Thursday, December 2, 2021

Selling Out & Going Home

There are plenty of people out there with no principles, and many who fake it until they make it, but what about those who legitimately lose their way in a bid for success? We've gone over poseurs plenty of times, but what about sellouts? What even is a sellout? Do they exist? As a matter of fact, they very much do. They were more prevalent in the 20th century than they are now, but they still are real and they still unfortunately work much the same way.

However, we should back up a bit and discuss our terms.

This has been a topic I've wanted to talk about for a long time, but never really knew how to address. As you can gather from the title of today's post, I wish to discuss the process of "selling out" or cashing in, or whatever they call it these days. If they call it anything anymore. We live in a society that no longer knows what a community is; forgetting about the definition of credibility isn't as farfetched as one might think.

Actually, I don't believe you hear about the term too much these days regardless. This is possibly because integrity is as dead as rock n roll and twice as unfashionable, not when victory over the Other is the prime goal of modernity, but selling out used to be a common term up and well understood until around the middle of the '00s.

The topic used to come up a lot in subcultures back in the 20th century, perhaps best archived in films such as SLC Punk. While it may have led to silly notions or incorrect ideas bandied about by kids with too much time on their hands, what was important was that it was considered imperative that you at least had principles which didn't sway with the wind. It was admirable to have integrity, especially when you were a young kid looking for someone to look up to, though it also led to more than a few poseurs exposing themselves for what they truly were.

Unfortunately, integrity is more or less dead and gone in the 21st century. You will find almost no one who has any of the same beliefs they held in 1998, never mind 2008, yet they will pose as if it was brave and revolutionary for them to bend with the breeze to the point they are now saying the exact opposite of what they did years earlier. And you are expected to just accept that they will turn 180 degrees on any topic at the drop of a hat.

Or even worse, you find people calling themselves rebels and revolutionaries despite parroting the same exact things spouted on cable TV, the New York Times, and CNN. They're brave for parroting mainstream opinions that get regurgitated by your estranged boomer wine aunt who has one too many cats. And not one thought is expended as to why that might be. Finding a sellout these days just amounts to shooting a bucket of fish with a rocket launcher.

Of course, this doesn't mean opinions can't change with time. People do legitimately convert to new religions and their views convert with them, and sometimes life experience alters perception of things you thought when you were younger. Things change, times change, and sometimes, so do you. No one is arguing that doesn't happen.

The difference is that doing the above usually leads to opinions and thoughts that are very outside the acceptable range of mainstream discourse. Growing up means realizing that you have ideas and thoughts that are more complex than can be held in a textbook or political propaganda pamphlet. You tend to understand things for what they truly are. You also tend to want to find meaning beyond what the man on the TV says.

Few people "convert" to fashions and trends except to make a buck off of them. The reason so many actors, musicians, and writers, disappear from the mainstream is usually because of their refusal, or inability, to join in on the newest trend and the mainstream dumping them accordingly. If you wonder why you're not hearing about X recently, it is because they aren't parroting the party line right. That's just the nature of the modern world.

I'm sure you've heard plenty of examples of "selling out" when you were younger (unless you are younger than a Millennial, I suppose), about artists that sold out their principles so they could cash in and make a few extra bucks. It was all the rage at the time.

Some popular, mainstream "examples" of this include Metallica cutting their hair, Bob Dylan picking up an electric guitar, Nintendo making The Wizard, Tobe Hooper signing a three picture deal with Cannon Films, the latter part of season 2 of Twin Peaks . . . there are a lot. It seemed anytime anybody did anything that wasn't the same thing rehashed that it was selling out.

None of those are true examples of selling out, though. That would require any of the above parties deliberately turning on their own principles, or throwing them out, just to make a dollar. That isn't what happened in any of those cases.

In fact, I could give you a direct example of Selling Out, from the music industry--the industry where it is the easiest to find examples of it, which most would actually agree with.

Or they did. Who knows if this stuff was lost to the memory hole or not. I'm just repeating the way it actually was, not what revisionists try to lie over.

The most obvious example of selling out in music is the onslaught of late '90s ska bands that ditched the genre around 1999 to become awful, mall-friendly pop punk (then emo a few years later) bands that no one remembers anymore. I could give countless examples, but there's no point. Almost every band from the time period did it, shamelessly and proudly. You can hear some of them try to justify it in the recent '90s ska documentary.

The genre was declared mainstream and commercial by hipsters, so all of the bands decided to jump on a new hot trend that just so happened to be commercial and very mainstream at the same time. It was a coincidence!

