Being In A Band During The COVID-19 Pandemic Catching Up With Pittsburgh's 'Reign Of Z' August 6th, 2020 • Pandemic Band Interview #34
Metal Pulp And Paper: Hello Stephen. 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?
Stephen Berg: We haven’t stopped working... writing, working on new merch designs, planning for post COVID-19 life.
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?
Stephen: We had planned to go into the studio to cut our single, we decided to rebrand and get new merch, we were going to get a new music video and starting to hit the road with a tour.
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?
Stephen: We can’t drive 55, but if that’s the maximum capacity on certain venues, then we have to start pushing ahead.
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?
Stephen: Once life resumes, who are we to tell people what they can and can’t do? Are we going to issue bubbles for everyone who comes into a venue? Live shows are about energy. People feel it and feed off of it, and if that’s what they feel compelled to do, who are we to stop them?
MPAP: Can you have a metal show with no moshing and crowd surfing?
Stephen: We can’t tell people what they can and can’t do? Does it take the fun out of it? Possibly. But we do feel bad for the 80-pound girl trying to hold up a 200-pound man crowd surfing.
MPAP: Do you think the fans will even follow those rules?
Stephen: Not at all.
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?
Stephen: Working we haven’t stopped...
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 and businesses are during this pandemic?
Stephen: Only if they choose to. This is a test. Rock is about the strong willed and resilient and if there’s a will there’s a way.
MPAP: Other than not being able to play live music and go out on tour, how else has the coronavirus affected you?
Stephen: Some of our members lives haven’t changed. As far as Z, she has been going insane being someone on the go and being put to a halt is soul crushing.
MPAP: 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, Stephen, 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.?
Stephen: We predict up next for the fall, Godzilla.