August 22, 2006

And my friends, my friends still will whisper hello


Jan Sierhuis, Dream

* Molly Ivans. excerpt:

"...The Bushies are having the hardest time trying to un-lie now. For example, at his Monday press conference the president asserted, 'Nobody’s ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the [Sept. 11] attack.'

"How true: What Vice President Cheney in December 2001 said about links between 9/11 and Iraq was that it was 'pretty well confirmed' that hijacking ringleader Mohammed Atta had met with Iraqi intelligence. On June 17, 2004, Cheney said: 'We have never been able to confirm that, nor have we been able to knock it down, we just don’t know. ... I can’t refute the Czech claim, I can’t prove the Czech claim, I just don’t know.'

"In July 2004, the CIA’s own report stated the agency did not have 'any credible information' that the alleged meeting ever took place. The CIA said the whole concoction was based on a single source 'whose veracity ... has been questioned' and that the Iraqi official allegedly involved was in U.S. custody and denied the meeting ever took place. The 9/11 commission had already concluded that the meeting never occurred.

"Cheney has a consistent pattern of exaggeration on intelligence related to Iraq. The tragedy is that at least half the American people believed Saddam Hussein was connected to the 9/11 plot—and most soldiers serving in Iraq still believe this.

"It’s pretty embarrassing when the British intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, accuse the FBI of leaking like a sieve. British intelligence has a lengthy history in the leaking-like-a-sieve department—so that’s some pot calling our kettle black. Nevertheless, they are making the point that our leaks about the 'liquid terror' plot have pretty well bollixed up the case. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was so annoyed he referred to the entire Bush performance in the Middle East as 'crap.' This truth-telling has gone too far."

* The Mountain Goats new album, Get Lonely, is out today. here is a oldish interveiw of John Darnielle. excerpt:

Interviewer: I'm sure you're sick of talking about this -but could you explain your whole stance on why you're against signing to any ONE particular record label?

John Darnielle: See, I haven't talked about that in a long time, actually. And my feelings have changed about it. I'll tell you what my position was, and I'll tell you why its changed.

My position WAS -and remains- politically, if you want to be PURE, label exclusivity was not invented for artists. It was invented for labels, right? So that they could make the most money. And the argument that THEY would give is that they can make the most money for everyone concerned. For themselves, and for the artist. Audiences don't want that, though. Audiences want the most good stuff they can get, and reasonable pay for.

Now if I'm releasing four full-lenth import albums a year, and you happen to give 30 bucks-a-pop for them then you have a complaint. If I'm releasing a slew of singles its not putting any dent in your pocketbook, and they're all of uniformly good quality, there's no good reason why I shouldn't do that. If you like it, and you want it, and I canprovide it -at a reasonable cost to you, the consumer, why shouldn't I do that? Right?

Well, labels say I shouldn't because then I won't sell as many of the one. That's of less concern to me than that you, if you you really like my stuff, want more. 'Cause the people who REALLY like my stuff are the ones who are important to me, not the people who can be convinced to buy it if I make it less available; if I limit myself so that they can probably get exposed. I'm more concerned with people who want to hear stuff. Right? And they'll exhaust a new album in four months. Its not like in four months they'll still be trying to figure-out the puzzle and still enjoy it. Its gone its course, and its going the wide race -its not sitting next to the CD player anymore. They're ready for a new one. If you could sell 'em at cost.

So by not being label-exclusive, the marketing ickiness that Big Labels have made par-for-the-course, and have made many people BELIEVE IN, right? -that an album a year is CORRECT. Anybody who can't write ten songs in a year is not a songwriter! You know? And anyone who can't write 20 isn't working hard enough.

So that was why I felt that way about it.

Then I got complaints from people who WERE really into my stuff. That they couldn't keep up with me. And they were going to fall-off rather than try. They were just going to stop. Because they WANTED to have-it-all, but it was getting harder, and harder to find. Harder to keep up with, and that was taking the fun out of it for them. And they'd rather that there be less stuff.

So I slowed down. And you get comfortable working with a label-or-two. Like the idea of being devoted to one label -nobody should kid themself- this is not for the artist. It is because the labels don't want other labels to have money. In indie rock we are a COMMUNITY. I want ALL labels to have some money -even ones that I don't like! I want labels to have money, because money is what's going to keep the machine running. And at least keep it at some low level of conspicuousness, so that some kid in Herald's Park can maybe run-itno an indie record that he enjoys. And find himself exposed to a level of discourse that he otherwise wouldn't. And I think label exclusivity limits the possibility for that guy. And I ain't down with that! How do YOU feel about that?

* Excellent, long David Foster Wallace piece on tennis star Roger Federer.

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