Testament (photo via artist website)
Pretty much exactly two weeks ago, I received my second shot of the Moderna vaccination. That means, according to the scientists (who I listen to because they’re scientists), I’m fully vaccinated from now. The Moderna numbers suggest that those who are fully vaccinated have a near-zero chance of hospitalization and death due to COVID. The chances of transmitting the virus are reduced by 90 percent, and if you continue to wear a mask it’s drastically reduced again. So that’s how we beat this thing.
Of course, there are those who will fight based on the mirage of “freedom.” The idea that getting vaccinated is bootlicking and any government requirements for vaccinations is fascistic — utter nonsense.
Alex Skolnick, of thrash metal veterans Testament, at least tried to do the world a service by giving his blessing to the concept of venues requiring a “vaccine passport” from attendees. To sensible people, it makes complete sense.
“To go to certain countries, we need to get a yellow fever shot, and we carry this card that’s put out by the World Health Organization that is proof of vaccination,” Skolnick told Blabbernouth. “What’s the difference? We’ve been doing this for years. We wouldn’t think otherwise. We don’t wanna risk getting somebody else sick. So why would there be an issue here? And then, when people complain about the vaccine — ‘I don’t know what’s in it. I’m suspicious…’ Well, are you suspicious of the polio vaccine? ‘Cause I think everybody gets that. I don’t think you leave the hospital without getting certain vaccines.”
“I’m just amazed how people aren’t aware of this,” he continued. “There’s measles, mumps, polio… There’s vaccines that we’ve been getting for years, and that’s why we’re not getting measles or mumps, or why we’re not being forced to not be able to walk because of polio — because we get these vaccines. And the same medical and scientific communities that are behind those vaccines are behind these vaccines.”
Again, makes sense right? Of course, there are dissenters with one commenter on Facebook stating:
“When did all these “metal” guys become such conformist vaccine chuggers? So if he bows to communistic corporate control his band gets to play the upstairs at the local bar shows now?”
Judas Priest (photo: Zach Petersen)
Metal stars continued to line up to encourage people to get the vaccine though. Judas Priest frontman and metal pioneer Rob Halford told the same publication, “You know, common sense states that by having the jab, we’re opening up one of the most important areas that we have so desperately missed, which is being side by side, horns way up at clubs, theaters, arenas and festivals where who we are and what we live for is tangible and real with the bands we love. So let’s get those amazing vibes and feelings back faster.”
That’s the crux of the matter. I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I’ve missed live music desperately over the past year. The last show I attended was Lydia Lunch at the Echo in Los Angeles, and I had no idea that night that I wouldn’t be seeing anyone else for this length of time. It’s been agonizing.
That said, I never complained, and I didn’t ever try to push venues, etc, to open prematurely. We did what needed to be done. Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I’m going to attend a concert this weekend. French DJ and producer CloZee is performing a drive-in show in Anaheim, Orange County. These drive-in gigs have been happening for a while, but even with those precautions in place, I didn’t feel completely safe attending until now.
“2020 was tough, but I’m starting to be inspired again since 2021,” CloZee recently told us. “I’m currently working on a new EP. I also got some socially distanced shows booked for spring and a few festivals this Summer. In 2020 I was supposed to go on tour with my album Neon Jungle, but it got obviously postponed. The music industry and venues have been suffering for more than a year now, so we really hope this vaccine will allow us to tour again before the end of the year.”
It’s frankly overwhelming — the idea of being amongst a group of people, cheering and watching live music again. The anticipation is almost reminiscent of the thrill I got from concerts I attended in my teens, when it was all still new. Maybe that’s a blessing, the fact that many of us won’t take shows for granted anymore. Perhaps we’ll show up for the first opening band and stick around to the very end, because who knows when all of this could grind to a halt again?
All Time Low (photo: Nolan Knight)
Not everyone is as smart as Skolnick, Halford, and CloZee though. Perennial fuckwit Ted Nugent wondered aloud why COVID-19 forced the world to shut down when COVIDs 1–18 didn’t, proving that he had no idea why COVID-19 is named that (it marks the year of discovery). Honestly, one has to wonder how Nugent has functioned in the modern world for as long as he has without shooting himself in the foot or something.
The good news is, after months of surviving on livestreams only, things are starting to get rolling again but that will only continue if people do the right things. Get vaccinated when you can, encourage your friends and family to do the same. Because good things are starting to happen and we have reason to be excited.
Hell, the rescheduled Sad Summer Festival rolls back in August, featuring the likes of All Time Low, The Story So Far, The Maine, Movements, Grayscale, Yours Truly, and Destroy Boys. If that lineup of pop-punk brilliance isn’t enough to convince you to get a shot in your arm, we can’t help you.