. I am getting the hang of these rush out of work, get the kids set up, and hit the road trips, all the spontaneity has my head reeling. First, up north, now to the west side of the state, maybe one day I will make it out of the state. In all reality, though, the band trips are not always what they are cracked up to be, I finally got a taste of what the guys go through and it wasn’t a walk in the park. There are a lot of stereotypes out there and for all the musician typecasts there are ones for us band wives. It hit me as I was standing in a sweltering line outside of one of the venues, with my ticket in hand when I ran into a friend and they were astounded that I, the wife of the band, would have to stand in lines, let alone buy a ticket. Most people have a very misconstrued idea of what a band wife is. There are so many stereotypes of us, from Yoko to your average groupie. To be honest, they get a little annoying and leave me somewhat self-conscious of how everyone views me and these blogs. I hope to shine light on some of these.

“I’m with the band” is a joke. Sure, we get to go in the back during set up time, carry a guitar case or two, we might not even have to stand in a line, but it is a very rare occasion when they don’t charge the “support staff”.  I pay the ten to twenty dollars to get my wristband and get in the door at least every other weekend. We may get dibs on the first tickets but we are paying full price and the bar is no different. Nothing sets us apart from any other fan, and I am OK with that, because for every ticket sold is one step higher they go, for every ten dollars we pay, they get two back. We are not just there for emotional support, we help fund the broken-down RV they just bought and the CD’s that need to be printed. Paying for a ticket beats paying out of pocket for the band needs, because what is his is mine, and what is mine is his and what is ours goes to the band.

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I give you the band mobile, their touring chariot, the living quarters of not so rich and famous. 
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She’s a little stinky but it gets them safely from city to city.

“You get to go on tours, sight see, and spend all that travel time with your husband” How about not. Let me walk you through my romantic, touristy weekend with The Husband. First, I rushed to the Friday night show, where after packing up, heading to the store for hotel snacks and drinks, and getting home, our heads hit the pillow around two a.m., six hours of sleep later we were up and ready to hit the road. We arrived at the venue at eleven because that was when they said to be there, which these places are never on time. I don’t know who runs these joints but get it together already! We then were stuck in the parking lot of a strip mall (with, literally, a strip club) waiting, all day. We had an SUV attached to a huge trailer fully loaded with an immense amount of band gear, we were not driving it down town to sight see. They don’t put these rock places near any landmarks, nice parks, or museums, they are on the outskirts, the other side of the tracks, with the strip clubs and the dollar stores. Cities like to hide their riff raff. Thank God for the Five Guys or we would have starved. It was miserably hot all day, I felt sick from the lack of sleep and healthy food (OK, and maybe just a touch of hangover, but I blame all the hotel water I drank that morning). This is touring, it is not glitter and gold, it is hard and tiring. This was only a short trip in state. If anyone thinks I am going on a cross country trip, getting into that busted ass RV with five stinky, sweaty, over partied and under slept dudes for weeks on end you are sorely mistaken, Dear Sir’s. Touring is not a vacation. I really can’t complain (though I just did), I was with The Husband, and as you all know, I will always take what I can get. We were in great company and made some hilarious memories, so the weekend trips I will do again, but I will stay out of the guy’s hair during the long hauls.

 

The Yoko Effect. I can guarantee that ninety-nine percent of us are not trying to break the band up. I know we can seem a little too involved at times (probably an understatement for me, I tend to get real involved) or we can get a little bitchy from time to time, but it is hard when our only time with them is usually shared with band mates. I know what I am in for but it won’t stop me from whining occasionally about him not being around. We don’t always want to be there but we love them, and when you love someone you want to share all their passions, and when there is music involved their passion is most likely one tracked. It becomes a fight or join scenario. It is very challenging for us to be with someone who is always on the go, and if the only way to get quality time is to follow the band around, damnit all, I will! The person I love the most is in a band, and I want to see him successful, happy, and proud; I want to see the band flourish. I guess you can call me a groupie if you so wish (but only for my husband), but don’t ever call me a Yoko!

