in defense of musicians

11:05 AM

11.13.2017



I would first like to go on record saying that these are strictly MY opinions.

As pretty much everyone is aware of by now, musicians are now at the forefront of the #metoo movement. This weekend my favorite band was highlighted and it's really saddening. I don't defend them (him) or any actions that transpired. I wasn't there, I wasn't involved, so I have no way of truly knowing what went down but unfortunately, I'm inclined to believe that every allegation was true.

I'm writing today not to defend Brand New or Jesse Lacey in particular, but to defend bands and musicians, in general, that may or may not come under scrutiny simply because there is this preconceived idea that guys in bands are douchebags.

I spent my younger years around music. I get it's on a lot smaller scale than most, but I feel like I got to know several people that played music and had young, adoring female fans. I was one of them.

Most people that know me know this story and I'm not going to lay everything out there because it's no one else's business, but considering it plays a huge role in the book I'm writing I figure I may as well say some of this so I can keep writing and not feel like I need to change certain details because all this shit is coming out now. I knew guys in bands for a good portion of my 16-24-year-old life and they are some of the best people I know. Am I aware of all the details of what happened after each show closed? No. Is it possible that some of the same things other musicians are being called out on happened with people I considered friends? Of course. Did I ever get unwanted advances and feel uncomfortable? Sure. Did I ever get wanted advances and succumb to them? Yes, definitely. Am I going to come out now because I was sixteen at the time? Um, no.

And I guess that's where the backlash may come in.

Some people are shitty, but speaking as a young girl who (again on a super-microscopic scale in the grand scheme) was in a similar position a few times, I will say in my case at least, I wouldn't fault the guy. I welcomed the comments and I liked the attention. Does that make it alright? Probably not.

In addition to my own personal experiences with this, I also was a fan of some more notable bands and would gather online with other female fans around the country to talk about them and their music. We would talk about how attractive the guys were and we would joke about marrying them someday (though my drug of choice at the time, Benji Madden, landed Cameron Diaz so he did way better than an awkward chick from Utah). We would travel to shows, sit outside in the fucking gutter in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of the guys who would give us the slightest attention. In fact, the term "gutter" was something we all joked about because not only did we sit there waiting, but our minds went there a few times as we talked about some dirty shit about older guys we never would have a shot with. A few times, we were lucky to meet them and snap a photo, and several times we weren't. Maybe they were already on the tour bus getting it on with some other young lady or maybe they wanted to unwind and have a beer after the show. It doesn't matter now. What matters is the fact that I saw countless of young girls, like myself, wanting to get on that bus. I met several who claimed that they had. I met many, many women who raved about how proud they were that they'd gotten into that circle and had tales to tell. Looking back, they were victims. Looking back, they may be the next to come forward. Just because they were proud of their conquests back then doesn't discount that they were taken advantage of, but it does make it a really fine line and make me wonder which accusations are true and which are for the sake of the bandwagon.

Not all guys in bands do this. Some do, that's just a fact. Some are respectable and may fall under scrutiny just because their profession gives a platform for this kind of topic. It makes me angry and sad for both sides because it makes it really hard to choose who to root for. And as I said before, I have no way of knowing what actually happened because I wasn't there. I just hope that as these stories continue to inevitably surface, it doesn't become another reason to slander and ruin the lives of people who don't deserve it, be it a musician or the victims. I just hope people are mindful. Wrongful accusations happen all the time. And I'll leave that part there. I actually shook writing that because I'm sure that's going to get some eyeball rolls.

I also feel that if this is happening in the music world, it probably is out there and there are probably others keeping their mouth shut and allowing it to happen. Other band members, merch guys, etc. Maybe everyone needs to stop turning a blind eye and actually say something. It probably wouldn't make a difference anyway and I can't even say I would speak up right away if I saw it happening, but I hope that I would. I'm not a qualified speaker on groupie etiquette and I'd never claim to be. I speak only from my own brief experience with the people I know personally and I can see how easy it is for this to get out of hand.

My relationship with a guy in a band was one I hold in the highest regard and even if some actions maybe weren't in the most modest light, I have no issue or question about anything that happened there, though some may claim otherwise. As far as the band I love goes, it makes me really sick to think about the fact that I had no idea this happened and it does change my perspective on them quite a bit. In no way is it okay that men in bands can use their position to take advantage of a young fan no matter how much that young fan throws herself at them and then brags about it later. They should have a higher moral conscience, but sometimes they don't. I see how easy something like that can happen and even with people outside of the "music" industry, I've been put in positions myself where I felt I had to talk or reciprocate because I was just afraid not to. It is a terrifying position to be in for anyone and my heart goes out to them because I can empathize. A lot of musicians abuse their power and are downright assholes, and then there are some musicians that are decent, upstanding human beings. I guess THAT is my point.

To anyone who has been hurt by someone in the music industry, no matter how big or small, my heart goes out to you. And to those who end up in the line of fire and it's unjustified, my heart goes out to you as well.

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