Disturbed Guitarist Says Touring Costs Are a ‘Nightmare,’ Even For Huge Bands

Sven Mandel, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had and continues to have a terrible impact on the music industry. In 2023, many bands are trying to get back on the road in an effort to not only perform for their fans but also hopefully make some money. That said, making any kind of profit seems extremely difficult at this time. Touring is already a rough business for many bands, but even for big acts like Disturbed, touring in 2023 is proving to be one hell of a challenge.

Per a recent conversation with Tommy Carroll of 97.9 GRD, Disturbed guitarist Dan Donegan talked about the struggles that his band, and many others, are currently going through at this time. While Donegan feels that some rock/metal fans may “not care” about these issues – possibly looking at them as “Rich-rock-star problems” – he says that the COVID-19 pandemic has brutally impacted the careers of artists.

Speaking to those struggles Donegan shares the following (as transcribed by Blabbermouth): “It’s been such a nightmare. Just the logistics of it, it’s so challenging. And I know a lot of times the fans may not understand, or they may not care to care about it, ’cause it’s, like, ‘Boohoo. Rich-rock-star problems.’

“I get that people don’t wanna hear how tough it is to go out there. But the reality is, as you see a lot of bands who are struggling or are having to cancel some shows or cancel overseas stuff, because of inflation and fuel costs and production costs, it gets up there. And the ones that struggle the most and suffer the most are the artists.”

Donegan goes into more detail about the industry as a whole, expressing compassion for the various businesses involved in live performance and speaking about how they need to provide for their employees and families.

“Everybody in the world was affected by COVID, and businesses suffered. If you think about it, all these other companies, music related, whether it’s the sound company, the lighting company, the pyro company, the video companies, all these companies were sitting there, too, during COVID with nobody to… Their business is suffering, ’cause nobody could tour.

“And now we return and we’re starting to do it, now those production costs have tripled in most cases. ‘Cause they’re trying to — I get it — they’re trying to make up for their losses. They have employees and families and kids and business to try to keep their head above water and survive out there, like everybody else, but the bands themselves have to pay double and triple of what those costs, if they wanna carry that kind of production and to continue to do that kind of show that they were doing pre-COVID. So it gets a bit challenging.”

Donegan also mentions how bands could go back to playing in a “punk rock-style and don’t carry any production and do it” and that some fans would still enjoy the experience. He also shares: “So it’s just trying to find that balance of still being able to deliver the show that the fans want and are paying for and bring them the hits. So it’s just a little bit more juggling.”

Prior to the pandemic, touring has already been a rough business for many artists/bands; but with the pandemic, there have come even more difficulties to face. Artists deserve to be paid for the entertainment they bring us, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear about all the struggles they are going through.

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