Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With Wisconsin's 'Casket Robbery' May 28th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #13
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Cory.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?
Cory Scheider: For me personally it has been pretty normal. I’m fortunate enough to still have work and I for the most part have always stayed inside and prefer working at home. There are many people though that are struggling through this and I feel for them. Small business owners losing their livelihood, mental health issues, and people dying, the list goes on. I’m fortunate and remind myself of that every day.
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?
Cory: Yea, it’s been a pretty crazy year, right? It’s like we’re living in a cartoon movie. We had planned to have an album out and we had a great tour booked with The Convalescence, Filth, and Blood of Angels, and a headlining tour with Abaddonia. Plus, a run of local and regional shows. We should be on the road as we speak actually. All of the touring and shows have mostly been pushed back to 2021. Luckily, people will be hungry for live shows then and we’re hoping for the best when we really hit the road then. We still have a few shows on the books though. A couple shows, including Toledo Death Fest, with Jungle Rot, The Convalescence, Filth,and Blood of Angels in July. Michigan Metal Fest in August, and Midwest Death Fest in Minnesota in October. So, we’re happy to have some dates. I’m just super worried about finding toilet paper on the road you know? Using restrooms on the road this year will be miserable. If anyone has advice please hit up Casket Robbery online, maybe a safe sink bidet technique? I’m thinking we may have to get a step stool for that. I’ve watched videos of people walking and letting it go down their pant leg… you have to be really discrete though. No toilet paper required for that one, at least. I would just worry about the safety of others. You ever see someone slip on a banana?
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?
Cory: Yea, I think for the bands and fans, concerts can’t wait any longer. As fans of art, music, and entertainment we need it now more than ever to uplift and heal. People need music now. And if we all keep in mind safe distancing rules and safety concerns, I think it’s safe to bring back concerts. People want this and they want to feel safe. Many people we’ve talked to feel ok coming back to shows with safety practices in place, without there being a vaccine. And for bands, yea, we need to be on the road to be able to make this work financially. We do have the responsibility, if we book a show, to make sure it is safe for everyone before just jumping into this. We have some shows on the books but everyone involved is making sure that it is safe every step of the way. We’re on phone calls, email, and discussing rules and safety guidelines as things change from day to day. Shows will continue to be cancelled if there is anything unsafe.
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 will even follow those rules?
Cory: The experts don’t even know what’s going on really, there is so much misinformation happening and contradicting thoughts and ideas. Masks, or no masks? I guess that’s for another interview though… I think that we all can definitely have shows, but we all have to be more responsible and aware of the people around us. And as a band I think we have the responsibility to bring our fans together in a safe environment. All we can do is do our best to make appropriate guidelines for shows and make it safe. At the end of the day, we cannot do shows if people are unsafe and at risk. It defeats the point of doing shows altogether. I guess to really sum up my thoughts… I would rather have shows with no moshing, if necessary, than no shows at all, as long as it is very safe. I think it’s possible.
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?
Cory: We’ve been able to shift our focus onto our album, which is actually a nice breather for us to have some time without interruptions of shows or touring. We love being on the road so much that it’s hard to say no when the shows start coming in. But we’re at home, dialing in this album mix and we’ll be able to take our time to get it in the right hands for releasing it. We’ve also been able to really focus on building up other areas of our social media and online presence. The online side of things played a huge part in the band early on and we can kind of focus more on thinking outside the box there. Connecting with fans has been really great and helpful as well. I have to give a huge shout out to our fans and especially our Coven of Souls group. They have been supportive of us and each other in the group throughout this whole thing. They’ve helped support us financially by purchasing merch and when things get tough, we can actually lean on each other for a helping hand. It’s been amazing to make new fans and have that kind of bond, to be able to call them friends and metal family. Please reach out to us if you need help or someone to talk to. You’re always welcome into our group for support.
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?
Cory: I think we’ll see bands that will go silent or go away for sure. There will also be a chance for bands to navigate through this and find new ways to thrive. Maybe this is a chance for artists to re-invent themselves and the industry? I think that is a really cool possibility and I hope to see everyone navigate through this and become more successful in other areas. I will drop this in here as I’ve been thinking about this a lot. We’re all at a point where we need to, as bands, come together and think about how lopsided the business model is for bands. Relying now on a touring based income model solely could be a death sentence for bands. Nothing can beat a live show but seeing bands come up with new and exciting ways to reach people is a good thing. There needs to be a demand for increased streaming royalties and a social media platform made specifically for bands. We’ve been relying on platforms like Facebook, a company that doesn't care about us and with a majority of people using it that aren’t there for music, to promote and market our music. It doesn’t make much sense and maybe we can all navigate away from it. We’ve been making the switch to focus on platforms like Bandsintown, Bandcamp, and Bandzoogle and put Facebook on the backburner. I’ve been asking myself why we spent so much time on Facebook haha. I think the bands that cannot switch from old ways and embrace the endless potential of the unknown will die out very rapidly. This leaves new bands, not yet relying solely on touring income to make huge moves. Virtual tours, live shows online, etc. It’s actually an exciting time and I hope every band takes advantage so they can survive this.
MPAP: Other than not being able to play live music and go out on tour, how else has the coronavirus affected you?
Cory: It’s grounded me more. I’ve had a chance to step back from the hustle of the world and really enjoy things that I haven't had time to in years. Even things like playing my guitar more. Instead of practicing and writing our own music I’ve had a chance to really enjoy learning so many other songs that inspired me as a kid.
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, Cory, for doing this interview.
Cory: Thank you for talking with us! We appreciate all you do for us and music.
MPAP: 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?
Cory: I’m prepared for them. What’s next…? We gotta figure out how to use the 3 sea shells.