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The reason for the band wife life, this guy, which I sometimes have to watch perform from the merch table. It’s not all that perfect, and its not all that terrible. Its tarnished silver, but it’s all out of love. 

 

 

 

The Desultory Trip

A weekend away from the band wife life.

I am looking up at this mountain from the bottom. Sitting on the patio of our vacation rental, I see the now green ski slopes and wonder when they were built, how much man-made work they put into them and how much of it was nature itself. I am looking forward to the rain coming in, an excuse to sit here all day and admire my mitten in all its beauty nature has given it.  From somewhere inside the beginning of a vast forest, that edges on the left of our patio, I hear a musical of birds, and a morning dove echoing. I wondered how far away or near it is. In all the mountains spread, you start to lose depth and gain perspective, my favorite thing about woods and being consumed by nature itself.

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I traveled to the great north on an invitation, to be with family and friends this holiday but I had leave the husband at home. One thing you should have as a band wife is an acceptance of spontaneity, you have to roll with the punches, and go with the flow. Sometimes The Husband might have used up all his time off on a band trip and sadly, cannot take a long holiday weekend off as planned. So, I muster up enough courage to drive four hours up north at night to be with our family. I am not a driver, and the thought of driving all by myself with our babies in tow was terrifying. But I made promises and we deserved a relaxing weekend away.

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My babies walking down the mountain

 

He will not miss every vacation and trip, we spent a week in Florida and did the whole Disney trip just this past fall. Which really wasn’t our cup of tea, but for the kids, we made an exception. We packed up and took off for a week in Orlando. It was busy and hot and all I could think the whole time is how they literally did “pave paradise and put up a parking lot” just as Joni Mitchel sang. It’s the cacophony of tourists and noise, new buildings being constructed and old ones tore down. It broke my heart, and left me feeling exhausted.  We get so busy; our lives are filled with noises and activity. Everywhere I go is loud, my job comes with its fair share of noise, shows are busy and loud, even at home we are making noise between The Husbands acoustic, the kids activities and my big mouth. It’s nice to be able to just get out from under all of it and unplug for a few days. Here we are, in the big great north, without the husband, not exactly how I wanted the weekend to go but I have been able to get time to think, to relax, enough peace to gather my thoughts and fill my lungs with some fresh mountain air. With my flow of thoughts this weekend comes this random blog post about all of them. Much like this weekend I don’t know where it’s going, no beginning, middle, or end.

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My thoughts, like the vast scenery, rambled on all weekend.

 

We have hiked the mountain, swam many laps, played multiple card games and laughed until we were sore, yet in the back of my head I still wish the husband could be here. This is the band wife life and it is what I chose. I could have stayed home this weekend, I could have made it to his shows but the noise of our everyday life was getting to be too much, much like Florida, leaving me exhausted, confused, and homesick. I chose to disconnect. I made the choice to go to the mountains, to forget about work for a while, to get lost in the woods every day while I am here, to clear my mind and find my peace. As a band wife we need to remember to be patient, selfless, flexible, supportive, ready to go at any moment, but most importantly we need to remember to stop. Stop occasionally and breath or you will suffocate. I have repeated this before, and most of these thoughts of mine are selfishly about yourselves as women (or men, whichever) but this is so important if you are with someone who’s hobby or job or where ever this talent they have may take them because it may take you farther then you want or possibly leave you behind. As in any relationship, focus on yourself when focusing on them becomes too much.

