MEGADETH's DAVE MUSTAINE Says Increased Cost Of Touring Is Main Reason Concert Ticket Prices Are So High

December 21, 2023

In a new interview with The SDR Show, MEGADETH's Dave Mustaine elaborated on his previous comment that it costs around fifty thousand dollars a day for him and his bandmates "just to sit still" on the road. Asked if that is still an accurate number, Mustaine said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Pretty close. Yeah, it's pretty close. What happens is you have each individual, and whether they're working or not working, they get paid on a per-day basis. And so you have whoever is out on the road, and for us, it's a lot of people. We have a light man, a soundman, a monitor man, and then you go on to the back. We've got a bunch of people up there — we've got a drum tech, a guitar tech and a bass and guitar tech, another monitor guy. And then there's people backstage. There's the drivers, the bus drivers, the truck drivers, the caterers, all that stuff. And then there's all the hotels, all the money to get the hotel rooms for all these people. And then you've gotta feed 'em. So the cost just keeps going up and up and up."

He continued: "A lot of people, they look at the ticket price and they think, 'Man, I'm not paying 75 bucks to go see these guys.' And I'm sad to say that even if you had a choice in the matter, it's kind of what it is nowadays if you wanna go see a live band, because you just can't get from point A to point B anymore without spending a lot of money."

Mustaine previously spoke about the realities of post-pandemic touring, including increased travel expenses — gas, tour buses, hotels and flight costs — this past June in an interview with The Jeremy White Show. At the time, Dave said: "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 comment that the busing on AVENGED's latest tour would 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."

In October 2022, 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."

In September 2022, 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 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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