Musicians in times of Covid-19: "Suddenly, a significant part of your life is forbidden."

We asked three bands how they deal with the Covid-19 pandemic

At the beginning of 2020, the everyday life of bands, club owners and promoters disappeared overnight. All over the world. Long-planned tours and lots of invested passion, life dreams or career highlights – all buried. There was nothing that a band or an organiser could do about it – that was frustrating. What does that do to a band? We asked them in May 2020.

Hi there everyone. Basically, the most common thing for bands to do is have regular rehearsals. How do you do it, do you rehearse, and if so, how?


The rehearsals fell through completely at first, but little by little we are organising rehearsals again to stay on the ball.


So really, we haven't seen each other for over two months and we haven't rehearsed either. It remains to be seen if we can still ply the tunes. (laughs)


We had to step back for a while and consequently cancelled the rehearsals for several weeks to wait and see how things went and to make sure we didn't endanger anyone. We've rehearsed once since then, coming and going at different times, keeping two metres apart.

Maurice is the voice of the hard rockers from Rednight.

Jesse Garon is Sloppy Joes Rockaholic (Vocals/Guitar).

Jannik is the guitarist and singer with Long Way Home.

Have tours and live plans only been postponed or have some things been completely cancelled?

Rednight: We would have played a lot of gigs in April and May, but they unfortunately have all been postponed until some unknown date. Our plans for an entire tour were stopped early on. On the other hand: At least that didn't "ruin" all the work put into planning a tour afterwards.

Sloppy Joes: EUnfortunately, pretty much everything we planned live has been cancelled. At the end of last year our new album „Devil's Music“ was released and the tour for the album should start in the spring of this year. Then came COVID-19 and all the plans crashed. At first it was still unclear whether we could play two smaller festivals in July and August.

Long Way Home: It's the same for us. So far, eight concerts have been postponed until the end of the year and next year, two have been cancelled without no new dates in sight.

Can you use digital means to facilitate your everyday life as a band?

Rednight: Smartphones and the internet help immensely.

If you think back a few years, it would have been evidently harder for the live industry back then.

But this way, we can at least carry on a little, especially via social media, develop concepts such as streaming concerts and pool our resources more there.

Sloppy Joes: Since we are now losing a lot of significant proceeds due to the tour cancellation, we are doing a lot to keep our fans happy digitally. It basically boils down to simply letting them know that we're still here. On 1 May we released a new single (Means So Much) and the accompanying music video. We are also planning a few more music-related goodies. But my fingers are already tingling. It is perpetually gruelling for musicians not to perform. Suddenly, a significant part of your life is forbidden. But of course we understand that there are more important things now, we need to save lives.

Long Way Home: We recently streamed a full live concert, but you also want to give the audience a show – and from a pure audiovisual sense, that's difficult to do over the internet.

What lessons could bands take away from this situation for future development, even after Covid-19? Perhaps there is also a positive experience?

Rednight: We think that some bands will learn from this and will be more digital in their presentation. Musicians who were already present online a lot before have now experienced a big surge. Those who avoided the platforms now have a lot to catching up to do. We were actually a bit too relaxed, you should actually have a massive digital presence now. Although we as students are not financially dependent on our music.

Financially, this hits those who make a living from music the hardest. That's why we decided not to use the donate button on Spotify. To leave it open to those who really need donations.

Sloppy Joes: Just like us as musicians, music listeners and concert-goers probably crave live music. A lot of people are only now realizing how great concerts are. Often you only realize how great and enriching something is when it suddenly goes missing.

In our affluent society, this pandemic situation may result in a new appreciation for bands, live clubs and artists.

Long Way Home: That's right. We appreciated the one rehearsal we had a lot more because it wasn't routine anymore. The peace and quiet also gives you more time to write new songs, to optimise everything for afterwards.

What do you think of digital, streamed concerts? Is that something for you?

Rednight: At first it wasn't for us, because it was completely new territory for us to record ourselves. But we were at an online festival in Aachen. You can also watch the Quarantine-Session on the Rednight-YouTube-Channel. And we were part of a "DisTanz in den Mai" event where the online event was streamed really professionally! It was definitely one of those events that we will never forget as a band.


Sloppy Joes: In order not to be forgotten, such streaming campaigns are helpful. For us, a concert always includes an audience. The spirit has to spark, and it's the reactions of a live crowd that make every concert unique.

Streaming cannot and must not replace real live situations.

Especially at our shows, we like to involve the audience in our songs, let people sing along, encourage them to party and stage-dive. If either of us stage-dived at a streaming concert, it would probably be our last show. (laughs)


Long Way Home: We did it once. It's a weird feeling.

But streaming concerts are also a way to reach people who might miss a concert due to distance.

Do you think that the dying-of-the-clubs has been intensified by this pandemic? Is there a way back to a lively club culture?

Rednight: The scene is definitely going to change. For better or worse, we don't want it to be the writing on the wall, but the situation will certainly break some operators' legs, if not their necks, financially. We hope that as many clubs as possible will survive this time. There might even be a big catch-up upswing after that.

Sloppy Joes: For some clubs, the situation has been tough even without a pandemic. We have personal contact with many of them. Especially for the live club operators, who have to manage staff in addition to the fixed costs, i.e. have responsibility for employees, it is a matter of existence. Fortunately, the state is already helping these operators. Many solidarity communities have also formed that support with donations. With some luck, many clubs will be able to survive this way.

Ultimately, as a band, we need the clubs.

Long Way Home: As the colleague from Sloppy Joes puts it: The dying-of-clubs was the order of the day even before Corona. Clubs struggling to stay afloat now face the death knell. This makes us very sad as a band that is also dependent on clubs and locations.

How can musicians support each other during this time?

Rednight: You can plan really great campaigns on Instagram or YouTube together. Just go live together, talk and give the fans an insight into everyday digital band life.

Sloppy Joes: I'd also like to mention the "Rock against Corona"-Playlist on Spotify, which was launched in cooperation with the Red Cross. In addition to us, a variety of other cool bands are also represented in this playlist. The great side effect is that the bands are "mixing" their fans, i.e. draw attention to each other. It's a similar effect to festivals, where you suddenly see a band for the first time and get hooked by the performance.

Long Way Home: There are weekly releases by bands who are friends of ours, we let people know about that. Even without a pandemic.

How can fans support "their" bands, what would you say to music lovers?

Rednight: Every fan does what he thinks is right. If you want to be actively involved, you can also bring in ideas for formats or campaigns. Or maybe just stream last year's song again. Luckily we are now being presented on the WDR2 radio station and listeners can vote for us for Band of the West. So it's a good idea to just tune in and cast a vote. All in all, we should stick together and take care of each other. Not just now, but always.

Sloppy Joes: Fans can donate. We have a PayPal link for this on our website. But it's even better to buy band merch, like T-shirts and physical albums. Music has its value and that value in the form of financial support is especially important for bands to survive right now.

Long Way Home: Merch is still the main source of income for us as a band. In addition, there is often the possibility to make a contribution to the streams. Instead of the admission fee at the box office, so to speak.

Guys, thanks for the digital interview! We hope to see you at a real festival or on a club stage again soon.

What does the club of the future actually look like – maybe after the pandemic? Here is a review of the Club Amplifier Conference 2019.

Picture © The Hirsch Effekt