Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With New York's 'Sharp Violet' May 21st, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #2
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Liz. 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?
Liz Schopp: I’ve been very lucky, I’m healthy and still able to work full time from home. I’m enjoying the down time but still finding ways to stay creative. I started cooking more and am learning how to paint. Sharp Violet has been working on new material too.
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. COVID-19 pandemic. 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?
Liz: We had ambitious plans for 2020. We were planning on recording our first full length album, film a music video for our latest single "She’s So Strange," we had booked a mini tour of the tri-state area, not to mention a ton of local shows we were supposed to play. All of which had to be postponed/cancelled due to Covid, unfortunately.
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 cancel a tour. And a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months. Do you think he’s right for saying concerts can’t wait any longer?
Liz: I’m eager to play a live show and go to concerts, but it’s just not safe right now. The thing with this virus is it’s not just about your safety, it’s about everyone else’s safety too. There have been a lot of virtual concerts these past two months. I’ve gotten to see quite a few of my favorite bands perform, some of them didn’t even have plans to tour this year. A few of the virtual concerts I paid to watch, I was happy to support them. There are other ways to support bands too, if you’re able to buy some merch or an album. Every little bit helps!
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? Do you think the fans even follow those rules?
Liz: I think it’s a guarantee people will break these rules but isn’t that what rock n roll is all about? To me it wouldn’t be deal breaker though, I’d be happy just to be able to hear live music again with my friends.
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?
Liz: We’ve been trying to think outside the box to stay creative and engaged. Right at the beginning of lockdown, we put on a virtual concert with our friends Steve and the Not Steves called Futurefest, and live streamed from my basement on Facebook and Instagram. Last month, we put out a video that we recorded and filmed completely in quarantine for our song "Gossip Rocket." Each member filmed their part on their cell phone and then we put all of the clips together to make a video. We had plans to shoot a music video back in March for our song "She’s So Strange" but that got postponed. The main character of the video concept is an older woman. On May 20th, we released a prequel video for "She’s So Strange" that tells the story of this woman’s life and ends where we had planned to begin the first scene of the original video. Once things are back to normal, we’ll film the 'part 2' video. We’re in the midst of creating a third quarantine video for our song "Black Widow" that will feature some claymation of a man being eaten by a spider band! We’re also starting to record socially distant so that we can put out our next single. Every Friday night, we’ve been playing virtual Cards Against Humanity and chatting via Zoom.
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?
Liz: I hope not! Things are tough right now but can anything really stop music? There are still songs to be written and if you have an instrument, don’t stop playing.
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, Liz, for doing this interview. 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?
Liz: If there was ever a year that the robots would take it over, this is it. Keep an eye out for Alexa!