Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With California's 'Raven Black' May 21st, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #1
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Raven. 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?
Raven Black: Keeping busy writing, doing live feeds and chatting with our fans through FB messenger. Staying home and spending quality time with our fur babies. It’s really nice to not have to leave them so much for touring. Catching up with family and friends has also been really nice. We’re usually too busy to have long meaningful conversations.
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. COVID-19 pandemic. 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?
Raven: The pandemic has definitely hurt us as a band this year. We had three tours planned and our new and third album, The Key was supposed to be released around these tours. We also have our new comic book Issue #2 being released this year, as well. We had our first tour in with In This Moment, Black Veil Brides,and DED scheduled for Spring postponed. We had planned on a Headliner Tour late Summer and another support tour with two big bands in the Fall. It has been very devastating to us not to be able to tour and have everything postponed. We are staying optimistic though that we will get through this together and we are releasing both the new album and the comic book in 2020. New Album: bit.ly/RBTheKey. New Comic Book: bit.ly/RavenBlackMerch.
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 cancel a tour. And a vaccine could take 12 to 18 months. Do you think he’s right for saying concerts can’t wait any longer?
Raven: I agree with him partially, but at the same time, I don’t feel many fans will feel differently than I do as far as my own health risk and safety. I don’t know if I would be comfortable just yet in being around a lot of people in close proximity. I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want anyone else to get sick. Anything happening too early before truly knowing we have a vaccine or any kind of remedy is irresponsible. I don’t believe that concerts should be banned from taking place, but I do believe people will make their own decisions as to whether they want to take the health risk. I feel many will not want to take the risk and the turnouts would reveal themselves in any case. Some concerts will thrive and others will flop.
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?
Raven: I laugh with you. It’s such an integral part of metal shows.
MPAP: Do you think the fans even follow those rules?
Raven: Absolutely not.
MPAP: With the exception of a megaband like Metallica, or even Iron Maiden, the coronavirus is hitting most musicians pretty hard in the pocketbook. What have you or your band been doing to get through this crisis? Raven: Merch, Merch, Merch.
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? They just can't afford to go on any longer.
Raven: I do, unless they are willing to work on other sources of revenue, they will not survive. If they are on a label, and the label decides to carry them through these times and still invest more funds into their future, then they will survive. If not, well, non-label bands will have to learn how to raise funds to create and sell merch, fund their own tours and pay for their own production. We are a DIY band, so this is normal for us. We don’t have a label advancing any of our costs, so we are doing exactly what we’ve always had to do to survive, just more intensely. I don’t know if the other bands practice the same self-initiatives.
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, Raven, for doing this interview.
Raven: Thank you so much for reaching out to us and always being such a support to what we do.
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?
Raven: LOL! We’re prepared for anything. We’re Metal Heads, we’re used to living out of the box.