At first pass, the hedonistic, glam world of rock music seems an unlikely place for a practising Stoic.
But, then you reflect on the impossible highs and lows of life on the road; the shapeless, twilight, drudgery of tour-bus life and it begins to make sense.
Robbie Robertson famously called it “a goddamm impossible way of life”.
Stoicism – a philosophy of wisdom, courage, justice and temperance; of self-discipline and humble objectivity – could be the deal coping mechanism.
I discovered guitarist Nita Strauss (touring guitarist with Alice Cooper and descendant of composer Johann Strauss II) through her interview on the Daily Stoic.
It’s a short but fascinating discussion:
Five nights a week I get to go on stage and live my dream in front of thousands of people. All the band members get stopped to sign autographs and take pictures with fans on our way in and out of the venue each night. But at the end of those nights, unless our significant other happens to be visiting out on the tour, the musicians end up alone in the dark of the tour bus waiting to arrive in the next city. It’s a dark, flat reminder that the adoration and high of being on stage doesn’t last forever.”
Tips for freelancers, too
Many (most?) musicians are freelancers, hired per session or per tour, or maybe on retainer. Elsewhere, in an interview for Pretty Attitude, Strauss gives advice that applies to all of us:
What advice would you give women entering the music industry?
Always be early. Be polite, respectful, and professional, but don’t take shit from anyone. Remember the people who helped you, and also the people who try to take advantage of you. Be yourself, no matter what direction you’re being pulled. And above all, don’t read the comments!
Nita Strauss has just recently released her debut solo album, from which comes this track…
She talks about getting the Alice Cooper gig – and reveals her professionalism – here…