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Drive, Kid Keeps Their Foot on the Gas: The Virus’s Impact on Small Bands

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the dastardly COVID-19 virus has impacted countless lives and businesses all over the world. The music industry is no exception; musical artists big and small have been forced to cancel shows, postpone tours, or even reschedule studio time. If you’re in a band, chances are the novel coronavirus has brought whatever activities you’ve had planned to a screeching halt, regardless if you’re packing arenas or struggling to fill basements.

My band Drive, Kid has been no exception. If there’s anything we hate doing, it’s cancelling shows. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. We were booked to open for Pennsylvania melodic hardcore band Carousel Kings in Toms River on April 3rd; it was shaping up to be one of the biggest shows we’ve played in some time, and we’ve got our fingers crossed it’ll be rescheduled for a time when the world returns to some degree of normalcy.

Drive, Kid’s drummer, Connor Hastings, felt a strong double-whammy effect as the virus impacted the plans of his other band, Asbury Park-based hardcore outfit P.R.O.G.R.A.M. “COVID-19 completely postponed our tour,” said Hastings. P.R.O.G.R.A.M. was set to tour the northeast during the week of spring break in support of their new album, Wired to Kill. “The shows fell out like dominoes. We’re all very disappointed and hoping we can reschedule another one for June.”

However, P.R.O.G.R.A.M. was still determined to deliver a chaotic live performance of their new songs to disappointed fans, in spite of the show cancellations. “The only ‘show’ we played was a livestream from our band Instagram account,” said Hastings. “To be honest, being out and about is scary, especially since I’m working during this. But, it was really nice to shred out some tunes and be able to forget this mess, even if it was only 15 minutes.”

It is indeed a nerve-wracking time to be “out and about,” especially if you’re in any way immune compromised. Mark Rodriguez, senior music industry student at Monmouth and Drive, Kid guitarist is amongst many in the world who are immune compromised.

“For me, I don’t feel comfortable even going out much besides taking walks to avoid the spread of the illness,” said Rodriguez. “Even though I’m more susceptible to COVID-19 due to my asthma, I want to stay in the most to help stop the spread. Everyone, in my opinion, should stay indoors right now.”

On the bright side, quarantine has allowed us to individually bolster our creativity. Though the next Drive, Kid album is fully written at this point, and pending studio time, that’s no excuse for the train of creation to stop dead in its tracks. “Quarantine has actually boosted my creativity highly,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve been working on my solo project, released two brand new songs, an EP of acoustic material, and made a quarantine music video.” Rodriguez recently announced his new solo project FAWNES and released the singles “California (Closet of Capes)” and “Snooper (Fire Attack)” via Soundcloud.

“The quarantine has actually helped my creativity a lot,” said Stephen Bradford, bassist of Drive, Kid and Rutgers communication major. “These are novel times, and the government telling us to stay home has been the perfect opportunity to really focus on my songwriting,” says Bradford.

For any artist trapped indoors, taking time to practice and master your craft is always an effective way to pass the time.

“I’m just trying to get as much practice in on the drums as I can,” said Hastings. As a drummer of over a decade, Hastings has been working out of books such as “Stick Control” and “Four Way Coordination,” which he feels are essential books for any drummer practicing at home. Hastings hopes to further expand his coordination and chops. “I feel like every musician should be using this [quarantine] as an opportunity to get better at their instrument,” said Hastings.

As for me, I’ve been holed up in my own two-story playpen we call a house. Like my bandmates before me, working on songwriting is a must. However, as a senior with graduation on the horizon, songwriting is playing second-banana to homework, projects, and readings. I spend about 23 hours a day indoors, as I’m sure many people currently are; a daily walk or visit to the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through for my iced tea fix is a simple pleasure in times like these. Above all, I think people should try to relish in the simple pleasures during times like these. Take this time to do little things that make you happy; enjoy a nice walk in the sun, play with your pet, watch your favorite movie. It’ll make the relief of this whole pandemic ending (and it WILL end!) that much sweeter.