If you often go to live shows of your favorite bands, you most certainly have noticed that a lot of them also have so-called “VIP tickets” on offer these days. By paying a certain amount of extra money you get the opportunity to meet up with the band, get stuff signed, take pictures or whatever that “VIP ticket” includes. Prices differ a lot, mainly depending on the popularity of the band, but often have reached ridiculous dimensions in the meantime. Some examples: at some places you can buy a VIP OZZY OSBOURNE ticket on his upcoming 2020 European tour for 800$ (a “gold package” even costs 1.600$) and when it comes to AEROSMITH it depends on which members you’d like to meet: on Joey Kramer, Brad Withford and Tom Hamilton you have to spend 580$, if you’d prefer to meet Steven Tyler and Joe Perry it costs 1.700$. The “allstar” band HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES (feat. Alice Cooper, actor Johnny Depp and AEROSMITH’s Joe Perry) have VIP tickets on offer for 1.400$ and up. KISS even charge 5.000$ for an “ultimate VIP” on their “End Of The Road” US tour, while the ROLLING STONES ask for no less than 25.000$!! We wanted to find out what Metal musicians think about all this and asked a bunch of them about their opinions, if they would do paid “Meet and Greets” themselves and if so, how much they would charge for it. For some strange reason some of the bands we originally had contacted prefered not to be included in this special, which is kinda odd, considering that you are either pro or against it. And if a band already takes money for a “Meet and Greet” they should have reasons for it. So, why not talk about it? It still seems to be a pretty controversial topic, especially in the Metal scene, which is usually very down to earth. So, just read on and find out the opinions of all those that had to say something about it nevertheless…

• Mark “Barney” Greenway (NAPALM DEATH)
Mark "Barney" Greenway (NAPALM DEATH)“The whole concept of the paid version I think is a rip-off and I wouldn’t personally get involved. You already keep our band alive by coming to gigs and buying records and t-shirts etc. I’m not worth multiples of Euros of appearance time, so do something else worthwhile with it. I never saw myself as being on a higher plane than the people who come to see the band, so if you want to come speak to me, do so any place and I’ll do it without expecting any kind of fee. I would feel embarrassed to take even pocket change from people for that kind of supposed privilege.The free “Meet and Greets” I will do for that very reason; that I know people want to meet and chat and stuff… but honestly I don’t think any of us in NAPALM DEATH feel absolutely comfortable about sitting behind tables and have people parade past in front of you like a production line. It often feels a bit impersonal… though I do appreciate that the people who set these free ones up often have the best intentions. I know people also like to have stuff signed, but I was never one who sought autographs and that whole concept still feels a bit quirky to me now.”

• Robert Cardenas (POSSESSED / COFFIN TEXTS)
Robert Cardenas (POSSESSED / COFFIN TEXTS)“If the fans want it, why not. Would we do this? I would and I have. How much we would charge for it depends on how many people and how much time we would have to spend on doing it. It’s work just like anything else. I understand some people feel it’s a burn and some artist do it for free, but some artist feel it’s still a part of working and fans don’t want to wait for the day they hope to meet the artist.”

