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DEVIN TOWNSEND Explains The Logic Behind Doing Solo Acoustic Tours

First and foremost, it's a great way to test the waters for a new audience.

Devin Townsend Acoustic

Devin Townsend knows there are plenty of benefits to going out and touring as a solo acoustic act. First off, it's a great way to test the waters with new audiences. Then there's the whole bit about touring being stupid expensive these days, and one dude with an acoustic guitar is way cheaper.

In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Townsend explained all that and how one recent show in Turkey nearly got screwed thanks to insane border costs.

"Well, a lot of it is convenience. There were certain territories that I was told, 'Well, we can't afford to do that, to get the gear in there.' I was just in Turkey and they said the same thing. And they said 'We'll have to cancel your show because there's a border cost and we weren't anticipating and it's going to put you in the hole $40 grand or something.'"

"So I said, 'Well, let me just take an acoustic and I'll go do that.' And by doing that, you can actually make a couple of bucks, and you can show up and play in places that I've been told that you can't play."

He continued: "I did the same thing in India, Singapore, and China. So by doing that you can kind of break into a market. That sounds awful, it's not necessarily what I mean. But in a sense, it's the truth. You can protect yourself and say, 'Here's me without anything.' And if this is something that resonates with people, then we can hopefully come back with a band somewhere down the line."

Townsend made similar points in a 2022 interview with Metallerium, touching on both the crazy cost of touring these days and how acoustic shows are a reliable source of income.

"It's gotten way worse. I don't think it's better at all, actually. Because the costs of touring now, with inflation and the cost of gasoline and diesel… Plus, over the course of the pandemic, we've lost a ton of really good venues. I'd say probably 50 percent of the workforce in touring has now left. 'Cause what's a guitar tech gonna do for two years? You have to get a job, right? And so the ones that are remaining, not only are they already spoken for with other bands, but they're almost twice as expensive.

"I saw this thing about [the events ticketing giant] Live Nation the other day, they're taking 30 percent of merch sales from some of these venues. The costs of airlines have gone up. So artists, the ability to make money on tour is almost completely gone now — at least an artist on my level.

"So, yes, it's opened up again, but it's 10 times as expensive. It's, like, what do you do? Even little things like, okay, the hotels are more expensive; the food at the hotels [is] more expensive. So at the end of it, you're touring for what? You're touring ultimately so you can present your work to the people who care about your work, and that's worth it to me. But I think for anybody to think that it's now easy again, you should investigate that, because I'm trying to set up tours for next year, and there's no way to keep them within cost — there's no way.

"And so you go out there and, like, well, we can't have this vehicle; we can't have this backline; we can't have this production; we can't have these lights. And then if you show up at a place and the audience comes, they're, like, 'The show's not good. There's no lights. There's no production.' So what should you do? And I think a lot of musicians, their decision is, like, 'Well, I'll just stay home then and I'll just create from home.'

"I try to go out with acoustic now, because that way I can afford it. If I just show up with an acoustic guitar and sing for people, it's better than nothing. But it's still, like, man, it's a complicated time, brother."

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