It comes as no surprise that ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead have parted ways with label Interscope after a long, rocky relationship that saw three albums and an EP released, almost all of which were shelved or delayed at one time or another. Well, singer/guitarist/artist/spokesperson Conrad Keely, never one to shy away from voicing an opinion, has detailed the band's arduous time on the label in a posting titled "Leaving the Label and the Future" on the band's website. It's worth a read just to hear his opinion of label head Jimmy Iovine as well as the "worthless" A&R people.
Behold, the rant:
"So as has already been announced, ...Trail of Dead has once again made history, this time being the first band to drop Interscope. OK, we're not the first. Actually, Trent Reznor beat us to it. Let's just say we're the first rock band to do so... this year. Ever since label head Jimmy Iovine started dating the lead singer guy of the Pussycat Dolls it became impossible to get him on the phone, so that was a first bad sign. Then their idea of marketing became keeping it a secret that we'd released a record. The industry is in a strange place these days, and the only way they can make money is to sell urban pop music. Which is what I thought we were writing, but apparently I was wrong.
That's not saying the label didn't do great things for us. At the expense of a massive debt to them of half a million dollars, they really helped us to grow. They've taught us about the worthlessness of A&R people, how to yell at idiots running an art department, and how to shake hands with smiling retailers who have no idea who you are. And I love Jimmy Iovine for having worked with John Lennon and Phil Spector on the Rock and Roll sessions. I mean, that was thirty years ago, and the Rock and Roll sessions sound pretty bad over all, and John Lennon is now dead and Phil Spector has murdered people since then, but hey, that was really cool that Jimmy did that, thirty years ago, back then, and dated Stevie Nicks. He's had a great dating record, he just won't have the next TOD record.
As for the future, well that really depends on whether we can reduce fuel emissions, on whether we can conquer Iraq, and kill all the Muslims and Christians, using an army made up of legions of pacifist Buddhist monks. I have hopes that this can happen.
As for the short term future, I've been trying to write songs. It's hard because the back lounge of the bus is where people like to play the basketball video game, which I hate. In the front lounge Dylan Mackie, our sound manipulator, is playing Ratatat, which is like a great band where they accidentally erased all the vocal tracks. It's really frustrating, because I can hear all these amazing melodies and lyrics I'd love to sing over their songs, but then we'd get sued. Coupled with the desolate landscapes of New Mexico we are currently driving across, it sort of makes me feel like I'm at the beginning of a really dark comedy, like Fargo or Donny Darko. Did the bus just pull over at Starbucks? Excuse me for just a second.
A while later...
So I've decided to go ahead and write songs in the back lounge, whilst the guys are playing the basketball video game, whilst they're screaming at one-another's plays, and jumping up on their seats. I'm thinking that I want to recreate the atmosphere of a Roman coliseum, and I'm going to try imagining atrocities happening to scores of misfortunate victims on the dusty arena beneath me. I'm going to write a song around that. It will be a song with blood, gore, groaning and cheering, and smirks devoid of mercy from the leering spectators such as myself. Death arenas are harsh, would you agree? Basketball, not so much.
I did a recent email interview when I was asked a bunch of dumb questions so I gave a bunch of what I thought were even less relevant answers. I was then told it was for an important internet website called Yahoo.com. So Jason's going to do it instead. But it's a shame, I wonder how people would've reacted to questions like:
If I weren't a musician I'd probably be a (fill in the blank) because (fill in the blank).
-- Serial killer, because I love to kill people.
What's the strangest thing you've seen from the stage while performing?
-- I saw a black dog, with white skin. I saw a lioness without a cub, feeding the young of eagles, with grey talons from the sleek bark of the baobab tree.
We are now unloading onto the campus of University of New Mexico. We have officially christened the tour the "...Trail of Dead goes Back to School" tour. This will be our first show playing with a fictional cartoon metal band Dethklok, who's fictional guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf was recently in a guitar magazine. He and I will no doubt have many things to talk about.
More from me six months from now.
Trail of Dead "Relative Ways"