• John McEntee (INCANTATION / FUNERUS / TRIBE OF PAZUZU / BEAST OF REVELATION)
John McEntee (INCANTATION / FUNERUS / TRIBE OF PAZUZU / BEAST OF REVELATION)“Overall I’m against it. It just doesn’t feel right and I don’t think bands should have to do something like that. I kinda like it the old school way of just trying to hang out by the band’s bus or, you know, trying to get backstage or something like that, than paying a bunch of money to meet people. But at the same time, you know, it gives people, who really wanna meet somebody, an opportunity to do it. And to get that right they’re gonna pay a lot of money for it and I think it’s a lot to pay. But it depends… if we’re talking of the size of a band like IRON MAIDEN… I think when it comes to smaller bands, pretty much any underground bands or bigger Metal bands, but not like huge… I think it’s… uhm… you know it’s… to me it’s not my thing. I understand bands that are trying to make more money these days from shows, cause the records are not selling this well because of the internet and stuff. But would I pay to go see one of my favorite bands, even back in the day, when I was a young kid? No. I wouldn’t have paid the extra money to see them, because most bands in my genre, bands that I like, I usually get to meet, so I guess I’m a little biased on it. But for us, no. I wouldn’t do paid “Meet and Greet”. I basically hang out at every show possible. The only time I don’t is if I’m going out to eat after the show, or go into the hotel, take a shower or maybe not feeling well or my voice is shot or something like that. If it’s not for one of those situations, I’m always out, hanging out anyway. I mean, I just want to hang out with the fans and stuff, so have fans pay to come hang out with me would just be kinda silly. But who am I to say if it’s right or wrong? I wouldn’t pay to go see… you know… I don’t know… one of my favorite bands, HELLHAMMER… I wouldn’t pay to go see the band HELLHAMMER… I mean, I would go see them play, but I wouldn’t go pay like… I don’t know, 300 bucks… to meet them or whatever. I would hope that I could meet them on my own. So, yeah… I’m not into it. I don’t think INCANTATION would ever do anything like that. It’s not even on our radar to do, because we just wanna hang out with our fans anyway. We love hanging out with Metal fans and stuff like that, so I guess I would charge whatever the admission is for the show, you know. If you go to one of our shows there’s a good chance you’ll be able to meet me or meet any of the other guys in the band and get whatever you want signed and hang out and have a good time, perhaps have a few drinks with someone of us or something like that. It’s pretty easy going… We’re Metal fans just like everybody else.”

• Tom Gabriel Fischer (TRIPTYKON / TRIUMPH OF DEATH)
Tom Gabriel Fischer (TRIPTYKON / TRIUMPH OF DEATH)“Everyone has to decide that for themselves, but I personally find this completely inappropriate. We don’t do that. In the USA for example it is completely normal by now to do such paid “Meet and Greets” at every concert, but in TRIPTYKON we decided not to participate in that many years ago. We don’t take extra money from the people who make it possible for us to have a career by coming to our concerts. The concert ticket is by far enough. Whenever possible I took the time to speak to those members of the audience who wanted it, or e.g. waited behind the concert hall or at the tour bus. I’m not asking for money to say “hello”, take a picture, or sign an album. That would be completely out of the question.” (TE)

• John Gallagher (RAVEN)
John Gallagher (RAVEN)“Well… I’m pretty much against it! I think if a band is at a “mega” level and it’s impossible to accommodate signing sessions, or any kind of “Meet and Greet”, then yeah… maybe. Would we do this? Nope! Maybe for 0.0000027 Euro ; -) The fans buy the albums, come to the shows, buy the shirts… it’s the least we can do to hang out, sign stuff and say “thank you”!”

