Devin Townsend Needs a Break from Touring
Touring is hard these days, affording artists fewer luxuries—both on and off the stage—than they were given access to in the pre-pandemic years. You’ve probably seen numerous artists speak about it before on MetalSucks, including Devin Townsend, who has declared that he plans to take a hiatus from touring (via Blabbermouth).
“When we have been doing these tours recently—I just came back from a headline run, and then we’re going out with Dream Theater—and a lot of how those parameters come together… In the past, they would say, ‘What sort of production are we gonna bring?’ And we’d say, ‘Okay, maybe we’ll some video walls or we’ll do some ’90s-looking screens’ or whatever it is that we choose to do. But there was kind of this option ahead of the time. And now they’re just, like, ‘Okay, so you can have seven carrots over the course of the tour. How are we gonna distribute this?’ It’s so different.
“I think you can spin things in a lot of ways. One of the ways that you can spin this is be, like, ‘We only wanna provide our audience the best possible experience, and because we can’t bring pyro, we’re not going out.’ But there’s another part of me that just thinks, ‘Maybe they just don’t wanna tour.’ [Laughs]
“I think that playing shows is important, and I think that if the only way to do it is to pull back on the production, then that’s the option. If people don’t wanna come to a show because the production is less than it was pre-pandemic, then maybe they’re not a fan of the music in the first place.”
After making his point about working with the resources one has available to them at the time, Townsend explained that he would be taking time off following his next touring cycle in order to work on a new project.
“That being said, just to contradict that, after this next round of touring, I’m gonna come off the road for a couple of years. And not because I won’t tour again; it’s just that I’ve got this project in mind that I’m going to write, and I have been writing, that I wanna focus on. Because it hasn’t been since maybe early 2000s that I’ve had actual time to focus on a project. It’s the cycle that we got caught up in pre-pandemic, is record-tour, record-tour, record-tour. And in order to do that, although I was happy with the majority of what I’ve done over the past 15 years, there’s some of it that I had to force, I had to be, like, ‘We need to have a record. So you have to write.’ And again, I was satisfied with what I came out with, for the most part, but moving forward, I really wanna try and afford myself the luxury of doing it the way that I used to, ’cause I think I’ve got something really cool in the pipes that deserves that attention.”
In December, Townsend shared some of the realities of touring these days, explaining how much more costly it has become:
“Because the costs of touring now, with inflation and the cost of gasoline and diesel… Plus, over the course of the pandemic, we’ve lost a ton of really good venues. I’d say probably 50 percent of the workforce in touring has now left. ‘Cause what’s a guitar tech gonna do for two years? You have to get a job, right? And so the ones that are remaining, not only are they already spoken for with other bands, but they’re almost twice as expensive.”