I'm interrupting the usual format and timeline of 32 Days on the Road to discuss what its like to be a female doing this music thing we do. At least this female. I talk to people regularly that ask me to share more about life on the road - the good, bad and ugly. It's a vicarious pleasure. It may not be wise to share everything but full disclosure: I enjoy living and sharing it. Though I tend to spare folks from some of the gore, this life is an adventure and as with most things in life, there are two sides to each coin. Realistically, you can't choose half a coin.
This is largely a man's world. What does it feel like for a girl? The everyday adventures of living in close quarters, the variety of man odors one encounters on a daily basis, the endless fart jokes (did you know farts are ALWAYS funny?), the bathroom protocols and unwritten laws are a thing. But honestly, its not much different than a family on that end. And while bodily functions do make for a good read, thats not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the business part.
They say you have to grow a thick skin to be in music, the arts, entertainment and many subjective fields, especially as a woman. I wouldn't say I have a thick skin. Contrary - I've accepted the fact that I am sensitive female human. What I am is: stubborn, often persistent beyond reason, sometimes tunnel visioned, and proud bordering on self-conscious regarding my sense of personal responsibility and value - remark on my work ethic and I'm putty in your hands; tell me I can't and I sure as hell will. I also tend to compartmentalize negative experiences. Either that or I have an incredibly bad memory. On occasion though, topics of conversation lead to memories and its almost like watching a movie for the first time. I'm in disbelief and want to rewind and kick someone in the cajones.
Today, one such precious memory came into play, and now is a good a time as any to share.
A few years back we were booked at an event with a killer line-up that included national acts that I greatly admire. We were the only female fronted band. To make a long story short, the promoter turned out to be a 5 star jack ass and the day resulted in angry fans, angry bands and questionable financial dealings. Hours after the event start time, he was no where to be found. The property demanded cash from him for liability before opening. Managers were telling their bands to pack it up. It was a bad situation for EVERYONE - especially those that traveled from overseas for this one event. But my experience was unique.
Dylan and I tried to troubleshoot a plan to salvage some of the event with the stage manager and even some of the fans outside the venue. Finally the promoter arrived; quite possibly coked out of his skull from the night prior. He wandered around a bit aimlessly and then I approached him - professionally, even gently (as a nice girl should) - to see what was happening. He sought sympathy then was dismissive towards me. A crowd began to gather and he decided to create a scene and cast me as a silly girl. "Chill out, you need a drink", he said. A moment later he looked at me in front the crowd, grabbed his crotch and said something to the affect of, "I've got your Jack Daniels right here." This from a guy who asked of me, in a last stitch-effort to cover his incompetence, if my band could provide backline for his grammy winning artists. This guy felt comfortable enough to behave like this in FRONT of people. When I asked that he write a check before I left the grounds (don't worry --- it bounced), he made it into a scene. If I was a man, his ass as they say, "would have been grass".
So what's a vulgar gesture... Some will say, "get over it". Its the life I chose. Honestly, what should I do? Cower in a corner? Not an option. Neither is being the town crier - it reflects poorly on yourself. So when I've been told someone doesn't want to share a stage with a female artist or some chick (the irony of the drama king) - I get over it. When I hear someone degrading, and belittling a woman in vulgar terms, my choice is to choose not to work with/associate with that person and deal with the short term consequences or deal with my conscience - and allow people to believe what they will of me...the beat goes on. When a peer attempted to manipulate my compassion with lies and lure me to a motel room with threats of a cocaine and booze binge, then freely disparaged me when I called him out on his sorry game, while I was asked to keep it quiet for his sake --- what did I do? I walked and kept walking.
Worse than the obviously challenging, is the "that's cute, she thinks she can do this" condescending attitude that comes from some grown men that are unable to operate a washing machine and refer to women as - the one with the big nose, the big tits, big butt, etc. - the Gollum that walks around like they hold the keys to the kingdom, sits high on their perch, gossiping like a church lady in line at a pot luck, spouting life lessons while......hm....what is it they are doing? Its hard to imagine -- working so hard, posturing just to maintain that ego. Why did this matter again? Wow - did I say that? Harsh. Maybe I am the monster in their closet and not the other way around.
All I know is I just want to work. Pay some bills. Live my life. Love people. But the reality is you have to navigate it with impossible poise; sweat like Mr T, and smell like Grace Kelly. Sometimes, you make a choice to work around some BS or just put it behind you. Some may say that is unfair to me or even morally wrong of me not to sound an alarm. But I haven't got time for the pain and I'm still trying to figure out how to get Mr T in a blond wig.
The good news, people, is I maintain some good company. I know some incredible people and
my bar is set high. Fortunately, for every bad experience, and bad seed I have encountered, I know dozens of men (and women) that would intervene on my behalf if I needed help. And for every hot, steaming turd out there, there's a full militia of good human beings and I suspect if you are reading this, you are one of them.
It is a man's world. That's not me trying to make a statement. To some, women are intruders. To others we are literally, a welcome breath of fresh air in the van.
No Reason for this Picture other than that this is what I feel like on most days - Jumping out o a plane.