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Do you have a supportive partner and is it important?


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For those of us who are married or in long term relationships, how important is it to have a partner who supports your music? Bonus question, what do they make of the amount of time you spend on Basschat?

My wife comes to local shows if childcare allows and sometimes will join me on tour for a night. I can play her performance videos and she gives me an honest appraisal of how I am playing. She's musical and I value her opinion. By comparison my mother in law hated the fact that her husband played bass in a band and music was something of a taboo subject in their home. My ex-wife was also pretty supportive and I don't think I have had an unsupportive partner in my musical endeavours since my teens.

Record Store Day on Saturday and the guy next to me flicking through the racks was telling a very bored looking other half about the joys of 180g vinyl. It made me smile as I have been that person and try harder to consider my audience a little more these days. Whilst my wife likes watching performances, she draws the line (understandably) at talk about valves or tone caps! I guess that is what Basschat is for.

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3 minutes ago, Cat Burrito said:

By comparison my mother in law hated the fact that her husband played bass in a band and music was something of a taboo subject in their home. 

Out of interest, why was that? Would she have preferred him to play violin in a string quartet or was music just a big no-no for her?

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13 minutes ago, Happy Jack said:

@Silvia Bluejay isn't just supportive, she's an active and essential member of the team. I quite literally couldn't do what I do without her ... 

And I'm even happy to talk valves and tone caps! Isn't that going above and beyond, huh? :D😎

Seriously though, it's good to have the same hobbies and interests and be able to pursue them as a couple.

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My wife is supportive of my musical endeavours - she has attended gigs, puts up with late dinners twice a week due to rehearsals and when it comes to gear acquisition she has been known to utter the phrase in the guitar shop "if you like it then you should get it".

It makes me sad when I hear of people with unsupportive partners, tales of hiding new basses from them, suspicions of cheating just because they're out playing a gig and other stuff.

It's vital to me to have a supportive partner because frankly I'm a weak, passive person who would probably quit playing to keep the peace.

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21 minutes ago, Barking Spiders said:

Out of interest, why was that? Would she have preferred him to play violin in a string quartet or was music just a big no-no for her?

I think the phrase Gig widow covers it. Probably a case of being a bit thoughtless and selfish too. Interestingly (or annoyingly) my mother in law transfers a lot of her anger about it onto me as I am out playing (or was pre-Covid) despite the fact that it works much better in my relationship with her daughter. Go figure.

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My partner was going out with the guitarist, in my then band, when I met her. So she knows the score. She's a professional sound engineer and has been away on tour for weeks on end, in the past, where I've been the one sat indoors watching Love Island.

My sister, who is married to the guitarist in another of my past bands (there's a theme developing here), hated the fact her husband played in a band. She wanted him to get a proper job, like collecting trolleys at Asda.  It was only when he started to make decent cash, after slogging away for years playing toilets,  that she started to support him and now she's his biggest fan.

My niece has her own touring band and her partner was never supportive of her choice of career (although he used to be a bass player himself and met her at one of her gigs). She's toured the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia, played big festivals and supported bands like the Foo fighters, yet he wanted her to give it all up and get a job in a call centre or something. 

He's history now.

Edited by gjones
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I had a partner in the past who made me wait in Oxford Street M&S for an hour while she looked at the same few rows of practical underwear then as soon as I walk in to Bass Cellar or whatever its "right, you've seen it, can we go?". Amazed that lasted 8yrs. She didn't support my music which was majorly in the back seat to my sporting endeavours. She attended one game. I got to the semi final of the national cup, played alongside and against international players, got man of the match performances in games to keep my side in the tip tier of leagues in the country... And she was coerced in to attending the one game she did. All the time I was a "study widow-er" if there is such a thing, her academic pursuits dictated almost everything in our lives despite nobody getting any joy from it. 

