Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With California's 'BB All Stars' June 15th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #24
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Gwendolyn. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it. So, how have you been holding up during this global pandemic and lockdown?
Gwendolyn Casella: As well as anyone, I suppose. Being semi anti-social like a lot of musicians, lol. I mean really, musicians got to be musicians, because we spent a lot of time alone with our instruments in the first place. So, for many of us, its back to just that, practice, which can hold a lot of value. Simply playing music, writing music; rather than getting ready for the next... fill in the blank, and taking a break from the 'hustle', haa, haa. Truly, for many it has led us to a simpler life I believe, at least temporarily anyways. Have you noticed how clean the air is? And the wildlife is thriving.
MPAP: 2020, the year when almost every concert or music festival has been postponed or canceled until 2021. And 2020 was supposed to be the year of some big reunions. Everyone was excited to see the Rage Against The Machine and the My Chemical Romance tours. So, let’s back up and go over the first five months of 2020, the beginning of a new decade. There was the possibility of World War III happening. There were deadly bushfires in Australia. Then we had the acquittals in the Trump impeachment trials. Prince Harry and Meghan decided to step away from the royal family, and NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, along with seven others, unfortunately, died in a helicopter crash in California. The deadly worldwide COVID-19 virus. And then, get this, we even had the Pentagon officially releasing UFO videos. So, what did you have planned for the year before all this madness began? Before all the toilet paper hoarding?
Gwendolyn: We are a band re-born from all this fucking chaos. We have 30 plus years history of music and friendship together, and right when this all began, we were just forming and reuniting. So, for us, we have been practicing, in a sterilized, disinfected secret location, social distancing while doing so, like 4.5 feet. So, really, we did not have any of this planned, all of our plans were born in and of this pandemic. What a trippy time to be alive! Drugs and alcohol haven’t killed us yet, neither has CV 19, so let’s fucking rock!
MPAP: This coronavirus has been devastating to everyone around the globe. By mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic had brought the multibillion-dollar concert industry to a screeching halt. Now two months later, Sammy Hagar, from The Circle, ex Van Halen, says concerts can’t wait for a COVID-19 vaccine. Of course, every band wants their fans to be safe, but when your only source of a major income is concerts, it hurts when you have to postpone or cancel a tour. A vaccine could take 12 to 18 months. Do you think he’s right for saying concerts can’t wait any longer?
Gwendoyln: We are all hoping and will find a way to bring back live music sooner than that in a way that is safe and it is doable… perhaps more outdoor venues? With ability for social distancing while it is indicated and required. Personally, I’m not for vaccines, but to each his own. Whatever keeps everyone safe and healthy. Live streaming has really increased, but let’s face it, it’s not the same. We, the BB (Bonnie Brae) All Stars are building a bomb shelter/practice studio/night club and you’re all invited! We think, (hope), things will be back to normal soon, whatever that means. Maybe concerts will become like the old school underground secret clubs, haaa haaaa. Or maybe, everyone will just get full hazmat gear! Baaa haaa. We don’t mean to be insensitive, but you can’t kill rock and roll. We hope no one has had any losses that cannot be regained, and are very sorry for those that have. Rock and roll represents freedom. People should always have the freedom of choice to do what they feel safe doing, and should have access to all the facts and information to make informed decisions. Education, communication, not to be confused with confrontation. Saying this at the risk of being persecuted. A lot of that going on these days. So tired of the division and name calling going around. To each his fucking own, said with love. Respect and protect all life. Peroid. MPAP: The experts warn there will be no moshing or crowd surfing when concerts finally return. (Laughing) Who are these experts, and obviously they have never attended a metal music show, right? They say moshing and crowd surfing are violations of social distancing and must be absolutely prohibited during this pandemic. What are your thoughts? Can you have a metal show with no moshing and crowd surfing?
Gwendoyln: No way. It wouldn’t be a metal show, lol, but in reality; especially after being cooped up for so long, we would hope not. Hopefully people don’t forget how to live!
MPAP: Do you think the fans will even follow those rules?
Gwendoyln: No fucking way. I can’t wait to get in a pit and jump off a stage, haaahaaa! Hope I don’t break a hip!
MPAP: With the exception of a megaband like Metallica, or even Iron Maiden, the coronavirus is hitting most musicians pretty hard. What have you or your band been doing to get through this crisis?
Gwendoyln: Working our day jobs, grateful to do so. Playing and writing music. Getting ready to record a new LP! Plotting and planning some semi private shows and fundraisers, and getting ready to play live again.
MPAP: Lzzy Hale, frontwoman for the American rock band Halestorm, recently posted on her social media, saying, 'most bands won’t make it out of this.' Do you agree with this? Do you think some bands will go out of business like a lot of restaurants are during this pandemic?
Gwendoyln: Love Lzzy, but Again; you can’t kill rock and roll! We are not a business; music is something that is in your blood deep to the core. We hope it doesn’t break any good bands up though. Hopefully it will revitalize many! Most musicians only dream of making a living playing music! Haaaa!
MPAP: Other than not being able to play live music and go out on tour, how else has the coronavirus affected you?
Gwendoyln: Just missing playing live shows, and enjoying seeing them as well. Had to switch to single socks at one point because we couldn’t find TP! Just kidding. The coronavirus brought this band back together! Luckily, no one we know has suffered a major loss of any kind and we send nothing but positive thoughts out to everyone everywhere who has suffered from any of this bullshit.
MPAP: Well, that wraps things up. We hope this all ends soon, and we can all get back to a venue and watch some good live music while having an overpriced beer. We hope you stay safe and stay healthy. On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, thank you, Gwendoyln, for doing this interview. One last question before we bring this to a close. Are you prepared for the murder hornets that have recently entered the U.S.? Geez, we are only halfway through the year, so far, can only imagine what’s next, right?
Gwendoyln: Well, the protests and riots going on right now are pretty crazy, a lot of anarchy, and maybe even a revolution; which won’t be televised. And there’s talk of asteroids, super volcanoes; we just say: motherfucking bring it on! Let’s enjoy the ride and appreciate the people we love! In the end, what else do we really have? Thanks for having us! Look out, the BB All Stars are coming to a backyard acre of land or a strip club near you soon!