Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

It’s World Feel-Sorry-For-A-Rock-Star Day

If we can have a World Goth Day, we think we can also have a Feel-Sorry-For-A-Rock-Star Day. The momentum behind this is provided by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett who does a bit of cribbing in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. …

Thu, May 31, 2012, 09:11

   

If we can have a World Goth Day, we think we can also have a Feel-Sorry-For-A-Rock-Star Day. The momentum behind this is provided by Metallica’s Kirk Hammett who does a bit of cribbing in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. Per the guitarist, the band have to stay touring because they’re not making enough cash from royalties as record sales dry up. Days off are off the agenda. And the band are not very happy with this state of affairs.

Here’s Kirk: “the cycles of taking two years off don’t exist anymore. We were able to do that because we had record royalties coming in consistently. Now you put out an album, and you have a windfall maybe once or twice but not the way it used to be – a cheque every three months. We’ve been a live band, we’ve had to get out there and play, play, play. Nowadays, that was the area we wanted to kind of lay back on a little bit, and kind of enjoy our families and things. But, you know, it is what it is, and we can’t change that”.

It’s not as if the band are in the poorhouse. According to Billboard, the band grossed $22.8 million from 55 arena shows that drew more than 968,000 fans in 2009 alone. That was part of the band’s World Magnetic Tour, which is believed to have grossed over $400 million in total. Add in ancillary revenue from merchandise (I’d say Metallica do very well on this score) and other band activities and you’ve an operation which is making out like bandits. Even with a huge amount of bills and retainers for crew, there must be a fairly good slice of profit from that take.

So why the beal bocht from Kirk? If the band don’t want to tour, they’ve obviously got enough cash in the band to take a year off, “kind of enjoy our families and things” and kick back for a while. Instead, they tour and tour again and tour some more. Surely even Metallica fans would welcome a break? And how does that hardcore following feel about these comments that the band actually would prefer not to be out there doing it for the kids? Is this their revenge for all the mud thrown at the band and Lars Ulrich over the Napster controversy?

When I read stories like this, I always wonder just how much cash a musician needs to get by. No doubt there are high maintenance accoutrements from cars to houses which Metallica’s members have amassed over the years and those bills have to paid, but even that alone can’t account for the need for cash from non-stop touring. Hammett goes on about the lack of royalties from new records – no surprise, then, that no-one bought that dog of an album they did with Lou Reed – but there’s always royalties from the back-catalogue which is probably still ticking over nicely. Plus, to accentuate the positive, record sales are apparently going up again. It’s a bit of a mystery where all the cash is going to. Outstanding therapy bills?

Nevertheless, we should probably feel a smidgin of sympathy for the band. The road goes on forever and Metallica, whether they like it or not (and they obviously don’t like it, going on the guitarist’s comments), are still going to be on for some time to come. Let’s hope World Feel-Sorry-For-A-Rock-Star Day cheers them up a little.

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