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Like A Stone

My Song to Cornell and All The Tortured Souls Alike

The Husband headed out at three o’clock this morning for Nashville, the guys have been planning this trip for quite sometime with a lot of excitement at the potential it could bring. I also took today off of work to get some things done around the house, because the excitement was all too much. That, and I have been putting in crazy overtime lately, have been getting behind on all my chores and the thought of having the house to myself all day was way too appealing. This morning I thought I would wake up, roll out of bed, and cheerfully do some much needed house work. Instead, I rolled over to my phone, checked my Facebook like we used to check the newspaper, and was hit with some heavy news. Front man Chris Cornell had passed late last night, in Detroit, no less (Michigan girl here). So, once I got the kids off to school, I sat with my coffee processing it all, I shouted from my dining room table “Hey, Google, play me some Chris Cornell” She answered like the steadfast computer she is and played me an all-day playlist, from his multiple bands, live, recorded, unplugged all of it. While I cleaned, and brooded, I heard the hauntingly beautiful crooning that was born in the grunge era and pulled us through the past two decades. I don’t usually mourn celebrity deaths, and it might have been with all the excitement of the husband going on the road, or too much coffee and cleaning by myself this morning, but it hit me pretty hard. This man’s voice was incredible, and the worlds music will be a little less, now.

Later in the day, I read an article that they are speculating it was suicide and it reminded me of a conversation the husband and I had a while ago. We were talking about how it seems like all great musicians are depressed. This is the stereotype, right? So many musicians we have met along the way suffer, not all, but many. My personal knowledge of artists, most (remember, I use MOST very strongly, we are not all built the same) that I have met, they seem to think more deeply, or maybe it’s that they put all their deepness in public form, rather than keeping it inside. Who knows? I see these deep tortured souls and I wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg? Is it that, through these deep tortured souls, comes the beauty through their artform; or is it that the art challenges them to become deeper, to think deeper, to process more. Who knows?

I hear terribly unhappy childhood stories, drug use, abuse, how writers drink too much and painters are always depressed. I wonder if there is a majestic part of our brain that holds a creativity that surpasses us novices. Pandora’s box, if you will, that can only be opened when something so tragic happens it breaks open, overwhelming us with the raw emotion that can only be expressed with pictures and words, music, comedy, or theater. I have seen so many people take their pain and anguish and turn it into the most beautiful works of arts, paintings, or music. Being a word girl, I have heard and read sentences of words strung together that have bought me to my knees, and honestly made me envy the gift they have. Are all these people feeling alone, lost, or scared? Maybe not, but maybe so. That Pandora art box at one point in their past was forced open and possessed them to let it flow out of their hands, through their paint brush, or maybe out of their mouths, through the pen or on a set of strings. I understand that your own thoughts haunt you, that you can wish and wish them away but you are still a prisoner in your own head. It seems endless and inconsolable. It can be a blessing, though, your outlet is another’s strength. Your words, and music, and images can be someone else’s journey into something more, something better, something that can take us to places we could never see with our naked eyes. To all the artists with the tortured souls, please remember that on your darkest of days you are always making the world more beautiful and tolerable for us who cannot find expression. When you find yourselves in despair, sing, write, play, paint, draw, laugh, dance, and act. Let your noise be your medicine and our saving grace. From all of us and the world itself: Thank you for you. You are needed, you are wanted, you are requested to take our black and white worlds beyond the shades of grey and bring us color that our own imaginations cannot create.

Pubs, Taverns, and Dives

My most memorable bar stories.

It’s no secret I am a dive connoisseur. I have been to many, many, many bars, venues, art studios, restaurants, pubs, taverns, and many, many, many others by other names but they all remain the same: dives. Though I may mock them often, I love them very much, they are my home away from home, my stomping grounds, where my heart and soul will always preside. I am always willing to sacrifice a clean bathroom to get my rock on (seriously, you should see some of these toilets they expect you to pee in). I have decided to make a compilation of the most interesting experiences I have had as a band wife, because it is always at the very least an interesting time.

