Need advice on love, sex, relationships, the music biz or have a confession to get off your chest? Ask Amy Millan.
Haunted By Friends’ Group Hookup History
Dear Amy: With COVID restrictions lifting — is that even real? —I’ve started seeing people again, including a girl who has been part of our friend group for ages. It feels like we’re moving from friends to something bigger and I’m excited at the idea of making her my special girl. Except, she has dated other guys in our gang, and I wonder if jealousy is going to nag at me and make whatever we are building less special. Won’t what we have feel less special if, deep down, I know she has been having those moments with the other guys in the group? I don’t want to be hung up on this, but as I get closer to her, I can’t stop thinking about her with my friends. — Can’t Stop Thinking
Dear Can’t Stop: Even all the way back to middle school, I remember how people would just kind of swap. Friendship groups and youth usually mean there will be some oap-opera-esque, switch-it-up shenanigans. Basically how every young friendship groups’ relationship ping-pong became the most popular premise for millions of shows, from Beverly Hills, 90210 and Dawson’s Creek to Riverdale!
Chemistry between two people is just that: between two people. Her experiences with you won’t be the same because you have different pheromones. I’ve never liked the term “sloppy seconds” and always looked at it instead as “dessert.”
Are Playing Music Festivals Worth It?
Dear Amy: There’s a bunch of showcase festivals happening — NXNE, CMW, SXSW a little while ago — have you played showcase festivals? And, if so, were they worth doing? How does an artist make the most of those gigs? — My Big Chance?
Dear Big: Not only have I played them but I have discovered so many bands attending the shows during the festivals. There is nothing like a city coming alive with the common love of discovering new music that they will fall in love with. It was SXSW where I met Sam Roberts for the first time! We would be scouted by great radio stations, like KCRW, that same week that would help launch Stars’ career. I played a memorable solo show at NXNE that was such a different vibe than doing a one off because the room is abuzz with everyone going from show to show and the electricity of this is palpable. You never know who will be in the audience that could discover and help you. Even if it is a disaster (which I did have at one SXSW that went south indeed), it is still such a great story in a history of trying to make a band work!
Just Say Thanks or Go Big at Awards?
Dear Amy: Watching all of these awards shows, I wonder: do you think people should make a political statement when they get their moment in front of the microphone and millions of people or should they just thank their parents and music teachers? —Say What?
Dear Say What: Who can beat Fiona Apple saying “This world is bullshit” in 1997? Honestly, I think people should do whatever they want to, it’s part of the joy of being an artist. I respect the ones who decide they should yell about abortion rights at that podium as much as I can understand Dolly Parton’s stance on staying private about her political beliefs as to not ostracize any of her fans. It is her belief system that everyone should be able to listen to her art without making it political. I am in a band that writes “FUCK HARPER” on the Canadian flag, so obviously we have never been afraid of being loud about our views, but it is what I have to do. Go punk or go corporate, the decision is up to the individual. Parents always get a thanks regardless!
What is Right Amount of Mom?
Dear Amy: I love my parents; I just don’t want to see them as much as they seem to want to be seen. We have always been close, sometimes almost too close, but I went away to college for four years and just moved back to my home city with my own place. Feels like my folks expect me to be there for dinner, like, three times a week. I like free food but like my pace even more. How often should I see them? What’s reasonable? I don’t want to make them feel bad, but I need my own life and don’t want to always feel guilty. What’s a reasonable check-in with parents? — Parent Trapped
Dear Trapped: That is such a personal question to answer. There is no rulebook for what is acceptable or not. Boundaries are healthy and if you are struggling with that, therapy can be a real tool for sorting out how to create good ones that will alleviate guilt. However, parents age, and it may be easy to take for granted now, but they will not be around forever, so maybe hold that in your back pocket. There might come a time when your one wish would be just to be able to have one more dinner with them.
Amy Millan is a Canadian indie rock singer and guitarist. She records and performs with Stars and Broken Social Scene and has a successful solo career. Have a question for Amy? email@example.com