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Sludge In The City #5!


Looking for a real-life dish on the lives and escapades of rock?s best and worst stars? Metal Sludge found it?s own Carrie Bradshaw in Tawny Brown, a chick whose stiletto pumps have more notches in them than we can count. She?s agreed to kiss and tell in her new column, Sludge in the City. From her exploits dating musicians and rock stars to her adventures working in the music industry, there is very little Tawny won?t reveal.

Surviving a romance with music
Tawny Brown

It started when I was seven. Every day I?d camp out in front of the television to watch the love of my life, Davy Jones. No one could convince me that the Monkees? television show was actually a rerun, and I set out on a major letter writing campaign, imploring the band to come over to my house and play a show for me in my back yard. I was heartbroken when I recently learned that my rotten parents never mailed my letters.

Though I never did get that private performance from my first favorite band, the love of music and musicians stuck. (As did my mother?s conspiracy to deny me the pleasure, I suspect.) I?ve never been able to adequately explain to my doubtful friends and family just what it is that fuels my romance with music. They see the turmoil I go through, they buy the shots when I swear I?ll never date another musician, so I don?t entirely blame their skepticism.

There are even times when I wonder if maybe I should have listened to my mother and found a ?normal? guy to date. But somehow I doubt my love life would have been any less complicated, and it certainly wouldn?t have been as interesting. Besides, now that I?ve learned a few things about myself in the process, things have gotten easier. Sort of.

It?s taken a lot of trial and error to get to this point. I?ve been through some of the most heart-wrenching relationships ever, from behaving like a psychotic freak with Red Blinker, a Grammy-winning jazz drummer (though I?m guessing he left off his resume a brief stint slumming it in the studio with a certain raspy hair band) to being kept by The Warden, a guitarist who was so irrationally jealous, he wouldn?t let me go to the hair salon alone out of fear I may enjoy getting my hair shampooed too much.

To be honest, I still feel a bit bad about what happened with Red. He was a tremendously nice guy who offered me a great deal and I made a complete mess of everything. He is the one person from my past who would probably never return my call if I happened to try. And I can?t say that I would blame him.

Red and I met when he was touring with a female vocalist and maintained a cross-country friendship for several years. Flirty phone calls, letters, and random dinners when he was in town finally gave way to steady dating when I moved to his city. My move was for work, not him, though the extra friend in town was definitely an added bonus.

However, as much as I liked Red, I have to admit I always felt slightly uncomfortable with him. His life was so vastly different from my own that I was never entirely sure what he was doing with me. I was a struggling writer desperately attempting to build my career and he was a wildly successful musician with a fucking Grammy sitting on his fireplace. There were nearly fifteen years between us in age. Why on earth did he want to be with me?

The obvious answer, I assumed, was sex. In my wacky brain, I figured the only way I could be sure of his intentions would be to withhold all sex indefinitely. If the dinners and party invites stopped, I?d know what he was really after. But Red continued to call even after several months of stopped kisses at my door and refusals to spend the night. His interest in me actually seemed to increase. Suddenly, Red was asking me to go furniture shopping with him and there was talk about going to his hometown to meet his parents. He even wanted me to house sit for him while he went on a brief tour.

To any normal chick, these would all be perfect indicators of genuine interest. Instead of responding in kind, I freaked. Red?s life was too much for me. At the time, I saw myself more as a crazy rock chick than the sophisticated woman I thought would better fit Red. Of course, I was struggling through my early 20s, a time when a chick?s real self-image is just beginning to develop. I didn?t really know who I was, and I just didn?t see in myself what Red did. The thought of building any sort of relationship with him terrified me.

It would be nice if I could say I backed out of the relationship gracefully. Unfortunately, a string of job layoffs combined with my irrational fear of committing to Red turned me into a raving bitch. When he called to console me about my job situation and suggest he take me out for the night to cheer me up, I let loose with such a string of verbal pyrotechnics, I?m amazed he didn?t hang up on me.

?I?d be better off hiding under my bed with my cat than going out with you,? I yelled. ?You?re asking way too much of me when I have nothing to give.?

Poor Red didn?t know what to make of any of it and suggested I talk to him when I was feeling better. Eventually, I came to my senses, but I was too embarrassed to ever call him back.

