WHAT ABOUT ALL THE TRAPPINGS OF A BAND? THERE'S THAT WHOLE IDEA THAT YOU DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER, DON'T JUDGE A BAND BY THEIR ALBUM COVER, BUT I ACTUALLY DON'T AGREE WITH THAT. IF A BAND REALLY HAS A CRAPPY COVER ON THEIR CD, OR THEIR BAND PHOTO IS HORRIBLE, THAT MAKES ME LIKE THEM LESS. YOU KNOW, TALKING ABOUT TASTE, IT MAKES ME QUESTION THEIR TASTE. YOU HAD A DECISION ABOUT AN IMAGE TO REPRESENT YOUR BAND AND YOUR MUSIC AND YOU CHOSE THAT AND IT LOOKS UGLY AND CRAPPY. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT THE WAY THAT YOU PERCEIVE A BAND? I guess what you said is true. It does. You can't really prevent that. But if possible I don't even look at the cover. I don't even look at the band photo. I just want to hear the music. Because they could be great musicians and terrible at — I'm sure I could come with an example where they're great musicians and the packaging is terrible. That does come up occasionally. I'm a big believer in good design. I think good design, throughout whatever aspect of the world you're in, is good. It's good for business. It's good for your image. I'm not a graphic designer, but I usually counsel people, "Have somebody who knows design do this."

I THINK ONE OF THE PLACES WHERE BANDS DO THEMSELVES A DISSERVICE IS WHEN THEY DON'T USE AN OUTSIDE VOICE TO HELP THEM SEPARATE THEIR OWN TASTE FROM THE WORLD AT LARGE. I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS IN THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN ENOUGH. A LOT OF TIME THEY DON'T HAVE SOMEONE TO GIVE THEM GOOD ADVICE. IS THAT A ROLE THAT YOU FIND YOURSELF PLAYING? YOU TALK TO A LOT OF BANDS. DO THEY ASK YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE ON THEIR ALBUMS BEFORE THEY PUT THEM OUT? There are a few bands that I work with in sort of a management role where that's true, but generally I try to stay out of that. But I think if you're a creative person you should have people around you who can evaluate your work. Be honest with you. I think that's important. Probably in any walk of life, but especially for creative people. If you have people who you think have good taste — whatever that is — that's even more important I think.

THERE'S SORT OF BEEN A DECRYING OF POPULAR CULTURE'S TASTE. WHATEVER IT IS MASS LIKES. WHY IT IS THAT "CALL ME MAYBE" IS POPULAR AND MY DAUGHTER KNOWS ALL THE WORDS AND SHE DOESN'T KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO THE LATEST WILCO SONG. YOU PARTICIPATE IN THAT POPULAR CULTURE. YOU BROADCAST ON THE RADIO. YOU'RE RELEASING ALBUMS. AND THEY FIT IN THERE SOMEWHERE. HOW DO YOU LOOK AT WHAT POPULAR CULTURE LIKES AND DO YOU CONSIDER THAT AS YOU PUT OUT A RELEASE? WHAT FACTOR DOES THAT PLAY? You started talking about taste, and I don't think that I have good taste. I know what I like, though. When I look at pop culture, my rule of thumb is that if you divided it between good and not good, good is 10 percent and not good is 90 percent. So I kind of approach everything from that point of view. I'm happy to be surprised if that's not the case, but I just don't like very many things.

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Related: Teach a woman to fish...she'll never want to leave, Exploring deep within, Light that failed, More more >
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