“Whenever I talk to a band who are about
to sign with a major label, I always end up thinking of them
in a particular context. I imagine a trench, about four feet
wide and five feet deep, maybe sixty yards long, filled with
runny, decaying shit. I imagine these people, some of them good
friends, some of them barely acquaintances, at one end of this
trench. I also imagine a faceless industry lackey at the other
end, holding a fountain pen and a contract waiting to be signed.
Nobody can see what’s printed on the
contract. It’s too far away, and besides, the shit stench is
making everybody’s eyes water. The lackey shouts to everybody
that the first one to swim the trench gets to sign the contract.
Everybody dives in the trench and they struggle furiously to
get to the other end. Two people arrive simultaneously and begin
wrestling furiously, clawing each other and dunking each other
under the shit. Eventually, one of them capitulates, and there’s
only one contestant left. He reaches for the pen, but the Lackey
says, “Actually, I think you need a little more development.
Swim it again, please. Backstroke.”