And of course instead of goofy comedy songs about girls and waking up late for school, they were now telling you about how George W. Bush was the worst thing to happen to everything ever and how voting for the good guys will save the world. In other words, this was the exact opposite of what they once were, what made them popular, and what fans first liked them for. They jumped ship to make a few extra bucks, and so that the mean music critics and hipsters wouldn't make fun of them. Yes, this really happened.

That would be textbook selling out. And in the long run it hurt them more than sticking with the genre that made them what they were would have done. Every one of those bands' most popular works are still the ska albums they put out in the 1990s. So it was all for naught. Instead of keeping their integrity, they trend hopped. 

The thing is, we know how it would have worked out, because we have examples of sticking by your principles being successful. After all, the only bigger bands that didn't sell out or disband during this time period were Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish, both of which still tour and make surprisingly solid records to this day. They still do well, and always have since the genre's peak popularity. Amazing, isn't it?

This is what happens when you don't ditch a part of yourself at the nearest convenience. You don't lose a piece of yourself.

Meanwhile all those other bands are long forgotten or disbanded. And if they are remembered, they are remembered for their early work before they sold out. And if they tour, they tour off the back of that material. This is more or less how it always turns out in the end. Selling out always ends badly, sooner or later.

But how about an example where selling out worked and brought the artist more fame? We have to be fair, don't we? Surely that must have happened?

Well, it actually did. And I can give you two examples of this, though I would contest either being bigger now than where they were at their peak. Probably because they aren't. no one ever talks about either band these days except as a punchline or nostalgic remembrance, if they even get remembered at all.

My favorite example of selling out, because it is pretty much the perfect encapsulation of this entire habit, is the band No Doubt.

Now, here is the thing. Nobody remembers No Doubt these days unless you were a kid or teenager in the '90s. They were a hit indie ska band in the '80s before transitioning into a ska rock band in the early '90s when they broke out. This wasn't selling out--this was a natural extension of their early sound, which they got better at preforming as the years went on. They were a party band with some relationship songs and that is what broke them out.

They hit it big in 1995 with their third album, Tragic Kingdom. They capitalized on the fact that they had a female singer during that very small window when women singers were considered the cool, progressive thing to have, and the album blew up.

But the thing is that Tragic Kingdom was a legitimately good rock album, extending on what they did previously and garnered success the band worked for. It was also not a sellout effort. They still had ska songs, horns, rockers, even some ballads, and a few epics. As far as it goes, the album was definitely their peak in both songcraft and in popularity. It might have hit during a trend, but their material wasn't in line with the trend, it just had similarities that coincidentally matched a zeitgeist of the time. The album wouldn't have been so big for so long if it wasn't as good as it was.

And it was successful.

Tragic Kingdom went diamond and had seven singles from the 14 track album for a very good reason beyond the fad at the time. They weren't a flash in the pan or ideologically tinted like Alanis Morrissette or the Lilith Fair set, because they emphasized their sound and style before any trendy image. Unlike the trend hoppers, they had more than one trick. Which is probably why they lasted so long. No Doubt was quite a success story at the time.

But then a funny little thing happened. Eric Stefani, Gwen Stefani's brother and a main songwriter for the group, left the band to pursue a career in cartooning. This left the band with a hole in creative direction. It took them 5(!) years to release a follow-up to Tragic Kingdom with 2000's Return of Saturn, their fourth album, and his absence was very much felt on it.

The album is decent, some of its singles refreshing in both sound and lyrics (rejecting fame for want of a simpler life as a wife? rare stuff) but the album feels far too polished and much of it far too slow and boring. The energy from their early work, the genre hopping, and the sense of excitement, were all gone. The sales reflected this as, obviously, Return of Saturn never reached the heights of Tragic Kingdom, and became just another in a long list of examples of rock music on the way out. Just like every other rock band at the time, they were destined to become a footnote in the industry.

However, Return of Saturn wasn't a sellout attempt, in fact it was more like an epitaph. Selling out would come little more than a year later.

An example of their early sound

As we all know, rock music was banished from the airwaves around the time Return of Saturn came out. In the early '00s, unless you were corporate approved nu metal or gimmicky rap, you wouldn't get any airplay. Hundreds of bands were being thrown off the major labels as mergers happened and music factories were being constructed. The early '00s was a dark age for anyone who enjoyed any genre aside from bubblegum pap.

You need this background to understand what No Doubt did next.

