2020 RECAP | CONCERTS | MASKS | CONTROVERSY
Throughout July 2020, the summer heat was match by the debates over coronavirus restrictions and, in particular, mask-wearing.
Axl Rose, Paul Stanley and Stevie Nicks all endorsed social distancing guidelines, while some artists, like Great White, followed through with large concerts despite the warnings.
Other musicians selected to use the extra down time to announce forthcoming projects. The Eagles unveiled a new concert film, while Ace Frehley, Metallica, the Rolling Stones and Robert Plant revealed various other new records, expanded albums and anthology sets. Finally, Steve Perry and Neil Young reminded the president that their music was off-limits.
Rockers Weigh In on Masking Debate
Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose put U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on blast, calling him a "coward" after Adams stated that people's individual decisions to attend large gatherings was "not a yes or no" question. Many musicians also used their platform to advocate for safe practices and call attention to the problem at hand. Some opted for a more direct approach, like Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, who stated that anti-maskers "are all fucking assholes."
Others encouraged their fans to wear masks and stay safe so that live concerts could resume as soon as possible. "Wear your mask! Don't listen to conspiracy theorists or graduates of the Internet University of Medicine," Paul Stanley tweeted. "While the credible authorities and experts continue to learn more about COVID-19, they remain in agreement about safety protocols. End of story."
Stevie Nicks echoed Stanley's message of solidarity when she shared an entry from her journal. "If everyone could just wear a mask and stay in as much as possible, you might be able to find this magical place I have found, in the early morning when everyone sleeps," she wrote. "Please don’t throw this world away. Please don’t give up on humanity and let this virus win this war. It is up to us now.”
Others, like Ratt frontman Stephen Pearcy, chose to emphasize their distance from all things political. "Politics leave me the fuck out, don’t be starting shit," he wrote. "Not into it. Not for press, not for nothing." Pearcy had originally drawn heat from a tweet he wrote with the hashtag "UnMask America," a tweet that turned out to be the fault of hackers.
Some bands faced the toughest criticism of all as they went ahead with live concert plans despite recommendations to postpone. Great White played a show on July 9 to a mostly mask-less crowd in Dickinson, N.D., where lead singer Mitch Malloy lives, and though the band put out a collective apology to upset fans, Malloy stood by his decision. "I never apologized. And never will," he wrote on Facebook. "It was an awesome gig at my good buddies' festival for my hometown crowd."
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