Few industries are being hit harder by the current concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus than live music, with numerous bands, solo artists, and even whole concert promotion companies announcing that tours are now being put on hold. This is, obviously, not a small deal economically—not just in terms of ticket sales, but also the massive number of people who get paid to make sure a concert goes smoothly, from stadium workers, to sound technicians, to every member of a touring outfit’s roving crew. Canceling a concert imperils the paychecks of a lot of people—something that many bands are now having to weigh against worries that their very reason for existence creates environments that can increase the spread of the disease.
Or, they can just be The Reverend Horton Heat and declare, hey, fuck it: The show must go on.
This is per Consequence Of Sound, which reports that psychobilly mainstay Jim Heath has made it clear that, not only will his long-running band not be choosing to cancel any of its scheduled shows in March or April, but that anyone scared about the possibility of catching coronavirus at one of their shows is in real danger of becoming “sheeple to authoritarian government.” (Transmission rates on sheeplehood are still being researched as we go to press.) All of this is per a series of Facebook posts on the band’s page, and then a series of subsequent Facebook comments on those posts, because you know things are going well, brand-wise, when a band is taking the time to individually assert their First Amendment rights to every single rando doing a drive-by on their wall.
Anyway, the core of the RHH thesis is that “They can’t stop rock and roll!” which is, in fact, the kind of thing you can actually put to the test, if and when rock and roll does get stopped—either by government-mandated shutdowns, the combined influence of enough individual venues canceling shows, or actual infections. (Even though, one might argue, being a diehard psychobilly fan in 2020 is already sufficient social distancing to keep most people safe.)