Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With New Jersey's 'Slave Revolt' June 18th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #25
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Jimi. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it.
Jimi Ivins: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!
MPAP: So, how have you been holding up during this global pandemic and lockdown?
Jimi: Not too bad I suppose. I honestly have not left the house very much and have been pretty much told to stay home, I'm immunocompromised, so, when I do get out, I have to still keep a safe distance from everyone which is kind of a bummer; but it's only temporary. Things will get better!
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?
Jimi: Right before we had this pandemic strike, we were in the middle of rehearsals so we could get out there and start playing some live shows, but again it’s just a blip. When things are safe and settled down, we will continue our live practice and get out there as soon as we can all do it responsibly. Everyone’s health and safety is always going to be our priority.
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?
Jimi: This is a tough one. I would love to agree, but again, if it means compromising the safety of our fans and friends, we would rather do what is right morally. You can't make any money if you're dead and the scale is tipped in deaths favor. I do agree it is going to have a huge financial impact on the industry. Mainly musicians whose income is primarily from touring and live merch sales. Unfortunately, only time will tell and hopefully we all can bounce back and come back with an even stronger musical community. This is a hard situation, but there are certainly some things that can be learned from it.
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?
Jimi: I am a fan of the wall of death but maybe we can change its name to 'The Moses' and make it kind of a large split sea of socially distanced metal heads and when the breakdown strikes , we all run away from each other instead of towards each other, hahahahah. Sorry, I had a lot of sugar today. I do think that a show can still be fun, but I also see reinforcing that to be kind of difficult. Can it be done? Of course, but who is likely to comply? People go to live shows as a kind of social release.
MPAP: Do you think the fans will even follow those rules?
Jimi: I think it will go both ways. There will be fans willing to comply, but then there will be the unruly who just wanna have a good time. The important take away is to do our best to be conscious of those around us and mind personal space and maybe there should be mandatory sanitizer at all the doors as kind of a precaution? I don't know if that is possible but it would be a very small start.
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?
Jimi: Well, we are a very new band, so we are still at the foundation stage here and kind of building up as we go along. Since January we have released three singles and recently in May dropped our debut album Journey To The Other Side, so a lot of our time has been spent trying to promote that and get it out there. I recently made the whole album available to stream on our website for free at www.slaverevoltrock.com. We have a very busy second half of the year now, so I have been trying my best to keep up with all the release dates and also at the same time writing new music for the follow-up. I figure while we had the time we might as well put it to good use.
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?
Jimi: I think personally that this is a time where you need to be versatile and have other sources of income available if you are a low tier band such as ourselves, we all work day jobs. But there are always plenty of opportunities to make extra money. You just have to know what you are good at. I am fortunate in that I get to make art for a living but in the same regard, I am always working on something, so there isn't a lot of free time in this life, but that is okay because the music and art is the reward. It is all about what you put into it.
MPAP: Other than not being able to play live music and go out on tour, how else has the coronavirus affected you?
Jimi: Well I am a tattoo artist for a living and tattoo shops have been ordered to close since mid-march and we still aren't open in New Jersey, though we did get an opening date now so that is good news, but I have basically not made any money for the past almost 100 days.
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, Jimi, 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?
Jimi: Hahahaha that's right who could forget the murder hornets. Although the only killa bees I know is Wu-Tang. I think I will socially distance myself from the murder hornets, as I said before I'm Immunocompromised and I have never been stung by a bee, so I am not really in a point in my life where I need to find out if I am allergic. Thank you so much again for your time we appreciate. Stay safe and be well!