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 Murray Acton of the Dayglo Abortions.
METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?
ACTON: All things considering, I’m doing ok. I was on the road with the dayglo’s when it all started last year. Our last show was in Vancouver on a Saturday night and they shut down the bars the next morning. We went back home to the island and within a week they had shut down all but essential travel which effectively disconnected Vancouver Island from the rest of the world. By this time the full impact of my situation had worked its way into my brain. Once I realized that this wasn’t going away anytime soon, I realized that it could very well be the end of my career. I’d been at it for over 40 years and didn’t have much to show for it so I just accepted what fate had given me. I was extremely bummed out it ended that way, but at the same time, I had been very fortunate to see the world, and make so many friends, doing what I loved. I went and found myself a job for the first time in 20 years and worked until December when we had to stop working because of the restrictions being stepped up.
METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?
ACTON: Well at the beginning I had convinced myself that I was done, but it didn’t take long before the song ideas started piling up in my head. I have a pretty decent little home studio, and a set of Roland V-drumsso I was good to go. I would start as soon as I got home from work. By 12 or 1am I’d have a song recorded. A bit more work to squeeze it into the video format they use on YouTube, then I’d upload it, and hit the hay. More than once I’d get the song online and it would be time for work. I ended up writing about 30 or 40 songs about the pandemic. Then I switched to writing songs for the Dayglo Abortions, and my other band, Stinkhorn. I’ve got an album in the works for both bands. I also recorded a couple of other bands and gave them a high end mix down to see if I could drum up some recording work.
METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?
ACTON: We actually played in Vancouver the night before the shutdown. The crowd was already a bit thin from all the rumours flying around. I tell you it was weird on East Hastings St. the next morning. Not a person on the streets except the junkies all shuffling around. I felt like I had woken up in a zombie movie. Crazy.
METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?
ACTON: Yeah both of my bands have done a couple now. At our jam spot, there’s a few cameras and we leave our gear miced up so it’s nothing to press record at the beginning of the jam, do a bit of editing, then stream it later on. It turns the practice into a live gig of a sorts, which greatly increases the effectiveness of the practice as a bonus.
METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?
ACTON: Well I know everyone wants to get back to the “old normal”. I do too. I can’t help but think though…one thing about this world, there is no going back to anything. We will go forward to some watered down version of normalcy, I guess. We might have to fight to get back some of the things that have been taken from us through this, and you know the government won’t be quick to ease off on the all the new powers they have acquired. Plus the big pharma companies are already saying the vaccines could be a yearly thing, and The Americans and the English are hording the vaccines and not allowing companies in the third world (OR cANADA FOR THAT MATTER) to make their own so many countries are way behind on the vaccine. I have heard it will be 2 or more years to get everyone, and as long as it hasn’t been done, it will keep re-immerging in the vaccinated countries. What really pisses me off, is they could have ended this a year ago by using cheap, and very effective anti-viral drugs, but It is quite obvious that the big pharma companies have used their influence to make damn sure they can sell everyone on the planet an expensive as hell experimental vaccine, with no concern for the number of people that die in the process. We really need to stop letting these companies rule our world. They don’t give a flying fuck about our welfare, or even that of their own employees.
METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?
ACTON: Yeah for sure there is. People have been very generous donating money to my Bandcamp page. I have all my music there that people can download for free, but since the pandemic started it seems to be the norm to give me at least a few bucks, and sometimes much more than that. It is greatly appreciated, and it feels really good to get that kind of loving and support. On the road everyone loves you, and the drinks are free. People treat us really good. They buy drinks for us, give us hugs and tell us how much they love us. To go from that straight into a state of near isolation with absolutely zero physical contact shocking and lonely. When someone sticks a few bucks in my PayPal account and tells me they still care, it takes the edge of it a bit.