During an appearance on the latest episode of the "Signals From Mars" podcast, QUEENSRŸCHE guitarist Michael Wilton spoke to host Victor M. Ruiz about the challenges of touring post-pandemic and the future of heavy music as on-demand streaming keeps contributing to a decline in sales and songwriters continue to be cut out of streaming's success. He said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "[The pandemic] kind of decimated the music industry for heavy bands, rock bands and metal bands. They make their living touring, and that was shut down. Lots of establishments were closing down. So everything was shutting down and going down to bare-bone operations.
"I mean, let's face it: the technology, everything, is changing; the industry is changing," he continued. "People aren't buying records. They are streaming. Bands don't get paid on streams. It's crap. You do hundreds of thousands of streams and you can buy yourself a coffee at Starbucks.
"Bands are figuring out how to adapt and survive. There's always challenges. Now there's inflation, which means tour buses being diesel, it's ridiculously expensive now — at least twice as much than it was back in 2019. So you have all these challenges. Inflation — prices go up and everything, but, hey, our wages aren't going up. It makes it a challenge for bands that tour.
"I was hoping that possibly this would be some kind of major renaissance that happens after this pandemic and that music would be the answer to everything. But, you know, it is what it is.
"Coming out of the pandemic, you're blasted into this kind of a situation. It's tough. It's almost like you're [stepping] into the Wild West again," Wilton added. "Everybody's gonna have to rethink their game. You're gonna have to really figure out your bottom line to survive in the industry. But I'm an optimist, and I think the industry is gonna catch up and get back to the way it was; it's just gonna take longer. Fortunately, bands like QUEENSRŸCHE, we have such a following, and we can tour, and there's plenty of fans that are starved for entertainment that wanna come out and support live music. And we're very fortunate that we can do that. And that's what we're doing right now."
According to KWCH, factors impacting the diesel shortage include the U.S. banning Russian imports and refining capacity being down due to seasonal work, plus high demand. Europe is also suffering from a diesel supply shock and has been importing a lot of diesel from the U.S.
QUEENSRŸCHE's latest album, "Digital Noise Alliance", was released on October 7 via Century Media. The record was once again helmed by Chris "Zeuss" Harris, who previously worked with QUEENSRŸCHE on 2015's "Condition Hüman" and 2019's "The Verdict" LPs.
Guitarist Mike Stone, who rejoined QUEENSRŸCHE last year, contributed guitar solos to the band's new studio album.
Since late May 2021, Stone has been handling second-guitar duties in QUEENSRŸCHE, which announced in July 2021 that longtime guitarist Parker Lundgren was exiting the group to focus on "other business ventures."
Stone originally joined QUEENSRŸCHE for the 2003 album "Tribe" and stayed with the band for six years before leaving the group.
For the past five and a half years, drummer Casey Grillo has been filling in for QUEENSRŸCHE's original drummer Scott Rockenfield, who stepped away from the band's touring activities in early 2017 to spend time with his young son.
In October 2021, Rockenfield filed a lawsuit against Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful discharge. A few months later, Wilton and Jackson filed a countersuit against Rockenfield, accusing him of abandoning his position as a member of the band and misappropriating the group's assets to his own personal benefit.
QUEENSRŸCHE kicked off its fall 2022 U.S. tour as the support act for JUDAS PRIEST on October 13 at Toyota Presents the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Connecticut.