Time for the next edition of Metal Anarchy’s “Music In The Age Of COVID-19” series, the feature where I discuss the ongoing pandemic with various musicians. This time I have an interview with John Merchant of Ghosts Of Sunset.
METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?
MERCHANT: I’ve been doing pretty good. Of course, this is something you never imagine yourself living through, but it’s definitely shined a light on people and their characters. We’ve seen human beings band together to do amazing things and we’ve seen the worst in others. The trick is to try and focus on the good and ignore the fact that some of your neighbours are completely self-absorbed and selfish.
METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?
MERCHANT: Yes. The beauty of being alive at this time in history is the fact that musicians need not be in the same physical space to create and collaborate together. In “quarantine” videos alone we’ve gotten to see some musical pairings we might not have seen otherwise. Keeping the creative process alive and functioning is the life-blood of musicians and artists. We’ll always find a way to do it because we HAVE to.
METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?
MERCHANT: Probably played a solo acoustic gig somewhere before things locked down. I’ve been able to get out and do some socially distanced stuff during the pandemic though and that has really re-enforced just how important playing live is to me.
METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?
MERCHANT: We’ve done a “quarantine” style video for our single “Miles In-Between” on Golden Robot Records and were able to include guest guitarist Johnny Monoco (E’nuff Z’nuff, LA Guns) and guest drummer Kent Slucher (Luke Bryan). That was fun and super cool of those guys to be involved in that process.
METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?
MERCHANT: Of course, it’s my hope we not only recover but come back better than ever. Now is a time when we should be learning how to create safer, healthier environments for our live events. We may see live music coming back in some new form but it’ll come back. The live exchange between performer and audience is woven into the fabric of our beings since the dawn of time.
METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?
MERCHANT: Support in other ways. Buy singles, buy merch, watch, share, and like streaming events. Realize that although others may not feel the same way, for those of us who LOVE music, it is 100% ESSENTIAL to our happiness and well-being. To let it fade away would be detrimental to us as individuals and a society as a whole.