10 Signs you may be too old to be in a band

You're never too old to rock out

Don’t believe the hype – the life of a working musician is far from the glamorous image portrayed by the media. And it’s doubly-hard if you’re still keeping up a day job to make ends meet until the world sees sense and recognises your creative genius.

While I certainly wouldn’t claim to be particularly old – and of course there’s no age limit on being a musician, just look at the Rolling Stones… – it does get harder once the wellspring of youthful energy starts to wane. Here are my thoughts on the issue:

  1. None of your mates come to your gigs any more, because they can’t get babysitters. At least this is an understandable excuse. The worst excuse I ever heard was from someone who couldn’t come to my gig because his girlfriend was making him watch Inspector Morse. On video.
  2. You dye your hair because you have to, rather than because you want to. My hair isn’t this colour because it glows under stage lights – it’s this colour because I’m going rampantly grey…
  3. You have a nice car for hauling your equipment to gigs, rather than a crappy van or the bus. Probably the only perk to being older – I drive a Mondeo estate nowadays. The money I save on not having it break down all the time is sucked up by London parking charges.
  4. The hardest drugs you take are Nurofen and caffeine. Drug dealers, here’s a tip – ditch the hard stuff and start hawking painkillers and double espressos round backstage for £10 a time. You’ll make a killing and it’s completely legal.
  5. Lugging equiment around becomes a literal rather than metaphorical pain in the arse, as you put your back out hefting a flight case downstairs. Or, more usually, my knees 😦
  6. You buy your stage-wear in M&S rather than TopShop. They may not do sequinned mini-dresses in M&S but their control-top tights are excellent.
  7. You ask for a receipt for your post-gig kebab, for your tax return. Equally depressing that I actually have to do a tax return, and can’t get my Dad to do it for me any more – apparently I’m “old enough to do my own”. Waaaaaah! I don’t want to!
  8. You demand Horlicks on the rider instead of beer. I actually asked for ginger beer on the rider when I played at the Big Chill. I didn’t get it. I got Red Stripe. Always bloody Red Stripe.
  9. Headlining a big night loses its appeal as you realise you have to be in a meeting at 9am for work the next day. For bonus points, make sure you forget to wash off your glitter eye-makeup and the door stamp.
  10. After a gig, you get mistaken for someone’s mum. This hasn’t happened yet but I’m sure it’s only time…

Have I missed any? Do you think it’s easier to be in a band if you’re older or younger? Is there a point where you just think “You know what? I’m too old for this shit!” – and have you reached it yet?

12 responses to “10 Signs you may be too old to be in a band

  1. the thought of a set starting after midnight means you contemplate taking the gig in the first place

  2. No 3. You’re at the age where you can finally afford a nice sports car, and then you realise that there are only 2 seats, and the boot just about holds a small box of tissues, now every time you gig you need to beg someone to pick up the gear for you!

  3. You realize that playing music and going on a stage performing just doesn’t bring you joy anymore. You feel like playing live is a chore rather than fun. You just feel silly because most people your age have been told to act their age but some how being in a rock band you can act like you are 25 forever.

    Your audience is filled with people your age and not younger generations.
    At some point you realize, what the f#!k am I doing up here looking silly, I have other things to do in life.

    We live in an age where you can be big just using my space and the internet alone. There’s really no reason to play a live gig.
    (there you go, that’s the final blow.. time to hang it up!)

    • Aww 😦 That sounds sad.
      I don’t think I’ve got to that stage yet – I still love being on stage. But I’m sure that time will come one day. What a depressing thought…

  4. Young people are still dicovering music and still go to see bands and artists such as Human League, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Ozzy, Deep Purple, Rolling Stones, Ringo Star?, Rod Stewart and many many more.

    When I was 8yrs old back in 1982 I loved the beatles music, the stones, hendrix and so on. I also love Nirvana, Peal Jam, Sound Garden, Radiohead, Oasis, Inspiral Carpets, Queens of the Stone Age, Gun’n’Roses, Pantera and more…I am aged 36 at this present time, 37 next month.

    I have heard that song “Video Killed The Radio Star”, I have also heard the song called “Sunscreen”, I don’t care how old I am or how old anybody else is or what they think about how I look… as long as the music is good then I am good.

    It’s a sad world out there at the moment, all saturated with Xfactor rubbish and false dreams to make money of the young, all about how good and young you look and what have you.

    If you can create original music with original lyrics then you have a fan already, I do not need to see you, meet you, idolise you…All I want is to listen to your tunes and simply imagine….

    If I like your tunes then sure, I will come to see your band play, but not for how you look! Play in the dark and play, show yourself and play but it’s the music that I am interested in, anything else then it’s a bonus I guess?

  5. Bugger that, because i’m 19 and routinely put my back out lugging flight cases. Many would say being a techie was a silly career choice really.

    I’ve also been driving a sensible vauxhall astra for a few years now, but that’s more providence than choice.

  6. What you need to consider is this…. Everyone has an age when they should be in a band and their band is good.. in some cases that happens at 19 , some at 30, some at 60 (example sea sick steve) and some after they’ve died (example: Mick Hucknell) … I don’t believe there’s any such thing as being too old to be in a band.. just maybe that you should have never been in one in the first place (example: @Star) …. I think when one starts feeling too old then it’s possibly time to try something new… like Crystal Meth or fish eyes on Chorizo


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