This story is over 5 years old.


How to Survive Being the Only Dude in a Band

More tampon talk, less farting.

When I read Mariel Loveland’s piece “How to Survive Being the Only Girl in a Band,” I knew I had to respond in some way. Well, "respond" maybe isn’t the right word. I don’t actually disagree with anything she said. In fact, it’s all solid advice. Useful, too, given the recent proliferation of bands featuring one woman among three or four men. But what if you’re the only dude in a band? How many of those bands can you even name? That’s what I thought.


I happen to be the only person with testicles (and a penis!) in Ides Of Gemini, a band that features two ladies. I occasionally like to think of myself as a modern-day Ike Turner—minus the beatings, coke rage, and the sense that I actually control anything. Truth be told, it’s not difficult being the only dude in Ides Of Gemini. The ladies of Gemini don’t complain about carrying gear. They don’t complain about long drives. They don’t even complain about going without a shower for a day or two—mainly because they make damn sure that rarely happens. In fact, if they complain about anything, it’s usually about me and why I won’t stop complaining. I really don’t have much to bitch about, though. I just follow these simple steps…


Let’s assume for a second that you’re the person in your band who takes care of business. You correspond with booking agents, venues, record labels, etc. You handle the merch, you settle up with the promoter after a show. Shit, you might even compose the basic musical foundation for all of your band’s songs. If your band is comprised entirely of dudes or has any ratio of men that outnumbers women, doing all that stuff might put you in a position of power. After all, male-dominated societies tend to snap into clearly defined hierarchies. But if you’re outnumbered by women two to one? You control nothing. Repeat: NOTHING. There are probably one or two things you’re dead-on-balls positive that you’re the absolute master of, but they’re just letting you think that because they know your inner caveman will throw a shit fit if he ever realized how truly powerless you are. So remember who is in charge at all times: Not You.


Every article you’ll ever read about touring etiquette will mention something about the van being your home, about how you shouldn’t let the garbage pile up and you should respect your bandmates’ space, yadda yadda yadda. All of which is true. But what they don’t tell you is that most vans smell like farts. Mostly because, well, everyone is fucking farting. The Ides Of Gemini van does not smell like farts. When the women outnumber the men, the high stench of ass gas is unacceptable. The unspoken rule is this: Hold ’em 'til the rest stop. But, again, I’m not complaining. I can’t imagine being in a band like Converge, trapped in a metal box with four dudes blasting lunch vapors into their skivvies for eight hours at a clip. I love those guys, but I bet their van smells like a bag of pickled assholes.


Luckily, I don’t have to hold my farts in for very long because our bathroom stops are frequent. Every male touring musician I know has to pee into a Gatorade bottle at 60 MPH at least once a day because it just takes too long hit the rest stop or gas station when you’re running late for load-in. Me, though? I have never, ever had to pee into a bottle on an Ides Of Gemini tour, and I suspect I never will. When you are on tour with two women, someone has to pee every 90 minutes. There is no point in moaning about it. Remember, you are not in control.


Tacocat has one dude in their band and they sing about having your period and stuff.


If you’re onstage with even one woman, no matter what she looks like, the chances are excellent that the audience isn't looking at you. If you happen to play metal, heavy rock, or any of its myriad subgenres, said audience is 97 percent dudes to begin with. Which means if you’re a dude with a girl in your band, absolutely no one is looking at you. There could be six dudes up there onstage all playing their sweet hairy assess off, but I guarantee you the crowd is staring at the womenfolk, just praying for a boob to pop out. Ides Of Gemini has not one but two good-looking ladies, so it’s fairly easy for me to fade into the background, despite the fact that I’m 6-foot-5 and look like a serial killer. Such are the powers of feminine charms.


It’s no secret that women in bands are often the targets of uncivilized remarks. The timeworn chestnut “Show us your tits!” has been endured by female musicians ’round the globe since Julius Caesar was in office. On some of our recent tours, the between-song commentary ranged from “Play it again with your clothes off!” to “I want to cum on you!” I’m pretty sure none of these comments were directed at me. And yet: In my self-appointed role—nay, duty—as male protector, I feel obligated to respond in some way. In fact, I nearly threw a guy down a flight of stairs in Austria for being a rude cunt to one of the ladies. Security stepped in to prevent that from happening, which was lucky for all parties concerned. The next time it happened, the prevention had to start with me:

We were onstage in Denver last year when I heard a male voice yell some particularly graphic shit. I spotted him just as the last word was trailing out of his swollen piehole. My first instinct was to jump down and start pummeling him—until I realized he was, like, 15 years old. When you’re in your thirties, the rules for fighting a teenager are the same as for fighting an old man: Don’t fucking do it. If you win, you’ve beaten up a teenager or an old man. If you lose, you’ve been beaten up by a teenager or an old man. Which is to say: You lose either way.


Didn't Bikini Kill have a dude in the band? Is that his cheek way in the back there? Or is that a tree? Pretty sure there was either a dude or a tree in Bikini Kill.


Miss Loveland hinted that she rarely drives her band’s van—mostly because her bandmates won’t let her. I, on the other hand, am more than happy to let the ladies of Gemini drive as much as they’d like. I have no ill-informed prejudices about women driving large vehicles. And generally speaking, the ladies put in their allotted shifts behind the wheel. Unless it’s raining. Or snowing. Or if it even looks like it might rain or snow. Or if it’s “too dark” or the roads are “too crazy.” I could bore you with the story about the time we had to drive through the Canadian mountains at two AM in a blizzard while semi-trucks hauling actual houses on them whizzed by us at terrifying speeds mere inches away, but the punch line is this: I was at the wheel the entire time.


Somehow, I made it to my thirties without hearing more than a handful of songs by the Cure and the Smiths. After living in a van with two women, not only do I know several of these songs by heart, I actively enjoy them. A few weeks ago, I even bought a copy of the Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs and caught myself getting sentimental about laying in the van listening to “Panic” while the ladies ran their mouths at top fucking speed about makeup and tampons and shaving their legs. No, I’m totally kidding. They don’t actually talk about stuff like that. Except for when they do. Which leads us to my final point:


If you’re the only man in an otherwise all-female band, you will rarely be included in conversations about so-and-so’s astrological sign or what so-and-so posted on Facebook or what the weird dream they had last night might possibly mean. If you are included, your opinion will be recognized for what it is: Comic relief. The good news is that you usually won’t be expected to participate at all. You can use your abundant free time to read, listen to music, or simply stare out the window as the world goes by.

Just keep your mouth shut, listen to the Smiths, and remember: You are not in control.


Also check out:

How to Survive Being the Only Girl in a Band

How to Be a Band In a Van

On Taking a Shit on Tour

Reasons Why It's Impossible to Get Laid on Tour