“If you get mad at me for saying this – I hope you’re replaced by a piece of gear in the next two years”: Mateus Asato shames solo artists who hide their backing musicians

The guitarist’s comments came during the first weekend of this year’s edition of Coachella.

Mateus Asato

Credit: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Two things are guaranteed at Coachella: chart-topping tunes and flawless fashion looks. With the festival so intertwined with aesthetics, artists know their set has to look impressive – even if it disguises the authenticity of their sound.

As the first Coachella weekend comes to a close, guitarist Mateus Asato has criticised solo artists who value big production over their touring band.

Taking to Instagram over the weekend, Asato posed the question: “Why [do] solo artists keep hiding their band behind their big production show when they perform at those hyped festivals?” before answering “Oh… that’s right! It’s because the lighting gear and aesthetic scenario costs five times more than the musicians’ week rate.”

As Asato suggests, artists want their set to look extravagant – and a poorly paid band member doesn’t live up to the flamboyant dream Coachella is selling.

Even the seemingly ‘intentional’ moments to honour the band members will be during the least popular tracks, he continues. “What I find even more comical in these concerts is when the pop artist ‘cleans the stage’ in the mid section to play those 3 songs nobody gives a crap about,” Asato writes. “But it’s the ‘musicians’’ time! Bring them over to the lights!”

However, as Asato notes the ‘break’ in a set is never actually for the band members: “It is actually intentionally being used to give their dancers a fresh air break to change their outfits,” he notes with a laughing emoji.

While Asato doesn’t specifically name Coachella, the shoe certainly fits. Solo artists have already knocked out some Hollywood levels of production this year. Sabrina Carpenter had an entire motel set up on-stage, dancers sashaying in tow as she performed a slew of chart-topping faves. Headliner Tyler, The Creator also had a wild desert-scape, with towering rocks, tents, fire, and even alien ufos. No live musicians were in sight.

“If you’re a musician and you get mad at me for saying these things because ‘at least it’s paying your bills,’” he continues, “I hope you get replaced by a piece of gear within the next two years. [I hope you have to] sell your favourite vintage guitar to pay the rent of your studio condo in Van Nuys while your (ex) boss is about to buy their third property in SoCal and now is planning to move their business to Nevada for ‘free taxes.’”

This isn’t the first time Asato has spoken up about this topic – he has an entire Highlights section on his Instagram called ‘tired’ speaking about it. One reads “the reality for touring musicians has gotten so much worse… I get it: 98% of crowds don’t give a crap about musicians on stage. But this percentage could be lowered a bit if musicians get the right appreciation and treatment.”

While the backing bands of many Coachella acts have so far taken a back seat this year, Lana Del Rey embraced her touring band. The singer stunned during her headline set this year, covered in Swarovski diamonds, but the show always involved her band. No matter what track was playing, the band and Del Rey’s backing singers were always in view.

Related Artists

Related Brands


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.