Rockstar Quits Touring Over COVID-19 Fears: Glass Beach’s William White Explains Their Concerns

Rockstar Quits Touring Over COVID-19 Fears: Glass Beach’s William White Explains Their Concerns

Glass Beach drummer William White is retiring from touring. The musician, who formed the indie rock band with lead singer J McClendon and Jonas Newhouse, announced in a series of messages to fans on June 3 that they are stepping back from the band’s touring plans, except possibly during local shows and “special occasions,” due to concerns over COVID-19.

“I (william) am headed toward a difficult choice of not playing live music anymore,” White captioned the first in a series of three videos shared to X (formerly Twitter). The musician said they would play the two remaining shows Glass Beach has booked – their June 15 show at the No Earbuds Fest and Seattle’s The Vera Project on July 26 alongside Floral Tattoo and Mortis Jackrabbit – “but past that point I don’t know what my life with live music is going to be.”

“Covid has drastically changed the landscape of our world, and especially the music industry,” White continued in the second video. “It is affecting you whether you think it is or not, whether you’re an audience member or a musician or artist yourself. It is something that I would like to believe that even if it hasn’t impacted me as severely as it did and still does, that I still would have come to the conclusion that live music just needs to be, there needs to be more safety and more precautions in place for audiences and musicians and venue staff and everything. And we’re just not there, and it’s going to make doing this long term, for a career, as a life, for anybody, very difficult.”

White added that COVID “will be the reason that someone is disabled, or dies, or gets long COVID, or anything. And I just can’t participate in that for myself and for the people who are going to be coming to our shows.”

White concluded by thanking those who have come to support Glass Beach at their shows, sharing that “it has meant a lot to me and to Glass Beach. Hopefully one day things will be in a better place and I, and other disabled and immunocompromised artists, and really just artists in general, can feel comfortable getting back on stage.”

White’s decision to step away from touring comes seven months after the drummer opened up about their own harrowing experience with COVID. In a November 2023 post, White revealed that “in 2021 on our way to a show we got covid in transit even though we were fully vaccinated and wearing high quality masks at almost all time.” White said COVID “spent 2 months running through us,” and they landed “in the emergency room” as a result. Opening up about the experience, White said Glass Beach had “worked tirelessly to make a covid-safe tour and have failed,” before adding, “I’m just going to come here and beg all of you to help us do this right and as safe as we can… check out project n95, flo masks, sip masks, nasal sprays, etc.”

White currently has two remaining shows to play before stepping back from touring. Glass Beach is scheduled to play the first-ever No Earbuds Fest at Pomona, California’s The Glasshouse and The Haven on June 15. The show will be followed by a performance at Seattle’s The Vera Project on July 26.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to properly reflect William White’s preferred pronouns.

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