Refused Frontman Dennis Lyxzén Thinks “You Will See a Lot of Bands Calling It Quits” As Touring Becomes More Difficult


Things have not been great for the touring musician as of late. From rising costs to venues looking to take a bigger and bigger slice out of merch sales, so many bands have already either canceled entire tours or straight up just threw in the towel altogether. It’s a worrying trend that doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

Having toured the world with Refused, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, INVSN, and Fake Names, Dennis Lyxzén knows a thing or two about the financials needed to make a tour successful. Yet while speaking with The New Scene (as transcribed by Metal Injection), he was asked if things were better for bands today compared to when he started as a musician in the early 90s. His answer, given everything we know now about bands’ struggles on tour these days, wasn’t a particularly cheery one.

“I don’t mind the work, but I think the short answer is ‘no.’ The long answer is way more complicated than that, because I think that being it touring in the musician has never been this hard. Which is problematic because I think that in the years to come, you will see a lot of bands calling it quits and you will see a lot of bands that will stop touring because it is almost impossible to make a living playing music.

“I mean, in the 90s and early 2000s you could actually sell records and you could get royalty checks once in a while where you’re like ‘oh shit. We’re actually selling records.’ Noise Conspiracy wasn’t the biggest band, but we sold 60 [or] 70,000 CDs, and that’s just… imagine that doing that today. So I think aspects of the way we communicate today and the way we can sort of sell records on tour, some of that stuff is better. But a lot of that stuff is just more difficult and more… I mean, it is way more complicated for bands to be a touring band these days than it’s ever been.”

One way, however, that things might be a bit better for bands is the ability to directly know how much your album is selling, since you’re personally putting your album up for sale to waiting fans at the show. This sort of freedom wasn’t always there and like most things, it was neither bad nor good.

“When we were touring with Refused in the ’90s and even Noise Conspiracy in the early 2000s, labels did not want you to sell records on tour because they wanted to sell the records in record stores so you get sound scans. I mean, it was a long time before you were even allowed to bring records on tour to sell because it was like it was a part of that whole infrastructure where like, you sell records in the store and then you get the numbers.

“Now when you’re touring, I’m the one packing up the LPs every night. I know how many records we sell. I know what we’re paying the label. I know what we can get after the tour, but back in those days I mean maybe you sold t-shirts.”

You can check out the full interview with The New Scene below.

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