“A lot of people look at the ticket price and think, ‘I’m not paying 75 bucks to go see these guys.’ And it’s unfair to say that”: Dave Mustaine on the financial reality of touring

The rocker shares that even off days on the road can incur costs of around $50,000.

Dave Mustaine on stage. He's wearing a white shirt, is smiling, and playing a Gibson V guitar

Image: Suzanne Cordeiro / Getty

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Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine has lamented the rising costs of touring and its effects on ticket prices for fans who attend their shows.

Speaking about the numbers that go into a tour during his recent appearance on The SDR Show, Mustaine shares that even off days on the road can incur costs that are “pretty close” to $50,000.

“What happens is – you have each individual, and whether they’re working or not working, they get paid on a per-day basis… So you have whoever is out on the road,” he says [via Killer Guitar Rigs].

“For us, it’s a lot of people we have a light man, a sound man, a monitor man. And then you go on to the deck. We’ve got a bunch of people up there. You’ve got a drum tech, guitar tech, and bass and guitar tech, another monitor guy.”

“And then, there’s people backstage, there’s the drivers, the bus drivers, the truck drivers, the caterers, all that stuff. And then there’s all the hotels, all the money to get the hotel rooms for all these people. And then you got to feed them.”

The result, says Mustaine, is that “cost just keeps going up and up and up. And a lot of people look at the ticket price, and they think, ‘Man, I’m not paying 75 bucks to go see these guys.’ And it’s unfair to say that.”

“Even if you had a choice in the matter, it’s kind of what it is nowadays if you want to go see a live band. Because you just can’t get from point A to point B anymore without spending a lot of money.”

That said, the rocker admits that the issue is a stickier one for smaller bands than it is for established groups: “I guess a lot of it has to do with how much influence you have,” he says.

“I think bands like Iron Maiden and Guns N’ Roses or AC/DC probably wouldn’t have the same kind of headaches that a different band would probably go through.”

In the case of Megadeth, “When we were being charged to use the second room on our concerts — we’d already rented the entire building, the grounds, everything — and the promoters came back and said, ‘Oh, we’re gonna charge you extra.’”

“Also, ‘all the security guys, you’re already paying? We’re also gonna make you pay them twice.’ So we said, ‘No more.’ And I said, ‘I’m just not going to book any more concerts with this particular agent if that’s what he’s going to do.’ And he’s not doing it anymore, they’re not doing it anymore,” says Mustaine. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of something really good for other bands – to just remember what I did and just say ‘No.’”

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