Where are you baby?


Advertisements

Part 2 : Recording Industry Association of America

Last November, a Congressional aide named Mitch Glazier,
with the support of the RIAA, added a “technical amendment”
to a bill that defined recorded music as “works for hire”
under the 1978 Copyright Act.

He did this after all the hearings on the bill were over.
By the time artists found out about the change, it was too
late. The bill was on its way to the White House for the
president’s signature.

That subtle change in copyright law will add billions of
dollars to record company bank accounts over the next few
years — billions of dollars that rightfully should have
been paid to artists. A “work for hire” is now owned in
perpetuity by the record company.

Under the 1978 Copyright Act, artists could reclaim the
copyrights on their work after 35 years. If you wrote and
recorded “Everybody Hurts,” you at least got it back to as a
family legacy after 35 years. But now, because of this
corrupt little pisher, “Everybody Hurts” never gets returned
to your family, and can now be sold to the highest
bidder.

Over the years record companies have tried to put “work
for hire” provisions in their contracts, and Mr. Glazier
claims that the “work for hire” only “codified” a standard
industry practice. But copyright laws didn’t identify sound
recordings as being eligible to be called “works for hire,”
so those contracts didn’t mean anything. Until now.

Writing and recording “Hey Jude” is now the same thing as
writing an English textbook, writing standardized tests,
translating a novel from one language to another or making a
map. These are the types of things addressed in the “work
for hire” act. And writing a standardized test is a work for
hire. Not making a record.

So an assistant substantially altered a major law when he
only had the authority to make spelling corrections. That’s
not what I learned about how government works in my high
school civics class.

Three months later, the RIAA hired Mr. Glazier to become
its top lobbyist at a salary that was obviously much greater
than the one he had as the spelling corrector guy.

The RIAA tries to argue that this change was necessary
because of a provision in the bill that musicians supported.
That provision prevents anyone from registering a famous
person’s name as a Web address without that person’s
permission. That’s great. I own my name, and should be able
to do what I want with my name.

But the bill also created an exception that allows a
company to take a person’s name for a Web address if they
create a work for hire. Which means a record company would
be allowed to own your Web site when you record your “work
for hire” album. Like I said: Sharecropping.

Although I’ve never met any one at a record company who
“believed in the Internet,” they’ve all been trying to cover
their asses by securing everyone’s digital rights. Not that
they know what to do with them. Go to a major label-owned
band site. Give me a dollar for every time you see an
annoying “under construction” sign. I used to pester Geffen
(when it was a label) to do a better job. I was totally
ignored for two years, until I got my band name back. The
Goo Goo Dolls are struggling to gain control of their domain
name from Warner Bros., who claim they own the name because
they set up a shitty promotional Web site for the band.

Orrin Hatch, songwriter and Republican senator from Utah,
seems to be the only person in Washington with a progressive
view of copyright law. One lobbyist says that there’s no one
in the House with a similar view and that “this would have
never happened if Sonny Bono was still alive.”

By the way, which bill do you think the recording
industry used for this amendment?

The Record Company Redefinition Act? No. The Music
Copyright Act? No. The Work for Hire Authorship Act? No.

How about the Satellite Home Viewing Act of 1999?

Stealing our copyright reversions in the dead of night
while no one was looking, and with no hearings held, is
piracy.

It’s piracy when the RIAA lobbies to change the
bankruptcy law to make it more difficult for musicians to
declare bankruptcy. Some musicians have declared bankruptcy
to free themselves from truly evil contracts. TLC declared
bankruptcy after they received less than 2 percent of the
$175 million earned by their CD sales. That was about 40
times less than the profit that was divided among their
management, production and record companies.

Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold
$188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a
terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents
per album. Bankruptcy can be an artist’s only defense
against a truly horrible deal and the RIAA wants to take it
away.

Artists want to believe that we can make lots of money if
we’re successful. But there are hundreds of stories about
artists in their 60s and 70s who are broke because they
never made a dime from their hit records. And real success
is still a long shot for a new artist today. Of the 32,000
new releases each year, only 250 sell more than 10,000
copies. And less than 30 go platinum.

The four major record corporations fund the RIAA. These
companies are rich and obviously well-represented. Recording
artists and musicians don’t really have the money to
compete. The 273,000 working musicians in America make about
$30,000 a year. Only 15 percent of American Federation of
Musicians members work steadily in music.

