Blog post by Tripp Lamkins, who I adore:
So I’ve seen 2 different interviews now with Bruce Pavvit and Jonathon Poneman where they describe the grifters as being at the center of ‘the dark years’ at Subpop. That they signed us for too much money (even giving out numbers.. which I thought was an industry no-no) and that we were pretty good but not deserving of that kind of money..
well, first off, Bruce was barely even involved with the label the whole time we were there. All the employees at Subpop described Bruce as being this crazy guy who lives out in the mountains and every now and then he would send them some band and say ‘sign these guys, they’re great’ (anyone remember Chixdiggit?) and then everyone at the label had to do so, apparently begrudgingly. They essentially described it as being saddled with him. ‘but he’s the co-founder of the label so what’re you gonna do?’.
secondly, maybe Subpop could have made a return on their investment in us if they, oh I dunno, TRIED! They barely did any advertising. I told them they should take out an ad for us in some Fantagraphics comics (which they used to do all the time) but they didn’t. I think they maybe bought some tiny ad space in an issue of Magnet.
They chose Last Man Alive as the ‘single’ from the record. And we had a big fight with them about it. Well, I had a big fight. Dave seemed pretty pleased with the decision. They tried to placate me by saying that it didn’t really matter because nothing we chose would ever really get any airplay. If thats the case why NOT pick a song that is maybe at least SOMEWHAT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BAND’S SOUND! And why then spend $50,000 on a video that will ALSO NEVER BE SEEN OR HEARD.?
Maybe it was because they were such amazingly inept business people? OR maybe they wanted us to tank. Why did they make SO MANY wrong decisions regarding Aint My Lookout? Why did they let Those Bastard Souls do a major tour with Sebadoh exactly when we should’ve been out touring supporting the record? Me and Scott and Stan were told that Sebadoh didn’t want to get blown off the stage by us every night… I have to kinda think that blowing Sebadoh off the stage every night MIGHT’VE BEEN A GREAT WAY TO SUPPORT THE NEW RECORD!
But that was Dave dicking us over more than Subpop, they just let it happen.
And what happened right before Full Blown Possession came out? Almost the entire staff left Subpop and a lot of them ended up at Matador. There was a so-called mutiny supposedly spear-headed by Poneman. it seemed to us that they were trying to get out of their deal with Warners by losing a lot of money.
Like I said, maybe they could’ve made a return on their investment if they’d been better business people. Maybe they didn’t want to make a return. From what I saw when we were with them they never worked anything. They had a hit with Sunny Day Real Estate but that was because SDRE did it themselves. They built their own fan-base and did all the hard work (as did we) and then all Subpop had to do was squirt out some records for them and they sold themselves. But we never saw them get off their asses and work anything. What I saw was the staff of Subpop flying all over the country and the world and staying at THEE most posh hotels in whatever city they were in. They friggin LOVED playing Record Company when it meant traveling with the gold card.
So lay off the effing Grifters Pavvitt. Not that you were there but we threw you a friggin touchdown pass with Ain’t My Lookout and you fucking fumbled it ON PURPOSE.
And at the same time we had to contend with Dave’s not so secretly-scheming to advance TBS. I’ve read articles where people are saying we’d run our course and that Ain’t My Lookout was a bomb. Well let me tell ya it was really hard trying to eek out a little success when your label is sitting on their fat asses doing nothing and at the same time one of the band-members is plotting their exit and stealing tours from you.
And now years later we have to endure this bullshit rewriting of our own friggin history..?! IF YOU DIDN’T THINK WE WERE WORTH THE MONEY YOU SIGNED US FOR THEN WHY DID YOU DO IT? WHY’D YOU STEP INTO A BIDDING WAR IF YOU DIDN’T PLAN ON FOLLOWING THROUGH? DID YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO?
― griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 15:27 (1 year ago)
― griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:13 (1 year ago)