Love on the run. Damn that should be a song. It must be a song already, right?!
There's probably a thousand songs about love on the run and a million songs about love. Love makes the world go around right? Yeah it does. And what does love have to do with playing guitar, touring, writing songs and being a musician? Well, just about everything.
I wrote my first real song at age 15 when my little girlfriend and I had some 15-year-old problems. I've been lovesick, in love, heartbroke, heartsick, infatuated, inspired, frustrated, mismated, in lust, out of luck, in the zone, on the phone, girl crazy, uptight, love blind, free flying, locked down, tied up, kicked out, put in, put down, brought home, laid down put to sleep and woken up ever since!
Of course you write sweet songs when your heart is thumping and sad songs when you get crushed. Angry songs and complaining songs. Songs that just ask "why?" Why didn't it work out? One of my favorite records is that old Guitar Slim record, The Things I Used to Do. Man, what a record. I always loved it and it has inspired me in so many ways over the years. But it wasn't until things didn't work out with my son's mother that I really understood that heartbreak Slim was singing his guts out about. And let me tell you, Guitar Slim must have really gotten his heart broke. That whole record is about that woman who he loved but could never tame and every song cuts like a knife.
So I was thinking about all this heart ache and thinking about life on the road and I thought I would write about love on the road. The road can affect your relationships and its an important topic for musicians to really consider both for their mental and spiritual health.
From my experience it's pretty clear. When it comes to touring and women, you're either going to be lonely on the road, lonely at home or you're going to work out a way to travel with the one(s) you love. Of course if you're a player, guitar players included, you can find plenty of love on the run. Let's be honest, there's something about being a musician onstage that the girls love. It's always been that way and it always will be that way. That's a beautiful thing. The stage really makes the difference. I know its true because when I was a street musician I couldn't score to save my life. But the minute I had the band and was on even a little stage I was on fire.
So, you can travel coast to coast and play that guitar and if you've got even just a little game you ought to be able to find some company after the shows. It's a lifestyle choice and although it may be fun for some time, I think most of us find is that ultimately that type of one night romance is somewhat numbing, draining and down right empty. After a while every man wants something real and true. Sure, you can have your fun on the road and fill some of those lonely nights but once that tour is over and you get home to your apartment, the show is over and you're all alone. That's a real lonesome feeling. That's when you really crave a good woman to care for you in a good, solid, honest and trusting relationship. Something real. Something safe and solid. And so finally you maybe meet the ONE and you settle down. When you hit the road, you keep it in your pants and do your woman right. You play your shows and party but after the shows you don't try to meet a girl or get your game on. Nope, those days are over, man! You got something solid, you better do her right.
So now you see it's just the opposite. You're killing it onstage and putting on the show and as a reward for your excellent guitar slinging you are now sleeping alone after the show. Talk about missing your baby, huh? And depending on how solid and secure the relationship is, you may have trust issues arise which lead to insecurities and fights with your better half. I mean it's tough right!?
So how do we make it work?
There's a million ways to try and succeed and I've toured with so many different bands you see every one trying to make it work out in their own way. If you've reached a certain success level and can afford it, you can bring you lady and the kids on the road, cram them in the bus with the band and crew. If you're really getting paid you're loving life with the family bus, the band bus and the crew bus. This is a good career goal to aspire to. Some guys I know like Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson and John Butler often travel with their families and even mothers' helpers. This is definitely a way to make it work. By including the Wifey and the family into the grueling business of touring, everyone is out there and in it together. Living it and loving it, all for the sake of the Music.
One of my favorite musician husband and wife teams is my idol John Hammond and his wife Marla. John and Marla travel the world together and are rarely apart. What a team! When they tour in the U.S., they share the drives. They do everything together and everything is focused on those shows. They're really a solid duo and I find their relationship so loving. They've really made it work and again, they make it work to keep the music going.
My bass player Timo is married with a beautiful daughter and he and his wife Romi share a very honest and loving bond. Because Romi works a full time job, she can't be on the road with their daughter. Timo flys home as much as he can on his days off to see his family and although I'm sure it's tough in many ways. Through love, trust and travel, they make it work.
Honestly, there's so many couples trying to make it work out and it is tough but the real relationships last. There's nothing like the road to put a relationship to the test though. As a musician you've just got to be prepared for this aspect of our life as much as you can. Just like any relationship it takes work, but I think, as a musican, have it really rough and its why you have to think through the life and decisions you make if you really want to make it work.
So whichever path you choose make sure you do it for the music and make sure your better half loves that music like you do. If they don't love it like you do, as as either of you try it's just going to be even harder. The music is on the move so love is on the run. Whatever you're gonna do, do it right, let that love into your songs and treat your woman right.
Keep jamming down and dirty.
G. Love, aka Garrett Dutton, has been the front man and founder of the alternative hip-hop blues group G. Love & Special Sauce since their inception in 1993. Widely known for his upbeat hits "Cold Beverage," "Baby's Got Sauce" and "Hot Cookin'," G. Love returned to his blues and country roots on his latest release, Fixin' To Die (Amazon, iTunes), produced by Scott and Seth Avett. A road dog if one ever existed, G. Love performs roughly 125 shows a year all over the world including Australia, Japan, Brazil, UK, Canada and the U.S. G. Love teamed up with Gretsch to create his own signature model, the Gretsch G. Love Signature Electromatic Corvette, which features a pair of TV Jones® Power'Tron™ pickups, deluxe mini-precision tuners and a cool Phili-green color scheme with competition stripe that would make ANYONE from Philadelphia proud! Check it out here.