 

  • The Frozen Pizza Pub: That one time when I went to order a beer at the bar and I saw the bartender pull out a frozen pizza out of the freezer and hand over to the waitress. Not even the good stuff, but the real cheap brand, they could have done better with Aldi brand (jokes aside, I love me some Aldi anything, that place is my jam). They even served it on the card board it came with, geniuses! The kicker: They were selling them for seven bucks a pop! Now you and I both know they went to Kroger and stocked up on a ten for ten deal!
  • The Hipster Paradise: There is really nothing I enjoy loathing more than a damn hipster, so when we walked into a venue that had an all vegan menu, smelled of essential oils, and served their beer in mason jars I was in gripe heaven! Seriously, mason jars are so hard to manage, they are too big to hold while you are rocking, unless you got some big old meat mitts, and then as you hit your third, fourth, or fifth it gets real tricky. They are just not practical for beers.
  • The coffee Shop Amateurs: Once The Husband played at an acoustic night at an art studio that supposedly seconded as a coffee shop, they had some very interesting art but their coffee was more interesting, a small, un-busy night I asked ordered a coffee which the guy behind the makeshift counter used the Sunbeam twelve cup coffee pot that was teetering on the side of the counter to brew a pot of the most generic cuppa I have ever tasted. This did not bother me that much because I am not a coffee snob, give me whatever you got, as long as it’s dark and strong. I take it like a pill, its only purpose is to give me life, I am not concerned with the quality. What bothered me was that it took him forty-five minutes to brew a pot of coffee, in a coffee shop…. Dude, you have one job.
  • The Anti-Social Bar: The Husband was playing at a venue that did not have food, and we were starving, so he sent me to the next-door hole in the wall to get some food. This was possibly the smallest, darkest hole in the wall I’ve been to. The door was an actual hole in the wall, I felt like I stepped back into 1978 and there were only three lonely old men sitting on either corner of the bar, and two old ladies running the joint that were not too pleased to see they had customers. Their menu consisted of hot dogs and your basic fried bar foods. A few of their unusual items were cheese and crackers or sardines and crackers, which I know for a fact The Husband loves sardines so I was planning on getting him a side of that but when we got up to order the little ol’ bitty bypassed me. Once I piped up, after she fried up the others’ orders, I ordered a pizza, she huffed loudly and said in a tone only an eighty-year-old woman who’s worked behind a bar for way too long could get away with using, said, “You know that is going to take me twenty minutes?” at that point I knew I pissed her off and was scarred, so I nervously mumbled something like: “Uh… I guess I can get a basket of chicken strips” Then she hobbled over to the fryer whilst lecturing me on how she could have made the strips with everyone else’s. I was so afraid of the lady that I bypassed the canned fish all together, grabbed my food, and booked it outta there. Nothing is scarier than an eighty-year-old bar tender. You know that woman has seen some shit
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None of these pictures are of bars I have been to. I would never disclose the names and locations of these stories because I love my bars. 
  • Ok, so maybe I only have a top four memorable bar moments. I had more but they were all slightly too offensive, even for this blog. So enjoy my stories and maybe if I can think of more I will post a second half to this, or maybe I will forget again, because I am pretty sure most of my brain is made up of mashed potatoes (mmm.. potatoes) at this point in the game.

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Obtaining Credence

Because Not All Stereotypes are True

Once again, I had this whole cutesy opening paragraph written up for this blog, all about how family bike trips relate to trust. It was, quite frankly, shit. Sorry, but it was. Once again, I had to scrap the whole thing and start fresh. I need to get real, there is really no other way to get around the most important strand of a relationship but to get real. Or maybe it’s because I am binge watching Girlboss now and I totally love her honest, crude attitude. Either way, trust is the hardest and shittiest part of a relationship. It is terrifying on every level to think that you are handing over the most protected and important part of your being to someone and expecting them to keep it in mint condition. Does this freak anyone else out? Obviously after 15 years together I wholeheartedly trust my husband but trusting someone enough to let your guard down is one wall that is very hard to break through. Add the whole sexy musician image and the immense time you spend away from each other and you can understand why they get a bad rap.