But the music industry is a $40 billion-a-year business.
One-third of that revenue comes from the United States. The
annual sales of cassettes, CDs and video are larger than the
gross national product of 80 countries. Americans have more
CD players, radios and VCRs than we have bathtubs.

Story after story gets told about artists — some of them
in their 60s and 70s, some of them authors of huge
successful songs that we all enjoy, use and sing — living
in total poverty, never having been paid anything. Not even
having access to a union or to basic health care. Artists
who have generated billions of dollars for an industry die
broke and un-cared for.

And they’re not actors or participators. They’re the
rightful owners, originators and performers of original
compositions.

This is piracy.

Part 3 : Technology is not piracy

This opinion is one I really haven’t formed yet, so as I
speak about Napster now, please understand that I’m not
totally informed. I will be the first in line to file a
class action suit to protect my copyrights if Napster or
even the far more advanced Gnutella doesn’t work with us to
protect us. I’m on [Metallica drummer] Lars Ulrich’s
side, in other words, and I feel really badly for him that
he doesn’t know how to condense his case down to a
sound-bite that sounds more reasonable than the one I saw
today.

I also think Metallica is being given too much grief.
It’s anti-artist, for one thing. An artist speaks up and the
artist gets squashed: Sharecropping. Don’t get above your
station, kid. It’s not piracy when kids swap music over the
Internet using Napster or Gnutella or Freenet or iMesh or
beaming their CDs into a My.MP3.com or MyPlay.com music
locker. It’s piracy when those guys that run those companies
make side deals with the cartel lawyers and label heads so
that they can be “the labels’ friend,” and not the
artists’.

Recording artists have essentially been giving their
music away for free under the old system, so new technology
that exposes our music to a larger audience can only be a
good thing. Why aren’t these companies working with us to
create some peace?

There were a billion music downloads last year, but music
sales are up. Where’s the evidence that downloads hurt
business? Downloads are creating more demand.

Why aren’t record companies embracing this great
opportunity? Why aren’t they trying to talk to the kids
passing compilations around to learn what they like? Why is
the RIAA suing the companies that are stimulating this new
demand? What’s the point of going after people swapping
cruddy-sounding MP3s? Cash! Cash they have no intention of
passing onto us, the writers of their profits.

At this point the “record collector” geniuses who use
Napster don’t have the coolest most arcane selection anyway,
unless you’re into techno. Hardly any pre-1982 REM fans, no
’60s punk, even the Alan Parsons Project was
underrepresented when I tried to find some Napster buddies.
For the most part, it was college boy rawk without a lot of
imagination. Maybe that’s the demographic that cares — and
in that case, My Bloody Valentine and Bert Jansch aren’t
going to get screwed just yet. There’s still time to
negotiate.

Part 4 : Destroying traditional access

Somewhere along the way, record companies figured out
that it’s a lot more profitable to control the distribution
system than it is to nurture artists. And since the
companies didn’t have any real competition, artists had no
other place to go. Record companies controlled the promotion
and marketing; only they had the ability to get lots of
radio play, and get records into all the big chain store.
That power put them above both the artists and the audience.
They own the plantation.

Being the gatekeeper was the most profitable place to be,
but now we’re in a world half without gates. The Internet
allows artists to communicate directly with their audiences;
we don’t have to depend solely on an inefficient system
where the record company promotes our records to radio,
press or retail and then sits back and hopes fans find out
about our music.

Record companies don’t understand the intimacy between
artists and their fans. They put records on the radio and
buy some advertising and hope for the best. Digital
distribution gives everyone worldwide, instant access to
music.

And filters are replacing gatekeepers. In a world where
we can get anything we want, whenever we want it, how does a
company create value? By filtering. In a world without
friction, the only friction people value is editing. A
filter is valuable when it understands the needs of both
artists and the public. New companies should be conduits
between musicians and their fans.

Right now the only way you can get music is by shelling
out $17. In a world where music costs a nickel, an artist
can “sell” 100 million copies instead of just a million.

The present system keeps artists from finding an audience
because it has too many artificial scarcities: limited radio
promotion, limited bin space in stores and a limited number
of spots on the record company roster.

The digital world has no scarcities. There are countless
ways to reach an audience. Radio is no longer the only place
to hear a new song. And tiny mall record stores aren’t the
only place to buy a new CD.

Part 5 : I’m leaving

Now artists have options. We don’t have to work with
major labels anymore, because the digital economy is
creating new ways to distribute and market music. And the
free ones amongst us aren’t going to. That means the slave
class, which I represent, has to find ways to get out of our
deals. This didn’t really matter before, and that’s why we
all stayed.

