I recently interviewed guitarist Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister for Noisecreep. Twisted is a great band - one of my favorite live acts, actually. They always bring the energy - when Dee Snider runs on stage, you know you're in for a rock show. I talked to Jay Jay about playing Rock n' America but I asked him about touring in general and he basically said the band would never tour again. That wasn't news to me: the guys in Twisted have been vocal about not wanting to do a long tour anytime soon. Still, the article seemed to surprise some music fans (which in turn, surprised me). Anyway, Blabbermouth picked up the article and extracted Jay Jay's comments about not touring again and this got a lot of negative comments.
Why can't a band make a smart business decision based on their own lives?
Jay Jay wasn't being a jerk when he said this to me on the phone recently:
"I know what these [other legacy] bands make, I know their lifestyle, I know what they do. I can't function that way. I don't believe it's viable for them. I believe they [tour] because they really have no other options on this planet. And by going out on the road constantly, they devalue themselves because they're out there all the time. We work in a completely separate business model. If I don't play, guess what? My value increases, doesn't it? So the less I play, the more valuable I become. So I work completely opposite. I'll bet you I make more money playing 12 shows than most [other] bands make playing 50 shows."
Now, some readers around the Internet took this as an insult - that Jay Jay was attacking other bands. He wasn't. He was saying some bands will take any gig they can get because that is how they earn their money, but that is not the business model of Twisted Sister.
Let's be honest: if you see a band do the same set 10 summers in a row, are you as excited to see them on the 10th time as you were the first? You can't be. You can lie to yourself and say you are, but you can't be. You already know what to expect. You know the set. But, say you only get to see the band once in awhile and always at a big show. It's an event then, right?
Jay Jay is right.
And for the record, he didn't name names of bands "that have no other options" but I don't think he was talking about AC/DC or Motley Crue as some have assumed. Just like everything in life, music goes in tiers of popularity. The Sleeze Beez are not on the same touring level as AC/DC. That doesn't mean the Sleeze Beez are a bad band - I love them actually - but they are just not as popular as AC/DC.
Sometimes reality and brass tacks makes sense in music. After all, it is a business.
So what would you prefer: to see a band over and over on a traditional tour...or at a special event like a festival?