John Reese: Heavy music needs headliners

Posted by on September 15, 2015

In a recent interview with Alternative Press, Mayhem Festival co-founder and music industry veteran John Reese makes some big points about the overall state of heavy music. As you might remember Mayhem Festival co-founder Kevin Lyman got himself in a bit of hot water this summer when he said that “metal got gray, bald and fat,” but Reese says that one thing he respects about Lyman and Slayer’s Kerry King is that neither is afraid to state their opinions.

Said Reese on the current landscape of Mayhem Festival:

“The biggest problem heavy music has right now is headliners, ultimately. You can’t play amphitheaters with this massive production without bands that are hard ticket sellers. There was all this B.S. about it being a shitty lineup this year – but trust me, we beat the streets for a lineup. We didn’t leave a single stone unturned. We’re going to let dead dogs lie. [Laughs]. We’ll see what happens in the future. Who knows what the future holds?”

And expanding on the subject of headliners in metal, Reese had this to say:

“Heavy rock bands aren’t overnight sensations. It takes a lot of time, a lot of touring, some big songs. The business from publishing and recorded music is just in the toilet. Bands don’t make any money, whereas a DJ can put a song out there and fly all over the world with a backpack. A pop artist can get on KISS FM or Hits 1 on SiriusXM. They can be in commercials and blow up quickly. When you’re an aggressive rock band, there are fewer channels. It’s sad because Mayhem was a great avenue for the smaller bands. A lot of major labels are out of the rock business. They’d rather sign a DJ or a pop artist to a 360 deal, whore the song out all over the world and see a big return on their investment in a shorter period of time. The heavy rock space just doesn’t work that way.”

In our 2014 interview with Reese, he said they’ve tried to get Metallica, Iron Maiden and Rammstein, but things just never worked out. So now this past August, Mayhem Festival goes on hiatus and its return seems doubtful. In late July, Lyman said in an interview with Billboard, “no one’s developing the new headliners we need in metal. I thought maybe we could be part of that, I don’t know if we can.”

(via Alternative Press)


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Categorised in: Interviews, News