Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With Virginia's 'The Emma Garell Band' June 30th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #26
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Emma. 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?
Emma Garell: I have been holding up pretty well. I am an introvert and have enjoyed not having to go places all the time. Being very productive as a result.
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?
Emma: Funny, I have thought about most of these things happening so far, it has been so crazy. Honestly, the last two weeks have felt like a year as the world is changing so drastically. Prior to all of this we were heading out on tour for April 2020. It was going to be our first tour and our first festival. That is really the only thing that has been really affected. Otherwise, I am making the most of the downtime and getting in the studio to finish my first album.
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 the source of a major income is concerts, it hurts when you have to postpone or cancel a tour. The vaccine could take 12 to 18 months. Do you think he’s right for saying concerts can’t wait any longer?
Emma: Yeah, obviously I agree that we can’t. But I don’t agree that we shouldn’t. So many amazing venues, not just musicians, that aren’t going to be there when we come back. I am not going to go to a show, so I wouldn’t want to put on a show right now and expect others to come out.
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?
Emma: Nope, I don’t think they will follow those rules. And I don’t know who those experts are either. But it doesn’t look like we will be having these kinds of shows anytime soon.
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?
Emma: My guitarist, Dylan, still has a job; the rest of us lost our income. We are just figuring it out like everyone else. Some small gigs are starting to come back. If you can do solo or acoustic you can consider yourself lucky. Cody, my drummer, does music videos, so he has been doing that. And I have been zooming with my producer to get the album ready... just yesterday I was actually allowed back inside his studio. I love being at Todd’s studio and working with him. I would do it every day if time and distance allowed as he is several hours away from me.
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?
Emma: I don’t know about that, it depends on the integrity of the band; not the business of the band. While a band is a business if everyone is still willing to play, there is no reason they can’t rebuild. We are all on hold. A pandemic is a good excuse for a band in distress to let go of each other. And a break up isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes that is what opens that next door for people and new opportunities may show themselves.
MPAP: Other than not being able to play live music and go out on tour, how else has the coronavirus affected you?
Emma: Obviously it has affected my whole life and how I live it. But I have gotten into a good rhythm and enjoyed my time and space. It feels weird with things opening back up.
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, Emma, 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?
Emma: Call me stupid, but I am pretty prepared for the murder hornets.