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 Ben Reigle and Joe Izayea of Sour Times.
METAL ANARCHY: How have you been holding up during the coronavirus pandemic?
SOUR TIMES: Ben: As an immunocompromised individual, it has been difficult. Having suffered 2 strokes the year leading up to this taught me a lot of valuable life lessons on how to navigate difficult situations. I acted responsibly for myself, my family, and humankind and hunkered down. I have all of the things that make for a horrible outcome if I got sick, so I am truly relieved to be vaccinated.
Joe: I’m a Mental Health Worker in Massachusetts, so I never stopped working. Some small outbreaks happened throughout my workplace and resulted in having at times up to 35% of the staff at my work placed on quarantine for two weeks at a time. I was never put on quarantine luckily, but it wound up equating to a tremendous amount of overtime, continuing still today. All I do is work, sleep, and fit in my musical endeavors in any spare time I can rustle up.
METAL ANARCHY: Have you been using your downtime to work on new music?
SOUR TIMES: Ben: That is a large portion of what I do on the daily. I have a daily routine I adhere to starting at 4:30/5 am and exercise, yoga, meditation journaling, and writing music are all parts of it. It is a process I developed during my recovery, and it has unlocked a thriving state of joy in my life that propels me to live every moment with purpose. Sour Times has 4 records before our current release, it was all instrumental and all me, like many of the bands I have, it is an emotional release for a certain part of my brain. During quarantine, I wrote albums for the 5 bands I currently write music for, Brain Vacuum, Eat Shit And Die, The Empty Frames, Tooth, and Sour Times. Each of these is me on every instrument, collaborating with a vocalist (all besides Brain Vaccum, that is). I released 9 albums last year between all these bands. My brain, thankfully, never stops working.
METAL ANARCHY: What was the last show you played or attended before the shutdown?
SOUR TIMES: Ben: Sour Times has yet to play a show, as this iteration of it is new. The last for me was in Feb. 2019 when Brain Vacuum played with Death Threat at The Shea Theater, Turners Falls Ma.
Joe: Last show I played was in the summer of 2019 with my last band, City of Homes. Last show I attended was in the Winter of 2019/2020 where I saw Disciples of Verity.
METAL ANARCHY: Are you planning to play any livestream concerts during this time?
SOUR TIMES: Ben: I’ve done a few, just me playing guitar to each of those bands’ material, but have taken hiatus from doing so as of late.
Joe: No plans to do any live streaming now that restrictions are being lifted.
METAL ANARCHY: Do you think the live entertainment industry will ever recover?
SOUR TIMES: Ben: I do if people can act responsibly with humankind’s best interest at heart and just wait a little bit longer.
Joe: Difficult to say. For heavy bands like us, there was already a growing problem with venues closing down. Everything still seems up in the air to me at this point.
METAL ANARCHY: Lastly, is there anything fans can do to help your band or others that may be struggling during this time?
SOUR TIMES: Ben: Bandcamp is a direct line to bands, and often they wave their fees on Fridays, so 100% of profit goes to bands. That and buying merch are very helpful.
Joe: Gonna have to second Ben on this one. Wider reaching, I’d say to just support the folks you know however you can. Everyone’s got a side hustle or a small business or a band or whatever and it’s important now more than ever to support those folks in every way possible. Thanks.