VOIVOD guitarist Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain has spoken out against cell-phone use at concerts, saying that "it's just sad" to see fans watching entire shows through their phone.
Mongrain made the comment during a brand new interview with The Metal Gods Meltdown. Asked what his opinion is of fans filming VOIVOD's live performances, Daniel said (hear audio below): "I don't really mind when they don't do it for the whole show. When they are doing it for the whole show, I'm just sad for them because they're missing the moment.
"I had this situation in the U.S. recently where a guy was in the front charging his phone while filming, and he couldn't put it away," he continued. "So, between two songs, I asked the audience, 'Hey, for this one, let's try an experience: everybody that's got a phone, put it in your pocket, and we're gonna play.' And they did it. And as soon as the song finished, he got his phone back [out].
"I don't wanna be an asshole to those kind of people, but I wish they would do it from behind and not in front of me… Go away. Go take a beer. You don't like us? It's all right, man. But go away. Come back when your favorite band is there.
"I'm not playing for him. I'm playing for everybody else.
"What disturbs me is when they put the light on — it goes into my eye," the guitarist added. "That's very aggressive. If you don't put the light on and you film a little bit, I don't mind. But if you film the whole fucking thing, it's just sad for you. You're not communicating… Some people think that we are a screen and they're watching Netflix and they don't have to interact with me anymore. It's kind of a social sickness, really."
A number of other musicians have come out in recent years to say that mobile technology is ruining the concert experience, including SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR singer Corey Taylor. He told "Loudwire Nights" that "it's fine" if people want to take pictures of his bands' shows, but not so much if they are videotaping entire performances. "It's one thing to film it, it's another thing to just be staring at your screen while you're filming it," he said. "It's right there. Are you so terrified of real life that you can't do anything unless it's on that little four-by-four screen? Ugggh. It's very weird."
GODSMACK frontman Sully Erna told "The Eddie Trunk Podcast" that there's "something really magical that happens when" you are not experiencing live performances through a "little four-inch screen." He explained: "I think sometimes you just need to allow yourself to enjoy the moment and know that you're gonna have that memory — you're always gonna have that memory. It doesn't go away. The brain is way more complex and way more powerful than the fastest computer in the world, and I think they've proven that. Because you can have a computer that can spin numbers at a million beats a second, but the brain can compute so much faster and retain so much more, and you have the elements of emotion and feeling and sense and taste and smell and all that as well. So there's just so much more. And your brain is your best computer you could ever ask for, so you have to trust in it. And plus, we build these shows for those reasons — we want you to see these moments; we want you to, in a blink of an eye, to be able to catch these great effects and things that we use on stage that we spend months and months and months designing. It's for the human body to absorb; it's not for a computer."
Former SKID ROW singer Sebastian Bach in 2015 urged fans to keep their cell phones at the bottom of their pockets and just watch his performances. "Be in the moment," he said. "You're distracted and it's distracting to the performer as well. Like, put your fuckin' cell phone away, dammit! You're never even going to watch that footage."
Back in 2012, Bruce Dickinson chastised a fan for texting during an IRON MAIDEN concert, calling him a "wanker."
When Axl Rose reunited with his former GUNS N' ROSES bandmates, Duff McKagan and Slash, for the first time in 23 years at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in April 2016, the concert was phone-free.
"God, it was wonderful," McKagan told The New York Times. "It was the old-school feeling, where people were dancing and getting down. It was really cool."