I want my seven-year contract law California labor code
case to mean something to other artists. (Universal Records
sues me because I leave because my employment is up, but
they say a recording contract is not a personal contract;
because the recording industry — who, we have established,
are excellent lobbyists, getting, as they did, a clerk to
disallow Don Henley or Tom Petty the right to give their
copyrights to their families — in California, in 1987,
lobbied to pass an amendment that nullified recording
contracts as personal contracts, sort of. Maybe. Kind of. A
little bit. And again, in the dead of night, succeeded.)

That’s why I’m willing to do it with a sword in my teeth.
I expect I’ll be ignored or ostracized following this
lawsuit. I expect that the treatment you’re seeing Lars
Ulrich get now will quadruple for me. Cool. At least I’ll
serve a purpose. I’m an artist and a good artist, I think,
but I’m not that artist that has to play all the time, and
thus has to get fucked. Maybe my laziness and
self-destructive streak will finally pay off and serve a
community desperately in need of it. They can’t torture me
like they could Lucinda Williams.

You funny dot-communists. Get your shit together, you
annoying sucka VCs I want to work with people who believe in
music and art and passion. And I’m just the tip of the
iceberg. I’m leaving the major label system and there are
hundreds of artists who are going to follow me. There’s an
unbelievable opportunity for new companies that dare to get
it right.

How can anyone defend the current system when it fails to
deliver music to so many potential fans? That only expects
of itself a “5 percent success rate” a year? The status quo
gives us a boring culture. In a society of over 300 million
people, only 30 new artists a year sell a million records.
By any measure, that’s a huge failure.

Maybe each fan will spend less money, but maybe each
artist will have a better chance of making a living. Maybe
our culture will get more interesting than the one currently
owned by Time Warner. I’m not crazy. Ask yourself, are any
of you somehow connected to Time Warner media? I think there
are a lot of yeses to that and I’d have to say that in that
case president McKinley truly failed to bust any trusts.
Maybe we can remedy that now.

Artists will make that compromise if it means we can
connect with hundreds of millions of fans instead of the
hundreds of thousands that we have now. Especially if we
lose all the crap that goes with success under the current
system. I’m willing, right now, to leave half of these
trappings — fuck it, all these trappings — at the door to
have a pure artist experience. They cosset us with trappings
to shut us up. That way when we say “sharecropper!” you can
point to my free suit and say “Shut up pop star.”

Here, take my Prada pants. Fuck it. Let us do our real
jobs. And those of us addicted to celebrity because we have
nothing else to give will fade away. And those of us
addicted to celebrity because it was there will find a
better, purer way to live.

Since I’ve basically been giving my music away for free
under the old system, I’m not afraid of wireless, MP3 files
or any of the other threats to my copyrights. Anything that
makes my music more available to more people is great. MP3
files sound cruddy, but a well-made album sounds great. And
I don’t care what anyone says about digital recordings. At
this point they are good for dance music, but try listening
to a warm guitar tone on them. They suck for what I do.

Record companies are terrified of anything that
challenges their control of distribution. This is the
business that insisted that CDs be sold in incredibly
wasteful 6-by-12 inch long boxes just because no one thought
you could change the bins in a record store.

Let’s not call the major labels “labels.” Let’s call them
by their real names: They are the distributors. They’re the
only distributors and they exist because of scarcity.
Artists pay 95 percent of whatever we make to gatekeepers
because we used to need gatekeepers to get our music heard.
Because they have a system, and when they decide to spend
enough money — all of it recoupable, all of it owed by me
— they can occasionally shove things through this system,
depending on a lot of arbitrary factors.

The corporate filtering system, which is the system that
brought you (in my humble opinion) a piece of crap like
“Mambo No. 5” and didn’t let you hear the brilliant Cat
Power record or the amazing new Sleater Kinney record,
obviously doesn’t have good taste anyway. But we’ve never
paid major label/distributors for their good taste. They’ve
never been like Yahoo and provided a filter service.

There were a lot of factors that made a distributor
decide to push a recording through the system:

How powerful is management?

Who owes whom a favor?

What independent promoter’s cousin is the drummer?

What part of the fiscal year is the company putting out
the record?

Is the royalty rate for the artist so obscenely bad that
it’s almost 100 percent profit instead

If just 95 percent so that if the record sells, it’s
literally a steal?

How much bin space is left over this year?

Was the record already a hit in Europe so that there’s
corporate pressure to make it work?

Will the band screw up its live career to play free shows
for radio stations?

