If you're in this business long enough, you learn how to spot incipient trouble. Here's how to tell if your band is/has been...
Telltale Quote: "Does anyone have something to help wake up/take the edge off/revive the guitarist?"
Best Case: Get famous for your excess, then clean up, reunite, film your Behind the Music episode, write the tell-all best seller and cash in on subsequent comeback album (Mötley Crüe).
Worst Case: OD and see your bandmates/widow cash in on your cred and popularity with posthumous releases while you become the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question—or, worse, no one remembers you at all (The Germs, G.G. Allin).
Been There, Done That: "You've got to know the difference between being a drug user and a used druggie," says recovering junkie Al Jourgensen of Ministry.
Telltale Quote: "Hey, dude, where's our van?"
Best Case: Your fans pitch in through Paypal to help replace the equipment, replenishing faith in your chosen calling (Film School). Or it gets returned to you years later (Sonic Youth).
Worst Case: A homicide charge against the guitarist for killing whichever band member left the keys on the dash.
Been There, Done That: "You don't think when you pull over in a van with tinted windows, locked doors and an alarm system for 10 minutes in the middle of the day on a busy street, that that's where you're going to get robbed," recalls Pelican guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec of the headbangers' recent mishap in Rome. "If you're not vigilant at all points, someone is going to get you somewhere."
Spending Too Much Time Together
Telltale Quote: "If you don't stop making that clicking noise with your tongue, I'm going to pull it out through the back of your neck."
Best Case: Take some time off to decide if a lineup change is necessary, or whether it's time to pursue that solo career you've always dreamed of (Sting).
Worst Case: You build a band of animatronic robots to replace your unreliable bandmates, only to have them enslave you (Captured! By Robots).
Been There, Done That: "Anyone that you spend that much time with is going to annoy you. Even your best friend's probably doing something annoying to you 10 to 15 percent of the time," says Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull, after 300 nights on the road last year. "Being on the road is essential, so if you're sick of your bandmates, you're probably doing something right."