Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With New York's 'Kissing Candice' May 24th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #3
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Grippo. 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?
Grippo: Hey guys, thanks for having me back for another column here on MPAP. Always enjoy talking to you and think this should be an interesting one! I work in healthcare when I am not on tour. So, I have been living my life relatively normal while ensuring I am taking the utmost caution in everything I do to ensure the safety of those around me. Still leaving home and going to work 40 hours a week has kept me fairly stable while giving me more time on the weekends to seclude myself and work on different things I have wanted to do! I know this has had a major negative effect for a lot of people and I definitely feel for them. I’m a natural introvert so staying inside for me is a bit refreshing. Most of the other guys in the band also work essential jobs so they are still working, so I think they are holding up well. We are all bummed we can’t drop this new album and tour, but we are taking the time to perfect everything and show some love to our fans with 'Fan Month'.
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 worldwide deadly 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?
Grippo: Well, I definitely had tickets for both the RATM and MCR reunions and the Deftones tour, so that’s a bummer to me. As the news started coming out about how serious COVID-19 is we were leaving Vegas from recording our new full-length album, which we were planning on releasing ASAP and touring behind all summer. However, the album has to be pushed back until we find a release strategy we all like, since a band like us relies on touring to get the album out there. So, that part is a huge bummer for us. We are still working on getting the album out, but touring… no one knows when that will resume.
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. And who knows, a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months. Do you think he’s right for saying concerts can’t wait any longer?
Grippo: I understand his opinion. We, as a band are at a level where we can’t fully support being alive solely on touring, so in our time off from tour, we all work full time, some of us up to 60+ hour work weeks at multiple jobs. I imagine being at the level where touring is your sole income this is a huge issue, supporting yourself, and for many of these older musicians, their entire family. We have been in a position where a tour was cancelled a week before it was supposed to start and it put us out a lot of money, but we are all crafty and managed to keep going. We even got some help from our friends and were able to hop on a few dates of another tour where we got to sell off some of our merch! In my personal opinion though, the most important thing is the health of the fans… So, I think the industry as a whole, needs to make a major change if it wants to survive.
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?
Grippo: I’ve seen plenty of metal shows with no moshing and crowd surfing. The band has to just understand the circumstances and feed off the pent-up energy of the crowd for their stage show rather than the visible energy that is released moshing. We’ve given our all for some shows where 10 people were standing still the whole time when we started up. We even got banned from a venue at one of these shows because our stage show just got too wild or weird or something. We can do it again haha. Also, I feel like these rules will most likely be broken when people see their favorite band. However, bands like RATM and MCR where people want to lose their mind were mostly at seated arenas. So, there wouldn’t be moshing or crowd surfing at those anyway. As long as the stage show is fun, the crowd can still have fun.
MPAP: Do you think the fans even follow those rules?
Grippo: I mean, I hope so for health reasons, but I doubt it. I could see it creating a divide between fans who want to be health conscious and those who want to flip their lids.
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?
Grippo: As a band, we have been refining our new full-length album to what we view as perfection. Personally, I have started a mental health podcast with my girlfriend called 'Calls to the Quarantined', available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube, and Facebook, to help those who are having a hard time in this age and document how people were feeling.
MPAP: Lzzy Hale, frontwoman for the 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?
Grippo: Unfortunately, I could see this. A lot of mid-level bands who relied solely on performing for their income may end up falling into full time jobs they find themselves not wanting to leave after.
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, Grippo, for doing this interview.
Grippo: No problem! On behalf of KC we hope you and everyone who is reading this along with their loved ones are doing well both physically and mentally.
MPAP: One last question before we bring this to a close. Are you prepared for the murder hornets? Geez, we are only halfway through the year so far, can only imagine what’s next, right?
Grippo: Nope. I will move to wherever they are not. If an insect is larger than a quarter, I don’t want it within 20 miles of me.