Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with R. Scott McClatchy, February 2, 2022

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


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00:00:00 - Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on his life and music

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Partial Transcript: Okay, we are recording.

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy recalls that the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact his life when several gigs he was set to perform in were cancelled on Saint Patrick's Day weekend 2020. McClatchy states that COVID-19 is still an issue when it comes to live performances, especially since several of his friends in a cover band contracted COVID-19 while performing at a music venue recently. McClatchy has participated in one live performance since the COVID-19 pandemic began, playing at an outdoor 9/11 commemoration event in his suburban Philadelphia township. McClatchy has also performed in livestreamed events to raise money for music venues struggling financially. McClatchy describes the uncertainty plaguing the music industry, in which tour dates and events are planned but oftentimes have to be cancelled due to changes in the COVID-19 situation. McClatchy expresses his frustration at people citing personal freedom as a reason to not take public health precautions against contracting COVID-19. McClatchy does not feel comfortable performing in front of crowds yet due to an increased positivity rate in COVID-19 tests and caseloads. McClatchy remains unsure of whether declining COVID-19 case numbers in his area will prompt him to get back into performing in front of crowds. McClatchy states that many people are tiring of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the pandemic has lasted much longer than most of the general public anticipated.

Keywords: Bruce Hornsby (Artist); COVID-19 vaccine; Cover bands; Entertainment; Kimmel Cultural Campus (Philadelphia, Pa.); Livestreaming; Music gigs; Music shows; Omicron variant (COVID-19); Outdoor shows; Pandemic fatigue; Peter Case (Artist); Positivity rate (COVID-19); Rosanne Cash (Artist); St. Patrick's Day; Tour dates

Subjects: Artists; Audiences; Broadway (New York, N.Y.); COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Coronavirus infections; First responders; Health; Hospitals; Lifestyles; Masks; Money; Musical performance; Musicians; New York (N.Y.); Pandemics; Pennsylvania; Performing arts; Philadelphia (Pa.); Public health; Safety; Schools; September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001; Social distancing (Public health); Uncertainty; Variants

00:08:52 - COVID-19 precautions in the performing arts

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Partial Transcript: I, I was talking to another interviewee recently and, and, um, he's a pit musician on Broadway...

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer states that Broadway musicians and cast members have to participate in mandatory COVID-19 testing each week and must be fully vaccinated to work on Broadway. McClatchy's wife works at the Kimmel Cultural Campus in Philadelphia and is tested for COVID-19 at work twice a week. McClatchy has observed that many music venues will cancel performances booked by unvaccinated artists, despite the financial costs associated with this decision. McClatchy describes the COVID-19 safety protocols implemented at many music venues, including capping the crowd capacity for each show and requiring that guests show proof of vaccination to enter the venue. McClatchy states that the City of Philadelphia mandated that all restaurants and event venues check for proof of vaccination for patrons. McClatchy and his wife recently went to a Jason Isbell concert and were asked to show their proof of vaccination at both the venue and the restaurant they went to in Philadelphia. McClatchy agrees with the COVID-19 safety protocols implemented by the City of Philadelphia.

Keywords: Bruce Hornsby (Artist); COVID-19 Testing; COVID-19 vaccine; Darlene Love (Artist); Jason Isbell (Artist); Kidd Rock (Artist); Kimmel Cultural Campus (Philadelphia, Pa.); Music tours; Music venues; Pit musicians; Proof of vaccination; Seniors; Vaccination requirements; Venue capacities; Wife

Subjects: Artists; Audiences; Broadway (New York, N.Y.); COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Crowds; Health; Masks; Money; Music; Musical performance; Musicals; Musicians; New York (N.Y.); Orchestra; Pandemics; Pennsylvania; Performing arts; Philadelphia (Pa.); Public health; Restaurants; Safety; Social distancing (Public health); Vaccines

00:13:12 - Work in security / Change in career during COVID-19 pandemic

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Partial Transcript: Well, let's talk about your job--well, one of your jobs.

