After a good seven years of being a musician, and a long eighteen months of being in a band, I have decided that the lies and delusions have gone on far too long. It’s time to talk about one of the world’s most irritating misconceptions: being in a band makes you ‘sexy’. I’ve got some sour news for you- it bloody doesn’t!
So let’s talk about the moment you buy your first electric guitar; you hold it like a newborn child, caress it, and gather it in your shaking arms. “This’ll have the chicks queuing up for sure”, you think to yourself; uncontrollably racing through your brain are mental images of being on a tour bus, struggling to peel off the countless women that grip your limbs like limpets.
You pluck a string and the dream ends.
You see the imaginary swarm of women suddenly releasing their grip, giving you that look of disgust, disappointment and confusion you know oh so well as the cold reality hits you that in fact, you suck at the guitar- you haven’t even had a lesson yet, what did you expect? For months you battle with your desire to be the ultimate guitar-god-cum-sex-icon, and the screechy, clamouring hideousness that is your guitar playing. This ain’t 1977, you have to actually know how to play before being allowed anywhere near a stage. This really isn’t what they said it would be.
Finally you’ve got a band together, you can play some tunes and you’ve got a few gigs lined up. Now is the time to bring that special girl out for a night on the town and show her your insane rock star talents. You pick her up and treat her to a meatball sub on the way to the venue because you want to make this a night to remember- whatever the lady wants, the lady can have, it’s your treat (so long as she doesn’t want a foot-long sub – god forbid!). Hand in hand you arrive at Crusty Joe’s Tavern in the grubbiest avenue of Shoddyville, stepping gingerly through the broken bottles and trying to ignore the scent of cheese and beer that hums through the bar in a heavy cloud as you and your bandmates set up the equipment; you realise your complete audience so far consists of the bartender, a single elderly man, the bartender’s dog and your potential girlfriend.
After a gruelling set, pouring your heart out to an audience of four, you pack up your gear, sweating, dribbling, bleeding at the fingertips, demoralised at the turn out and nauseous from the smell- all in all you are looking irresistible, as ever. Your lady friend compliments your set, and you feel like Jagger himself as you pretend you ‘hadn’t even practised for it’ or that it ‘wasn’t one of your best’ and then all of a sudden, you plummet back to planet Earth with a violent thud as she asks…
“Do you want to buy me another drink?”
You get a funny feeling that you may have to get used to this situation in future, as you feebly explain that they didn’t actually pay you for this one, and since you spent all of your money on that Subway earlier, not only can you not afford to buy her a drink, but you may need to borrow a tenner for the cab ride home. But hey, it’s not all about the glitz, the glamour and the girls- this is just a warning that the old cliché of a guitar being a fast-pass to girls is not one to be taken literally: to be a sex icon you’ve gotta give a little before you can take it back and if that means rehearsing the whole, “I would buy you a drink but…” scenario for years on end, then so be it.
So does being in a band make you instantly sexy? Well, are you playing at the O2 arena with an entourage of dedicated fans to accentuate your supreme importance? Do you have enough cash left after a gig to even buy the poor girl a drink? No? Then you’ve probably got a while before the girls are going to be queuing up, per se, but persevere and keep the dream alive, you sexy beast, you.