In 2001, No Doubt released their fourth album, Rocksteady (which contains little actual rock or rocksteady in it), but the background behind this album is a bit complicated beyond the atmosphere of the industry at the time. 

So I will let the review explain it for me:

"Five years separated Tragic Kingdom and its 2000 follow-up, Return of Saturn. About 15 months separated Saturn and its sequel, Rock Steady -- a clear sign that No Doubt was getting back to business, but it's really a more accurate reflection of Gwen Stefani's stature in 2001. Once Saturn started slipping down the charts -- apparently, the kids weren't ready to hear a post-new wave album about facing your thirties with your biological clock ticking -- Stefani started popping up all over the place, appearing on Moby's remix of "South Side" and duetting with Eve on "Let Me Blow Your Mind." These were major, major hits, restoring luster to Gwen Stefani, and therefore, No Doubt, while giving them some hip-hop/dance credibility (albeit rather small cred), so it was time to turn out another record to capitalize on this re-opened window. Smartly, they followed a Madonna blueprint by working with several producers -- Nellee Hooper, Sly & Robbie, Ric Ocasek, Prince, Steely & Clevie -- and running it through Mark "Spike" Stent for mixing and additional production, thereby giving it a unified sound while covering all the bases. And they certainly cover all their bases, retaining their footing in new wave and ska revival while ratcheting up their fondness for reggae (specifically, dancehall and ragga, unfortunately; the guest toasters are the only real misstep here) and their newly acquired taste for dance and hip-hop."

I agree with above assessment as to why this album exists, but I would not give it the 4/5 rating give to this now 20 year old album. The description of the sonic content of this disappointment is also grossly incorrect. But that'll come a bit later.

But you will notice what happened in this situation. The band saw themselves falling in relevance and clawed for something, anything to remain relevant and popular. Following the "Madonna blueprint" for a scrappy indie band from the 1980s, a band which was literally popular because scores of people didn't want that blueprint, is fairly backwards from where they started. Not to mention, there is almost no rock here. The guitar player must have had little to do during recording sessions. Just in concept the album is ill-conceived. Actually it was less conceived, and more concocted.

And that's what makes it a sellout effort.

The problems with the album is that only 5 of the 13 songs are any good and that the rest range from bland to so painfully dated to early '00s dance music (that still exists in cancerous mutated form today) that makes them really difficult to listen to today. Even the good songs aren't that good. It's not a horrible failure of a record, but the intent, the badly dated sound and obviously pandering songwriting jarred old fans away from the band. I was on music message boards at the time: Rocksteady was not well liked at all. In fact, it was loathed. It was fairly controversial for rock and ska fans when it released and still remains a touchy subject now.

But did it matter? You couldn't escape Hey Baby and Hella Good (the worst singles they ever put out) on the radio or MTV for months. Surely that made it successful? After all, making a buck is all that matters, right?

The band hardly cared because they parlayed those loyal fans for a fresh crop of teenyboppers looking for more generic bubblegum pop that had taken over the radio thanks to record company payola. And No Doubt deliberately joined that group choking the industry, ditching their old audience in a bid for the brass ring. Gwen Stefani embarking on a solo career after this (in the last 20 years No Doubt has released exactly one new album since this one, which has the same problems this does) that further catered to the poisonous musical environment which eventually killed the music industry dead. Making a few extra bucks must have been worth it.

But Rocksteady, in the long run, was a failure. Despite how inescapable those garbage singles were in 2001, they vanished quickly down the memory hole. You will never hear them on the radio today. And of course we can't forget to mention that the album also never approached the success of Tragic Kingdom's diamond sales. It barely sold a million more than Return of Saturn, which isn't that much in early '00s album sales. Considering the radio play and promotion this got, these results aren't very impressive. The album is now all but forgotten except by spatterings of nostalgic Millennials who don't even listen to rock music and genre fans who never listen to anything past Return of Saturn anyway.

Even now, if you think about No Doubt you won't think about Hey Baby, you will think about Don't Speak, the break-up ballad. The latter is the only one classic rock radio will play, the other pop radio has forgotten. One has withstood the test of time far better than the other has, which is always the case with sellout efforts.

And yes, one could mention how convenient it was that the band was dabbling in hip hop when it was trendy to do so, while the scene they came from was dying from neglect from record companies and under assault from poseurs and hipsters. They could have also taken some of these struggling bands on as opening acts on tour instead of the newest trendy hip hop fad. They could have helped the place they came from instead of jumping in with crowd that had major label money backing them. We could have had a very different musical landscape today if they had.