Fast forward a few years... My wife however is AWESOME. When we got together I'd been in bachelor mode for a while and booted the TV to the side of the living room for a modest bass amp and a couple of basses. Hadn't been in a band for a few years. When things got serious she said to me "why have all this kit if you don't use it? You should join a band, fill your boots before we have kids..." so I joined a decent band. I have footage of my pregnant wife dancing with her parents at my 2nd or 3rd gig. She makes sure we have the option to visit Denmark Street if we are in London and has even TOLD me to buy guitars that I like (in a supportive way, meaning "you really like that style, if there aren't many about you should get it. It's your money..."). Now we have two kids I did a deal on gigs, the gig money goes in the kids savings account. They had a few good years before covid. Now for rehearsals I can't go out until we've got both kids asleep. 

In my main band three of the others have kids, luckily older than mine so they fully understand that sometimes I'm not going to be there to set up for gigs but I'm always on time to get the gig started. In my new venture the singer has a kid younger than my youngest, so the pair of us are often rushing to get to an 8pm rehearsal. Everyone understands and nobody is a n0b about it. 

Put simply, my wife is AMAZING. She is supportive and every single parcel that arrives raises a shout of "is this another guitar bit?!" She doesn't understand the constant buying and selling but she knows I won't spend money I don't have and I sell stuff to make the cash to buy new stuff. 

Edited by uk_lefty
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My wife has been brilliant. When kids were younger the only restriction on gigs was nothing weekend daytime. She hasn't been into the music I've been playing in the past, so now kids are older she doesn't come to gigs, but a change in musical style post lockdown could help there.

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My partner is fairly supportive I suppose (or maybe just not actively unsupportive) - she has no problem with me rehearsing/gigging - but not when it comes to me buying gear. She’s never happy with me buying gear, or having gear left out around the house. And she would never in a million years dream of buying me gear. 

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58 minutes ago, neepheid said:

It makes me sad when I hear of people with unsupportive partners, tales of hiding new basses from them, suspicions of cheating just because they're out playing a gig and other stuff.

It's vital to me to have a supportive partner because frankly I'm a weak, passive person who would probably quit playing to keep the peace.

Passive person generally trying to keep the peace here too. My partner once made me take a bass back to the shop. It was an impulse buy, an absolute bargain too and I had the money, but in the end it just wasn’t worth the grief. And I’ll admit that just made me somewhat more surreptitious when buying, so completely defeated the object. 

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I’ve never been in a relationship long enough for these types of things to emerge but I do recall a drummer in a previous band saying that his girlfriend had told him he no longer needed to be in a band as now he had her. 

For me that would equate bin, and bin now. In fact I don’t think I’d even respond I just would cut someone with that attitude from my life completely.
 

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I don't consider a "supportive" partner to be important. I certainly wouldn't tolerate one who was actively opposed to my playing (and would not hang around if that turned out to be the case), but I'm happy for me to do my thing and for her to do hers.

My late partner would occasionally come to see me play and I would occasionally go to functions, etc at the university she worked at, but we didn't feel the need to be in each other's pockets the whole time.

Keeps you more interesting to each other when you each have your own lives/passions.

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My current partner lets me hang four of my basses and guitars on her living room wall as she think's they're lovely to look at ☺️. She'd support me if I was playing in a band but as she thinks my taste in music is largely pantastic whether she'd come and watch me would depend on what the band played. My previous ex was also supportive to an extent but thought the band I was in at the time made a godawful racket 😁. My second wife was highly strung, jealous and didn't trust me. She thought the singer was a player and would've led me down the wrong path. He was and I did, but it was a self-fullfilling prophecy. I thought as I was being accused of dirty shenanigans I might as well do something to be guilty of.

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14 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

I’ve never been in a relationship long enough for these types of things to emerge but I do recall a drummer in a previous band saying that his girlfriend had told him he no longer needed to be in a band as now he had her. 

For me that would equate bin, and bin now. In fact I don’t think I’d even respond I just would cut someone with that attitude from my life completely.

I assume that is Lee? When we did the Ex-Boyfriends reunion show, she meant that a band reforming 15yrs later couldn't hang out because she kept him away. The sad thing is prior to this his Facebook page said "Happy - hit drums, sad - hit drums, any problem - hit drums" which rather suggests it was quite important to him! An irony not lost that they met at a gig... that he was playing!?

