Excuse Me, I'm Not With the Band
My husband, Meeester is in a band. In fact he’s been in two bands since I met him.
I hooked up with him 16 years ago despite the fact that he is a musician. I never ever wanted anyone ever to label me as a groupie.
When Meeester was in his first band in his twenties, they toured all over the place. They went from Boston to Belarus, from Norway to Paris to Vienna. A wonderful time was had by all. I never went with them, for, unlike Anita Pallenberg, I am NOT with the band.
I went on one trip and vowed never to go again.
So, for all of you wannabe groupies, take heed, for this is the grim reality what being a groupie consists of.
You will drive hundreds of miles in a van that only goes up to 50mph if the wind is in the right direction. You will empty your entire bank account into the pockets of motorway service station owners along the way. You would have brought sandwiches but how rock and Roll is a lunch box? Answer: Not very.
The van may also break down at various intervals. You will be expected not to whine on these occasions.
You arrive at the venue and will wait outside whilst band find the bloke they need to speak to before setting up. This guy is always called Dave (or Donny, if you’re in the Western Isles). He is always not there yet.
Alone for the first time, you will have to chat to the drummer’s girlfriend, who is different from the last girl you saw him with and different from the girl you will see him with next.
You think, “I’d better chat to her, but I don’t want to invest too much as she’ll be history come this time next month. She’s nice, but I will try not to get too attached”
You will grudgingly help with the load in. Never do heavy lifting, just take a token amount of cables in, that’s your lot.
Never ever carry a bloke’s guitar for him. Nothing says, “I’m with the band” like a lassie carrying her man’s axe. Meeester made me do this on Saturday at a festival because he had too much else to carry and I was not happy at breaking this fundamental rule of mine. This is the first time in 15 years that I have done it. Rest assured, I did whine about it.
And I’ve seen it happen so many times before. See girlfriend carry man’s guitar, man has no respect for girlfriend. She’s on her way out. Only people who play guitars should carry guitars. I carry my handbag and myself only. I feel jinxed now.
Shut UP! How annoying! Do anything else than hang around for the sound-check. Go for a walk, go for a pint, go run at a wobbly spear. Just distance your ear drums from “Bang! Bang! Bang!” “ Tchoo Thcoo Tcchoo! One-Tcchooo!”
Sound-checks will also take forever. Don’t plan on seeing your man any time soon. More chat with the soon to be ex-girlfriend of the drummer will be the order of the day.
You will be forced to eat a crappy take-away. Few bands have their own chef, you know, and catering tents are only at festivals.
For the common and garden touring band and their entourage, it’s chips or a kebab or nothing. And if it’s in the Highlands of Scotland you better hope you arrive in town before seven o’clock or everything will be closed and you will all be fighting over a Pot Noodle that someone bought earlier from the last open petrol station, 150 miles away.
If you're lucky, you will get to watch your man’s band play for 40 mins on stage . However, even this is fraught with anxiety as you spot other women drooling over your boyfriend at the front of the stage. These girls are legion and want desparately to live the groupie dream. These girls have not read blogs like this; they have read the many salacious memoirs of Pamela Des Barres or Pearl Lowe and want a piece of the groupie action.
The Earning Your Keep.
This is not a euphemism for groupie like sexual attention. You will be expected to help out and sadly this doesn’t mean being asked up on stage to duet with your loved one, Sonny and Cher style.
You may be asked to sell band merchandise (or hand out flyers, see this for more). This will involve stopping folk from nicking stuff, haggling with you or fending off drunken advances from cretins.
Worst of all, you may be sat outside in the cold corridor, unable to even see the band at all. You will have traveled hundreds of miles to sit in a corridor with condensation running down the walls and sell five t-shirts and a couple of CDs. Rock and Roll!
The After Gig Party
After the gig the band will want to relax, have a few drinks and wind down. You will still be selling merchandise.
If you’re lucky your man may come and offer you a drink from the rider. You will be disappointed when the rider doesn’t have any chilled Chardonnay. You will force down a warm can of McEwan’s Export instead and instantly need the loo and be unable to go because you can’t leave the merchandise.
When you finally pack up and join the band you will find a much younger woman hitting on your man. You will approach and be ignored by her. Your man may even introduce you as his girlfriend to her and she will still ignore you and carry on trying to bed him. At one point, either of you are going to have to find an unlocked cupboard and kick her into it and lock it behind her to get rid of her. Either that or the bass player will snap her up mid-punt, keeping everyone happy.
But make no mistake, these women will stop at nothing and you must be very secure in your relationship to be able to tolerate it and not want to go all Yoko Ono on their asses.
Invariably you will discover the accommodation for the band has enough beds for band members only. Or worse, is one room only. Or worse, doesn’t exist and you all have to sleep in the van or at some random’s house.
Wannabe groupies may think hanging out with the band will mean wild sex with your chosen bloke in a series of luxurious hotel rooms. Sorry, that is rarely the case. There is nothing sexy about being squashed in a nylon sofa in a single sleeping bag with your snoring boyfriend whilst listening to the drummer and his new girlfriend getting it on 1 metre away from you.
The next day
Drive hundreds of miles to do it all again.
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