But they didn't do any of that. 

Instead they did the most commercial thing possible for the early '00s, and raked in the short-term dough. It just naturally worked out that way. How convenient.

This wasn't cool in 2001, yet it's dated better than what was

The second example I want to give of selling out is far more modern and far more relevant to the modern failure of the industry in question. It's also one close to my heart since this band was once one of my favorite bands when I was younger. It's sad, but once they revealed their true aim I lost my respect for them, and apparently many others did, as they soon became a punchline and now aren't really thought of at all.

That band would be Green Day.

Now, I'm sure, again, you are either older than a Millennial or younger that you have very different views of this band. However, they are both relatively skewed from what the band actually was about and like, so let me start from the beginning.

Green Day started life in the 1980s as Sweet Children, a basic punk band inspired by The Ramones and their successors in the goofball side of punk, like so many others in the Bay Area of San Francisco. they put out one early EP which you can get on every modern copy of Green Day's first album as bonus tracks (along with Green Day's other early work) which was fairly typical of the era. In fact, the band itself was more or less just the Descendents only without the early rock influence and pop hooks. Nothing to write home about. They wouldn't really come onto anybody's radar until 1992. Until then they were just one of the crowd.

Getting themselves a new drummer, the band put out their second album, Kerplunk, and amassed a lot of buzz. Yes, believe it or not, this happened to bands back in the day. But it was deserved. Kerplunk was a far better album than anything they had done to that point, even though it was still a soft album of love songs and juvenile clown humor with a punk edge. That is what listeners wanted from punk bands in the '90s, though. It is what helped them get attention. Keep that in mind for later, because it will come up again.

If you're old enough, you probably know what happened next. In 1994, Green Day put out their megahit third album, Dookie, which, like No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom (oddly, also their third album), would also go on to sell diamond numbers. It catapulted them from a fledgling indie punk band into one of the biggest bands on the planet with a year. Not a bad for a bunch of weirdos copying the Ramones blueprint.  That would change, but we will get to that later.

The question we must ask again is: was Dookie a sellout album? Punk isn't allowed to be popular or signed to a major label (except when it's convenient to the argument, like Never Mind the Bullocks or London Calling) so surely they must have cashed in their integrity?

The answer is no. Sorry hipsters, but Dookie wasn't a sellout album.

Dookie did not go against anything Green Day had done up to that point. In fact, it expanded on their strengths to tremendous success. They even did the opposite of what most sellout artists do: the album was harsher and darker than their earlier work, with less love songs, but more songs about the drudgery of modern life and the emptiness that follows. Sort of, again, copying what The Ramones did. The songs hit harder, are both shorter and longer than what came before, and demonstrate a band that used the budget of a major to strengthen their production and songs. All in all, this is the ultimate example of what a band jumping from the indies to the majors was supposed to do. They took what they had, and they built on it.

You'll also excuse me if I don't believe charges of selling out from people who unironically listen to Bad Religion records (a band that jumped ship to the majors then crawled back to the indies afterwards because they blew it) and still buy Nirvana merchandise after 1994. The point of the majors to begin with was to help artists succeed, and that's exactly what they did here, whether you like the results or not. They did everything right.

For about three years, Green Day was on top of the world. Their next album (1994's Insomniac) was also hugely successful and even darker and heavier than Dookie. It seemed like Green Day could do no wrong. Of course, it didn't last.

After they released Nimrod in 1997, Green Day began to hit a rough patch commercially. The album eventually sold off the back of the hit Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) which you've probably heard a million times, and will for years to come. But before that hit the album wasn't doing too well. This is partially because lyrically, the band was getting too nihilistic yet their sound was getting broader and beginning to go back to early rock sounds. They were sonically at odds with each other and the conflict showed in the album.

This is where it gets interesting.

Then in 2000, Green Day released what I think is objectively their best record under their moniker with Warning, a 1960s-style pop rock album with hooks to spare. The lyrics were a bit mixed in intent this time, however they were less dark than before, actually showing someone looking for hope amidst despair. Unfortunately, it also only went platinum, making it their first major label disappointment. Like Return of Saturn, it showed they were on the way out with their genre.

Coming out at the advent of file sharing and rock's creative nadir probably didn't help. Nonetheless, this is the point where the band had a decision to make. They would either continue down the road they were going towards rock n roll rebirth, or jump in on the trends of mid-00s emo to cash in. It was one of the other.

