All Wrongs Reversed : The Internet Is One Tough Town


Last week I pressed the old school Clyde Kane button and went (mildly) apeshit on an unnamed participant from the Sonic Youth message board. I would like to apologize to this individual for the following reasons :

1) He did not, in fact, call this label “a big heap o’ crud”.
2) At no time did he hold us accountable for our failure to make Railroad Jerk (or any other band) “as big as Interpol”.

Though I did not directly quote anyone, this was misleading on my part and I apologize. I was trying to make a larger, somewhat exaggerated point about the nature of message board criticism and how this label is held to a funny standard..and that our role in any band’s commercial prosperity is sometimes overrated or at least mischaracterized.

That said, I did so by alluding to actual quotes (even using one)…and not merely paraphrasing others, but coming up with a couple of over the top examples, out of the blue. While that made for a funnier blog post (in my estimation), it also wasn’t very fair.

From time to time in Matador history, we’ve taken exception to criticism from the media or the public, but we’ve always tried to engage in some kind of dialogue, even if it gets a little absurd at times. However, if I’m gonna take offense — even to express mock outrage — at inaccurate or biased accounts of Matador’s history, it is counterproductive to paint a whole bunch of message board participants with the same brush.  Or to misrepresent one individual’s complaints purely for the purposes of having a laugh.

We’ve stopped working with more than a few bands over the course of 19 years.  Some left Matador of their own accord, others were dropped (though we love to use the euphemisms about “contractual obligations being fulfilled”.) We’re rarely happy when these things happen, but it’s not necessarily high drama in each instance, either.   They’re kind of like divorces. Some are less amicable than others.  Sometimes there are reconciliations.

But in any event, we’re incredibly fortunate that anyone gives enough of a hoot about this label’s activities to debate or dissect our musical track record on a message board. And we’re fortunate that some of you care enough about the bands to openly question if they’ve been treated properly.  If it weren’t for listeners who took this stuff seriously, Matador probably never would’ve gotten off the ground. So in that sense, it’s a bit precious for anyone at Matador (ok, ME) to put on the cranky helmet when someone calls us out.   Even if we think they’re 100% wrong.

Finally, I would like to clear up one last misunderstanding. It is not true that I came across jabs at Matador by Googling the words “Fuck Matador”.   For one, the circumstances surrounding our release of the 4th Jay Reatard single would’ve popped up much faster. For another, I do occasionally read things on the interweb — blogs, web sites, message boards, stories about Patrick’s stereo, staffers’ Linked in profiles etc.  Just like anyone else. This isn’t research or some attempt at controlling public discourse — people have occasionally given us grief on the web. We know that’s gonna happen and sometimes, it’s warranted.  But we’re participants in that discourse as well, sometimes for reasons entirely related to label PR, but more often just because we’re interested.  People sometimes ask me, ‘what’s the most important lesson you, Chris and Patrick have learned from Tony Victory”, and after I look him up on Google to make sure I don’t get him mixed up with Tony Curtis, I reply that we’re all about respecting the audience’s intelligence.

ie. whatever we observe Tony doing, we try to do the opposite.

Last week, I failed to live by that credo.

3 thoughts on “All Wrongs Reversed : The Internet Is One Tough Town”

  1. “It is not true that I came across jabs at Matador by Googling the words “Fuck Matador”. For one, the circumstances surrounding our release of the 4th Jay Reatard single would’ve popped up much faster.”

    If you’d done a better job of promoting the bands on yr label, the band Fuck should’ve been the first think to pop up!

    Now I’m gonna go back and read your first paragraph cuz I skipped it.

  2. I thought the original post was funny. That’s one of the things I like the most about labels like Matador, and Scat– the people in charge display a healthy level of sarcasm towards the business they’re in.

    Hell, if someone had said “Fuck them, they dumped Bardo Pond when they were too stupid to know they wouldn’t sell records in the first place” about a label I was running, I’d be pissed off, too. Especially if it came from a bunch of whelps who just discovered Sonic Youth ten years ago.

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