Dez Fafara of DEVILDRIVER: “Everything became so expensive…”

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The vocalist of DEVILDRIVER and COAL CHAMBER, Dez Fafara, discussed the realities of touring life after the pandemic in a sinister tone:

“The business is taking precedence now because bands are starting to discuss such issues. Before, it was forbidden to talk about how much you earn on tour, whether you don’t earn anything on tour, or if touring is hard financially. Five to ten years ago, people didn’t talk about how much buses cost or how much tours cost. But now, it’s coming to the fore because everything has tripled in price.

The other day I told someone, ‘I don’t know how a young guy in a van can do this. I don’t know how this can be done.’ And to give an example, I have a huge management company. I had a group that went on a small tour. They came back home with 235 thousand dollars [gross], but with all expenses and everything else, the band made only 12 thousand dollars. And that’s with merchandise — everything. The band returned home with 12 thousand dollars out of 240 thousand. I mean, it’s just incomprehensible. And I don’t know what’s next. I don’t think the cost of buses will ever go back. I don’t think technicians’ pay will ever go down. I don’t predict that the cost of electricity, which doubled, or gas, which tripled, will ever return to normal when people can do all of this. So it’s going to be very difficult.

We’re all facing these problems right now. I’m preparing for the announcement of the second part of the tour with DEVILDRIVER and CRADLE OF FILTH — it will be announced in October — and I’m looking at the numbers, looking at the budgets, and thinking, ‘Wow, this is tough.’ Even COAL CHAMBER is going to perform with MUDVAYNE, I look at everyone’s budgets, look at how much everything costs, and I’m just blown away by how much it all costs.”

When the interviewer suggested that increased expenses would ultimately be passed on to fans in the form of higher ticket prices, he replied:

“I just read an article on the Internet — on Reddit, actually — where fans are talking about it, and they’re boycotting. They say, ‘Screw you. I’m not going to pay that kind of money.’ But yes, we have to tell the promoter about this. We have to say, ‘Listen, my buses cost three times more. My crew costs twice as much. My gasoline is three times more expensive.’ The cost of using transportation has gone up because in the United States every five damn minutes you stop on a toll road. They learned this directly from Europe; they realized that now they can do it. I was just looking at the budget for the previous performance of the band I manage, and they paid $4800 for tolls. How is all of this supposed to work?

So yes, we have to pass this on to the promoter, who will pass it on… Tickets will be more expensive. And then fans will get angry, and they will either boycott the concert or say, ‘No, I’ll pay 50 bucks to see my favorite band.’ But they won’t go to two or three concerts a week anymore. And that same fan who used to go to two or three concerts now goes to one or two a month. So… I don’t know. It’s hard. It will definitely be difficult. And it’s difficult not only for small acts… We manage some pretty big groups. And I study budgets all day, that’s my strong suit, man. And I don’t understand how we can cut back… You can’t cut back the budget, there’s just nowhere to do it. ‘Well, we need a bus.’ And the same bus that used to cost $350 a day now costs $750-800 a day. The same driver who used to cost $200 a day now costs $550-600 a day. The same hotel for the driver that used to cost $120 a day now costs $250 a day. The same Uber that took the driver to this damn hotel room that used to cost you $23 now costs $42. I think what’s happening is straight-up madness!”

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