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38 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

I’ve never been in a relationship long enough for these types of things to emerge but I do recall a drummer in a previous band saying that his girlfriend had told him he no longer needed to be in a band as now he had her. 

For me that would equate bin, and bin now. In fact I don’t think I’d even respond I just would cut someone with that attitude from my life completely.
 

I would totally agree, but sometimes it depends how far into the relationship you are. Relationships are unfortunately often extremely complex things. 

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48 minutes ago, Dan Dare said:

My late partner would occasionally come to see me play and I would occasionally go to functions, etc at the university she worked at, but we didn't feel the need to be in each other's pockets the whole time.

To me that equates as supportive. Need a certain strength of relationship for that to work.

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54 minutes ago, Cat Burrito said:

I assume that is Lee? When we did the Ex-Boyfriends reunion show, she meant that a band reforming 15yrs later couldn't hang out because she kept him away. The sad thing is prior to this his Facebook page said "Happy - hit drums, sad - hit drums, any problem - hit drums" which rather suggests it was quite important to him! An irony not lost that they met at a gig... that he was playing!?

Yes, used to come to all our gigs at a specific venue, then once they were together he quit. Shame, for the music we were doing he was a bloody good drummer - and a great laugh too, a good bloke to be in a band with.

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45 minutes ago, Lozz196 said:

Yes, used to come to all our gigs at a specific venue, then once they were together he quit. Shame, for the music we were doing he was a bloody good drummer - and a great laugh too, a good bloke to be in a band with.

If the decision was on balance one he was happy with, then that’s fine. But if it was an “or else”, that’s terrible.

However in situations where there is a house and/or kids/pets etc, or where the relationship is a long-standing one, it can get really complicated. 

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My first wife was OK about my playing, so long as I didn't spend too much on gear (but that was long before the internet came along and infected us all with GAS). She didn't take a very active interest in, would occasionally come along to hear us at a gig. 

Second wife (the Finnish years) was dead against it - she specifically said that if I started playing in a band I'd be playing in nightclubs and see pretty women there and would leave her. So I didn't play in bands, or go to nightclubs, but it still didn't last.

Third wife (the current Mrs D.) has been very supportive. Quite happy for me to have my amp & cab in the living room, doesn't mind how many bits of kit I buy and actively discourages me from selling stuff. She comes to some gigs, but it's not her sort of music, though if she is required to help out, she's doesn't complain. She was the ticket seller at the Grateful Dude's gigs during my time with them, even though I have failed to convince her of the wonder of the Dead. She also drives me to and from gigs when I can't drive - such as when I was recovering from my bike accident a few years ago and more recently because my driving (especially at night) is restricted by an eye problem at the moment.

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1 hour ago, Lozz196 said:

Yes, used to come to all our gigs at a specific venue, then once they were together he quit. Shame, for the music we were doing he was a bloody good drummer - and a great laugh too, a good bloke to be in a band with.

He was the other half of a rhythm section with me for six years. Agree with all of that!

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I met my wife when I was 18- this year will be 25 years since we met, and we've been married for 16.

Even when we first met I was already gigging or rehearsing about 5 nights a week, so it's part and parcel of who I am- she knew what she was getting! She's not particularly musical, and doesn't really give a toss about the fact that I'm a musician, which I think is great- our relationship is based around us rather than any notion of being cool or exciting, and any opinion she gives on how a gig went is based on face-value, the way most punters view the performance.

She generally lets me make my own decisions about purchases so long as the money is there, and on the rare occasions that she isn't comfortable with me buying something, I don't do it. I've missed a couple of bargains but it's worth it for her comfort, even if the reason was simply that she was having a bad day.

I only gave up other work once the music was paying enough to do so, so while we could be better off if I did something more consistent and better respected, the matter of income hasn't really been an issue either.

Regarding Basschat, she has noted that I spend a lot of time on that bloody phone. And she's correct!

She had more than her fair share of shìtty treatment growing up, and into adult life from her family, but she is a little sweetheart, and I'm very lucky.

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