When we think of musicians, we think of them as gods who can get away with anything because they play the songs that we love night after night.
Clip from Motley Crues’ The Dirt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQpKdxLWc_0
However, there is one side to the music business that is often overlooked: the cost of living the Rockstar lifestyle.
As Ringo Starr famously sung, “it don’t come easy” and when being a musician in a rock band, the cost of keeping a band on tour never is. Rock stars make a lot of money, and they can only do that by going out on tour night after night. From when the day they started touring in the 1980’s to today, tours were always a high end and costly productions. This blog compares what it was like to tour as Motley Crue in the 80’s to what it would cost to produce a Crue Tour today.
For a band like Motley Crue going on the Theater of Pain Tour in 1985, the cost of hotel stays for the entire band and, managers and stage crew would be $755,375. When compared to Motley Crue going on tour in 2022, adjusting $755,375 for inflation, hotel stays on a modern-day tour would cost at least $2,000,000 for everyone in their touring party. That is, if they don’t burn the hotel room down by morning, which would add additional costs to their already pricey stay.
On top of touring, when traveling in a rock band you have to have great insurance. This covers damages to property and to members of the band. An example of what touring insurance would cover would be for if a band member were to pull a Keith Moon and drive his.her car into a pool. In 1985, that stunt would require a hefty insurance package for touring artists. An insurance package to cover an amphibious vehicle test or other related incidents in 1985 would cover up to $2,643,812 in damages. For Motley Crue to pull off stunts like that, today’s insurance packages would cover up to $7,000,000. Hopefully as older men in their fifties, they have learned to slow things down a bit.
On top of managers having to watch out for Motley Crue, there is another crew that needs to be constantly taken care of. The stage crew are the ones responsible for setting up and take down massive stages and make it possible for bands like motley Crue to go on and perform every night. In 1985, paying a complete stage crew to set up, take down and transport everything including Tommy Lees rotating drum riser would cost $5,854,115. Paying a stage crew to help a major rock band like Motley Crue today would cost $15,500,000 to have on hand for an entire tour.
With all of these expenses, you are better off not being in a rock band. The cost of touring to hotel stays to damages are astronomical. Alongside the headache of dealing with managers who are annoyed with a band like Motley Crue’s antics, as a fan you are better off paying for a ticket to see them live.
The total cost of living as a touring artist in 1985 would be $9,253,302. In 2022 combining the high-end prices, the total cost to be able to tour is $24,500,000. The message, just pay to see Motley Crue unless you can afford to live as Motley Crue.