Aslan's Christy Dignam told Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ One on Monday night that the band's savings have been used up and he doesn't know how Aslan are going to get back to work as the Covid-19 emergency continues.

The singer joined the show from his Dublin home, saying the last six months had been "a nightmare" and that he goes "into a really dark place" without gigs. 

"We've been out since the beginning of March," he said. "Because of my compromised immune system [Dignam receives chemotherapy for amyloidosis - the build-up of an abnormal protein in tissues and organs], I had to stop kind of earlier. So we've had absolutely nothing.

"Initially, we were thinking it'd be a couple of months, and then we were even trying to extend it. But now there's no even light at the end of the tunnel, unless we get a vaccine or something like that."

"In our organisation we have the five band members, then we've two more session musicians, let's call them," he explained. "And then we have a crew of four or five people and a manager. And all of those people have to be paid. So it's an absolute nightmare now for us.

"Initially, we were planning and we had some money in the bank and we were able to reduce our wages and give ourselves a subsidised wage. But now that there's no light at the end of the tunnel - we can't even plan ahead. And the Covid payment, which was €350, has been reduced. But still we're not allowed work. So if the Government is stopping us working, they should subsidise us better, I think."

"So what are you going to do?" asked Byrne. "The next couple of months now, it doesn't look like the gigs are going to come back anytime soon. How are you going to survive?"

"I was thinking of buying a blonde wig and a green jacket and taking your gig!" Dignam smiled.

"I was thinking of buying a blonde wig and a green jacket and taking your gig!"

"I don't know how we're going to get back to work," he admitted. "Because until there's a vaccine or a treatment, people aren't going to want to be in a room - crammed in a room - looking at a gig.

"If we knew this was going to be another six months you could plan for those six months, but we don't know how long it's going to be. The savings we have are gone, so now we're pushing the outside of the envelope. And I still have a mortgage." 

When it was put to him by the host that people may think Aslan are comfortable as a band, Dignam replied: "Because people think when you do the Late Late Show you get £3 million for it, but that's not the case.

"I've had a family all through my life, so I still have a mortgage and stuff like that. We're a working band. All the money we generate when we're gigging pays for our recording and stuff, but it also obviously pays our wages. Most of the band have mortgages and things like that. The road crew have them. So it's going to be tough."

Christy Dignam said he would be "terrified" of contracting Covid-19 while playing a gig

He said that because of his compromised immune system, he would also be afraid to do live gigs, unless there is a Covid-19 vaccine or treatment.

"When people are singing they'd be throwing out more droplets, which is how the virus travels. So if somebody is standing at the front row of a gig and they're singing at me, I'd be terrified that I'd pick it up from there, and people are going to be the same. So we're not going back to work. As I said, we were the first to stop and we'll be the last back to work. Without a shadow of a doubt." 

He again appealed for Irish radio stations to play more Irish music - and for the Government to do more. 

"For some reason they see the music industry and the events industry as some sort of fly-by-night industry or something," Dignam concluded.

"They don't treat it the same as any other industry. We generate three-and-a-half billion pound [sic] every year, the events industry, and we need to be taken a little bit more seriously.

"The Covid payment, as I said, has gone down from 350 to €200. Like, we're still in the same situation. So what's the justification for reducing our Covid payment? And then they can justify giving themselves £8,000 rises? I just don't understand it."

Watch Claire Byrne Live on the RTÉ Player.

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