Japanese heavy metal veterans LOUDNESS have canceled their previously announced European tour. The trek was most recently scheduled to kick off on April 6 in Essen, Germany and conclude on April 22 at the Keep It True festival in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany.
On March 23, LOUDNESS released the following statement via the band's official web site (translated from Japanese): "As already announced by the local agent, the European tour scheduled for next month has been cancelled. It was a tour that was planned three years ago, but since the corona crisis, not only have airfares soared, but also various expenses have skyrocketed, and there has been a shortage of human resources. It was a painful decision based on the judgment above.
"We are very sorry to all the fans who have been waiting for the band for three years, but in the near future, we would like to reorganize and return in front of everyone in Europe in a state where we can deliver the best performance.
"Regarding ticket refunds, please check with the [ticketing agent] where you purchased your ticket."
In recent months, a number of high-profile musicians have been vocal about the realities of post-pandemic touring, including increased travel expenses — gas, tour buses, hotels and flight costs.
Last November, DISTURBED guitarist Dan Donegan told the Rock 100.5 The KATT radio station about the prospect of his band touring Europe: "It's been challenging for a lot of bands too, as you may have heard, just logistically 'cause of inflation. So a lot of artists I've seen, especially over in Europe… I know that SHINEDOWN had to postpone their tour, ANTHRAX, I think a few others. 'Cause a lot of that stuff has skyrocketed on prices on, obviously, fuel costs and production costs and trucking costs and travel."
In December, FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares told the "Vulgar Display Of Podcast": "So much has changed in those couple of years, because look how much the economy has gotten really, really over the top, with gas and even availability on certain things, even drivers; just getting a driver, it's hard. People really don't understand the cost that goes into doing these tours. Everything affects you, whether it's venues taking a big cut of the merch sales to insane diesel and gas prices. A lot of people don't realize that these buses take diesel, and diesel is more expensive than gas. So that adds up, when you're spending eight hundred to a thousand dollars just to fill up a tank of a bus. People don't realize the cost of all that. So it's getting harder and harder."
Canadian singer, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend painted an equally bleak picture, telling Metallerium about the current touring conditions: "It's gotten way worse. I don't think it's better at all, actually. Because the costs of touring now, with inflation and the cost of gasoline and diesel… Plus, over the course of the pandemic, we've lost a ton of really good venues. I'd say probably 50 percent of the workforce in touring has now left. 'Cause what's a guitar tech gonna do for two years? You have to get a job, right? And so the ones that are remaining, not only are they already spoken for with other bands, but they're almost twice as expensive.
"I saw this thing about [the events ticketing giant] Live Nation the other day, they're taking 30 percent of merch sales from some of these venues," he continued. "The costs of airlines have gone up. So artists, the ability to make money on tour is almost completely gone now — at least an artist on my level.
"So, yes, it's opened up again, but it's 10 times as expensive. It's, like, what do you do? Even little things like, okay, the hotels are more expensive; the food at the hotels [is] more expensive. So at the end of it, you're touring for what? You're touring ultimately so you can present your work to the people who care about your work, and that's worth it to me. But I think for anybody to think that it's now easy again, you should investigate that, because I'm trying to set up tours for , and there's no way to keep them within cost — there's no way. And so you go out there and, like, well, we can't have this vehicle; we can't have this backline; we can't have this production; we can't have these lights. And then if you show up at a place and the audience comes, they're, like, 'The show's not good. There's no lights. There's no production.' So what should you do? And I think a lot of musicians, their decision is, like, 'Well, I'll just stay home then and I'll just create from home.'
"I try to go out with acoustic now, because that way I can afford it," Devin added. "If I just show up with an acoustic guitar and sing for people, it's better than nothing. But it's still, like, man, it's a complicated time, brother."
LOUDNESS's latest studio album, "Sunburst", was released in July 2022 outside Japan via earMUSIC. The effort was originally made available in Japan in December 2021.
LOUDNESS has dominated the Japanese heavy metal scene ever since its birth in 1981 with classic albums like "Thunder In The East" (1985) and "Lightning Strikes" (1986).
LOUDNESS's lineup has changed multiple times since 1981, with the current incarnation consisting of three original members — lead singer Minoru Niihara, guitarist Akira Takasaki and bassist Masayoshi Yamashita — along with drummer Masayuki Suzuki, who joined the group in 2009.
Original LOUDNESS drummer Munetaka Higuchi died in 2008 after a year-long battle with liver cancer.