We all know it’s hard out there for a struggling band to make ends meet when they go out on tour. It’s so bad that bands have canceled tours, blown the whistle on unfair tactics by venues, and even called it quits because things have gotten so bad. But what about a major and established act like Megadeth? As it turns out, things are bad for them, as well.
While speaking with The Jeremy White Show (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine lamented how things have gotten so expensive that even the days where they’re not playing a show can cost them tens of thousands of dollars, thanks to ballooning expenses.
“Oh, it’s pretty expensive. I think it’s about 45 thousand dollars a day for us just to sit still. I think — it might be 52. But that’s just sitting still; that’s not doing a show. Show days are more expensive… [That’s] salaries, hotel rooms, insurance — everything. The buses, the bus drivers, the trucks, the truck drivers. Yeah, a lot of stuff.”
More than $50,000 just to do nothing?! That’s insanity. If it’s that bad for Megadeth, imagine what it’s like for even bigger bands like Metallica. (Hey, I bet that’s one category Mustaine’s happy to let Metallica beat him in.)
Later on in the podcast, Mustaine was asked about his thoughts on recent complains from Avenged Sevenfold singer M. Shadows, who said just the tour buses alone for their tour would cost them two million more than they did prior to the pandemic. Thinking about his own experience and a potential explanation for that kind of cost, Mustaine said tour bus providers could be milking bands for additional clout to increase their market presence, hence the increased number of buses being used.
“I think that might be ’cause his band takes out more buses. For example, we take two. I’m sure that they probably take more than that. And I think because they’re so successful that there could be — I’m not saying this — but there could be certain people that would be more willing to give them an incentive to use their company because of what great promotion it would be to have those guys using a bus company. If I had a brand new bus and I wanted to get popular, bands like Avenged would be a great band for promoting your company.
“So you would think charging these guys two million bucks, man, they would either have to have a lot of buses or he’s talking about a long time. Buses are generally between five to 10 thousand dollars a week. ‘Cause that includes fuel and the driver and his hotel. Sometimes you have to do double drives in Europe; you have to do that.”
This kind of inside look at how the sausage gets made, or rather how much a tour actually costs the band, is worrisome on a number of levels. Not only have we already been warned that bands might not be making the trip overseas due to costs or quitting altogether, but if things continue down this path, we may only be left with huge legacy acts doing tours since they’ll be the only ones able to foot the bill.