• Frank Gilchriest (RIOT V)
Frank Gilchriest (RIOT V)“I have very mixed opinions and feelings on paid “Meet and Greets”. There are no easy answers. Generally, I am against the spirit of them, but I understand they are necessary for some bands to survive. From the fan’s perspective, if they bought the band’s music and paid to see them play, I can understand that some might find it rude for the band to ask for more money just to say a quick hello, take a photo and thank them for their music. They’d probably prefer that the band charges a little more for the ticket so that being hospitable and courteous to their fans doesn’t have to be commercialized. But the bands will counter that by claiming that higher ticket prices means less fans attending the shows. Also from the band’s perspective, it’s important to remember that in today’s world where people barely pay for music, there has to be new revenue streams to help the bands survive. That’s only fair. Musicians and bands spend their entire lives studying and investing in their craft so that they can offer a quality product. Then, their art is stolen and ransacked on the internet or they’re paid a tiny fraction of what it’s actually worth on streaming services. That’s not fair either. So, there’s legitimate points and feelings on both sides of this equation. I’m not sure what the answer is. Now we bring the promoters into the mix and that further complicates the matter. Sometimes, the promoters will tell bands that they must do them or their tour cannot happen. The promoters claim they need the money from the “Meet and Greets” to pay for operating expenses. So, the fans may get upset with the band for charging for the “Meet and Greets” when in reality, it’s the promoter whose insisting upon it. Speaking solely for myself, I’d rather not take part in paid “Meet and Greets” before or after shows. I’d prefer that the tour is financially structured so that I don’t have to. To be completely honest, before the show I am extremely intense and like a caged animal who’s ready to explode. I am focusing all of my energy on what I need to do to give the best performance of my life. I owe that to all those in attendance, my band, and myself. That’s not a good time for making small talk, chit chat and pleasantries with the fans. My mind is preoccupied. After the show, I am very happy to spend time with the fans and always make myself available. I treat them like family and would never think of charging my family to spend time with me. Although, I have met some musicians who’d probably charge their family for attending their own funeral. Anyway, a couple of times the promoters insisted that I participate in paid “Meet and Greets” and I wasn’t happy about it. It just didn’t feel right in my bones. But as a professional, sometimes we have to do things we’d prefer not to. Such is life. Lastly, I have my own ideas on how to find new revenue streams while on tour. On days off, I’d like the promoters to organize a sight seeing tour or a trip to a winery or maybe a visit to a museum with some fans who’d like to purchase a ticket and spend the day with us doing something interesting and fun. That would be spending quality time together and a unique experience independent of the concert. I’ve pitched that idea to some of my bands and promoters but, they just looked at me like I was completely insane. Anyway, these are my thoughts on this subject. I guess in the end, if people don’t want to purchase “Meet and Greets” then bands will eventually stop offering them. The law of supply and demand will settle the matter one way or another.”

• Silenoz (DIMMU BORGIR)
Silenoz (DIMMU BORGIR)“Personally I think it’s not for me, but I can understand why many artists choose do it. We do “Meet and Greets” sometimes in connection with signing sessions etc but we don’t charge anything for it. I’d rather meet fans free of charge, but if they want to buy me drinks then in most cases I won’t say no. I also much rather have fans buy a merch item instead and support the band in that sense.”

• Kam Lee (MASSACRE / THE GROTESQUERY / AKATHARTA / BROKEN GRAVESTONES)
Kam Lee (MASSACRE / THE GROTESQUERY / AKATHARTA / BROKEN GRAVESTONES)“My opinion is, I don’t have one. As I’ve not really been exposed to one. I’ve not done one myself nor been a part of one. In the old days I may have scoffed at it or even laughed at it, but that was the old me. I know times have changed, and although I wish we could still remain in that 1980s / 1990s mindset of the underground, truth is, that underground no longer exist. So are these things now a part of the scene? Is this normal? I don’t know. When we get to the point that our lively hoods as professional musicians that we rely primarily on merch sales for our financial support, but the merchandise are lacking… what do we do? It’s ironic that band merchandise has becoming a commodity and a commercialized way to capitalize upon the band name as a label for product – more so than a representation of just music, but… I get it. Would I do this? I guess it depends. If it’s something that offers the fans a more personal one on one with their favorite artist, I can see why it’s done. But I’m also the type to disappoint most fans – as I’m not going to be something I’m not on a one on one. I’m not going to be fake in sake of the fans. I view myself as approachable, but I’m not going to just “act” a certain way – for fans – because it’s expected of my persona. On an average day… I hate people. I am a misanthrope… not because it’s “cool to act as such”, but I generally despise most people. I’m cynical and a bit of an asshole in person… not because I’m attempting to bother someone or go out of my way to be one, but I don’t “pretend” to be congenial, I tell it like it is, and most people get the wrong impression. They tend to think I’m in a bad mood or dislike them from the start. It’s not so much a personal hatred as much as a general hate. I don’t trust people in general and therefore my guard is always up. No idea really how much I would charge for it, as I’ve never done one. How much do they charge in general for these things? I guess I would leave that up to management. As this is why I finally decided after 35 years of doing this to get proper management. That’s up to them to decide. I may be the C.E.O. of the “company”, but I’ll leave that sort of decisions up to the board of directors and the management group that I pay to decide those types of things. That may seem like a cop out answer… or a way to skate around a direct reply, but I honestly have no idea what it would cost. I pay for book signings and to meet certain actors that I admire in the horror genre. I payed $40 bucks just to get an autograph from one, and I payed close to $60 bucks for a photo with another. Did I feel “ripped off”… not really. I understand that is how these people make money. I see now that despite the big Hollywood stars that show up weekly on Oprah and dance on a couch… most “B level movie stars” (Horror icons that I love) aren’t rich or even close to making big bucks. They are just hard working in their craft as I am in mine. So, I respect them on that level and appreciate them. And have no qualms about paying a bit of “gratitude fee” is it allows me a few moments of their time to be a part of their world. Even for a few minutes. So with that said… I can see how it relates in the same way to us underground Metal acts. To some fans – we are something that brings them a certain connection, and if these things allow fans to show their appreciation on an up-close and personal level, it’s both understandable and respected on both ends.”

