Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With UK's 'Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs' June 2nd, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #16
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Matt. 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?
Matt Baty: OK really. Remaining grateful for the fortunate position I’m in. I’m fairly comfortable, but occasionally my brain goes like a magic 8 ball with my emotions. I think a lot of people are feeling that way.
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?
Matt: We had a busy year ahead filled with touring and festivals to follow the release of our new album which was released at the start of April. We had our first US gigs around SXSW, and two US tours pushed back until next year. Our largest UK tour dates and mainland European dates have had to be rescheduled too. It’s kinda sad turning the page on my calendar each month and seeing everything that we had booked in. Everyone is in the same boat though, and it’s just music after all. This pandemic has put some people in some real fixes. So, my personal frustrations at cancellations and postponements of shows are quite trivial in comparison.
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?
Matt: I’m no scientist, so I don’t feel qualified to say if it’s the right or wrong thing to do. I do think human lives and health are far more important than any economic arguments people put forward for getting things rolling again. I doubt Sammy Hagar is much of an expert either. Actually, I’ve just read his comments on this. They’re completely ill-informed and self-centered.
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?
Matt: Well simply, if people don’t follow any rules that are put in place to make sure shows can go ahead safely then they’ll just be shut down again and the longer the pandemic lasts. What’s fortunate is that I think, as a community, metal fans are generally socially responsible people.
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?
MPAP: There’s been huge limitations to what we can do as a band in the UK. The release of our album at the start of lockdown was somewhat a blessing in disguise as it was still something positive to focus on and celebrate. There was a very good reaction to it which we’re grateful for and it’s been a nice distraction talking to people about it.
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?
Matt: I’ve barely made any money from being in bands and I’ve always carried on making music, so in that sense, it’ll be no different for me personally. Music is an expression and feels completely necessary for my well-being. As an art form music doesn’t owe anyone any financial reward, only fulfillment on deeper levels. It’s existed for thousands of years. It was around before capitalism and it’ll no doubt outlive it.
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, Matt, for doing this interview. One last question before we bring this to a close. Are you prepared for the murder hornets that just entered into the US? Geez, we are only halfway through the year, so far, can only imagine what’s next, right?
Matt: We don’t have them here in the UK fortunately. It probably rains too much.