In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn. Todd Galland, guitarist from the band My Heavy Memory (previously known as Killdera) shares his experience with us straight from the World capital of Thrash Metal, San Francisco!
Hi! How are you doing during corona outbreak?
So far, so good! No one in the band has been exposed or infected. We’re being pretty careful, especially our singer, who is an Emergency Room nurse, so that guy has to be extra careful!
What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
Well what we haven’t cancelled is the release of our album “Clarity”. We’ve been waiting for far too long to get these songs out to the listeners. That being said, we’ve had to cancel quite a few gigs, including shows with our friends, Toy Called God, ZED, and Royal Rebels. We hate cancelling gigs for any reason, so this whole thing has been a giant bummer as far as that goes.
How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
Everything has been closed. Everything. Even with the slow reopening of certain things, music and comedy venues are at the bottom of any list of anyone who’s in a position to give the green light for places to open back up. The music community has been hit hard, there’s no doubt about it. Artists have been forced to reinvent how they get to their fans and how to get new fans! I think the artists will prevail. We’re pretty resilient. I think there’s another group that isn’t talked about a lot that’s been hit even harder than the artists. Stagehands. Bus drivers. Sound (live) engineers. Venue staff. People like that. Those folks that depend on acts coming through their town so that they can go to work. The artists will be fine. But it might be harder for all the other aforementioned folks to recover.
How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
Since we all have to stay “socially distant” right now, social media has been a necessary tool to keep in touch with fans and try to reach potential new fans. Some bands are really good at it! We see their stuff every day! They’re out there making sure people see their faces and hear their tunes as much as possible. My Heavy Memory has a few videos up on our YouTube Channel, and we try to stay plugged into our fans through Facebook and Instagram. Now that any upcoming gigs are in a holding pattern as far as getting rescheduled, we’ve had to readjust our approach, just like everyone else.
What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
Ozzy said it. “You can’t kill Rock and Roll!” And he’s not the only one who’s said it. Countless bands have said it and future bands will say it. There will always be anthems giving the middle finger to anyone who thinks Metal’s time is over. Metal will always survive and prevail! As long as there are crunchy riffs, fat drums, and ripping vocals, Metal isn’t going anywhere. In fact, with everyone forced to “stay inside”, I’m certain there will me an emergence of great new music as artists use this time to write new stuff that our brains might not be prepared for. Count on it!
Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
Well, like we said earlier, the artists will always find a way to adapt and invent new ways to bring their craft to the masses. The people that work so hard to bring amazing shows to the public, all the people behind the scenes, stage hands, sound engineers, lighting crew, everyone who works at the venues, it’s bad. It’s gonna be a while before this all gets back to what we called normal, or what some of us call the “new abnormal”.
What is your isolation soundtrack?
Well… Before everything got shut down, the whole band – all five of us were waiting to go see an upcoming San Francisco Jinjer show. The five of us. That doesn’t happen very often. So our singer, David has been listening to a lot of Jinjer, especially their new one. He’s also had the latest Anthrax and Nonpoint on heavy rotation. Some of the other guys have been listening to a lot of meditation music, which should never ever be underestimated, along with AC/DC, Rush (especially some in depth Neil Peart – RIP – listening by our drummer, Paul), UFO, some old country music, Vio-Lence, Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Dio, Testament, Havok, Psychosomatic, Killswitch Engage, and Bad Wolves. So as you can see, we like a whole lot of different things. Other than that it’s been a lot of YouTube videos, mostly guitar shredders and music documentaries.
Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
Fans. Other bands. I mean, that pretty much falls under the “gigs” category doesn’t it? But there’s a camraderie, especially here in the San Francisco Bay Area Scene, with other bands. There used to be this unspoken competition between bands, back in the day, that just wasn’t healthy. A lot of sh*t talking and even bands sabotaging other bands. Those days are gone. Nowadays, everyone arrives at a gig and the load in process takes longer because everyone is catching up with friends they haven’t seen in a while! Bands actually LIKE each other! …from where we’re sitting anyway. But to answer your question a little more directly: family. Some of us haven’t been able to visit family because of this whole thing. It sucks. As far as WHAT we miss most… probably haircuts! Whoever thought rock bands would ever give a sh*t about haircuts? But, yeah. It’s a thing.
Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
We have started to rehears again as of late. We laid low for the first few weeks of this whole thing, as it got pretty crazy around here with people getting citations for being more than 5 miles from their homes if they weren’t at work or already on their way to work (those essential workers). But we’re rehearsing again. Trying to remain 6 feet apart from each other in our rehearsal space. Some of us wearing masks. All of us washing our hands. Even with the cancellation of so many gigs, we are very busy right now. Our album is due to release on July 17th. We have a “virtual event” to get ready for. We have two more videos we’re trying to shoot for songs on the new album. Two. And we’re fine tuning another album’s worth of material that we’re already starting to lay tracks down for. So as far as rehearsals go, maybe this whole thing has just made us work harder! But we’re also having a lot of fun doing what we do. Making this music that people will hopefully enjoy enough to come out to a show… because you know once this pandemic stuff is behind us, people are going to run to whatever venues are still open and demand to see live music and live comedy!
Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!
Thank you for having us! Everyone stay safe, rock on, we’ll get through all of this together, and wash your hands!