Segment Synopsis: Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, McClatchy worked in the music security industry for twenty years. McClatchy decided to leave the music security industry for good when he realized that working conditions, pay, and benefits were rapidly deteriorating, citing the Astroworld Festival crowd crush of 2021 as an example. McClatchy recently started working as an Operations Administrator at the Greater Philadelphia YMCA. McClatchy states that he had no experience in administrative work, but believes that his prior work experience in security has prepared him for any unprecedented situation at the YMCA. McClatchy enjoys his new job, especially the opportunity to serve children living in poverty. McClatchy also likes walking to work and adds that he was looking to leave the music security industry because he felt that the music business was changing for the worse, but still keeps up with his friends in security through the man who replaced him at his old job.

Keywords: Astroworld (Houston, Tex.); Astroworld Festival crowd crush; Entertainment industry; Music venues; Travis Scott; Working conditions; YMCA

Subjects: Artists; Audiences; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Careers; Change; Children; Communities; Economics; Income; Learning; Money; Music; Musicians; Pandemics; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia (Pa.); Poverty; Public health; Safety; Security; Security guards; Social media; Work

00:17:30 - Changes in the movie industry

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Partial Transcript: Did all of that decline happen because of COVID and--

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy has observed that the music industry has changed its business model since the COVID-19 pandemic, with people traveling less and scaling back the frequency of red carpet events. McClatchy believes that movies are at their best when shown in theaters, which creates a shared experience between the audience that is not replicable on streaming services such as Netflix. McClatchy states that movie theaters have upgraded their sound systems and seating to convince people that watching movies outside of the home can be an elevated and luxurious experience that is worth the increased ticket prices. McClatchy recalls that movie theater chains remastered and showed music performances of the Rolling Stones and screenings of the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar" before the COVID-19 pandemic, which were successful and well-attended.

Keywords: Amenities; Entertainment; Gal Gadot (Artist); Jesus Christ superstar (Motion picture : 1973); Movie theaters; Movies; Red Notice (Movie); Red carpet events

Subjects: Advertising; Audiences; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Celebrities; Communities; Crowds; Film critics; Luxury; Money; Musical performance; Netflix (Firm); Pandemics; People; Phish (Musical group); Press; Rolling Stones; Singing; Songs; Theaters; Value

00:21:32 - Experiences with unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Partial Transcript: Your wife managed to hold on to her job and, um--you were both unemployed for a while.

Segment Synopsis: At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, McClatchy worked as a cook at a restaurant after being laid off from his job as a security guard. McClatchy's wife was able to keep her job in the performing arts and work from home during the initial COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. The couple was fortunate to keep their health insurance coverage through her work. McClatchy states that the federal government stimulus payments were helpful for his family. McClatchy comments on the labor shortage in the U.S., emphasizing that many people do not want to work in substandard conditions with little pay anymore. McClatchy's wife has had to take on more responsibilities in her position due to many people leaving the performing arts industry.

Keywords: Bookings; Labor shortages; Stimulus checks; Unemployment; Wife; Working conditions; YMCA

Subjects: COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Cooking; Employees; Federal government; Health insurance; Hotels; Income; Lifeguards; Money; Pandemics; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia (Pa.); Restaurants; Salaries; Swimming pools; Uncertainty; Work

00:25:00 - Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on music venues / Decision to step back from music

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Partial Transcript: Well, so that, that brings me to the clubs and I did wanna ask you about that.

Segment Synopsis: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nightclubs were forced to change their business models. McClatchy states that a friend of his who owns a nightclub now rents out a local dance hall several nights a week and lets different bands perform to make a living. McClatchy also says that many musicians perform at parks in the warmer months, which helps to stop the spread of COVID-19. McClatchy and many other musicians have decided to retire or step back from the music industry after their experiences of spending more time with their families during the COVID-19 lockdown. McClatchy enjoys being able to work a Monday through Friday schedule as a YMCA employee, since he had to work weekends and holidays frequently while he was a security guard. McClatchy would like to continue playing music, but will make a living outside of the music industry.