If you're knowledgeable about 2000's rock then you probably know what happened next, and if you're old enough you're definitely rolling your eyes, but we have something else to discuss before we get to that album.

Green Day was known for recording side project albums under pseudonyms during those days. They released some under the name Pinhead Gunpowder featuring members of bands like Screeching Weasel, but the entire band itself also put out an album called MoneyMoney 2020 under the name "The Network" which was fairly different from their usual stuff. It was very Devo-ish and not amazing, but it showed that the band really was limiting itself to some kind of image of whatever Green Day needed to be to the mainstream. They could be doing more. Anyone who was a fan of the band at the time, as I was, became well aware that Warning was the tip of the iceberg. That they were capable of more than angsty radio rock for teenyboppers. They could be a great rock n roll band!

The band must have thought so too, because they recorded an album called Stop, Drop, & Roll, during this post-Warning period, which was a full fledged retro rock n roll album stained in 1950s and 1960s influences and totally without the nihilism that tainted their other work. No one was doing this in 2004/2005. It was great, it was masterful, it was deliberately suppressed and labeled a "lost album" so the band could instead release their true sellout album, American Idiot, in 2005.

That's right, Green Day deliberately threw away an actual rock n roll record so they could instead cash-in on the craze of the moment. A craze, I might add, that was completely 180 degrees of what made them popular to begin with. But it was the '00s, and the '00s was about the time most rock bands lost 50 IQ points and began putting out garbage. It was not a good time to be into the genre.

Why didn't they put the other album out in 2005? I don't know. Listen to the below song and tell me if you think Clear Channel would have let mainstream radio play it in 2005.

So instead the album was shelved, only to be released under a pseudonym when it was "safe" to put it out, years after the band had taken the ticket to by the poster boys for '00s crybaby angst emo rock, a far cry from the early years as the rambunctious clowns who made some good hooks. No one remembers American Idiot for the painfully dated lyrics, they remember it for the sounds. And I'm sorry to say that the sounds were a step back from what they were capable of.

They could have become a rock n roll band and helped a real genre revival when it was dying. Instead, they pandered.

American Idiot is the album of a band trying to cash in on every early '00s trend, weaponizing their penchant for pop hooks with an ice bucket of nihilism, shallow political commentary, and a full court press from music journos and the industry that heaped praise on this album for obvious reasons outside of the music. 

Nothing was said at the time about how it deliberately, and awkwardly, abandoned the retro sound they were heading towards, covered topics no one came to the band for (and to which they were pretty ignorant on . . . and would only get worse with over time), and abandoned connecting to the audience to selling them an image out of tune with a bunch of 40 year olds putting on makeup and eyeliner who were only years before putting on leather jackets and jeans. It was a full court press sellout vehicle that was pushed so hard many didn't see what it was for years. I know I didn't.

But was the album good? Sonically? Sure. For about a year. Maybe less if the whiny lyrics and gimmicky songwriting didn't wear on you or made you cringe. Listening to it today, however, is simply impossible. Unless you were a thirteen year old who had never heard a Ramones or Who album, or Dookie, then you probably haven't willingly listened to the album in near 15 years. It really didn't offer anything new or interesting, despite what the industry told you.

And like a true sellout effort, it eventually derailed the band's career. All the members have since reported multiple substance abuse problems and checked into a plethora of establishments, the band is completely irrelevant (yet still trying with their laughably dated, '00s image of cool rebels), and every album since American Idiot has been complete garbage, unable to move on from the unnatural evolution they forced themselves into.

The final straw for me as a fan was when they were hyping up the follow-up to American Idiot (the absolutely wretched, and functionally retarded Bowie ripoff, 21st Century Breakdown) and went into interviews saying the stupidest things I'd ever heard from supposed masters of contemporary politics. Talking about how they were using The River by Bruce Springsteen as a blueprint for their awful album to criticize those stupid Christians who are totally a cult guys and we're going to show them.

This from a bunch of sellouts telling the crowd to mindlessly sing along about how their country is evil after paying money on the way in. I'm fairly certain nobody listening to When I Come Around in 1994 would look at what the band became and think it was the same people. It really wasn't. Those goofy punks were dead.

But it gets worse.

The band soon recounted an incident where a family friend invited them to a baptism for his son and the three big brains were so confused about the service that they literally called them all hypnotized and in a cult. They couldn't process what they were seeing, so clearly these people must be stupid and in a cult. Now they were going to show those evil members of the Bad Guy team with their newest album. We're gonna change the world!

