First things first: Grizzly Bear, at least for now, are done. The band was one of the biggest things in indie rock for a long time, but they haven’t released an album since 2017’s Painted Ruins, and they haven’t played a live show since the 2019 indie nostalgia-fest Just Like Heaven. Three of the four band members are still actively making music. Daniel Rossen and Christopher Bear scored Past Lives, one of the year’s best films, while Chris Taylor mixed and co-produced the dance producer Tycho’s new single “Small Sanctuary,” which came out yesterday. But frontman Ed Droste has left the music business behind completely and chosen a new career path. He’s become a therapist.
A few months ago, Ed Droste announced on Instagram that he was opening up a private therapy practice in Los Feliz. Droste focuses on marriage and family therapy, and he sees six to seven clients a day. My wife is a therapist, and I can tell you that that’s a very full caseload. Recently, Droste spoke about his new career to both GQ and Psychology Today. (The Psychology Today interview isn’t online. Print only, baby!)
Droste was always critical of music-business economics, but he says it’s the only full-time job he’d ever had. In Psychology Today, Droste explains the effect that the musician lifestyle had on him:
There’s a misperception of “living the dream.” 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. That doesn’t mean I’ll never make music again. Never say never.
In the GQ interview, Droste allows that indie rock finances were a factor in his decision:
I’m not going to go into the finances of it, but 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. 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. People do it, and it’s amazing. Congrats. I just always knew that I didn’t think it was possible for me to do that, just for a variety of reasons.
Droste muses about how he might return to music someday: “There’s no official breakup or anything. I’m just doing this for now, and who knows what’ll happen in the future… 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.” But Droste, who’s been in therapy for more than half his life, also says that he was surprised at how practicing therapy can be a real creative outlet of its own. And yes, some of Droste’s clients know 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. Every once in a while someone might be like, “You know this band,” or something like that. I’m like, “Yeah.” But it hasn’t really interfered yet. If anything, a lot of people have reached out to me that work in entertainment or music and the reason that they were interested — and it’s not necessarily that they were a fan of the band even — it’s just that they liked the idea that I had experience in music so that I could understand what they’re going through in their own life.
Droste tells Psychology Today that his time in the band did some things to help prepare him for his new career:
Being in a band, it’s like you’re married to three other people. There’s conflict, and you’re constantly having to sort through interpersonal stuff. I think I learned a lot about myself navigating that. There’s also so much uncertainty: Will people like this album? Are we growing? Did we peak? Are we flatlining? Is it over? I had to do a lot of work on myself and in therapy to try to stop those intrusive thoughts and realize, What can I do about it right now? Nothing. So I’m wasting my energy worrying about something that’s out of my hands. Coping with intrusive thoughts is definitely something I work on with clients now. It can be so freeing when it works.
When asked if he thinks fans might try to schedule sessions with him, Droste says, “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.”