MEGADETH's DAVE MUSTAINE On Increased Cost Of Touring: 'It's About 45 Thousand Dollars A Day For Us Just To Sit Still'

June 6, 2023

In a new interview with The Jeremy White Show, MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine spoke about the realities of post-pandemic touring, including increased travel expenses — gas, tour buses, hotels and flight costs. Asked how much more expensive it is for MEGADETH to tour nowadays, Dave said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Oh, it's pretty expensive. I think it's about 45 thousand dollars a day for us just to sit still. I think — it might be 52. But that's just sitting still; that's not doing a show. Show days are more expensive… [That's] salaries, hotel rooms, insurance — everything. The buses, the bus drivers, the trucks, the truck drivers. Yeah, a lot of stuff."

Mustaine also weighed in on AVENGED SEVENFOLD singer M. Shadows's recent comment that the busing on AVENGED's upcoming tour will cost two million dollars more than it did prior to the pandemic. Dave said: "I think that might be 'cause his band takes out more buses. For example, we take two. I'm sure that they probably take more than that. And I think because they're so successful that there could be — I'm not saying this — but there could be certain people that would be more willing to give them an incentive to use their company because of what great promotion it would be to have those guys using a bus company. If I had a brand new bus and I wanted to get popular, bands like AVENGED would be a great band for promoting your company. So you would think charging these guys two million bucks, man, they would either have to have a lot of buses or he's talking about a long time. Buses are generally between five to 10 thousand dollars a week. 'Cause that includes fuel and the driver and his hotel. Sometimes you have to do double drives in Europe; you have to do that."

Financial issues are continuing to wreak havoc on the touring industry, with the economics of the business simply not adding up.

Acts of all sizes are canceling or postponing shows, with several claiming that it was "not sustainable" for them to go ahead with the tours.

For many midsized acts, ticket sales are not even enough to cover their overheads.

This past April, M. Shadows told the "Jaxxon" podcast about AVENGED SEVENFOLD's touring plans for 2023: "It's completely different than the last time we toured. We toured seven years ago and it was one way. Now we've noticed that the crew costs more, the production costs more, buses cost more, ticket prices are going up; people aren't happy about it. Everything costs more. And you're dealing with a completely inflated situation where there's bands like GODSMACK who just canceled [their tour of] South America based on not enough tickets sold. Because the prices are so high to get there, and then you get there and you're, like, 'Okay, I'm gonna go there for a month and make no money or lose money.' And so you're starting to see a lot of bands cancel [tours of] Europe, cancel South America. The States are already hard enough. I know that even our busing on this [upcoming] tour — I think it was something like two million dollars more this time to get the busing for the normal tour. That's, like, two million dollars added on. Well, where do you make that money back? It's on the ticket price. And so it gets handed off to the fans, who are already pissed off, and they're having the same problems we are.

"So everything's changed," M. Shadows added. "It's gonna be interesting, to be honest. I mean, who knows? It used to be the way… With Napster and all these things that came out and took music purchasing from the artist, which I think is a good thing — I think streaming's amazing; I think it's the greatest thing that's ever happened — then everyone said, 'Well, we're buying t-shirts and we're buying tour tickets.' But now that seems to be going the way of the economy."

Last October, SHINEDOWN canceled its previously announced fall 2022 dates in continental Europe due to "economic and logistical side of touring". ANTHRAX also canceled shows in continental Europe as part of its fall 2022 touring activities, citing "ongoing logistical issues" and "costs that are out of our control."

MEGADETH's current lineup includes guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine, Belgian-born-and-now-Los-Angeles-based drummer Dirk Verbeuren, who had played with SOILWORK for more than a decade before joining MEGADETH, Brazilian guitarist Kiko Loureiro, who was previously best known for his work with ANGRA, and bassist James LoMenzo. James was MEGADETH's bass player in the mid-2000s and stepped back in as a touring member for the 2021 leg of "The Metal Tour Of The Year". In May 2022, it was announced that Lomenzo was officially rejoining the MEGADETH family.

Last September, MEGADETH's latest album, "The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!", debuted at the top of the charts during its first week of sales, taking the No. 3 spot on the Billboard 200 as well as number ones on Top Album Sales, Top Current Albums Sales, Top Rock & Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums. "The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!" was the highest-charting MEGADETH album of all time around the world, notching No. 1 In Finland, No. 2 in australia, poland, Switzerland, and Scotland, No. 3 in the U.K., and more.

MEGADETH's previous top 10 entries on the Billboard 200 were "Countdown to Extinction" (No. 2, 1992),"Youthanasia" (No. 4, 1994),"Cryptic Writings" (No. 10, 1997),"United Abominations" (No. 8, 2007),"Endgame" (No. 9, 2009),"Super Collider" (No. 6, 2013) and "Dystopia" (No. 3, 2016).

MEGADETH recently received its thirteenth Grammy nomination for "Best Metal Performance" for the song "We'll Be Back" from "The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!".

MEGADETH won the 2017 Grammy Award for "Best Metal Performance" for the title track of the band's 2016 album "Dystopia". This marked the group's twelfth Grammy nomination in this category (including nominations in the discontinued "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance" category).

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