Breaking up (with multiple people) is hard to do
From that point forward, we chose to not only make music together from a real and rough place, but we worked together to educate ourselves on band ethics. We stuck to our guns. Our refusal to deal with shitty promoters and play places that treated bands badly, our fight to make as many shows as possible open to all ages -- these things never made us the most popular. But we didn't want to be popular; we were popular to each other, two loser-feeling girls who just wanted to jam econo.
After a cycle of good and not-so-good drummer situations (note: That old saying about not fucking people you're in a band with? It's true. Don't do that. Ever), we found Fez. The story got better from there: We toured more, played some fun shows, put out a record and made a really too-fancy-to-be-true music video. We all got the image of a piece of John Candy tattooed on our arms.
But now that's ending. Things are good, but the party is over. The jokes are over. The shows will soon be over. The thing I used to do on stage with these two people will cease to exist, no matter how many more times I get on stage with other people -- or even these same people later on, but in a different context. Thinking about the dozen or so songs we created together and played in front of that small number of people who always showed up and how that music will most likely never be played again feels odd.
You know when you're in a relationship and it inevitably ends, and all of those things you used to say to each other, the inside jokes you had, the stories you told each other about each other over and over again, just die? I guess it isn't so much a death as it is a displacement, because those things unique to your relationship only exist when your relationship is alive. After that, they're gone forever. You can try to re-create moments, but it's best when you can let them be memories. Re-creations, like cover bands, are never as good as the real thing. They cheat the original material of the gooey insides that make music/art/love great.
There are millions of different ways to be in a band/relationship, and there are no rules when it comes to how things are supposed to work. But what's important is acknowledging when it's working and knowing when it's not. If it's not, let it go. No one wants to be the relationship that fights in public. No one wants to be the band that played the same ten songs for a decade past their expiration date. At least I don't want to be.
So the next time you see someone who may have just gone through a breakup -- with another person or with a band -- don't ask them why. They probably don't want to talk about it.