Does the artist’s song sound enough like someone else
that radio stations will play it because it fits the sound
of the month?

Did the artist get the song on a film soundtrack so that
the movie studio will pay for the video?

These factors affect the decisions that go into the
system. Not public taste. All these things are becoming
eradicated now. They are gone or on their way out. We don’t
need the gatekeepers any more. We just don’t need them.

And if they aren’t going to do for me what I can do for
myself with my 19-year-old Webmistress on my own Web site,
then they need to get the hell out of my way. [I
will] allow millions of people to get my music for
nothing if they want and hopefully they’ll be kind enough to
leave a tip if they like it.

I still need the old stuff. I still need a producer in
the creation of a recording, I still need to get on the
radio (which costs a lot of money), I still need bin space
for hardware CDs, I still need to provide an opportunity for
people without computers to buy the hardware that I make. I
still need a lot of this stuff, but I can get these things
from a joint venture with a company that serves as a conduit
and knows its place. Serving the artist and serving the
public: That’s its place.

Part 6 : Equity for artists

A new company that gives artists true equity in their
work can take over the world, kick ass and make a lot of
money. We’re inspired by how people get paid in the new
economy. Many visual artists and software and hardware
designers have real ownership of their work.

I have a 14-year-old niece. She used to want to be a rock
star. Before that she wanted to be an actress. As of six
months ago, what do you think she wants to be when she grows
up? What’s the glamorous, emancipating career of choice? Of
course, she wants to be a Web designer. It’s such a
glamorous business!

When you people do business with artists, you have to
take a different view of things. We want to be treated with
the respect that now goes to Web designers. We’re not
Dockers-wearing Intel workers from Portland who know how to
“manage our stress.” We don’t understand or want to
understand corporate culture.

I feel this obscene gold rush greedgreedgreed vibe that
bothers me a lot when I talk to dot-com people about all
this. You guys can’t hustle artists that well. At least
slick A&R guys know the buzzwords. Don’t try to compete
with them. I just laugh at you when you do! Maybe you could
a year ago when anything dot-com sounded smarter than the
rest of us, but the scam has been uncovered.

The celebrity-for-sale business is about to crash, I
hope, and the idea of a sucker VC gifting some company with
four floors just because they can “do” “chats” with
“Christina” once or twice is ridiculous. I did a chat today,
twice. Big damn deal. 200 bucks for the software and some
elbow grease and a good back-end coder. Wow. That’s not
worth 150 million bucks.

… I mean, yeah, sure it is if you’d like to give it to
me.

Part 7 : Tipping/music as service

I know my place. I’m a waiter. I’m in the service
industry.

I live on tips. Occasionally, I’m going to get stiffed,
but that’s OK. If I work hard and I’m doing good work, I
believe that the people who enjoy it are going to want to
come directly to me and get my music because it sounds
better, since it’s mastered and packaged by me personally.
I’m providing an honest, real experience. Period.

When people buy the bootleg T-shirt in the concert
parking lot and not the more expensive T-shirt inside the
venue, it isn’t to save money. The T-shirt in the parking
lot is cheap and badly made, but it’s easier to buy. The
bootleggers have a better distribution system. There’s no
waiting in line and it only takes two minutes to buy
one.

I know that if I can provide my own T-shirt that I
designed, that I made, and provide it as quickly or quicker
than the bootleggers, people who’ve enjoyed the experience
I’ve provided will be happy to shell out a little more money
to cover my costs. Especially if they understand this
context, and aren’t being shoveled a load of shit about
“uppity” artists.

It’s exactly the same with recorded music. The real thing
to fear from Napster is its simple and excellent
distribution system. No one really prefers a cruddy-sounding
Napster MP3 file to the real thing. But it’s really easy to
get an MP3 file; and in the middle of Kansas you may never
see my record because major distribution is really bad if
your record’s not in the charts this week, and even then it
takes a couple of weeks to restock the one copy they usually
keep on hand.

I also know how many times I have heard a song on the
radio that I loved only to buy the record and have the album
be a piece of crap. If you’re afraid of your own filler then
I bet you’re afraid of Napster. I’m afraid of Napster
because I think the major label cartel will get to them
before I do.

I’ve made three records. I like them all. I haven’t made
filler and they’re all committed pieces of work. I’m not
scared of you previewing my record. If you like it enough to
have it be a part of your life, I know you’ll come to me to
get it, as long as I show you how to get to me, and as long
as you know that it’s out.

