Well I didn’t expect to be writing such a public post after sharing a screenshot of an email but it looks like I better! First, let me explain the background of the story to make sure people have the facts.
As a music writer and radio DJ I obviously have a passion for music and I’m a musician myself. I’m in a covers band but for a couple of years now I’ve wanted to take the leap into sharing original material with the world and never really had the guts. I’ve seen how brutal the industry can be and I’ve not been sure I’d be able to put myself out there like that. Anyway, after a couple of years of jamming with absolutely wonderful musicians I thought I’d take the plunge and start an originals band. It’s proved a little more difficult than planned as everyone is already in bands!
With that in mind I thought I’d try the old “classifieds” route and came across an ad on Gumtree for a band who were looking for a vocalist. They were going for a stoner vibe and I’ve been thinking of going that route myself (well stoner/blues) and thought I’d get in touch to find out more. Here’s what I sent…
“Hi Adam. I’ve seen your ad on Gumtree and I’d be interested in auditioning for your band. I know you said you were looking for up to age 28 but cards on the table, I’m 30. That being said, I’ve only just turned 30 so not too far off! I can’t see any links to your material so I’d love to hear it to see if it fits in with what I’m looking for rather than waste your time. If you want any links to my material then I’m more than happy to send these over too. Look forward to hearing from you. Lauren.”
As you can see, I didn’t send a picture or links or anything (That was my mistake, I replied to the ad on the fly!) with my first contact, I just wanted to get in touch. Here’s the response I received…
Now I’m fairly thick skinned but I’m not going to lie, that kind of hurt. Especially as it had taken me a bit to get the guts to put myself out there a little (wow this is like online dating or something!) as I’m used to jamming with musicians I know. If I’d have received a response saying I was older than they were looking for as a band then that’s totally fine. People often have an idea of what they’re looking for in band members and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to then go on to say that I’ve no chance of finding a band because women don’t rock at my age? WHAT?!
After dusting off my bruised ego I decided to post on my personal Facebook page and my friends were similarly outraged. I was curious to know whether they were just being lovely or whether this was indeed really out of order. Did other people have the same views? I then posted on my Rock Fairy Facebook/Twitter and the page for the radio station I work for, TBFM. That’s when things all went a little bit crazy.
Firstly, I’m bowled over by the wonderful comments that people have made about me, complete strangers telling me not to give up and that I’ve inspired them to do more to combat these sorts of attitudes. I’m by no means the poster girl for feminism but I’m all for equality. Pigeon holes are rubbish. Age, gender, race sexuality? It’s all a bit irrelevant to me and has no bearing on your ability as a musician. And your ability has no bearing on your ability to rock out.
Secondly, I’m a little disturbed by the pure hatred that has been directed at “Adam” who, fortunately, I’ve chosen not to identify publicly. His attitude is archaic yes, but he does not deserve to be punched in the head or die or whatever horrible fate the vitriol has decided for him. He is still a person and I bear him no ill will whatsoever. I actually thank him for helping make this debate happen. People should be focusing their hate on these attitudes and kick them to the kerb or whatever the lingo is these days. #fuckyouadam is now a thing. How about #fuckyeahletsrockregardless? Guess that’s not as catchy!
Thirdly, I won’t name Adam. Why? Because of the aforementioned vitriol. He may be a very nice chap who isn’t very diplomatic over email. I don’t know. I have also seen bands work tirelessly to receive even a fraction of the publicity this guy’s email has had. I won’t let such a horrible attitude further his career. He can further it with his talent. I don’t know if he actually has any as I’m basing my sole opinion on him on his email response. I’ve not heard any of his music.
I could go on and on all day but I fear I’m now boring you all. If you want to rock out, do it. Don’t let what anyone says bring you down. I know I’m not going to. I’m happy to answer any of your questions (except who is Adam, the poor bastard doesn’t need caning any further) and I will most certainly carry on fighting the good fight to make our industry a bit sparklier for folk.
Oh and in case any one is wondering…here’s what I sound like. This was nearly 2 years ago (I’ve only just turned 30) and both my voice and confidence have grown since then. Ironic eh?