• Maik Weichert (HEAVEN SHALL BURN)
Maik Weichert (HEAVEN SHALL BURN)“Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s just a pain in the ass. It depends a lot on the people you “Meet and Greet”. Standing around with 30 silent people and everybody’s thinking you’ve prepared something special and they wait to be entertained is odd. But once the ice is broken, it’s always fun meeting new people and learning about your fans. For HEAVEN SHALL BURN this is a vital part of the band. We love to talk to the kids and to answer their questions. But that is getting less and less, more and more kids today want a selfie only and then they leave without even saying good bye. That is strange. But as I said, we really enjoy the conversations and we think it’s a great thing also for the band, so we do it a lot. We rather have only a few people for the “Meet and Greet” and do just more dates for it. One “Meet and Greet” with 50 people is no fun. 5 times with like 10 people is more fun, but of course not always possible to organize. We NEVER charge anything for that. At least not directly. If people already bought a ticket for the show they already spent money on you. I guess to “Meet and Greet” your fans is mandatory for every band. I remember meeting Glen Benton for the first time, when I was a kid – I got an autograph and talked a bit with him, it was a really cool thing for me. Few years later the same man would only sign my record, if I bought a shirt. That was not really a “Meet and Greet” situation, more like running into him at the merch table, but you know what I mean. Bands selling “Meet and Greet” tickets just take away a great experience for their real fans – I mean meeting your favourite bands without paying for it is so much more worth. It is something that is priceless. I’d compare it to meeting the girl of your dreams by accident versus just booking some hot escort girl from a homepage. Both are nice, but one is the real deal. I would hate the thought, that my musical idols talk to me just because I paid for it.”

• Fred Estby (DISMEMBER / NECRONAUT)
Fred Estby (DISMEMBER / NECRONAUT)“I don’t like it. We would never do it. I’ve seen it up front with bands like KISS and I find it ridiculous that people pay $1000 to get a handshake and a photo after standing in line forever. Their money, their choice, I just can’t relate.”