Keywords: Bands; Brian Henneman (Artist); Event venues; Lockdowns (COVID-19); Music gigs; Sons; Work schedules

Subjects: Aging; Artists; Bottle Rockets (Musical group); COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Dance halls; Hockey; Income; Lifestyles; Money; Music; Musical performance; Musicians; Nightclubs; Pandemics; Parks; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia (Pa.); Public health; Rent; Retirement; Safety; Time

00:29:37 - Music and his identity

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Partial Transcript: Well, that's a, a really interesting point.

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy states that his identity was being a musician, but he came to the realization during the COVID-19 pandemic that people with just as much talent as him are unable to break into the music industry. McClatchy acknowledges he has been lucky to experience both the glitzy and gritty sides of the music industry. McClatchy enjoys the sense of camaraderie cultivated amongst musicians, but is ready to spend more time with his family.

Keywords: Bands; Music shows; Music venues

Subjects: Airplanes; Artists; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Communities; Friendship; Identity; Income; Luck; Money; Music; Musicians; Pandemics; Travel; Vans

00:32:09 - Album releases and touring during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Partial Transcript: So you know, the other thing, uh, that you mentioned when last we talked you had just released your CD.

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy and his band released a new album in 2020, which was successful on the Billboard Folk/Americana charts, outselling notable artists such as the Mavericks and Mary Chapin Carpenter. McClatchy and his band received lots of airplay on the radio and international attention from different magazines in the English-speaking world. McClatchy is concerned that his band missed their opportunity to capitalize on their popularity since they were unable to tour because of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. The interviewer states that an artist who was slated to open for Tim McGraw had her performance cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions, which could potentially impact the trajectory of her music career. McClatchy states that there is a slim window of opportunity for bands to take advantage of newfound success and popularity, which can be achieved by performing at concerts and festivals.

Keywords: Bands; DJs; Disc jockeys; Mary Chapin Carpenter (Artist); Music charts; Music tours; Records; Six of One (Album); The Mavericks (Artist)

Subjects: Albums; Americana (Music); Artists; Australia; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Careers; Festivals; Folk music; Ireland; Luck; Music; Musical performance; Musicians; Pandemics; Popularity; Publicity; Radio; Scotland; Singing; Songs; United Kingdom

00:36:17 - Future of song recordings

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Partial Transcript: So, so touring is a little tough. I mean, what about going back in the studio?

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy has been composing songs about his son during the COVID-19 pandemic, wrestling with the themes of fatherhood and his son becoming an adult. McClatchy states that it has become unaffordable for him to tour in the U.S., since music promoters do not pay the musicians' expenses like in Europe. McClatchy states that it has become difficult for some of the less famous musicians to perform and make a living during the COVID-19 pandemic, since many music venues have closed. The interviewer mentions that the current system of nightclub owners and promoters renting out dance halls is similar to the pop-up venues and spontaneous rave culture of the 1990s. McClatchy states that smaller shows allow for a more tight-knit music community to form around specific artists.

Keywords: A Father's Lullaby (Song); Don't Tell Mom (Song); Jason Isbell (Artist); Music promoters; Music shows; Music tours; Songwriting; Sons; Steve Earle (Artist)

Subjects: Aging; Artists; Audiences; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Communities; Composition; Cost; Crowds; Dance halls; Europe; Fatherhood; Hockey; Independence; Money; Music; Musical performance; Musicians; Nightclubs; Pandemics; Racism; Raves (Parties); Rent; Songs; Students; Teenagers; Uncertainty; United States

00:42:06 - Urban versus suburban COVID-19 health protocols / Music crew members and the COVID-19 pandemic

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Partial Transcript: And so these clubs--we talked about, uh, the protocols at the Kimmel Center, but you know the, the restaurants and bars there in Philly, I mean, do they--do you have to be vaccinated--

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy has observed a difference between the stringent COVID-19 public health measures in the City of Philadelphia and the more lax policies in its suburbs. For instance, the City of Philadelphia, in McClatchy's view, is very strict in asking for proof of vaccination at public places such as restaurants, bars, and music venues, while some suburban music venues do not enforce local mask mandates. McClatchy states that many people who formerly worked as backstage crew members at music venues have left New York and moved home with their parents. McClatchy says that rent in New York is unaffordable for backstage crew members who were no longer able to work.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccine; Music crew; Music shows; Music venues; Proof of vaccination; Vaccine requirements

Subjects: Artists; Bars (Drinking establishments); COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; COVID-19 infections; Crowds; Masks; Music; Musical performance; Musicians; New Jersey; New York (N.Y.); Pandemics; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia (Pa.); Public health; Restaurants; Safety; Staff; Suburbs; Vaccines; Work

00:44:33 - Experiences with COVID-19

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Partial Transcript: You know, people are still getting sick.

