Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

OTR’s music story of the week: Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the euro crisis

Sometimes covering the music business beat is a bit like Groundhog Day with the same old issues coming up in new guises. You’ve technology stories, record-labels-are-bad-lads stories, record-labels-are-numpties’ stories, live music bandit stories, Ticketmaster stories and artists getting huffy stories. …

Thu, Dec 8, 2011, 09:57

   

Sometimes covering the music business beat is a bit like Groundhog Day with the same old issues coming up in new guises. You’ve technology stories, record-labels-are-bad-lads stories, record-labels-are-numpties’ stories, live music bandit stories, Ticketmaster stories and artists getting huffy stories. There are a couple of other regulars but, really, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Three cheers, then, for Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and especially their manager Cliff Burnstein for providing us with this fascinating insight into how the euro crisis is causing very rich rock stars to panic about their European tours. If you and I are worried about whether the euros in our pockets will actually be worth anything once this weekend’s extraordinary events are over, that’s nothing compared to Metallica and the Chili Peppers, who believe that the impending gloom and doom in the old world may mean ruin for their pension plans.

Both bands were originally not scheduled to tour in 2012, but brought forward their plans when the euro crisis began so ensure that the money they got paid would actually be worth more than a hill of beans. Which is why you have the Chili Peppers playing Croker next summer (how’s that one selling, Dinny?) and Metallica’s “European summer vacation” calling at Germany’s Rock Im Park and Rock Am Ring festivals (no sign of the band bringing Lou Reed with them, which is a good thing).

Per manager Burnstein, “over the next few years, the dollar will be stronger and the euro weaker, and if that’s the case, I want to take advantage of that by playing more of these shows now, because they will be more profitable for us. We’re a US export the same way Coca-Cola is. We look for the best markets. And you have to ask yourself, what’s the best time to be doing what, when and where”.

Those Yanks really do fear anything that’s not the dollar – and with good reason. The piece mentions former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan who “once unwittingly spent $40,000 on expensive suits in Italy because he didn’t realize how much his purchases—then in Italian lira—were worth in dollars”. McKagan now runs Meridian Rock Capital Management, a wealth-management firm for rockers. At least, he’ll be able to advise clients if we go back to the lira, drachma and punt.

It’s not the first time that rich rock stars have mused on the economy in recent times. Three years ago, Counting Crows cancelled an European tour, with the band blaming the credit crunch and currency fluctuations. Sadly, few promoters seized the opportunity to use “credit crunch” instead of “unforeseen circumstances” as a reason for cancelling poor performing shows.

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