• Dirk Kennedy (HITTMAN)
Dirk Kennedy (HITTMAN)“No, a million times no! I think it’s outrageous, disingenuous and a flat out money-grab. For some… I understand times are tough. Artists don’t make the kind of money they used to make. Ok, some bands need to find ways to augment their income. Low to mid level bands need to keep the wheels rolling. Labels or what’s left of them, don’t offer tour support, per diem etc, so this can help grease those wheels. But charging fans to “meet” you for a few minutes, sign your albums, guitars and drum heads (for a premium add on expense) is just fan gouging. Artists like KISS, DEF LEPPARD, MÖTLEY CRÜE, TAYLOR SWIFT, all millionaires, do not need the money. Their VIP packages and their prices are so astronomical, some fans pay a months wages for the “honor”. That “honor” includes being corralled into a small room, waiting forever and then being ushered into the presence of your idol for less than 5 minutes. This is not a one on one, there is no getting to know you. Its strictly a “now you’ve met me, NEXT!” conveyor belt. Back in the day, we had to be clever. My friends and I researched where bands stayed, and when they came to NYC, we’d go there and wait. Usually we were allowed to hang on the side of the door and if the band wanted to engage with us they would and they usually did. I met Dio (and had a lasting friendship), RUSH, SCORPIONS, PRIEST and MAIDEN all this way. They were never bothered. We were respectful of their time and went off into the night having had the most magical experience of our lives. But in today’s climate, managers and agents found a way to monetize this experience and make it grotesque. So forget about a kind, chance meeting or a polite conversation. This is now just about money and you are now on their clock. I don’t think it’s going to go away any time soon. So, if you’re one of those fans that has the money and you don’t feel even remotely as if you’re being financially raped, knock yourselves out. Just don’t forget your credit card. Now you’re just a number.” (TE)

• Paul Speckmann (MASTER)
Paul Speckmann (MASTER)“It’s a bunch of bullshit, because I sell merchandise at all shows we do, so you can meet me for free. Everyone shits the same, smells the same and has the same problems in life, especially as you get older, so get over yourself!”

• David DeFeis (VIRGIN STEELE)
David DeFeis (VIRGIN STEELE)“I am perhaps of two minds. With VIRGIN STEELE we have never done that. We have never charged anyone for an autograph or a chat. And we have always been extremely approachable and have often stayed behind after a concert signing autographs and chatting with fans for far longer than we were supposed to. Often the concert promoters and venue staff want to get everyone out of the building because they want to go home, or often we have had to immediately leave the gig to stay on schedule for the next concert, but nevertheless… we often defied that situation and stayed on anyway chatting and signing. I personally find it quite difficult to just get up and leave the venue without having signed everyone’s album, poster or whatever it is that they want signed. I get very jarred and disrupted when told that I must leave to catch the next plane or whatever it is we are supposed to do. I enjoy all that intimate, personal contact and I have no problem staying there and signing until everyone has been seen to. As regards the monetary aspect that has crept into these types of things, I do understand why bands do that. They find that the music business has changed considerably and that they may actually need the income that is derived from that sort of activity. I have also learned that sometimes it is actually not the band who is doing that, but someone else who is doing the charging and receiving that income. Every band has their own way of doing things and I suppose that extra income can be quite helpful to many groups on the road, but as regards VIRGIN STEELE… again, we have never done that and I hope we never have to.” (TE)

• Miland “Mille” Petrozza (KREATOR)
Miland "Mille" Petrozza (KREATOR)“I found “Meet and Greets” strange at first, until I noticed that there are many fans who would like to do just that. In Australia, KREATOR did it for the first time and it was great. Then on a tour with OVERKILL in the USA and on our tour with DIMMU BORGIR, last year. You just have more time to hang out with the fans and get to know cool people that you otherwise would just meet sweaty on the way to the bus. So, because of the great demand, we did this on our last tour, but we made sure it stayed a fair price and we could spend enough time with the fans. In addition, people got cool merchandise and the price was ok. I see “Meet and Greets” more relaxed. Some fans don’t want to, or can’t wait for hours in front of the band bus to meet the band. The ticket for this I think costs a little more than a normal ticket.”

• Mike Browning (NOCTURNUS AD)
Mike Browning (NOCTURNUS AD)“I think “Meet and Greets” can be a good thing because a lot of bands are in their bus or backstage until they play and then disappear again after the show, so it does give their fans a possibility to meet them in person and get something signed. The only bad thing is some people bring a whole pile of stuff to sign just to turn around and sell it on Ebay. We have done it several times before shows and it is a great way to get to talk to people on a personal level and sign stuff for them, but we have never charged for a “Meet and Greet”, I think because we aren’t a huge band. It would not be right for us to charge people just to meet us and take a picture and sign something.”