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy shares his experiences with COVID-19, stating that many of his friends who lived in New York City contracted the disease during the initial lockdown in the spring of 2020. McClatchy states that Pennsylvania is divided in its response to COVID-19, with cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia taking the virus more seriously than more rural parts of the state. McClatchy had a friend who lived in rural Pennsylvania and worked as a road manager who became gravely ill with COVID-19. McClatchy and his family had COVID-19, but did not become gravely ill since they were all vaccinated against the disease.

Keywords: COVID-19 vaccination; Friends

Subjects: COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; COVID-19 infections; Death; Friendship; Health; Hospitals; Neighbors; New York (N.Y.); Pandemics; Pennsylvania; Philadelphia (Pa.); Public health; Rural; Sick; Vaccines

00:47:04 - Presidents and COVID-19 pandemic responses

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Partial Transcript: One of the things that we talked about last time was, um, leadership, uh, at a national level and how, uh, this was first handled.

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy believes that conspiracy theories on COVID-19 and opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine can be attributed to the influence of Donald Trump. McClatchy recalls when Trump was booed at a rally by a crowd of his supporters when he revealed that he had received the COVID-19 vaccine. McClatchy discusses the political divide between liberals and conservatives that has surfaced on mask-wearing. McClatchy believes that many people on both sides of the political spectrum are very entrenched in their values and that it is important to encourage the growth of the middle ground between liberal and conservative ideologies. McClatchy discusses some of the false cures for COVID-19 that have been spread around by conservative groups, including taking Ivermectin (a horse de-wormer) to treat or prevent a COVID-19 infection. McClatchy states that many people have chosen not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine due to the influence of conservative politicians.

Keywords: 2020 presidential election; Biden administration; COVID-19 vaccine; Democrats; Donald Trump; Joe Biden; Republicans; Treatments for diseases; Trump administration; Vaccination rates

Subjects: Bleach; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Conservative; Conspiracy theories; Elections; Health; Hospitals; Ivermectin; Leadership; Liberal; Masks; Medicine; Moderate; Pandemics; Politicians; Presidents; Public health; Sick; United States; Vaccine hesitancy; Vaccines; Values

00:52:20 - Living through historic moments / Disinformation around COVID-19

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Partial Transcript: This is not the first time. As people who have researched the whole polio thing, there were anti-vaxxers back then as well.

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy states that vaccine hesitancy was also present during the polio epidemic of the 1950s. The interviewer discusses opposition to mask wearing during the Spanish Flu Pandemic. McClatchy adds that people who are vaccine hesitant will gladly accept modern medicine and treatments once they have become gravely ill with COVID-19. The interviewer says that a friend of her mother's believed that people could contract COVID-19 from ham and threw away all of the pork products she had in her house. McClatchy remarks on how living through history and recounting your experiences with these events to the next generation can be shocking for people who were not around to witness these historically significant events, citing the Kent State Shootings as an example. The interviewer adds that she was a child during the Vietnam War and watched the evening news about the war with her parents every night, and also had several family members who were killed in combat.

Keywords: COVID disinformation; COVID-19 vaccine; Polio; Sons; Spanish Flu Pandemic, 1918-1919

Subjects: Americans; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Children; Conspiracy theories; Death; Health; History; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970; Masks; Medicine; Newspapers; Pandemics; Public health; Safety; Science; Social distancing (Public health); Survival; Teenagers; Vaccine hesitancy; Vaccines; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; War

00:56:53 - Learning from history / Views on Donald Trump

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Partial Transcript: But, the similarities in that time to 2020, uh, between COVID and Black Lives Matter, um, was--and then all the political turmoil, uh, that's rolled up in both of those things.