Most people don’t go into restaurants and stiff waiters,
but record labels represent the restaurant that forces the
waiters to live on, and sometimes pool, their tips. And they
even fight for a bit of their tips.

Music is a service to its consumers, not a product. I
live on tips. Giving music away for free is what artists
have been doing naturally all their lives.

Part 8 : New models

Record companies stand between artists and their fans. We
signed terrible deals with them because they controlled our
access to the public.

But in a world of total connectivity, record companies
lose that control. With unlimited bin space and intelligent
search engines, fans will have no trouble finding the music
they know they want. They have to know they want it, and
that needs to be a marketing business that takes a fee.

If a record company has a reason to exist, it has to
bring an artist’s music to more fans and it has to deliver
more and better music to the audience. You bring me a bigger
audience or a better relationship with my audience or get
the fuck out of my way. Next time I release a record, I’ll
be able to go directly to my fans and let them hear it
before anyone else.

We’ll still have to use radio and traditional CD
distribution. Record stores aren’t going away any time soon
and radio is still the most important part of record
promotion.

Major labels are freaking out because they have no
control in this new world. Artists can sell CDs directly to
fans. We can make direct deals with thousands of other Web
sites and promote our music to millions of people that old
record companies never touch.

We’re about to have lots of new ways to sell our music:
downloads, hardware bundles, memory sticks, live Webcasts,
and lots of other things that aren’t even invented yet.

Content providers

But there’s something you guys have to figure out.

Here’s my open letter to Steve Case:

Avatars don’t talk back!!! But what are you going to do
with real live artists?

Artists aren’t like you. We go through a creative process
that’s demented and crazy. There’s a lot of soul-searching
and turning ourselves inside-out and all kinds of gross
stuff that ends up on “Behind the Music.”

A lot of people who haven’t been around artists very much
get really weird when they sit down to lunch with us. So I
want to give you some advice: Learn to speak our language.
Talk about songs and melody and hooks and art and beauty and
soul. Not sleazy record-guy crap, where you’re in a cashmere
sweater murmuring that the perfect deal really is perfect,
Courtney. Yuck. Honestly hire honestly committed people.
We’re in a “new economy,” right? You can afford to do
that.

But don’t talk to me about “content.”

I get really freaked out when I meet someone and they
start telling me that I should record 34 songs in the next
six months so that we have enough content for my site.
Defining artistic expression as content is anathema to
me.

What the hell is content? Nobody buys content. Real
people pay money for music because it means something to
them. A great song is not just something to take up space on
a Web site next to stock market quotes and baseball
scores.

DEN tried to build a site with artist-free content and
I’m not sorry to see it fail. The DEN shows look like art if
you’re not paying attention, but they forgot to hire anyone
to be creative. So they ended up with a lot of content
nobody wants to see because they thought they could avoid
dealing with defiant and moody personalities. Because they
were arrogant. And because they were conformists. Artists
have to deal with business people and business people have
to deal with artists. We hate each other. Let’s create
companies of mediators.

Every single artist who makes records believes and hopes
that they give you something that will transform your life.
If you’re really just interested in data mining or selling
banner ads, stick with those “artists” willing to call
themselves content providers.

I don’t know if an artist can last by meeting the
current public taste, the taste from the last quarterly
report. I don’t think you can last by following demographics
and carefully meeting expectations. I don’t know many
lasting works of art that are condescending or deliberately
stupid or were created as content.

Don’t tell me I’m a brand. I’m famous and people
recognize me, but I can’t look in the mirror and see my
brand identity.

Keep talking about brands and you know what you’ll get?
Bad clothes. Bad hair. Bad books. Bad movies. And bad
records. And bankrupt businesses. Rides that were fun for a
year with no employee loyalty but everyone got rich fucking
you. Who wants that? The answer is purity. We can afford it.
Let’s go find it again while we can.

I also feel filthy trying to call my music a product.
It’s not a thing that I test market like toothpaste or a new
car. Music is personal and mysterious.

Being a “content provider” is prostitution work that
devalues our art and doesn’t satisfy our spirits. Artistic
expression has to be provocative. The problem with artists
and the Internet: Once their art is reduced to content, they
may never have the opportunity to retrieve their souls.

When you form your business for creative people, with
creative people, come at us with some thought. Everybody’s
process is different. And remember that it’s art. We’re not
craftspeople.

Part 9 : Money

As a user, I love Napster. It carries some risk. I hear
idealistic business people talk about how people that are
musicians would be musicians no matter what and that we’re
already doing it for free, so what about copyright?