• Ken Mary (FLOTSAM & JETSAM / FIFTH ANGEL)
Ken Mary (FLOTSAM & JETSAM / FIFTH ANGEL)“I understand it for sure. There is no money for the artist from the actual music these days and the business has become very aggressively “anti-artist” in terms of being able to make a living from being a musician. For new artists, it’s almost impossible. So I think it’s something that should be recognized and allowed. Now if you’re talking about artists that have millions of dollars and are still doing that, I’m not as much of a fan of that but at the same time at least you have the chance of meeting an artist you love. In the past, the chances of actually meeting them were very low. I’m not sure I’d do this unless there was a demand for it. So far I have not been paid once for any meet and greet; I’d prefer to keep it that way. But again the revenue you make as a musician has been impacted greatly by streaming and you need to make a living as well, so we’ll see how this goes, lol. I have no idea on how much I’d charge. Again, to date I have always spent my time signing albums, photos, shirts, etc for free. I simply love hanging out with fans to begin with. It’s a huge compliment when someone appreciates your art and has paid for recordings or a show, so I’d have to answer that if that time ever comes. My preference would be that I’d make a decent living from music without having to ever charge for a “Meet and Greet”. Well, for me it’s an appreciation for the people that support my art. I feel honored when someone comes up to have me sign a record or photo or T-shirt. There are so many ways people can spend their time today: you have TV, the internet, non-stop shows and entertainment, social networks, etc. etc. So for me I’d prefer to still be able to make a living from the music without having to charge for meet and greets. Time will tell if I’m successful in that.”

• Lee Harrison (MONSTROSITY / TERRORIZER)
Lee Harrison (MONSTROSITY / TERRORIZER)“I think it’s ok if done right… done right being getting something for your money. I did them when I filled in with OBITUARY last year and I could see the ones who did it enjoying themselves, so it was ok. They got to watch some songs from the side of the stage which is something everyone can’t do. You don’t know everyone, so you can’t have a million people up on stage the whole time. It gives the ones who really want it a chance to do something like that. Same with bringing them on the bus… you can’t have the whole crowd inside the bus but for the few who do the “Meet and Greets” it’s something special for them to see the inner workings… get a poster and whatever else is offered. We haven’t done it with MONSTROSITY or TERRORIZER. I’m not against it, I just would feel bad if it’s a case of advertising to meet someone yet everyone can meet us anyway cuz we don’t hide from the crowd and most peeps can meet is for free as it is. But the added perks may make it worthwhile for some and getting the guaranteed meeting instead of just hoping to and maybe it doesn’t happen. How much we would charge for it? It depends on the perks offered. 50 – 100 bucks seems reasonable for a Death Metal band lol. But if they can meet us anyway, it’s just ripping fans off, but if there’s posters and backstage experience etc then ok.”

• Terry Butler (OBITUARY)
Terry Butler (OBITUARY)“I see no problem with it. No one is twisting anybody’s arm to purchase a “Meet and Greet”. The band will put on the same performance if did or didn’t purchase a “Meet and Greet”. The performance doesn’t change. OBITUARY does “Meet and Greets”. We have different levels. It helps keep us on the road. A tour is like a cake. Everyone takes a slice. Booking agent, merch company, clubs taking 20% of merch, Bus company, equipment rental, state tax, city tax, paying crew, etc. By the time the tour is over you are left with crumbs. Not even a slice!! We have 2 or 3 levels. Ranging from around $30 to $75 ($30 for level 1, $50 for level 2, $75 for level 3). Depending on what you want. I’m sure some people piss and moan about it. Like I said, it doesn’t change our performance.”