Segment Synopsis: The interviewer has observed similarities between the tumultuous 1960s and the early 2020s, touching on the Black Lives Matter movement and the societal upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. McClatchy adds that he reads a daily reflection by a historian about the parallels between current events and historically significant events of the past. McClatchy states that people do not learn from the mistakes made in the past, especially regarding fabrications and lies by politicians. McClatchy recalls that when he went to rural Pennsylvania for his son's hockey tournament, a bakery had patriotic-themed donuts named after then-President Trump. McClatchy used this instance as a teaching moment to explain to his son about his belief that President's Trumps policies do more harm than good for the people who voted for him. McClatchy states that his father instilled in him liberal values and that he is uncertain about what the future holds in terms of the impact of Trump's presidency on future generations.

Keywords: Democrats; Donald Trump; Heather Cox Richardson; Historical significance; Politics; Republicans; Sons; Trump administration

Subjects: Black Lives Matter movement; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Coal; Coal miners; Coal mines and mining; Comparisons; Conservative; Current events; Donuts; Historians; History; Hockey; Hotels; Liberal; Nineteen sixties; Pandemics; Parents; Pennsylvania; Political campaigns; Rural; Survival; Travel; Uncertainty; Values; Vietnam War, 1961-1975

01:00:57 - Music as a hobby

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Partial Transcript: Let's come back to the guitar pull.

Segment Synopsis: During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, McClatchy would livestream a performance of one song each day. McClatchy enjoys re-sharing some of these performances on social media when the topic of the song is relevant to current events. McClatchy does not practice as much as he used to, but he still likes to make music and plays well with his bandmates. McClatchy would rather perform occasionally instead of his former habit of touring for a month at a time around the country. McClatchy recalls that he had a bad hand cramp during one of his livestreamed performances, which never happened when he was young and performing more often.

Keywords: Livestreams; Music tours; Songwriting; Wife

Subjects: Aging; Artists; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Careers; Current events; Emotions; Friendship; Hobbies; Music; Musical performance; Musicians; Pandemics; Singing; Social media; Songs

01:06:26 - Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on teenagers and society

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Partial Transcript: The things that I probably might have seen that you might not have is watching 17--16, 17-year old kids try to navigate, "I'm going to school, I'm at home, I'm on the computer..."

Segment Synopsis: McClatchy witnessed his son struggle in the transition from in-person learning to distance learning during the initial COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in the spring of 2020. McClatchy states that it was hard to see teenagers not being able to have a normal adolescence like he had. McClatchy especially found it difficult that his son could not socialize with his friends because of COVID-19 public health measures and restrictions. McClatchy also noticed that the lockdown was hard on his older friends who lived alone. McClatchy is glad that his son can now socialize with his friends and play hockey again. McClatchy states that his prior life experiences had better prepared him for these sudden societal changes, while teenagers like his son did not have the perspective that older people had on the pandemic. During distance learning, McClatchy's son almost failed his math class because his assignments were not uploaded onto the online learning platform. McClatchy's son was able to prove that he turned in the assignments through digital timestamps on the files and passed the class. McClatchy comments on the learning curve students faced when pivoting to online learning. McClatchy discusses some of the shortages he experienced during the initial lockdown, including toilet paper, food, and the closure of liquor stores.

Keywords: Assignments; COVID-19 vaccine; Distance learning; Food shortages; Friends; Ice rinks; Isolation; Learning platforms; Lockdowns (COVID-19); Seniors; Sons

Subjects: Adolescence; Artists; COVID-19 (Disease); COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-; Children; Computers; Education; Email; Food; Friendship; High schools; Hockey; Homework; Liquor stores; Loneliness; Masks; Mental health; Music; Musicians; Pandemics; Pennsylvania; Perspective; Philadelphia (Pa.); Public health; Responsibility; Scarcity; Schools; Social; Social distancing (Public health); Social skills; Society; Teachers; Technology; Teenagers; Television; Toilet paper; Uncertainty; Vaccines; Vietnam War, 1961-1975