Marianas Trench: Sharing a dream … and toothbrushes!

LSY!’s Karissa Clancy with the guys from Marianas Trench: Josh Ramsay, Matt Webb, Ian Casselman, and Mike Ayley.
Photo by Maggie Herdzik

Lots of our Live! Starring … You! fans love the Canadian rock band Marianas Trench. Every time we interview the guys, one reality emerges: The music business is a lot of hard work – and not nearly as glamorous as it seems.

It’s their passion for music that drives them through the really stressful situations.

“The music industry has been kicked in the ### in the last 10 years, and no one buys CDs anymore,” drummer Ian Casselman told LSY!’s Amy Brooks. “It’s really hard to make a living.”

In one sense, that’s surprising to hear. Marianas Trench is huge in Canada, where they regularly sell out arena shows, so you wouldn’t expect the guys to say it’s tough to make a living. But consider this: It took years for them to reach that point.

And when they play in other countries the crowds can be much smaller. In many parts of the world (the United States included), they’re still building a fan base.

“You have to really, really love it,” bass player Mike Ayley told LSY! reporter Karissa Clancy. “There are a lot of days – especially the first seven or eight thousand – where you’re not going to get anywhere.”

The truth is clear: CD sales are decreasing as online purchases and illegal downloads of songs are increasing.

If the people listening to the music can’t connect to lyrics or the emotions being played, they probably won’t keep listening at all. What does this mean? Making good money is tough.

“Be prepared to make no money for a long time,” said guitarist Matt Webb. “Arguably, forever.”

Even if a band has made it big, the standards of living likely won’t live up to what you see in movies and TV shows.

“It doesn’t matter how big you are, you can be the Rolling Stones big and you’re always, always going to enter the venue from a crappy, dirty alley that smells like feces,” said lead singer Josh Ramsay who, separate from his work with Marianas, co-wrote the hit song “Call Me Maybe” with Carly Rae Jepsen.

“Always,” he added with a grin.

Or picture a bunch of unshowered, tired musicians sharing a tour bus or a hotel room. That’s the image we got when LSY! reporter Jaclyn Reinhart asked Mike and Matt about the unseen, unglamorous sides of the business.

“Sleeping on the bus,” Mike said. “Some days you only sleep five or six hours. When you do sleep eight it only feels like four because it’s bumpy. Having to share a room with everybody taking turns to shower is not that glamorous.”

“I haven’t showered in a while,” Matt added with a laugh. “That’s not glamorous.”

Tightly packed tour buses and hotel rooms aren’t the only thing they share, either.

“You have to share a lot of stuff,” Mike said. “Personal space, time, toothbrushes. For a long time, when we were making $50 a show, (we’d share) beds, two guys to a bed, four guys to a room.”

That’s the music dream versus the music reality: There are going to be days when you’re broke and living in a place that’s completely different from what you envisioned. But if it’s your dream, it’ll be worth everything you have to share to get there.

— Written by Maddy Eberhardt, Amelia Gilmer & Monica Hutten, with Tim O’Shei
Mount St. Mary Academy

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