When I got the email this week that a band I was going to cover/interview was forced to postpone their current tour due to 'the virus', it all became very real! I'm not one to get involved in the hype, the hoarding ad the panic. For me, it is always business as usual, but I do understand that things are going on, beyond our control and certain precautions need to be taken. I don't like, but I understand the why of cancelling concerts, schools and sports (gulp) and know we all have to do our part, to not spread the virus and also help those who will financially be drastically affected by this.
Many, if not almost all of the bands I/we love and support rely on touring to make their living. The days of millionaire rock stars are over and physical sales just don't pay the bills. In fact, for most bands, a new CD is a break even proposition... if they are lucky. There are no labels to float money for bands/artists on tour, so if they are not making money to cover travel expenses, it can become a hardship. This is why merchandise sales and extras like Meet And Greets are so important. Since I go to most shows as a guest of the band, or to cover the show, I don't pay for my ticket. What I will always do is get a shirt, a CD or hot sauce to do my part for whoever I see.
Think about the disappointment for artists who want to/need to get out there? A dear friend should be in Europe now with his new band on stage, but it was cancelled! Another band I'm close with is making their long awaited return to the stage and that is now in jeopardy. 30 years away with momentum going their way for a successful tour, now in doubt. I'm so disappointed that I may not get to see them and so sad for my brother that things are up in the air. These guys are family and when family hurt, I try to do something.
So here is what i'm asking y'all to do!!!!!! Ready????? If you have a concert that you were planning on going to just get cancelled/postponed, go to the bands website and get some merchandise like a shirt, some music... whatever!!! This will help in a small way to keep some revenue coming in for the band. If you live near the venue and they serve food, order a meal, eat in or pick up and tip like you ate there. Keep the commerce flowing.
I spoke to a few promoter friends of mine today who told me some of the hits they take when a show gets cancelled/postponed! Remember, the promoters are the ones who put the money up front and take the chance on a show and bring the bands to us. They don't make money until the show is over, so no show, no money to book future shows. Also, promoters pay advertising costs and if a show date is changed, more money to advertise the new dates. A good friend of mine told me he can't book any new shows because he isn't sure if/when there will be make-up dates or when the gathering concerns will be lifted.
In August, I will be part of ROCK 'N' POD in Nashville, Tennessee and my friends putting on the show are concerned, but are continuing like it will be business as usual, and so am I! I will be booking my flight, connecting with friends to meet me there and I will be continually telling everyone about it and not giving into anything!
Wash your hands, keep up close/group contact to a minimum, help those in need who may be feeling a big economic hit by this. At breakfast out today, my wife and I tipped WWAAAYYYY above what we should have. Why? Because the normally crowded restaurant was empty and we want to help. I share this story not because I want you to think of us as awesome people... but to put an idea in on how you can help!!!
Everything in life is a learning experience and for almost all of us, this is all a learning experience. Lets not be the ones hoarding toilet paper, but be the ones spreading the love!!!!
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.