Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With Canada's 'Weigh The Anchor' May 27th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #10
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Brad. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it. So, 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?
Brad Gresko: Earlier this year we got into the studio to record our new EP, before all the craziness began, and had booked a cross-Canada tour for the release, which has now been postponed. We didn't get too much further into planning our year since we were so focused on recording for the first two months of the year, and then almost immediately after the world started shutting down.
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?
Brad: As musicians we would love nothing more than to able to play shows for rooms of people again, but we also understand the importance of public safety. Hopefully soon we'll all be able to get back to a more normal version of our lives where we can experience our favorite bands in person, but for now it's imperative that we trust the directions from medical professionals.
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?
Brad: Crowd surfing and moshing is cemented in the culture of heavy music, so it's very hard to imagine shows without it. With that being said, I think heavier genres have one of the most loyal and dedicated fanbases out there and all those people are really missing concerts and festivals right now. It wouldn't surprise any of us if fans are willing to sacrifice moshing and crowd surfing to maintain some social distancing elements if it allows for shows to return sooner. It would be different for sure, but it would be better than nothing.
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?
Brad: Our band has really tried to take stock on what we've done and what we can do moving forward. We've really made a push to be more active on social media and try to interact with our fans by providing some unique content we've never done before. That stuff has been keeping us pretty busy, but it's been great being able to do some cool interviews like this one.
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?
Brad: It's been rough seeing businesses close their doors. A couple local music venues around us in the GTA have had to close and nobody wants to see that happen. The same thing goes for bands out there, we don't want to see anyone have to give up their dream of playing music. But obviously life gets in the way sometimes and there probably will be some bands that end up burning out whether it's from the virus itself or the financial strain it's putting on so many people. But musicians tend to be a resilient bunch, so we're hopeful that the industry can continue to grow after this virus comes to pass.
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, Brad, for doing this interview.
Brad: Thanks so much for talking with us, we hope you all stay safe out there and are taking all the necessary precautions. We hope to see everyone out at a show sometime soon!
MPAP: 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?
Brad: Oh wow, just when we thought we had enough to worry about, now there's giant murder hornets? I guess if nothing else it's another reason for everyone to stay home and stay inside. Maybe 2020 is just trying to get all of the bad stuff out of the way in the first six months and afterwards everything will be better than ever?