Australia’s The Underground recently conducted an interview with QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Todd La Torre. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.
Speaking about how difficult it is for new bands to succeed in the music industry in 2016, Todd said: “I think it’s much easier to have your name exposed, but making a name for yourself is kind of vague, because there’s people that have millions of views on YouTube, but they can’t sell out a thousand-seat venue. It’s very easy for people to click ‘like’ with a mouse, or it’s very simple to just go to YouTube and watch something, and that’s counted as one view. That’s all well and good, and exposure is expontentially much easier. With that being said, because it’s so much easier, you have a saturated industry; there’s a million bands, everyone has a video, everyone can record stuff at home. So, recording your own music, having some HD cameras and filming a video is nothing special. I mean, it’s fun to look at, it’s just kind of icing on the cake, but it doesn’t have the value or serve quite the purpose that it did when there was MTV and very few people had a video. If you had a music video, that was a huge statement, and it said, ‘Wow! This band has arrived. They’re huge. They’re famous.’ There was a perception. Now there’s really no perception. Now people judge your value on how many ‘likes’ your Facebook page has, or how many views your YouTube video has. And to me, that doesn’t mean shit; it doesn’t mean anything, because that doesn’t translate to people actually buying a concert ticket and coming out to see you at a live performance at a venue. They’re totally different things.”
He continued: “The music scene is a bunch of roaches trying to eat cookie crumbs, and everyone is scrambling for the cookie crumbs. And every band… The only way you can make a good living, or a living — some make a great living; some starve — is to play live shows.
“When people say the term ‘making it big,’ I don’t even know what that means anymore. Because, I guess, if you can earn a living and sustain a fairly comfortable lifestyle performing music, then I would say that you’ve made it, whether you’re hugely famous or not. I come from a different time where rock bands were playing only arenas, and the only time a rock band was playing a club was when they were undiscovered, they were just trying to make it. Now QUEENSRŸCHE plays clubs; QUEENSRŸCHE used to sell arenas. I mean, KORN plays House Of Blues. So what goes up must come down. And I think that’s an honest, realistic viewpoint.”
Todd added: “It’s a very, very, very cut-throat business; everyone makes money off your talent, everyone’s taking their percentage. It costs a lot of money to tour. The road can be very grueling. Thankfully, QUEENSRŸCHE tours quite comfortably; we have a very nice tour bus, we stay in good hotels. But that’s also because the band came from a time where that was… They made a name for themselves. And if you’re a new band now, it’s very… It’s even harder, I think, to make the kind of money that can afford you a comfortable touring lifestyle. Because when you’re traveling on the road, living in a van from show to show, everyone’s changing drivers, that’s super-hard. It’s not something I would wanna do.
“If I was not in this band, I would not be a touring musician. I would record music and write it and play for the love of it only, but not to earn a living. Fortunately, QUEENSRŸCHE earns a good living; I’m thankful for that. But I really feel bad, and I feel for these musicians that are not making a lot of money and they’re working their asses off, and that’s really a testament to their dedication and their passion, and I commend them for that. I think for someone in their 40s or 50s, that’s not so easy to do, especially if you wanna have a house and decent cars and not live on your girlfriend’s couch. That’s cool when you’re 18 or 20, but when you’re in your 40s or 50s, that’s not a good thing.”