Now, I might not have been a Christian at the time, but I also wasn't completely idiotic. I had at least a few IQ points in my skull left. The sneering contempt and hostility they had for people they didn't understand in the slightest was the final attempt for me to give the band, that was once one of my favorites, another chance. I gave them up completely. These weren't those silly punks writing songs about being lost in modernity or looking for a ray of hope in the dark. Now they were thugs of the system, sneering at those who were lesser than they were and reveling in hedonism and misery they willingly embraced along with terrible fashion sense from the worst period of rock music.

They were complete sellouts.

This path started with American Idiot, when the band took the ticket for success and threw away credibility (and apparently their brains) and sound for fame. It has left them empty shells of what they once were with nothing of value left to say or impart on others.

As an aside, to proof how stupid their comments on Christianity were. The River by Bruce Springsteen was inspired by Flannery O'Connor's writing, and wouldn't exist without her. Springsteen himself mentioned how he stole from her for that record. He might have whittled down the Christianity (because of course he would) but you can't remove it from her work. It's essential for who she was, and what she was writing. Nonetheless, Springsteen was indebted to Flannery O'Connor, and it helped make that album a success. She essentially gave him credibility.

So Green Day was essentially trying to criticize Christianity by aping and stealing from one of the most devout Christians to ever live in their country, the one that they hated.

Selling out also apparently makes you stupid.

A song about selling out

As we've demonstrated, selling out is real and it definitely exists. When one sells their credibility down the drain to hop on trends, or take the ticket to do their corporate master's bidding, it consumes them whole. And it always only works in the short term. In the long run, you might as well not even have bothered. It actually would have been better to go down with the ship. But that would require no fear of death. Modernists fear death more than anything.

Thankfully, these days selling out is next to impossible. At least, it's impossible without anyone noticing or without gathering any backlash for it. The ubiquitous nature of our present online situation means every artist and entertainer is always being watched and scrutinized for everything they do. While this can lead to terrible real world results, it also means that getting caught in a lie, or pandering to people who hate them, almost always leads to a riot, shaking the monkey cages of every online scene. You can't get away with saying one thing and doing another without someone seeing, and if someone is seeing it they are also recording it.

Not that musicians have to worry about any of this. The record companies have their trained monkeys in charge now and have no need for you to get in their way to sell formulaic junk to the three teenagers in the world that haven't discovered streaming, YouTube, or their parents' old CD collection. Essentially, selling out isn't really an option for musicians anymore.

But you've definitely seen it in other subcultures and scenes from comic books to video games to the OldPub industries. Certain people will bend over backwards to get liked by the right people and be allowed past the gatekeepers. It isn't a new thing. What is new is that we used to stop the poseurs from getting in the door to begin with. When it comes to sellouts, however, that's a whole other issue. That isn't something you can see coming.

Poseurs are people with ill will to begin with. Sellouts are spineless wimps who will do anything to get ahead, but only when tested. You will never know a sellout until the time to cash in comes. Poseurs are eternal and easy to spot.

When tasked with making the hard choice of credibility and growth or the easy choice of quick cash and momentary popcult attention, the sellout will always go with the latter. Unfortunately, you won't ever know who a sellout is until the opportunity arises. It's just an unavoidable truth about any art or entertainment scene.

It hardly matters. Eventually truth wins and things set themselves right again, regardless of which path you've chosen to take. It's more for your own soul that you would be better tasked taking the right one, lest your art die with your integrity and your audience sees you for what you really are. Sellouts have ugly souls. They will see who you are no matter what, because art reveals the truth. You can't escape what you really are.

And that is what we are here for, at the end of the day. Art is a window to truth and it is our duty to keep it clean. Otherwise, we're just screaming into the void and stabbing each other in the back for a few dollars to be as comfortable as we can before we become worm food. You can see by the modern state of entertainment how well that approach has gone. Selling out just isn't an option anymore. It's already done enough damage.

Instead, let us gather pieces of truth to share together. We can form the whole picture. If we do that then there is no telling just what we'll find out when we're finished.

I can say one thing: it will definitely be better than a few extra bucks!


  1. I never listened to punk in my teens, so to me Green Day have always been the jerks who sang American Idiot. I assumed based on that all their other stuff before it was also crap.

    As Brian might point out, pride dims the intellect.

  2. I'm convinced that selling out on your artistic sensibility and nature is worse than prostitution. The damage it does to you is so much more and so much worse, it just breaks you eventually.