Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Not Your Typical Promotional Puff Piece

In the run-up to the release of Brighter Than Creation's Dark, Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers sat down with Chris Hassiotis of the Flagpole, the local weekly of Athens, GA. He had this to say about their label, New West Records:

What support have we gotten? At this point I don't feel they've done shit for us, really. To hear them talk, they took a band that was playing 50-seaters and have grown us to this great touring act, but I beg to differ. I feel like that's something we've done on our own very much, and we've drug them like a ball and chain around.
Ouch! Needless to say, the band will be looking for a new label once this album runs its course. According to Hood, New West has a "major label" attitude, which I wouldn't expect from a label with about 20 artists. I was disappointed to read this because I had a positive impression of New West, mainly because their roster looks a lot like my CD cabinet: Steve Earle, the Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell, the Drams, the Old 97's, Slobberbone, Warren Zevon...

Hood also intimated that the label was to blame for Isbell's departure because they held back his solo record for so long. In fact, everyone was so miserable in fall of 2006 that Hood and longtime partner-in-crime Mike Cooley discussed breaking up the band:
We sat there and drank and discussed it, and I said to Cooley, "Okay, if we break up, what'll I do? As much as I've swore I'd never have another band besides the Truckers, I'd probably put together another band. And hell, the first person I'd ask would be you. And hell, Brad [Morgan] plays in the band and is the perfect drummer for what I do and what you do. And damn, I really like playing with Shonna [Tucker, the bass player]…" We worked ourselves through it step by step that way. We took some time to decompress, fix a few things that were broken and start over, but, more or less, it's still this band. Because there's a lot that's really good about this band. So then it was just making it through the tour without killing each other.
Those are just a couple of highlights. The whole interview is worth reading, although New West might disagree.

UPDATE 01/11/2008 - It hasn't appeared on Flagpole's site yet, but Hood responded to the interview:
I'm afraid Chris caught me on a particularly bad day during a very stressful and heated time of bad relations between us and our label. While my rant reflected how I felt that day and some of my anger and frustration was from issues simmering for several years I would like to clarify a couple of points that were lost in my heated tirade.
Those points were that George Fontaine (who wasn't mentioned directly but apparently is affiliated with New West) and the Black Crowes' organization (he had spoken of the Truckers' miserable time opening for them) are all great people, and he didn't intend to slight them with anything he said. He added
This is a messy business and I never got into all of this to be a businessman. In the month since my interview, we have all attempted to move forward in good
faith and for the mutual good of both label and band and for the benefit of our new album, which I am fiercely proud of.
Let's hope New West will forgive him. From his work with Bettye LaVette, Hood knows well the potential for caprice and artist sabotage in the record industry.

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