Musicians get to whine about their unrequited loves, ailing relationships, and painful breakups as part of their job, but what about the other half of the equation -- the brave men and women who date artists and then see their personal lives splashed out in public? Well, sometimes they're writers, too, and they write really long essays about their failed relationships with musicians.
Like Denise Grollmus, the ex-wife of the Black Keys' Patrick Carney. While Carney is the Akron blues-rock duo's drummer and therefore hasn't been guilty of crooning about his heartache in public (he leaves the anguished yelping to singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach), he did talk about his divorce in a May 2010 Rolling Stone story, and that evidently gave his ex plenty of reason to start typing. Her piece titled Snapshots From a Rock 'N' Roll Marriage ran in Salon today, and it's a heartbreaker, full of glimpses of their happy days and flashes of what went wrong. It's also more personal and detailed an account than you'd find in any lyric sheet or magazine story.
This is what went wrong, according to the Keys in Rolling Stone: "[Patrick] says she slept with his best friend, lied to him for years, bilked him for money. By the end, Carney was depressed, drinking a lot, and had gained 25 pounds. 'Homeboy was miserable,' Auerbach says. 'He was being manipulated mentally and emotionally. It was so draining.' Carney finally broke it off last July, with a phone call while his wife was in Europe. ('The ultimate p---- move,' he admits.) He says it cost him a quarter of a million dollars, plus health insurance and a monthly alimony check: 'Totally worth it.' "
Unsurprisingly, the articulate Grollmus tells a pretty different tale, describing their marriage as a beautiful disaster made messier by extreme drunkeness and the band's ambition. If you've ever wanted to hear the other side of the story -- or see a fairly unassuming garage rock duo's life turned into fodder for "Maury" -- her essay is a must-read.
[Photo: John Shearer/WireImage.com]
- Patrick Carney