TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy spoke to Lou Brutus of HardDrive Radio about the strict COVID-19 protocols he and his bandmates adhered to on their recently completed U.S. tour with MEGADETH, LAMB OF GOD and HATEBREED. "The Metal Tour Of The Year" marked the four groups' first run of concerts since the start of the pandemic.
"My entire band and entire crew were vaccinated," Matt said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "I had breakthrough COVID as well, so I was about as immune as you can possibly get and I was still adhering to every single rule. And I know that maybe some people, unfortunately, are rolling their eyes when they hear about this stuff, but the way I think about it, I don't think anything other than this is a virus; it's a sickness. I've had tons of freakin' shots. Every time you go to South America, you have to get boosters and immunity, if you're gonna be near the jungle. My kids are almost three. When they were little, they got polio and smallpox and measles vaccinations, hepatitis vaccinations. That's the only way I thought of this: 'You know what? I wanna play shows, and I'm gonna do everything I can to make sure not one person misses our set for one freakin' show.' So, we had the vaccine, still wore masks everywhere except for dressing room, stage and bus. You know how much I love food. We made sure every single meal we had on every single day off was outdoors — outdoors, no friends. 'Cause we wanted the shows to happen.
"With how strict we ran it, if anyone is ever curious, like, 'Man, that's a little bit too much,' the proof is in the pudding," Matt continued. "We came out of this thing without one show missed. Canada, obviously, is getting postponed, it's getting moved — it's not canceled. That's a different border, country-to-country thing, so that has nothing to do with us. And we're freakin' stoked. It was amazing. Five to ten thousand people a night. For metal, that's insane — that's an insane amount of people to show up for HATEBREED, TRIVIUM, LAMB OF GOD and MEGADETH. So it was amazing. We had some of the best shows we've ever had in our career on this run."
Earlier in the month, TRIVIUM bassist Paolo Gregoletto told Mankato, Minnesota's "Midwest Beatdown" radio show that the band's tour manager was diagnosed with COVID-19 after the third show of "The Metal Tour Of The Year". "We had a bunch of [COVID-19] tests with us," he said. "We got a couple of extras. Everyone tested. No one else was positive. We caught up our manager. We caught up the tour. We pretty much said, 'Look, we're not gonna cancel a show. Everyone's good. We're all isolated from our tour manager. We'll test tomorrow and as many days in a row as you want.' And no one ever got sick on our bus except for our tour manager. And we kept going. That was basically it.
"There was really no rule kind of set up how that was gonna work," Paolo continued. "But what we've been seeing people do is, okay, someone on a [tour] package will get sick, and they'll be, like, 'well, everyone's gonna take 10 days' or something to quarantine — whatever people are doing. And we were, like, it's not possible. There's too much at stake for a tour this size, or any tour, really. 'Cause if you start canceling shows, the margin is very, very thin with that kind of stuff; it's not sustainable. So we were just, like, 'Look, if no one is sick, the show must go on.' So that's what we did. HATEBREED's sound guy helped us out big time by filling in on monitors. Our assistant tour manager picked up the slack for the shows, and then our tour manager was just e-mailing — Zooming in; [sending] e-mails, doing all the stuff he had to do. And he came back when he was fine, and that was it. And we kept rolling."
Gregoletto added: "It was scary, obviously, but I was also kind of relieved to have that happen right away, 'cause it's, like, once you kind of know what it could be once it happens… It's kind of like Matt when he got sick [with COVID-19] way before the tour, it's scary 'cause you've been trying to avoid it the whole time, but then, when you get through it, you're, like, 'All right. I felt bad for a few days and now I'm good.' It felt good to just have that happen, and we dealt with it, and the show went on. And we didn't publicize it 'cause we didn't wanna [create] any sort of doubt that the tour was gonna get canceled, that shows would get canceled. 'Cause it's crazy times right now. I'm sure a lot of people have seen bands are dropping from tours and stuff, and we just didn't wanna do that. So we chose this way instead."
The last three shows of "The Metal Tour Of The Year" — in Toronto, Laval and Quebec City — were postponed to spring 2022 due to restrictions in the Quebec province and international logistical issues.
TRIVIUM's tenth album, "In The Court Of The Dragon", was released on October 8 via longtime label Roadrunner Records. The record was produced and mixed by Josh Wilbur and recorded in the fall of 2020 at Full Sail University in Orlando. The album cover is an original oil painting by French artist Mathieu Nozieres.