Marillion frontman Steve Hogarth has called on the Government to think again about the plight of freelance music workers, warning that the “the entire culture of rock and roll is in a deep freeze”.
The singer, 64, revealed the progressive rock band’s monitor manager was currently delivering fish and chips on the south coast of England to support his family.
The live music industry was brought to a standstill in March as coronavirus spread across the UK. While some venues have reopened with social distancing, many remain shuttered.
— Marillion (@MarillionOnline) October 23, 2020
Hogarth, known by his stage name “h”, told the PA news agency that Marillion’s road crew were in financial trouble.
He said: “They are in real trouble and they are serious professionals. It has taken an entire life to become what they are.”
Hogarth said he suspected many people, including some in the Government, thought of live music crew as “itinerant” workers who “have no skills”.
He added: “Nothing could be further from the truth. These are serious professionals who have an academic knowledge, first of all, of audio equipment and sounds.
“They are absolutely invaluable to artists. They are seasoned pros.
“They are able to solve problems under extreme pressure with 10,000 people looking at them wondering why something is not right.
“You can’t put a price on them but suddenly they are all out of work.
“Our monitor man, who is the best monitor man we have ever had, is currently delivering fish and chips on the south coast of England to get by because he has got a wife and kid.
“We really feel for them.”
The band, who formed in 1979 bridging the punk and prog rock genres, recently raised £31,530 for their crew through a Couch Convention weekend, where fans watched their old live shows and donated.
Hogarth said Marillion had been able to weather the pandemic so far as they had planned to take 2020 off touring to record a new album.
Addressing Government support for the live music sector, he said: “The Government has done its best. They have had to make a lot of this stuff up on the hoof, to be fair to them.
“But rock and roll really does need to lobby the Government to think again about the plight of a lot of people in the music industry.
“This is not an insignificant, nonsense, little, arty pastime that doesn’t raise any money. This is serious and I think Westminster often fail to recognise that.”
The Government is distributing a £1.57 billion funding package to the arts as well as further measures.
Marillion recently announced a 10-date tour in November 2021 which will end with two nights at the London Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.
It is aptly titled The Light At the End Of The Tunnel Tour.
Hogarth said: “To be announcing a tour today, albeit next autumn, is a weird feeling because on the one hand it seems like the entire culture of rock and roll is in a deep freeze.
“We have got this leap of faith where we are announcing quite an extensive tour of the UK with our fingers and toes crossed that we can do it.”