Bandmates require time, attention, patience, forgiveness, stimulation, trust, and a general sense of commitment, same as a partner, and I believe that band relationships are just as important as any romantic relationship. They’ll become a part of your life, good or bad, and if you’re going to stay together all these things need to be addressed. That’s what this column is here for: to discuss why bands fight, why bands work or don’t work, why bands succeed, and why bands break up. In almost every way this is kind of a relationship column, to examine the fragile relationships that you have with your bandmates.
None of us that contribute to MRR were told ahead of time that the magazine was going to cease print publishing, we found out via social media just like everyone else. It sounded like a lot of us were really upset about that and felt blindsided and disrespected. I for sure felt blindsided, but what made the whole thing hurt a little less was that I was in the same boat as everyone else. Immediately I started getting texts from people saying “No more MRR??” or trying to ask if I had any more information, and I got to feel like a member of the same community with them. I didn’t know any more than anyone else, so I was given the chance to grieve and reel from the blow with everyone else. That was a really hard and scary day, but I appreciated feeling some camaraderie amidst the stunned silence. We had a meeting at the compound seven days later and I came in with a few big ideas to help turn this ol’ ship around and save the cause. We were told more details and more about the financial and personal realities that Maximum faces, and slowly each of my ideas became obsolete. This wasn’t a meeting to figure out how to save global print media in 2019, it was a meeting to let us know that it was time to move on. Obviously no one in the room was happy to hear that, and no one instinctually wants to walk away from a good feeling thing, but the reality of the situation was that it’s time to figure out where to go from here. It’s hard to convince someone that there’s no other way, but putting them in a situation where there are no other options forces them to accept it that much faster. At least that way they’ll move closer to the healing process without wasting time wondering, in my experience.
I’ve described this column as a relationship column for bands, and I tend to tongue-in- cheek compare it to romantic relationships and find similarities. Truthfully I often call on my romantic history almost as much as my history with bandmates when dealing with heavy things like this. My first relationship lasted for eight and a half years, from the time we were 17 years old to 25. We lived together, we had a dog together, we paid bills together, we talked about marriage and the future together. The last two years we were together were rough, but looking back it was more like the last four years. Regardless of how bad or uncertain things got I always assumed that we’d work it out. I saw her as family and family doesn’t leave because of a fight. Worst case scenario we’d get couples counseling or something and become better because of it. We had a big fight one night and she laid out that she wasn’t happy. I heard what she was saying but still didn’t take it seriously enough to believe that this could be the end. Things got worse, and then much better out of nowhere, and then nothing. She totally checked out, and then admitted that she had slept with someone else. Nothing has ever hurt me like that before, but honestly there was a sense of closure from it. She knew that we were both growing into different people and that ultimately we needed to move on from each other at some point. She also knew that my personality wouldn’t let me accept that and I’d spend the rest of my life internally trying to fix a model that we had grown out of. So she knew that she needed a death knell for our relationship. This way there was no going back, and therefore no use in thinking too much about it. I’ve learned so much about letting things go because of that. Maximum Rocknroll making the announcement publicly before telling those of us that contribute was the right move. Otherwise all of us would have broken the doors of the compound down with schemes to get us back to how things were fifteen years ago. The reality is this decision was a long time coming, and the best way to move forward is to adapt to the world that we live in rather than trying to hold on to the practices of a world that no longer applies to us in 2019. I’ve written a few BD issues about the scene changing, friends and venues closing or moving, bandmates moving on, and this is another example of just that. At some point everything ends, but more often than not it’s because we’ve outgrown what we originally knew it to be. It’s not like giving CPR to a corpse, and it’s not like leaving our best years behind us. It’s just like it always is: things come to an end when we grow out of them, and the only place to go is the next scary and uncomfortable place that fits who we’ve become.
(I also what to note that I recognize that I just compared MRR’s announcement to my ex cheating on me, and I want to communicate clearly that those are two suuuper different things. I didn’t mean to compare the two, only that the blow that I felt from the later was much easier to digest due to the things that I learned from the former.)
Each month BAND DRAMA will either be reviewing a universal issue that all bands face, or I’ll be reviewing one of your band’s issues. If you’d like a fresh perspective, advice, or just to vent in general (anonymously or not) reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve been in a lot of bands for the past sixteen years, which means that I’ve been in a lot of bands that have ended or failed. I’d like to think that I’ve grown from each, learned from each, and taken the time to reflect on each failure or success. I’m also still learning and experiencing and I always will be. So I want to share what I’ve learned, as well as learn from all y’all punks in bands too.