Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste on Leaving Music to Be a Therapist: "There Was Something About the Stability That Appealed to Me"

"That doesn't mean I'll never make music again. Never say never."

Photo: Oxfordwhites

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Nov 9, 2023

This summer, Grizzly Bear frontperson Ed Droste announced on Instagram that he was launching his own private practice as an associate marriage and family therapist. The band haven't released an album since 2017's Painted Ruins, and while the other three members are still actively involved in music (Daniel Rossen and Christopher Bear scored this year's Past Lives, while Chris Taylor mixed and co-produced Tycho's latest single), Grizzly Bear are effectively done for the time being.

But Droste has now hinted that his new career path doesn't mean a return to music is necessarily but a pipe dream for fans: "That doesn't mean I'll never make music again. Never say never," he said in a print-only interview with Psychology Today [via Stereogum]. With both that publication and GQ, the singer-songwriter has opened up about what factored into his decision to pursue therapy in lieu of the indie rock lifestyle for the first time.

"There's a misperception of 'living the dream,'" Droste told Psychology Today of being a touring musician. "The isolation can be intense on the road, always away from your friends and loved ones, on a bus 24/7, in close quarters for months at a time. Your bandmates are your family, in a way, but that's not the same; they're also your coworkers. In the back of my mind, I couldn't picture doing it another 15 years, or even another five."

He indicated to GQ's Gabriella Paiella that financial stability also played into his decision. "There was something about the stability [of therapy] that appealed to me and the schedule and not having to travel all the time and be away from friends and family and loved ones for such long periods of time," Droste said. "There's a stability to it. It's something I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, but I always had a hard time imagining myself touring at age 55 or 60."

Of the future of Grizzly Bear, the musician clarified, "There's no official breakup or anything. I'm just doing this for now, and who knows what'll happen in the future," Droste mused on a potential return to music eventually. "It's not a destroyed entity. It can easily come back and exist, the band, if the time is right and the mood is right."

Droste also told Psychology Today that he feels like being in a band helped prepare him for his new career as a therapist, having to do a lot of interpersonal conflict management with his bandmates. "I think I learned a lot about myself navigating that," he explained, adding that he had to work on combatting intrusive thoughts when there was so much uncertainty in putting music out into the world — and  he's now able to help his clients cope with those.

And yes, some of Droste's clients are aware of who he is. "It's funny. I was nervous about that, and then when it comes down to it, it's brought up once and then they're there for a reason and that's what they're going to talk about, their stuff," he explained, going on to say that people working in entertainment or music have been drawn to his practice for his unique understanding.

When asked if fans might try to schedule sessions with him, the artist said, "My supervisor and I had a conversation about that. If someone did want to come to me for that reason, I think that's something we'd need to talk through in session."

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