People always talk about football being America’s pastime, but I still think that title should go to beer, which is also the rest of the world’s pastime. In fact, half of the reason that America’s pastime is football is because watching it often involves drinking beer. It’s a notable observation that athletes and musicians – AKA jocks and band geeks – don’t always have the greatest overlap in interests or other things in common. But they both tend to like beer. The difference between an athlete and a musician is that while the former can’t drink on the job, the latter often do. But as with all drinking, uncontrolled, there can be consequences. Here’s a guide to simple drinking: for musicians.
1. Watch Your Shots!
Shots rock. Falling off something or breaking something in a drunken rage or blacking out and projectile vomiting everywhere and basically anything that will ruin your show for your bandmates and other people do not rock. You should know your limits. You should not ruin the show. Follow accordingly.
2. Band Money Goes to the Band, not your Gut.
Does your band have a lot of money? If you’re reading this, probably not. That said, your band money should be going to getting you to the next town, or paying for your next release, or making your money back on the last 7” – not more booze. When you become able to make a little bit of a living and then some, you can start spending that money on beer. Maybe someday you’ll actually be able to afford good beer. Until then though, what do you think you’re doing with our night’s pay at the bar, man?
3. Be. Able. To. Play!
Have you ever seen a band so drunk they can’t play? If not, the internet is a great place for observation. When people go to see your band, they stick around to watch you in hopes that you’ll actually be fun to watch. Drunk messes are often not all that fun to watch, however.You might think it’s funny, but you’re too inebriated to understand that you’re probably letting a lot of people down and looking like a fool.
4. Have a Sober Dude.
I have a weird obsession with the punk band Dillinger Four. I could go into probably ten or twenty reasons why I’m such a big fan – for instance, they’ve been around for twenty one or twenty two years and still have an Angelfire website – but on a slightly serious note, they love to drink. Like, a lot. I saw an interview (one of the few on video) with their guitarist/vocalist Erik Funk where he revealed that the band always brought a straight edge roadie. I’m not a heavy drinker (two or three beers is good with me, if that), but I always thought this was a good idea. Not only can the sober guy be the one who drives, but he can sell merch, handle money, and more. It’s a really good idea. Also, typically when a drunk person does something stupid – like drive, and therefore cause an accident – they are the ones at fault. So sober guy? Good idea.
5. Do NOT Sneak Booze to Underagers.
Okay okay okay – so these venues let you play at their facility. That’s right, they let you play – it’s a privilege not a right. And you choose to thank them and the scene they contribute to by putting them in danger of getting them shut down? C’mon, dude. Beer is good – but so is a place that fosters to a music community. A lot of venues cater to all ages by keeping a bar open to those of age because show sales alone unfortunately can’t pay rent. Furthermore, if a venue is ONLY all ages with no bar section, don’t give your city any reason to criminalize teenagers and musicians/art communities. It’s not a matter of “we won’t get caught” because people get caught all the time and places get shut way more often than you realize. If you’re going to let underage kids drink, don’t put the rest of us and our community and bands at risk. C’mon.