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A picture of our bikes, because my original post was about our family bike rides but then I went and made it all super intense again. Our Babies are as follows (L to R): My 1995 Schwinn Predator, The Daughters 1989 Dyno Detour, The Husband’s 1990 Haro Invert, and The Son’s 1984 Diamond Back Super Streak. All rebuilt by The Husband (he is a jack of all trades, lucky gal I am) 

 

The whole trust thing really sucks, I am not going to lie when I say I am a jealous person. If you think after a decade and a half I don’t get the urge every so often to ask if he is cheating or make him promise that he will always stay faithful, if you think that I am confident enough not think about what could happen, you are very wrong.  Like I said I trust my husband but I am very territorial of what is mine and truthfully, any jealousy I have is created in my own insecurities. I know this, The Husband understands this, and I am sure I can speak for a lot of women out there. I know it’s not healthy, and I deal with it as maturely as I possibly can, but I can’t always help my brain going to crazy places (remember, you’re talking to the hot ass mess here). The Husband is away a lot, late nights, and in my opinion he is a very attractive and talented musician and an all-around cool dude, this can only add to my crazy brain cocktail. I have spent many a night awake at three o’clock in the morning, pacing the floors and imagining where he was. It’s like a bad Lifetime Network for Women movie:  Poor, sweet, frumpy wife sitting at home with the babies eating Ho Ho’s to fill the empty void and pain she feels, longing for her sexy husband. Who’s away in a hotel room, deprived of a woman’s touch. Then beautiful, tall, exotic gazelle fan girl knocks on his door wearing a trench coat (yes, it’s the old trench coat nightmare). Underneath? Only her lacy, matching lingerie and heels more expensive than the wife could afford, look good in, or have the energy to wear. She saw him at the bar and just had to have him and as a strong, successful woman, who is probably way cooler than the frump sitting at home, she will stop at nothing. Sure, Sexy Husband would try to resist but he is not strong enough, he is already so weak from all the rocking out. This particular made for television drama could only end in two ways, the Gazelle would wind up pregnant and Frumpy’s blind faith finds her the strength to forgive her husband and raise the baby as a happy family or she will divorce him, take all his money and live happily ever after in a one room apartment above the small shop she owns happily ever after. God, I hate that I love that channel.

Seriously, The Husband has never once given me a reason to question his fidelity, our relationship is very strong, yet the stresses still haunt me from time to time. My brain always goes to the worst-case scenario, the most unbelievable situations. It just happens, we all have our insecurities, we all let our imaginations go there, and that is OK. As long as you know when to tell yourself you are being crazy, and to chill. You know deep down you can trust your loved one, and you must have complete trust of a musician if you want to be in a relationship with them. You will not be there every step of the way, they will go to bars and be there LATE, they won’t be able to return phone calls all night because it is too loud, they will be gone for days on end, living the rock star life and you need to trust that not only they are going to stay faithful but that they will come back and that they will still support you and put you first (you know, right after their music. For further explanation on this read my first blog, I See You). This gig isn’t for the seriously jealous type, the untrustworthy or the untrusters. If you cannot have faith in them to come home to you, you shouldn’t be in this game. If you cannot go all night without texting, calling, and guilting when they get back home, you will eventually, single handedly destroy your relationship (and TRUST me when I say, I have been there, I have done that, and it gets stupid petty).  At the end of the day, when you are digging a ditch in your dining room with all your pacing, with your phone in hand, thinking of all the reasons to try to call them for the hundredth time that night; when you’re trying to justify the next text because you are sure he is with someone way better than you or dead in the gutter, you need to put the phone down, go lay in bed, turn on the TV and find something to distract yourself, preferable NOT on Lifetime, and sleep it off. Because when he crawls into bed in the early hours of the morning he is going to tell you all about his night at another gig, the fans he gained, and how he missed you. His arms will be around you once again and life will be the same, and you will always know deep down he will always be there with you.

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After fifteen years, I am still putting my whole faith and trust in this dude. Note: No amount of filters will hide the fact that we were having a really good time that night. 

 

 

Balls To The Wall, Baby!

