Dez Fafara Talks Band He Manages Making $235K on Tour, Only Coming Home With $12K Due to Costs

Dez Fafara: Achim Raschka / CC-BY-SA-4.0, //, Own work, copyleft: Multi-license with GFDL and Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0 and older versions (2.5, 2.0 and 1.0), Wikimedia Commons
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The conversation pertaining to the current economic state of touring is growing as more musicians come forward and speak about their own financial struggles while on the road. Artists such as Devin Townsend, Dino Cazares, Anders Fridén, and Dave Mustaine have each chimed in on the conversation, each providing their own insight into the industry’s current struggles.

As a musician and someone who manages other bands, Devildriver frontman Dez Fafara is also aware of how rough things are right now for touring acts. At one point during an interview with Heavy Metal Mayhem, Fafara talked about the financial difficulties that many bands are facing right now.

Among the points he brings up, Fafara talks about a band he manages coming back from a tour and suffering a tremendous net loss; the band had made “$235 thousand net,” but due to various costs, they only got to keep “12 thousand dollars.”

Regarding how rough it is for bands touring nowadays, Fafara shares (as transcribed by Blabbermouth):

“The business of it is getting really called into the forefront now because bands are starting to talk about the business. Before, it was kind of taboo to talk about what you make on tour, what you don’t make on tour, if touring is hard monetarily. Five, ten years ago, people didn’t talk about how much buses were or how much it was to tour. And now it’s coming to the forefront, because everything has tripled.

“I said to somebody the other day, ‘I don’t know a young guy in a van is gonna do it. I don’t know how you’re gonna do it.’ And to give you an example, I have a huge management company. I had a band go out on a small little run. They came home with 235 thousand dollars net, but with all of the costs and with everything else, the band made 12 thousand dollars. And that’s with merch — everything. 240 grand — the band came home with 12 grand. I mean, it’s insanity. And I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I don’t think the buses are ever gonna come down. I don’t think the crews are ever gonna come down. I don’t think – lighting that’s doubled, gas that’s tripled, I don’t see any of that returning back to form to where people can do this. So it’s gonna be a real rough go.

“We’re all facing those things now. I’ve got a second leg getting ready to be announced with Devildriver and Cradle Of Filth — it’s gonna be announced for October — and I’m looking at the money, I’m looking at the budgets, and I’m, like, ‘Wow. This is rough.’ Even Coal Chamber going out with Mudvayne, I’m looking at everybody’s budgets, I’m looking at what everything costs, and it’s, like, insane what it costs.”

That’s absolutely wild to hear of a band making over $200,000 and only coming home with $12,000 to be split between all of them. Holy shit.

Touring has always had various hurdles associated with it, but modern touring seems to be in quite a concerning predicament. Hell, Refused frontman Dennis Lyxzén thinks more bands are going to “call it quits” because it’s “almost impossible to make a living playing music.”