• Tom Angelripper (SODOM)
Tom Angelripper (SODOM)“We did a lot of “Meet and Greets”, but always for free entry and with some gifts and signing cards for the fans. We would never think about that, taking money for that. We want to give something back for their loyal support. Would we charge something for it? Never. No way! Bands who do this forget where they come from and that their fans keep the band alive. These bands are part of that commercial business and fuck their fans up. Shame on these bands!!”

• Chris Reifert (AUTOPSY / VIOLATION WOUND / SIEGE OF POWER)
Chris Reifert (AUTOPSY / VIOLATION WOUND / SIEGE OF POWER)“Could be a cool thing if there’s positive interaction between fans and band. For example, many years ago I went to a GWAR art exhibit and the whole band was there hanging out and talking with people and it was a really cool thing. I walked away feeling pretty good about it. I’ve also had a negative experience meeting people I used to look up to, but those were different circumstances. Bottom line is without fans, a band would be absolutely nothing and I think bands should always remember that. It’s a two way street hopefully involving mutual respect, ya know? Never done a proper “Meet and Greet”, however I’ve done autograph sessions with AUTOPSY a few times and it’s been a really cool thing. Who knows what the future holds? I can’t imagine charging for something like that. Wouldn’t that imply that a band wouldn’t give their non-performing time to someone who supports their music and career and makes it all possible without being paid? Kind of a strange concept to me. As a music fan I can say that I’d never pay to hang out with a band I like, but that’s just me. Same with giving an autograph. I would never charge for that. If you see me somewhere and want something signed, bring it on over and I’ll fucking sign it. Just don’t forget to bring a pen. Haha! If it ended up being a no it would have to be for a good reason such as the organizer having bad intentions or something. If it seemed like a cool idea with positive results though, why not?”

• Philip Fasciana (MALEVOLENT CREATION)
Philip Fasciana (MALEVOLENT CREATION)“If you want to do a “Meet and Greet” with the band you don’t need to charge anybody money. We will do it for free. “Meet and Greets” should be for free for all fans at Metal shows.”

• Tony Dolan (VENOM INC. / ATOMKRAFT)
Tony Dolan (VENOM INC. / ATOMKRAFT)“I think the whole “Meet and Greet” thing is great if it’s done with the fans in mind. When they pay extra then they should get time with the band, gifts, photos etc. Some of these are very expensive to do and fans have already bought tickets, the albums, merchandise and now are paying $$ to meet on top… they should get the whole band and time to be with the artist. I understand if the band is a little down the ladder, as it were, it’s easier to meet fans than let’s say, METALLICA. You can’t meet everyone… it’s not practical or possible on a tour or show, but then if ones have paid for the privilege then at least make it Uber special and although special gifts are very cool. Meeting the band is why they did it, so afford them some time! After all, they invested themselves and their money in you, supporting you… this is simply saying thank you to them, isn’t it? We have done it, but only a couple of times. But I made special items in a gift bag that only those doing the “Meet and Greet” got. They got access either for an hour or more in the venue or I’d take guests into our tour bus where I’d give them drinks and they’d hang like one of us. But as I like meeting fans everywhere and we are quite open to access usually, I don’t do these all the time. But it’s easier for us than it is for BLACK SABBATH or KISS. I think we did it for $100 but saying that, it included their ticket and items made, so the whole deal was evened out. And they took or we had taken as many photos as they liked. And we signed anything they brought. I see ones for $300 – $600 and more where fans are walked in, stand there, photo and guided out… no chatting, even some, no signatures. I don’t see how that’s a good deal personally, but if this is the only chance a fan can meet an idol, then I see why they would do it. Judging if it was worth it is up to the individual I suppose. I would not do them, if fans are paying a lot and getting pushed around in and out and there was no interaction at all. In Chile recently we hosted a whole bunch of fans at our hotel lobby, no $ but took photos signed all kinds of things and I gave gifts. It’s easy to be cool and appreciate your true fans… the real ones! Not the ones out to see what they can get for nothing and brag they’re your friend when they aren’t. But as I say, if you’re looking at a 1000 or more people wanting access then it’s not so possible to do what I just described.” (TE)