The Evolution of The Band Wife Life Blog, part 2

Last week I came clean about how to set your bar at an extreme low and now that you know me a little better and have read all my blogs (right?!?!) you know I am not the mommy blog type, I do not now nor have ever done “play dates”, no I will not pencil you in (unless there is booze involved) and I damn well will not EVER drive a minivan. I am not the good friend that will let you cry on my shoulder, seriously, that is just awkward. I am the friend that you call if you want to get really drunk, forget all your problems, and make real bad decisions that night. I am a certified hot mess, I am a bona fide train wreck, and I am completely OK with that. More than that, I am proud! I fail to remember important dates for the kids’ activities, I don’t pin ideas for their birthday parties, nor do they really get birthday parties, and I do way more “fend for yourself” dinner plans than a mother should with her children, yet they are still here and CPS has not been called on me. I get cranky and impatient with my husband, I don’t cook and clean, like ever, I am by no means a proverbs 31 woman (please, guys, it’s the twenty first century, get with it) and yet my husband still is around and I like to think he enjoys my company or at the least mildly tolerates it. I talk too much, drink too much, eat too much, and curse too much, yet I am still surrounded by amazing people, loving positive family and friends who support and uplift me every day, even though I have not a whole lot to offer them. To be honest I like to think I am a delight to be around and I think we as a society have set this proverbial life bar ridiculously high and need to all chill the squash out.

Alright, back to The Band Wife Life Blog evolution. I was asked the other day what my blog name meant, which I think is self-explanatory, but it occurred to me I have never really explained to anyone, nor to myself, why I started this blog. What started with sharing advice with newer band girlfriends, and concluded in a funny conversation with The Husband about how I could write a book on the last fifteen years of experience, evolved into the crazy idea of making a blog. I have always enjoyed writing and have even flirted with the crazy idea of doing it for a living. I jumped in to blogging with two feet. I just made the decision one day, it was a morning after complaining to one of my sisters about gig season starting and a brain storm occurred. I texted The Husband right after to ask if he honestly thought it was a good idea (Hey, I may be a twenty first century woman but we still work as a team) and then texted my “panel”, which is the group text with my sisters and mother (these ladies are seriously my life line, if you have sisters you probably understand) and I created The Band Wife Life Blog that very day. What started as a fun hashtag I used when posting pictures behind the merch table, or complaints about the husband being away turned into my blog name. I started this blog to attempt at making a habit out of a hobby of mine but as it has evolved I have to start to wonder what’s its purpose. What is my purpose here? I started this blog to entertain people, to have somewhere for people to relate, and because I love to write and have a lot of very important things to say (well, maybe more the former than the latter, but I think I do). One of the reasons I love my mother so much, why we have such a great relationship, and one of my favorite traits of her is whenever I go to her to cry about my life, the mistakes I  have made and how much I am failing at life, her mantra is “oh, honey, I have been there” she never lectures me, she never gives me the shoulda-coulda-wouldas, only complete understanding and knowing I am not alone, I am normal and we are all relatable. This is my goal in this blog, my mother is my inspiration, in blogging and in life. Obviously, I am here to tell my story, personally I love my story, I love telling it. Probably because I love to hear myself talk, but I guess if there is anyone I can help, even a few people then I would be happy. I hope my stories and lessons can be relatable, even if you are not with a musician I think most busy spouses and parents can feel me. Instead of focusing on all the greatness I am (which is a whole lot, I swear) I am here to show you the ugly side of being a human, also.

I am a terrible mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I am sure you have all felt like this. In all our terribleness, all those bad decisions we make that keep us up at night, remember we are all beautiful. You never have to strive to be anyone else. Stop with the expectations, the goals, and read how we all fail daily. Social networking can be toxic, but no matter what a blog, Facebook friend, or Pinterest tells you, you are beautiful. We are all a hot mess of beauty. Live your life chaotically, terribly, happily, apologetically, and as always: Balls to the wall, Baby!