Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With Oregon's 'Ligature Marks' May 28th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #12
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Karl. 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?
Karl Whinnery: I’ve personally been going pretty good all things considered! I’m working remotely for my day job, so I’m fortunate to still have my job. The first few weeks were rough as everyone was trying to figure out what the hell was going to happen.
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?
Karl: We’ve always been TP hoarders, so that’s a thing? We’re working on a new EP and were lining up shows around the PNW along with lining out more videos.
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?
Karl: On one hand it’s simple, and the other it’s a crazy complex. I think until there’s a vaccine, going indoors with large crowds is a mistake. You might dodge it once or twice, but eventually that luck will run out. Also, lots of people are out of work right now. My heart breaks for them. I think some bands could do live streamed shows or drive in, or outdoor festivals. That won’t work for everyone. So, no, he’s not right. But I bet that comes from a place of trying to watch out for his crew – he seems like a guy that cares, and that’s probably where he’s coming from.
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?
Karl: Lots of places have 'no moshing' rules. It’s definitely a fun part of the show, but if I had to skip moshing to see my favorite band, I would. I’d wear a mask or a fucking hazmat suit if that meant I could witness Gojira or others.
MPAP: Do you think the fans will even follow those rules?
Karl: Ha. No. SLAYER!!!!
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?
Karl: Most of us aren’t dependent on this for our incomes, but it does hurt when we take that sales money and reinvest it. It means the budgets for music videos and recording shrink.
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?
Karl: Yes, sadly. If it does happen it’ll mean the market won’t quite be so over saturated. But I think some bands that were just making it by or not raking it in are going to have to work. And when they do, they might get used to staying home.
MPAP: Other than not being able to play live music and go out on tour, how else has the coronavirus affected you?
Karl: I’m a busy dude, so it let me slow down enough to wrap a bunch of old stuff up. I get to spend more time with my dogs. I’m also dying to get out there and start creating again. I can’t wait for that first practice; that first show. I feel like I go through natural cycles of setting up a few month's worth of songs or projects, then execute them. I’m trying to make sure we come out of this with a huge game plan.
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, Karl, for doing this interview.
Karl: Thanks so much for having me answer this!
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?
Karl: It could always be worse. Always. As long as it’s not spiders I won’t panic too much. Ha. Take care and hope everyone is doing great!