Mike Portnoy has defended SONS OF APOLLO's decision to postpone the remaining dates on their current European tour due to mounting concerns of the coronavirus.
The band, which features former DREAM THEATER members Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex-GUNS N' ROSES), Billy Sheehan (THE WINERY DOGS, MR. BIG, DAVID LEE ROTH) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-JOURNEY, ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE), announced the show cancelations in a social media post on Wednesday (March 4).
Earlier today (Thursday, March 5), Portnoy took to his Facebook page to respond to some fans' criticism of how growing concern over coronavirus has prompted SONS OF APOLLO and other bands to cancel dozens of concerts being held around the globe.
He wrote: "As I've seen several people post that they think the Corona Virus is all hype and overblown and not understanding our (or other band's) tour cancellations...here's my $0.02 for what it's worth (as a touring musician, not a scientist!):
"I can tell you first hand as we were in EU as all this unfolded:
"*Perhaps* the hysteria and paranoia *may* be an over reaction...?? (I can't honestly say as I'm not a scientist) However, because the *fear* is absolutely real, there's no way a band can stay on tour over there and just sit around waiting to find out if their shows are happening from day to day...
"There are salaries to pay, buses and hotels to pay for...and losing all show income is an absolute disaster...
"By us pulling our tour, postponing shows and coming home, we are already taking a *massive* financial hit... But if we stayed and continued to juggle our schedule from day to day...our financial loses would've easily been in the 6-digit figures. And of course this is just talking about finances...it also is not worth taking a chance of catching anything...or being stuck there and not being allowed back into the US because of the countries we already played in
"So whether the spread and threat of the virus is real or not...the reality of how it's being *feared* is absolutely real and we had no choice but to react accordingly and in the smartest way possible both financially and physically"
As of Thursday, more than 97,800 people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide, with at least 3,300 deaths. In the United States, there are around 200 confirmed cases.
SONS OF APOLLO were on the road in Europe promoting their second studio album, "MMXX" (pronounced: 20/20), which was released in January via InsideOut Music/Sony.