We received a huge response for our call for stories from musicians impacted by the coronavirus crisis, and we didn’t want to leave anyone out. Here are some more:
Ihui Cherise Wu (Polartropica)
We were trying to find a safe way to run the show at the Bootleg Theater but finally decided the day before my release with Kyle, Bootleg’s booker, that for everyone’s safety we should postpone to June! It was a bit of a scramble trying to get the word out to folks that were still planning on coming, and so many folks told us that they were thinking and hoping that this would be the last show before the ‘popcalypse.
My friend Ji Woo Han, who is part of the live sound team for The Strokes on tour, got together with fellow unemployed engineer friends from The Echo/Echoplex and called me that same day of the show cancellation to ask if we would be down to do a live stream session over Twitch (app) because he had a friend at a Studio at The Cube in DTLA that was interested in setting up a format for hosting bands to livestream shows for the whole community over the next few months while shows were being canceled.
They had never attempted anything like this before, but I was inspired by their quick mobilization to bring lighting engineers, sound engineers, video crews and musicians together for a project that could also be a model for bringing the community together to broadcast out to the world with possibility of donation-based support from fans and viewers to funnel back into the studio and artists. The project is called Illegal Concerts (follow @illegal_concerts on IG and Twitch).
We brought on half of the show lineup with us for the mini concert — Lucy & La Mer, who is the host and mastermind of the Love is Gay yearly all-ages benefit show now in its fourth year, and WASI, who just finished a sweet residency over at The Satellite.
In such uncertain times, we ended up having the most fun I could ever imagine. We had the best pre-quarantine video livestream party at the studio with some of the best tourmates and friends imaginable. Although there were some delays and pixelation, the show was such a success in a joyful celebration both at the studio and over the internet to our friends, family and fans who were all at home, if not just to show how resourceful, creative and brilliant our live music community is here in L.A. to pull something like this together in under 16 hours. The chat room allowed for everyone watching the stream to interact with one another and all of us at the studio throughout the entire night. It just felt like a bittersweet, beautiful moment we could share in middle of all the fear and uncertainty looming before us. All of this happened before the mayor called for further restrictions on Sunday.
In addition to all of our individual sets, all the bands came together to do a fun cover of My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Ok (Trust Me)” and a bit of Phantom Planet’s “California” to set the scene with a trumpet.
I keep wondering how I managed to pick the most epic date to drop our debut LP, but I feel like this adventurous night really made it memorable!
Illegal Concerts is looking to host more bands over the next few weeks and possibly longer, so any bands or crew that might be interested in collaborating, I encourage them to reach out via IG, or they can always contact us to get them in touch with them.
K Tyler (Liquid Giraffe)
I’ve always been a nerd for information, so I was aware of some form of what was unfortunately coming. With all my gigs canceled thru May, I started generally self-quarantining on Saturday, March 7, and I’ve been having an amazing burst of creativity. I’ve been making tons of new Liquid Giraffe material at hyperspeed, and still mixing for other clients in my studio. I’ll likely release some of this new music to make my friends and fans a smile in these trying times, while looking for more mixing and editing work to keep the bills paid. Gonna livestream some sets too with a donation link. Not sure what the future holds, but I’m thankful for all this focused creative energy, and having a place to channel it.
MK (producer, DJ)
It’s really scary to think that there is this virus out there that you can’t see, don’t necessarily show symptoms and without knowing you can pass it along to someone in your family or a complete stranger. I just found out Idris Elba tested positive. This is real, my friends. Italy, France and Spain are on lockdown. Obviously, all my upcoming shows are being postponed or moved till we are back to normal, and while I am disappointed about the shows, I am much more concerned about my friends, family, fans and everyone. Please everyone stay safe and stay positive, we will get through this.
Clarian (producer, DJ)
The current events have lately been reminding me to be grateful for what we have: love, community, food and shelter, music, and art can protect us from a lot of the problems brought on by fear and anxiety in difficult times, as well as relying on our abilities and talents will help steer us through rough seas to calmer waters. Music feels more important to me than ever.
Habstrakt (producer, DJ)
When I realized how bad the situation was from my family and friends back home in France and all over Europe, I knew we had to take action here too. I’m trying to contribute the best I can by staying home, avoiding contacts, and all my shows are cancelled until mid-May. I’m using this opportunity to work on music and designs while staying positive and keeping in touch with my friends and family on the phone every day.
Gravedgr (producer, DJ)
It is a horrible situation, but [I] just think it is best for all of us to do our part to keep each other safe. Even though I was mid-tour, I am glad the industry and everyone involved is doing a great job in doing what is needed. Not to worry tho, I have all this time to work on all this unfinished music and prep for the new shows for all of you.
Dicki Flizsar (drummer with Jack Russell’s Great White)
I play drums in Jack Russell’s Great White and teach music lessons privately. I have three kids and have to bring home a big share of the family income. All the band shows have been canceled pretty much and some students have stopped or may switch to virtual lessons.
I was wondering what I could do to spread a little fun and lift the spirits of the community, so I did a Facebook live concert with my family, with my daughter singing and me playing guitar. We got around 500 comments and almost 2k views. People seemed very grateful and many spoke that it “made their day” in these weird times. We will have another concert next Sunday again at 6 p.m.
I had tours planned in Spain and Italy with my band in April and May that are now canceled because of the virus. Shows here in the states and Canada are canceled as well. There’s no telling how long this will last and how long there’ll be no money coming in.
These are hard times indeed for musicians, performers, soundmen, guitar techs, roadies, bars, clubs, theaters, bartenders, waiters, everyone involved in the performing world, from small corner bars to theaters and arenas and stadiums around the world. Everyone is going to be affected by this storm. Bills have to be paid and with no money coming in it will make it difficult for so many to make ends meet.
I’m planning on doing some live events online and ticketing them, asking the fans to attend a virtual concert. We’ll do full band performances, acoustic events, storytelling and more from wherever it makes most sense to do them from. From a parking lot to a rehearsal stage to a living room, whatever it takes to get the music out there is what I’ll do. The fans have been so great over the years with their support and enthusiasm it’s been really heartening to say the least. The fan funding for the albums I’ve made the past few years has enabled me to carry on and record the music and songs that I write, for which I’m deeply grateful. I write, record and perform the songs because it’s meaningful to me. It helps me make sense of the world somehow and means the world to me. I think it holds true and is the same for the people who love and support music and come out to the shows. Now we’re all in the same boat in that we can no longer be a part of the communal experience of sharing music together. But I believe in the human spirit and believe we can overcome this temporary nightmare.
Music heals the soul. That’s what it does for me and why I do it and I can see that it’s the same for the people who come out to the shows and buy the music. Life is hard and music can be a source of healing and release and joy and that’s not a small thing. These are scary times in this crazy world of ours to be sure but I have faith in the people that follow music and believe in it’s value. It’s a quality of life issue. While we’re here on this planet we have to do all we can to help each other and share what we can to help us all make it through the night, to quote Kris Kristofferson. I’m sure people will step up and do what they can to help support the musicians who give their heart and souls and lives to their work.