CORROSION OF CONFORMITY‘s Woody Weatherman says that MISFITS‘s Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein should perhaps “figure out something else to do” if he doesn’t like to take part in paid meet-and-greets with his fans.
In a recent interview with “The Liquid Conversations”, Doyle lamented the fact that artists are forced to charge their fans a fee for a photo op.
“The thing that sucks the most about it is everybody steals music,” Doyle said. “You spend a fucking hundred thousand dollars to make a record and all these fucking scumbags are just fucking stealing it. And then they want more. And you’re a dick, ’cause you’re doing a meet-and-greet [after concerts] for 50 fucking bucks to make up for it, which you don’t wanna do. You think I wanna meet all these fucking people? I don’t. When I’m done, I wanna fucking take a fucking shower and go to bed. I just worked, so…”
Asked by Metal Nation Radio to weigh in on Doyle‘s comments, Woody said: “I know Doyle is a friendly guy. But I’ll say this — if he’s that dissatisfied with it, maybe figure out something else to do. Pepper [Keenan, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY guitarist/vocalist] and I often do [meet-and-greets], and we’re doing it ’cause we enjoy meeting the fans and saying ‘What’s up?’ and getting some feedback or whatever. I don’t have any problem with it.”
He continued: “I do get Doyle‘s way of thinking, ’cause it’s tough. He’s out there and he’s doing his work and doing his thing, and maybe he feels that the modern industry is… it’s not that kind to musicians anymore. But it’s the modern world. You’ve just gotta grasp it. If you don’t like it, you’ve gotta do something else, I guess.”
Paid meet-and-greets are becoming staples of the touring circuit and are seen by some artists as a necessary evil to survive nowadays. Other musicians object to meet-and-greets on moral grounds, believing they favor richer fans over poorer ones. Similarly, many people view the fact that groups charge fans to meet them as completely exploitative, since artists are usually aware that young admirers are prepared to pay any amount of money to see their favorite band, sometimes at their parents’ expense.
Y&T frontman Dave Meniketti made headlines in 2016 when he said he was completely opposed to fans paying for meet-and-greets, explaining that “we should be paying [them].” “Some bands will charge for meet-and-greets or they’ll charge for some special types of meet-and-greets,” Meniketti said. “I don’t like to do that. I think that’s gouging the fans. I think that’s a little too much of trying to get every last dollar out of everybody, dollaring people to death. I don’t like that whatsoever. To me, your fanbase is golden. They’re the people that are keeping us going. They’re the people that love the music.”
He continued: “Why do we want to charge them to meet us? That, to me, seems like the most bizarre thing you can do and too opportunist. That’s not my thing. They pay for a ticket. Come see us live, that’s what’s going to keep us alive. Buy a t-shirt, something like that. But don’t pay to see me. My God. I should be paying you guys. I’m happy to shake a hand, take a picture or listen to a story or something like that. In fact, more than happy. It makes us all feel good. It makes us feel connected to our fans.”
Canadian musician/producer Devin Townsend defended the culture of “V.I.P packages,” telling Noisey: “A lot of the times, fans may think bands are taking the piss by simply doing a meet-and-greet, but if we don’t do them, we simply can’t do what we’re doing. It’s not like we do them then get a bonus at the end of the tour. On the other side of it, if you’re in the band and you’re hypersensitive to people’s energy, like I believe I am, meet-and-greets fucking beat the shit out of you. Not because you don’t want to meet people, but because in order to do it correctly, you really have to invest yourself and be present and ready to talk to people and sometimes accept hyperbolic praise or criticism, and you have to be emotionally resilient enough to not let either… I mean, it’s about them. They’re paying for a moment and your job is to be present and that’s really challenging on tour.”
OVERKILL frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth concurred, telling Metal Wani: “You have to understand that in the modern era, businesses have to be reinvented, and that reinvention comes primarily from the technology we possess — that there are just less sales of records, and this is just a fact. But the idea of V.I.P. is that it gives a person a choice not to just get a handshake and an autograph and a ‘How are you?’, but to sit there and talk with somebody; it could be up to 20 minutes. And I think that if a person decides to do that, it actually doesn’t help the band directly, because we would have done it anyway, but for sure it helps the promoter. And if the promoter can make that happen, the band can then continue to tour, because the guarantees become more solid based on the price of them. And you’re not gonna see, at an OVERKILL show, there is not two hundred people on a V.I.P. I mean, there is 20 — max. I remember [when] OVERKILL [and] KREATOR [toured the U.S. together], I think the biggest V.I.P. we had was 40 people in New York, but that was over two thousand tickets. So if those forty people choose to do so, and it solidifies the fact that touring can still happen based on sales being down, then I’m all for it. But it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t shake hands in Newark Airport, or in Mumbai, or in London, or in Tokyo. It’s just my nature to like people.”
Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted called the paid-meet-and-greet practice “bullshit” in a 2012 interview. He explained: “My guys had been talking to me about doing those things, and they talk about KISS making money for this meet-and-greet. People will pay it, but that’s not the point. I don’t want to take money like that. If they want to buy a t-shirt and have something to show for it, that’s what we do. You can’t download a t-shirt.
“I don’t feel comfortable with charging people to meet me; I don’t feel comfortable with charging people to get me to sign something when they are standing with me,” he said. “If they buy it off the Internet and want an 8×10 or an autograph CD, they have that momentum. That’s fine, but I’m not going to charge people to meet me. I just don’t feel that’s right. I’ll pay to meet one of my old sports heroes, or something like one of the cats from the 1970s Orioles. I’ll pay a couple of bucks for something, but I’m not going to pay for Gene Simmons. It’s ridiculous; that’s not what it’s about.”