Crazy Musician Syndrome (CMS)

CMSToday I would like to discuss with you a disease that afflicts countless musicians everywhere. One that can strike without warning and one that you may not even know you are carrying.

No, it’s not ebola.

This is a disease that does not discriminate on the basis or race, sex or religion. It was powerful enough to cause the breakup of such bands as The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Guns N Roses and countless local bands from across this great country. Some of the people suffering may even be friends and loved ones you know. People are living in pain and it’s time to put a face to the name.

I’m talking about Crazy Musician Syndrome, or CMS.

The origin of CMS is unknown. Some say the disease began in the jungles of the deep Amazon where natives played make shift drums and wooden flutes. Fights would often ensue amongst tribesman for unknown reasons, resulting in huge losses of life. The modern day version of the disease is just as unforgiving and can strike without warning and at any time.

I’m here to tell you the warning signs for this disease. Please.. Please.. pass this information along to all of your friends who currently play in bands. Tell them to be on guard for an outbreak because as of today, there is no cure.

What is Crazy Musician Syndrome (CMS)?

CMS is a disease which can afflict musicians of any age-level who currently play an instrument in an ensemble. It is mostly prevalent in musicians who are in bands that performs on the local music scene, but has ruined the lives of some of the greatest bands of all time. It is characterized by the sudden and immediate insane actions of one or more of the afflicted person in the band situation. Typically, this occurs completely out of the blue and even when band member relationships are going well.

Signs and symptoms of Crazy Musician Syndrome may be due to things like an insatiable need for power and money, but sometimes it goes much deeper than that. Here are a few examples….

Who wouldn't want to be in a band with this cool dude?
Who wouldn’t want to be in a band with this cool dude?


Probably the biggest culprit of CMS. Most married male musicians will suffer in silence with this issue. It originates with a wife or girlfriend’s disdain for other members of the band or about the music being performed. This results in female’s verbal abuse of CMS sufferer and eventually results in sufferer suddenly quitting the band in order to keep the peace at home. The termination of the band member typically occurs the night before a paying gig.

Example – Subject in band was experiencing symptoms of getting slack from his wife on a constant basis. Wife would tell him things like “I don’t like you being in a band”.

What’s even more puzzling is the fact that wife had met the subject while he was in a band, when she came to one of their shows.  Eventually, with a week to go before a paying show, subject abruptly tells band he is quitting music.

Example #2 – I’ve heard rumors from another band who was on the verge of getting a recording contract. The guy told me the band’s guitar player abruptly left them in the lurch before a showcase, telling the rest of the band the reason was because he had found his soul mate.


***Click Here for Rolling Stones List of Ten Messiest Band Breakups.


Going To Visit Relative and Not Coming Back:

Without warning, a member of band will inform the rest of group that he/she needs to immediately go visit a relative in a far off location. Even if shows have already been booked the need to leave will be too great for the CMS sufferer to manage. Again, this typically happens on the eve of a paying performance.

Personal Example – I was in a band once that was doing well. We were practicing in the drummer’s basement and getting ready to finally start gigging. One night, I received a call from the drummer who informs me that – in casual conversation, he is going to visit his brother in Texas on Friday. I tell him “Cool, have fun, I’ll give you a call next week about practice.” To which he replies, “No dude, I’m leaving and won’t be back for at least  six months.” Without rhyme or reason, after months of practice and finally getting ready to get paid, we had to come get our equipment out of the basement and go somewhere else. There was no death or other family crisis to warrant his leaving and he admitted as much. He just had to leave and visit his bro in Texas.

Tattoos have nothing to do with CMS. I just thought it would be cool to post this one.
Tattoos have nothing to do with CMS. I just thought it would be cool to post this one.

Disappearing Act:

This is the oddest indicator of the disease. One where the afflicted person will immediately lose communication with the existing world. Phone calls and emails will not be returned and there is no indication of foul play. Even if everyone in the band had been getting along great for months, the afflicted person has suddenly chosen to exit the band and not tell anyone.

Personal example — And this one takes the cake. I was in a band once that needed a PA system. I wound up purchasing the equipment with my own money with the promise that the other guys would pay me for their share. Although I did receive the first payments for their share, suddenly one of the band members disappeared and we could no longer get a hold of him. Endless calls and even driving to his home several times were unsuccessful. He was just no where to be found and we never heard from him again.

There are many other indicators that the disease is present. All of which happen suddenly.  So please tell your friends who are in a band to watch for warning signs. Check karaoke bars for victims and try to get them help.

The future of music may be at stake.

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