Image by the awesome Stuart F Taylor

It’s the way his forearm looks when he strums the guitar – highlighted beautifully with tattoos and framed by a tight t-shirt. Or perhaps it’s the thump of the bassline in my crotch or the scent of sweaty people throwing down in the mosh pit. Maybe it’s the fact that for the first time in what feels like a lifetime I am dancing like I don’t care how to dance. Either way I know that when the music starts to play, I’ll be thinking that I wanna fuck the band.

The guitarist has a look about him – perfectly my type. The singer’s got a way with winks and smiles. The drummer’s flesh ripples as he smashes out the beat, and he pauses between songs to wipe the droplets of sweat from his balding head and all I can think about is whether he’d let me lick him when we were done fucking.

Yeah, I wanna fuck the band.

And I hate myself for wanting to fuck the band, because it conjures whispers and nudges that remind me of my youth. Young women who got sneered at and called ‘groupie’ just because they preferred the chaos of the pit to standing nonchalantly at the back of the room. Men who wanted their own love of the music to be pure and clean – their passions undiluted by the enthusiasm of teenage girls. Guys who wanted to impress me by showing off their favourite acts, but never deigning to let me pick the music.

I stare upwards at the bright lights and my heart beats in time to the music, and I’m enjoying the tunes and mouthing the words and wondering why I don’t do this very much any more. Everything swells and builds and it feels like I’m bopping my head in a room that’s thick with a kind of emotional smog: the nostalgia of my youth mixed with love for the friend who’s beside me, and delight at the sheer fucking luck that I’m allowed to spend a whole weekend just doing this. It feels tainted by my lust, somehow. Can I really, truly be enjoying this music properly if I can’t shake the mental image of the lead guitarist beating himself off?

Maybe.

But I still wanna fuck the band.

I want to be taken to a back room and stripped and left for them to use after the show. Just one more item on the rider. I want to hear hot punky guys singing coded songs about me, making references to doggy-style fucks we had in the back of the van on last year’s tour. I want to bury my face in the post-show scent of the drummer’s stomach and have him unzip his flies, wordlessly commanding me to suck him off while he’s high on adrenaline.

I wanna fuck the band. And I want it exactly as much as I want not to: as I want to be here, four or five rows back in the crowd, dancing away, fuelled by jangly tunes and friendship and lust and cider, with no expectations or need to take things further. Just the pure, unadulterated joy of standing in a crowd, enjoying the music, and awash with emotions and fantasies and ideas.

But I can’t separate the music they play, and the performance they give, from the fantasies that swirl inside my head. The two coexist, are dependent on each other. I can’t enjoy the music without acknowledging I wanna fuck the band, because the fuckability is intrinsically tied to the music: the skill with which they play their instruments. The rhythm that seems perfect to get spanked or fucked along to. The croaking, lilting vocals that croon and moan and ache like the tail-end of a wank. The literal, actual fingering of an electric guitar.

I wanna fuck the band. But it’s not about the actual band, or any of the individuals that make it up. It cannot be a pragmatic desire – the kind I would actually pursue. I know this because when my friend asks me if I want to come with him to the signing table to say ‘hi’, my ‘no’ is louder than the piercing feedback shriek of the next band’s soundcheck.

It’s not about envy, either – a desire to be the band. And I know this because I originally wrote this post as song lyrics, then binned them because they inevitably turned out to be shit.

I wanna fuck the band, but it’s not about the band.

It’s the smell of sweat in a mosh pit, and the swell of music in my chest, and the feeling of being surrounded by friends who love me and love my dancing. It’s the glimpse of all the gigs gone by, and the boys I crushed up next to. The surreptitious gropes and enthusiastic snogs that were partly expressions of our love for the music, in the same way our eager dancing or our shrieks of joy or the way we’d yell the lyrics were. Just our cups running over and spilling out emotions.

The love and lust of friendship and music and being part of a crowd that welcomed us.

The perfect combination of our loftiest ideals and our basest, most animal instincts.

It’s the tingle of the first few notes and ‘one-two-three-let’s-go.’ Our music-drunk selves getting high and higher still, until songs and lust and happiness merged into one single, throbbing, pounding, intangible want. The yelps of delight when they stopped playing shit from their new album and launched into a stone-cold classic.

The release that we still ached for when the final verse was done, and the last chords of the encore died away.

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