Breaking up (with multiple people) is hard to do
My band broke up two weeks ago. For the three or four people who know us and may accidentally find themselves reading this, I won't be discussing why we broke up. Sorry. I know band breakups are really fascinating to everyone who isn't in the band, but it's not really something I can talk about without my bandmates. Besides, that part of the story isn't that interesting, because there was no drama to the split.
There has been drama, of course: When you're a band that's been around for four years and you've been through six drummers and a drum machine, that inevitably creates some human-to-human misunderstandings, arguments and general inappropriate behavior.
But what's interesting to me now is that for four years, we gave ourselves to an entity that was meant to sometimes entertain, always engage and more often than not invoke a lot of irritation. Sometimes, it was just a reaction to resistance. But after our last show goes down in March, we won't be doing any of that anymore. And I'm not sure how to not be doing that, with them, anymore.
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I can't say a band is akin to a marriage, because I've never been in one of those. (But if I do ever con someone into marrying me, I'm going to do it the Emily Nokes way.) I think it is a lot like a relationship, however; we make big decisions together, we travel together, we have to be vulnerable around each other in order to create music. It takes a lot of heart and even more guts to be in a band.
When the band came into my life in 2008, it was unknowingly perfect timing. I had a one-way ticket back to New York City with my name on it, and I was ready to return to the place I had fallen in love with the year before. Then a family situation arose that kept me in Denver, and everything changed. I lost the money on the return ticket. I was depressed.
My friend Valerie was in a similar situation; temporarily home in Boulder for the summer, she was headed for California in the fall. That also did not happen, for reasons out of her control. So there we were, two people with broken plans and bleak outlooks.
We had talked about writing music together before, sending tapes through the mail from my apartment in Brooklyn to her then-home in Portland. That never happened, but we did manage to come together in her dad's church and watch a movie, and that was our first band practice.