The Nervous Musician

The only source of income I have right now is from playing music. I was working at bank. But to help reduce the national suicide rate, I left.

Now I’ll admit, I’m a half-note above average when it comes to singing and strumming guitar. But still, I get paid for it.

So what turns the beauty of playing live music into one of my first world problems?

Well I absolutely, terrifyingly, jock-spoilingly shit myself every time I get on stage. Seriously. It’s bad. Sweating, trembling, and the odd strain of wee are all normalities for me on stage.

But without music I’d have to pay the bills by working for someone! And I dislike people. Wait, I mean I dislike people telling me what to do.

Here. I’ve even drawn a reverse pyramid to show my priorities:

Shitting myself on stage VS Having a normal job

So I’ve devised 7 reasons why crippling fear on stage is still way better than having a proper job…


1. Stuttering over a microphone is better than office small talk.

I was always stealthy in my approach toward the office kitchen. The hope that I wouldn’t see a colleague in there was married to the fear of small talk with them.

But sometimes reality ensues…

Like a shitty gift from the devil, the divorced office administrator stands next to the coffee pot for her several-th serve of caffeine. She tells me about her son’s swimming carnival on the weekend. I cry and lose faith in humanity.

Fast forward to today. My onstage persona is Mr. Mumbles. Sure, he says far less interesting things. But “play the goddamn song” is the only dull reply he has to listen to.

2. Self-criticism could be worse.

Insecurities and anxiety turn the average mind into a real asshole. But at least the self-abuse can be drowned out with alcohol and bikram yoga.

The office space is a different environment. When there’s no promotional champagne left in the work fridge at 9.15am you need to cop your boss’s demands sober.

Other people are usually around to witness the boss-to-bossee slander too. At least your mind will sledge you inside the privacy of your cranium.

3. Workplace PDA is acceptable.

Not that I’ve tried it. But my other musical friends tell me it’s cool.

What wasn’t cool was when I tried to kiss our receptionist Ashley at last year’s work party.

Even less cool was that Ashley from reception turned out to be Robert from marketing.

4. The staff are usually hotter.

John or Jane in accounting may be easy 9’s in environment ‘office’. But come Friday work drinks, out in real life, you notice that your co-worker crush is comparable to a farmer picking out his favourite sheep from the paddock.

Meanwhile, modern day bar and pub hiring standards are in line with old fashion sexism; mostly offering bar work to incompetent but eye-catching Instagram athletes.

5. I can make up words.

Trump has ‘Covfefe’.

Roald Dahl has ‘Biffsquiggled’.

I have ‘Hallalayoo’. I was very nervous when announcing Hallelujah as my next song.

6. I can say what I want to my boss and he doesn’t care.

Because he’s drunk behind the bar.

And I’m probably drunk too. So we share a mutual respect for each other.

It’s like Frodo and Vigo Mortsessen in Lord of the Rings. The big and little guy bond over ales despite their differences. Vigo knows he’s way better looking. And Frodo knows Vigo doesn’t have a cape.

7. Performance anxiety entertains my friends. Career anxiety doesn’t.

My shirts come in three colours; white, black and grey (none of which are colours). I’m told that when the latter is worn on stage, sweat patches help pin point the highest density of hair on my body. My dimwitted friends find this hilarious. Good on them.

But at a gig, I replace lost fluid with delightful beer. At the office, I’m hydrating myself with fluoridated tap water. So I’m basically killing myself.


So there we are. I think I’ll continue along my road of fear in the limelight.

As long as people continue to enjoy the seldom rendition ofAmerican Pie I should still have a job. And while I’m still petrified of it, my friends should continue to be entertained. Hallalayoo.

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