Sydney metallers Northlane have taken to social media to explain that the bevy of merch that recently appeared on their eBay account isn’t there for charity, but simply because the band needs money.
The fivesome felt the need to clarify the intentions behind their mass online auction with a Facebook post, explaining: “We really don’t make much money doing this as it is (well below minimum wage)”.
This is of course despite the fact that their latest album Node placed #1 on the ARIA Charts, knocking off Tame Impala’s Currents from top spot in the process.
Northlane are hocking signed CDs, drumsticks, drumheads and stage banners. They’ve also put a raft of first-pressings and vinyl albums and singles under the hammer, with a limited edition coloured vinyl test-press of their debut Discoveries currently heading up the bidding.
“While we’ve donated a lot to charity over time, the proceeds of this auction are going to go to the people in this band,” they explained, adding: “We’ll be taking some time off touring this year to write the best new record we can.”
“As touring is our only substantial source of income, this money will go towards ensuring we can cover our bills and make ends meet while we’re not on the road…We still need to put food on the table like anybody else.”
Sadly, the financial realities of life in an Australian touring band seem to be getting harsher and harsher. And Northlane are far from the first major Aussie musical export to reveal that they’re struggling to make ends meet.
You may recall ex-Thy Art Is Murder frontman CJ McMahon breaking fans hearts last year when he quit the band because the financial toll was too great.
While Ne Obliviscaris (thank GAWD) have enjoyed a great deal of success with their groundbreaking Patreon campaign – which is allowing fans to fund the band on an ongoing basis – after revealing that their finances were so dire that they might not have been able to keep touring if something didn’t change.
Let’s take a minute to really think about that. Three of the biggest heavy acts in the country – who together have scored #1 albums, performed at major international festivals, sold-out tours domestically and whose fanbases extend all over the world – still don’t even earn the Australian minimum wage.
You don’t need to be Einstein to figure out that this is a huge fucking problem.
Musicians are inspired to follow their dreams because they look up to their own musical heroes; heroes who followed their dreams, worked hard, and ultimately saw their hard work pay off.
But when the next generation of Australia’s potential new musical icons takes a look at their modern day heroes – some of the hardest-working, most successful acts in the country – having to resort to eBay auctions and fan donations to make ends meet, seeing their neighbourhood paper boy making more money than they are, chances are they’re more likely to blow their savings on textbooks than their first guitar.