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Ask Metal GF: Creativity, Touring, and Trends

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Please send real questions to askmetalgf AT metalsucks DOT net. I’m serious and I really want to help you. You can also follow me on Twitter!

Dear MetalGF,

I’m a busy guy — I play in a few bands, do other metal-related music things often for full days on the weekend in a recording studio and also work a full time desk job on top of this.  My partner (and me too) is having difficulty dealing with the ratio of time spent with her and time spent on my creative outlets, in which she cannot participate, seeing as how she’s not a metalhead.  How do I balance my time and responsibilities across music with friends and time with my partner.  Help!

xo,
BUSY AF in Brooklyn

This is a hard one. One band alone with a full-time job is already a lot in terms of time commitment and energy, but it sounds like you are doing even more than that. Often in NYC, I will ask someone, “How are you?” And their answer is often, “BUSY.” Does this mean “good” or “bad,” or is it a third murky category? I am unsure. Are you good busy or bad busy or just busy? It is time to check in with yourself regarding your levels of fun, gratification and self-care.  As an academic advisor at a demanding university, I see busy people A LOT. Often a student will say to me, “I want to double major, study abroad, do honors, take this internship at the UN, and have a full social life.” And do you know what I say to them? “You can’t do everything, and that’s okay.” I give them permission to take it a little easier, and they seem to need to hear this. 

There are only so many hours in the day, and having work/life balance, getting enough sleep, and having a high quality of living (as opposed to just filling every single hour) is important, and probably something you will value more and more as you get older. You can certainly try to do it all for as long as you can. it But it is also okay to not do EVERYTHING. Do you need to work weekends? Do you need to be in several bands? And if the answer is “Yes,” do you need to stay in the relationship as well? Is it working for you, and ultimately fulfilling, to do it all? It sounds like you are having trouble, and so is the person you love (or like a lot). You may be spreading yourself thin. Something’s gotta give eventually. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to do everything and be everyone, just do the things you need to do to feel fulfilled, engaged and at peace.

Busy-ness is a modern condition and it is also, to an extent, a choice. You sometimes have to create space in your life to just let your mind wander or zone out or go to the movies with your gf/bf. When my life feels busy, I schedule a day to not do anything, and I stick to that plan. So if I tell myself, “Tuesday is my day to do nothing after work,” I take it as seriously as if it was a plan with a friend. Honor thyself! I repeat: it is okay to not fill every minute. And if you’re not ready to make that transition yet, that is alright, too… but know that when you are, you are in control of your time and how you use it. This article, “Life is Too Short to be Busy,” is interesting, and seems relevant to you.

Dear Metal GF,

My partner plays in a (significant) band that’s started to get heavier tour offers. People actually care about them, and it seems like they actually have a chance to go out and live their dream. My only concern is how much time they could potentially spend on the road — they just got signed to a big touring agency — and what effect that would have on our relationship. My friends tell me its not unlike people who go traveling on business all the time, and that I shouldn’t be worried. But I’m not sure I want to be involved in a continuously long-distance relationship. 

BTW, I’m not worried about groupies or anything, because nobody you’d want to have sex with listens to this music.

– Schvitzing in St. Louis

Long Distance Relationships (or “LDRs,” as they will be called going forward) are only for the strongest among us. I personally do not enjoy them. If I am in a monogamous relationship with someone, I want to be able to eat dinner with them and lay around together on a Sunday rewatching the season of Friday Night Lights where the writers were on strike. For me, the point of being with someone is actually physically BEING WITH SOMEONE, not just texting them “I miss you” in different creative ways all week long. This is just how I feel, of course, and I know LDRs do work well for some people.

In this case, I am going to have to go with the age-old but often correct proverb, “If you love something, set it free.” It sounds like your partner is living out their dream doing what they love, and they should be able to enjoy that without having ties to home and a relationship that will require work. If fame in music is what they want — and it probably is — that needs to be their focus right now. Of course, you can stay in each other’s lives and remain connected through this adventure. I’m having a friend to keep them grounded will be helpful to your partner. Ultimately, though, my advice would be to give your partner the gift of freedom during this unique and amazing opportunity. It is a special time in their life that will mostly likely not last forever.  The rest of the proverb should say it all:  “If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.” Trust me, either way it works out will be a blessing for both of you. You don’t want to force it and you don’t want your partner or you to have regrets. Let Jesus take the wheel on this one, Schvitzing! 

Hi Metal GF,

Last night I walked by a hip clothing outlet in downtown Manhattan that had a Napalm Death LP next to Taylor Swift on a window display. What gives? Why does the mainstream always co-opt our culture? Taylor Swift SUCKS. Death Metal rules.

– PowerViolence4Ever

Metal is really fashionable right now. I’m sorry for your loss. 

Also, Taylor Forever!

Special thanks to executive producer Maximus Frank.

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