GQ Magazine has an interview up with Steve Albini. I’ve been a fan of Steve’s thinking since I first read his rant about the state of the music industry, over a decade ago. This interview is pure gold. Every musician should read this. The whole thing is fabulous, but this quote stood out as supporting my statement that the mainstream music industry is in the business of feeding and celebrating the mental ill-health of its “stars”:
GQ: Shellac is known as a band that has a hard line regarding what kind of shows you will play, and how your music is commoditized. What other bands do you consider to be ethical?
SA : Most people in their daily lives are pretty reasonable. A lot of people that end up being in bands give themselves license to act like assholes because they’re involved in music. If they didn’t see the music world as separate from the real world, most people would continue to behave honorably in their interactions with the music scene. I don’t think that what Shellac does is remarkable, really. I feel like it’s just normal. There’s a perversion of normal ethical standards, indulged and encouraged by a music industry that feels more important the more it is removed from regular life. For those of us in Shellac and the other bands we admire, being in a band is just part of normal, regular life. You don’t act like an asshole when you go to the barber. So why act like an asshole when you’re in a band?
And while we’re on the subject of brilliant writing about the music industry, a great article by Simon Napier-Bell in the Guardian came to my attention the other day. It’s 2 years old, but is wonderful. Read it at http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2008/jan/20/popandrock.musicindustry?CMP=twt_guby