Iconic Bay Area rockers Y&T, whose frontman, Dave Meniketti, has previously said he was completely opposed to fans paying for meet-and-greets, are offering a so-called "Sound Check Experience" at some of their upcoming shows.
Meniketti's wife Jill, who manages Y&T, took to her Facebook page earlier today to explain the band's decision to start selling "VIP" packages on the short West Coast trek, which kicks off on June 21 at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.
She wrote: " As expected, the band has already received a few comments about their newly launched Sound Check Experience (at select shows). Let me set the record straight...
"The guys will still come out and meet the fans *after* their shows where possible--BUT--that is NEVER a guarantee and should never be expected. There are many factors involved every day at every show that impact this.
"Why did we add this cool new Sound Check Experience option? I'll explain below. And for those of you who really feel you need someone to blame for this new added-value experience (which I think is a cool addition--I'd buy it for my fave artist!), I'm your fall girl.
"Touring has become ridiculously expensive. As the band's manager, after this last US tour I told the band that they either need to start charging for meet & greets like every other band or stop touring altogether. It's that critical. Travel prices continue to escalate yet the band's performance fee does not. For example for this upcoming European tour, the prices for hotels, gear rental, crew fees, flights, ferries, etc., continue to rise--each year--so much so that I had told the band that 2019 may very well be the last time Y&T tours Europe.
"Many of you already know Dave's feelings about charging for a meet & greet--he won't do it. But the band LOVES playing live and they don't want to stop touring. So the guys got creative and thought it could be a fun vibe to open up sound checks (Y&T sound checks have always been closed) to those fans interested in purchasing a special, intimate experience beyond the show. The guys didn't want to do a typical cattle-call meet & greet; instead, they wanted to offer something that few people get to experience. Aside from the "cool factor" of seeing a real sound check, with that comes more special stuff, like an exclusive photo that's not available anywhere else but for the sound check package, a commemorative laminate & lanyard, a special Y&T tote bag not available anywhere else, and so on. We've limited it to just 20 people (or just 10 couples, for those pairing up).
"And that's what we've done to help salvage touring. Charging for extras is what most bands must do now in order to afford to continue performing. It's just the state of the business.
"I'm not at all complaining, just explaining.
"Don't like it? Not interested? Don't participate. It's that simple. Just buy a ticket to the show and nothing at all has changed for you. But the band & I think this is a very cool add-on experience."
Back in 2016, Dave Meniketti said that he would never entertain a practice that has become an increasingly significant part of the touring economy. "Some bands will charge for meet-and-greets or they'll charge for some special types of meet-and-greets," he told the "White Line Fever" podcast. "I don't like to do that. I think that's gouging the fans. I think that's a little too much of trying to get every last dollar out of everybody, dollaring people to death. I don't like that whatsoever. To me, your fanbase is golden. They're the people that are keeping us going. They're the people that love the music."
He continued: "Why do we want to charge them to meet us? That, to me, seems like the most bizarre thing you can do and too opportunist. That's not my thing. They pay for a ticket. Come see us live, that's what's going to keep us alive. Buy a t-shirt, something like that. But don't pay to see me. My God. I should be paying you guys. I'm happy to shake a hand, take a picture or listen to a story or something like that. In fact, more than happy. It makes us all feel good. It makes us feel connected to our fans."
Y&T, rounded out by guitarist John Nymann, drummer Mike Vanderhule and bassist Aaron Leigh, is currently putting the finishing touches its long-awaited documentary, "On With The Show", to be released before the end of 2019.
Meniketti is the only surviving member of the Y&T lineup — then known as YESTERDAY AND TODAY — that recorded the band's self-titled debut album.
Original Y&T rhythm guitarist Joey Alves died in March 2017 at the age of 63. Two founding Y&T musicians — Haze, 61, and bassist Phil Kennemore, 57, who both had left the lineup — died from complications of lung cancer: Kennemore on January 7, 2011, and Haze on September 11, 2016.
The band's latest studio album, "Facemelter", came out in May 2010 via Frontiers.