Yeah, it's kind of like the recent brouhaha over Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead leaking their own albums, it's like if you have a certain cult thing going on, you're relationship to The Biz doesn't mean anything —
— What it means is profound! What it means is "You can do it!" It doesn't "mean," in quotes, anything! Except that this is possible, and musicians no longer have to rely on the system and the machine to reach out to their fans. But with that also comes this responsibility of, "You have to run your own business, you have to take care of your fans, you have to create your own entity." And that whole fantasy of being on a record label and getting in a limo and going to a show, that just doesn't exist, you have to banish that from your list.
Do you think that this change has affected the general work ethic that it takes to "make it"?
Well, I've obviously met tons of bands and lots of musicians of all kinds, and —
You can feel free to trash talk.
Well, there's no one that I really want to trash, but I — especially musicians that I really, uh, you know, admire. I'll get into conversations with them about what they're doing, press-wise, how they're running their business, and how they're running their MySpace, and how they're taking care of their merch, how they're running the show, and they will sometimes be so clueless, that I'll feel this sense of desperation for them, because other people can only maintain for you for so long. I've definitely hung out with musicians who really weren't taking responsibility for keeping their show together, and you definitely watch it screw them.
Yeah, it's like when you watch Behind The Music, all these '70s acts, "Our manager screwed us," over and over again.
Yeah, you let your manager screw you! And when you look back at the '60s and the '70s, with people literally getting screwed to the wall, making millions of records and not seeing a penny, even from their touring, just nothing nothing nothing, you have to remember that the information didn't exist. The cards had been stacked against people and there was no world wide information network and there weren't shelves of books on the music business.
And let's be honest, no one really felt bad for rock stars who weren't making the millions they deserved or whatever.
I'm sure their mothers did. But it was, you know, musicians were just not as informed. But nowadays, if you don't know what's going on with your business, you really just look stupid. Because you can know, and if you don't take precautions, have a good lawyer, make sure your manager's not screwing you, all of thsoe little steps — if you don't take responsibility for that, you just lose. And it's so hard, I mean, that's the thing that's so ironic, it's that — well, maybe not ironic, but unfair, is that is why is a musician expected to negotiate all of that? Whoever wrote into the rulebook that, "Oh, if you write songs, you also need to be able to like, negotiate lawyers, managers, booking agents, publicists, and labels"?