I got my karmic retribution for what I did to Red with The Warden, a guitar player I?d met while working post production on his band?s music video. He seemed like a completely decent guy at first. But when we started dating exclusively, he turned into the most manic, mean, possessive guy on the planet. I suppose I should have seen that coming, the guy was insane about everything he owned. God forbid someone touch one of his guitars, all of which were locked in a special climate-controlled room. Even his cats required permission to pet.

Despite the fact that he spent a good portion of his musical career carousing with groupies, The Warden claimed to have an intense hatred of them. There was no lesser form of person on the planet as far as he was concerned. I?ve never made any secret of my dating history to anyone I?ve been with, so why he started dating me in the first place is a mystery. But The Warden certainly did everything he could to try to erase my past.

He actually went through my cd collection and threw out the albums from guys he knew I?d been with, claiming that because I had him, I didn?t need to think about anyone else. The smart thing would have been for me to end the relationship at that scary juncture, but somehow I felt compelled to prove my worth to him.

I didn?t stand a chance. To him, the fact that I had musicians as ex boyfriends made me an instant whore. No matter what I did, I was subject to unrelenting examination. All my coworkers became suspects in an elaborate ring of affairs. It got so awful that I began to dread listening to the radio or watching television with him, because the wrong song would set him off on a viscous tirade. I finally ended the relationship when he accused me of trying to kill his cats. Apparently, forgetting to feed the cats one night when I had to work late is tantamount to attempted murder.

We had one of those horrible break-ups that involve screaming, petty arguments over who gets a shared cactus, and eventual restraining orders. I can only hope he gets an incurable itchy rash for all the grief he caused me.

My dating situation has thankfully improved over time. Not that being with a musician ever gets any easier, things like taking second place to band practice, studio sessions, and tours never change. But what I do have some control over is my personal comfort within a relationship. Being happy with myself now prevents me from suffering through a miserable situation just to try and prove my worth to someone who doesn?t deserve it. I also no longer run when presented with the prospect of commitment and intimacy.

And to my credit, I?ve gotten much better at selecting the right guy to be with. I may even know a musician my mother would approve of? But that?s an entirely different story for another day. Right now, I seem to be surviving my musical romance with minimal blood loss, and that?s good enough for now. ?

Note: The names have been changed to protect the innocent, the not-so-innocent, and the lying, cheating scumbags from their wives? wrath when they get off tour. Any resemblance to persons living, dead, in rehab or in jail is purely coincidental.

As a service to the people out there who have yet to put their sanity on the line over a closet full of failed rock and roll relationships, I offer a few suggestions:

Tawny?s Personal Guide To Dating a Musician

1) A bit of class will always get you further than a piece of ass.

2) Accept the fact that you can NEVER compete with music.

3) Being happy with yourself (and that includes appreciating every inch of your own body) will make for better sex, better conversations, and better times all around.

4) Get over your past and accept his.

5) It really is okay to go to his shows. Just don?t make it a point to go to every show, or spend the entire night marking your territory.

6) It is also okay to be friends with other members of your guy?s band. Just remember whom their loyalty is to, and that everything you say will get back to your man.

7) I don?t care how well you sing or play piano, stay the hell off the stage.

8) It is entirely inappropriate to make wardrobe suggestions to anyone in the band.

9) Stay off the message boards. Really. Everyone knows who makes the obnoxious anonymous posts.

And now, because I highly doubt any of you rockers out there know what we go through as your significant others, I offer:

Tawny?s Personal Guide To Dating For Musicians

1) Realize that you really do have time between all your furious self promotion, rehearsals, and shows to reply to an email or phone call.

2) If an important show or session is scheduled on a birthday, anniversary, or other significant event, understand that it will never be met with initial enthusiasm.

3) Don?t make your girl ask to go to your shows. Invite her.

4) Don?t underestimate your chick in any respect. She probably knows more than you think she does.

5) If she?s moaning and arching her back, she?s loving it. If she?s gritting her teeth and dead silent, she?s not having as much fun as you.

6) Share your music with her. She wouldn?t be with you if she didn?t want to be a part of it in some small way.

Got something to say about Tawny’s column at Metal Sludge? Well don’t fucking bother us about it! Send all questions, comments, hatemail and other associated feedback to tawny@metalsludge.tv.

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