Please. It’s incredibly easy not to be a musician. It’s
always a struggle and a dangerous career choice. We are
motivated by passion and by money.

That’s not a dirty little secret. It’s a fact. Take away
the incentive for major or minor financial reward and you
dilute the pool of musicians. I am not saying that only pure
artists will survive. Like a few of the more utopian people
who discuss this, I don’t want just pure artists to
survive.

Where would we all be without the trash? We need the
trash to cover up our national depression. The utopians also
say that because in their minds “pure” artists are all Ani
DiFranco and don’t demand a lot of money. Why are the
utopians all entertainment lawyers and major label workers
anyway? I demand a lot of money if I do a big huge
worthwhile job and millions of people like it, don’t kid
yourself. In economic terms, you’ve got an industry that’s
loathsome and outmoded, but when it works it creates some
incentive and some efficiency even though absolutely no one
gets paid.

We suffer as a society and a culture when we don’t pay
the true value of goods and services delivered. We create a
lack of production. Less good music is recorded if we remove
the incentive to create it.

Music is intellectual property with full cash and
opportunity costs required to create, polish and record a
finished product. If I invest money and time into my
business, I should be reasonably protected from the theft of
my goods and services. When the judgment came against
MP3.com, the RIAA sought damages of $150,000 for each
major-label-“owned” musical track in MP3’s database.
Multiply by 80,000 CDs, and MP3.com could owe the
gatekeepers $120 billion.

But what about the Plimsouls? Why can’t MP3.com pay each
artist a fixed amount based on the number of their
downloads? Why on earth should MP3.com pay $120 billion to
four distribution companies, who in most cases won’t have to
pay a nickel to the artists whose copyrights they’ve stolen
through their system of organized theft?

It’s a ridiculous judgment. I believe if evidence had
been entered that ultimately it’s just shuffling big cash
around two or three corporations, I can only pray that the
judge in the MP3.com case would have seen the RIAA’s case
for the joke that it was.

I’d rather work out a deal with MP3.com myself, and force
them to be artist-friendly, instead of being laughed at and
having my money hidden by a major label as they sell my
records out the back door, behind everyone’s back.

How dare they behave in such a horrified manner in
regards to copyright law when their entire industry is based
on piracy? When Mister Label Head Guy, whom my lawyer yelled
at me not to name, got caught last year selling millions of
“cleans” out the back door. “Cleans” being the records that
aren’t for marketing but are to be sold. Who the fuck is
this guy? He wants to save a little cash so he fucks the
artist and goes home? Do they fire him? Does Chuck Phillips
of the LA Times say anything? No way! This guy’s a source!
He throws awesome dinner parties! Why fuck with the status
quo? Let’s pick on Lars Ulrich instead because he brought up
an interesting point!

Part 10 : Sponsorships

I don’t know what a good sponsorship would be for me or
for other artists I respect. People bring up sponsorships a
lot as a way for artists to get our music paid for upfront
and for us to earn a fee. I’ve dealt with large corporations
for long enough to know that any alliance where I’m an owned
service is going to be doomed.

When I agreed to allow a large cola company to promote a
live show, I couldn’t have been more miserable. They screwed
up every single thing imaginable. The venue was empty but
sold out. There were thousands of people outside who wanted
to be there, trying to get tickets. And there were the empty
seats the company had purchased for a lump sum and failed to
market because they were clueless about music.

It was really dumb. You had to buy the cola. You had to
dial a number. You had to press a bunch of buttons. You had
to do all this crap that nobody wanted to do. Why not just
bring a can to the door?

On top of all this, I felt embarrassed to be an
advertising agent for a product that I’d never let my
daughter use. Plus they were a condescending bunch of little
guys. They treated me like I was an ungrateful little bitch
who should be groveling for the experience to play for their
damn soda.

I ended up playing without my shirt on and ordering a
six-pack of the rival cola onstage. Also lots of unwholesome
cursing and nudity occurred. This way I knew that no matter
how tempting the cash was, they’d never do business with me
again.

If you want some little obedient slave content provider,
then fine. But I think most musicians don’t want to be
responsible for your clean-cut, wholesome, all-American,
sugar corrosive cancer-causing, all white people, no women
allowed sodapop images.

Nor, on the converse, do we want to be responsible for
your vice-inducing, liver-rotting,
child-labor-law-violating, all white people,
no-women-allowed booze images.

So as a defiant moody artist worth my salt, I’ve got to
think of something else. Tampax, maybe.