• Adam “Nergal” Darsky (BEHEMOTH)
Adam "Nergal" Darsky (BEHEMOTH)“Meet and Greets”… we do them… every now and then we do them. Well, the thing is, you know, I remember back in the days, when we were just a small band, after every show, in a club or whereever, we would just go out to the merch booth and hang out with people and sign their stuff and socialize with them and drink and… yeah, just talk chats. But, you know, once you get bigger, there’s more and more people that are willing to, you know, have a piece of that cake. It’s absolutely not possible to go into the crowd, because they are literally gonna fuckin’ devour you. So you have to learn how to distribute your energy. Though, once we did them in company of CANNIBAL CORPSE, we splitted… so it was BEHEMOTH / CANNIBAL CORPSE, 100 people every day, and that was a big mistake and noone liked it, because it was like a factory… and I didn’t like that. Of course it’s always a decent income, as an addition to the tour income, which is always good, because we must pay our bills as well as musicians… artists. But I pay attention to quality. So, lesson learned and ever since, whatever we do, we have a limit of like 10 to 20 people, so we have time to pay attention to them, to give ourselves to them, in decent time. I’m not really good at business. I mean, I don’t really know how much I would charge for it. It depends on the size of the band. I’m a fanboy myself, you know, usually I find my way to sneak around and just go backstage and get stuff for free. I mean, I bring my LPs, that I paid, but I don’t need to buy “Meet and Greets”, which is a big advantage of being a guy that is recognized. So, yes… I use that. I just don’t pay for it, you know. But I’m a fanboy myself and I understand why people are paying to meet the guys in bands and just shake hands and get stuff signed, because I do the same.” (TE)

• Alan Averell (PRIMORDIAL)
Alan Averell (PRIMORDIAL)“Well, first things first. Impulsively I can say I think it’s disgusting on many levels. Charging people to meet you, when the reality is, at least with PRIMORDIAL, we can often be found in the bar afterwards. The thought of charging people to hang out with us, disgusts me quite frankly. We will never do it and have made a commitment to never agreeing to do so, and not allowing any local promoter to charge anyone anything to do anything of the sporty sort. However, I will say this… The music industry has changed a lot, and no one is making any money from sales, as there more or less are none, and the unfair practises of streaming sites pushes many musicians to try and make a little more $ on the side doing things like this. It’s kinda fucked it’s come to this… Of course the bands who can take advantage of people wanting to meet them are the kind of bands often who don’t really need the $ in my opinion. Of course, if there is maybe a cool shirt… something rare involved as well, then maybe I can relent a bit. But overall, it doesn’t sit right with me, so I will never agree to do such a thing.”

• Alex Bouks (IMMOLATION)
Alex Bouks (IMMOLATION)“I’m on the fence with it. I do know some bands who do have done it and I know it helps pay for some expenses on tour. I’m sure that’s not the popular answer. But for anyone who knows us we are pretty down to earth people, we’re not that hard to find. I would never charge a fan who asks me for a photo or autograph on tour. I’m always willing to sign everyone’s stuff. But in the business there are packages the label sells as well as bands autograph CDs, vinyl, pics for a box etc. I’m not opposed to that. We do have to make a living. Of course this is our art our expression and fortunately we have people that like what we do. But to continue on the level we do it you have to make an income for that to grow and entertain the people. We are musicians but we are entertainers. People pay to see you. But I would say I would not charge myself for an autograph but I know at some places the promoter may have a package deal with fans to pay extra to “Meet and Greet” the band. But as far as the band gaining and extra income from autograph signings we never have.”

Tina Ehmke (TE) / Frank Stöver
Photo credits: Manuel Vargas Lépiz (Tom Gabriel Fischer), Bjørn Fehl (Mille Petrozza), Candy Welz (Maik Weichert), David DeFeis (Lisa Rose), Tony Dolan (Dirk van den Heuvel)

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