Fat Mike 2/3

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Parte 2 de 3

Dream Not Of Today: When you use the word “coaster” to describe the product of the music industry… you know in “A Million Coasters” you talk about the Fat warehouse being full of phone booths and walkmen and betamaxes, do you mean that music is being valued less or just describing this format change from physical discs to digital distribution.

Fat Mike: I think it’s a little bit of both. The CD is definitely going out like the cassette. Whether or not we keep pressing them, I don’t know. Because, you know, vinyl never left. Everyone thought vinyl was going to disappear, it didn’t. So the CD may hang around.

But the problem is kids nowadays – and I do mean kids, because their attention spans are different – will download a single or two from a band and that’s what they’ll put on their iPod. They’re not really interested in a whole album because they don’t fucking have forty minutes in their day to listen to a whole album. That’s the saddest part. I mean, all NOFX records are generally under or around thirty minutes, but you want the album vibe. That’s what music… I don’t know. Your best memories are listening to a whole album. Listening to Ziggy Stardust or Misfits Walk Among Us. It’s not just listening to one song, you don’t get the same feeling. Even old classical music, the pieces were long. You’re supposed to fucking sit down and enjoy something.

(d)N0t: Do you think the album is dying?

FM: I don’t think it’s dying. But, it’s definitely not going to be what most people are listening to. But, you know, it’s like different sections of music in record stores. Classical music isn’t that popular and standards aren’t that popular or musicals, but they’re not dead.

(d)N0t: The thing that’s interesting about those records though is if you go to the classical section of a record store or the jazz section of a record store, those CDs are $15 or $20 or $25 because they are appealing to such a niche audience. How do you think this price drop is going to play for punk rockers?

FM: So far the response has been really positive. A lot of people are like, “I totally respect that. Fat Wreck Records are lowering their price to make a fair price, and I don’t feel bad about paying $8 or $10 for a record.” That’s what they should be. I mean, seriously the profit margin on CDs was ridiculous from the beginning. They were always cheaper than LPs to make, but they were double the price in stores.

And I think it was a good thing for the music industry, because what it did. It allowed labels to sign bands and take chances on Faith No More or Nirvana or Green Day, and because they had more profit margin they could sign some really cool alternative bands. It did change the music industry in a really positive way, but I don’t think it’s really necessary anymore. Since downloading is so easy and cheap, prices have to come down to make it fair.

Especially with iTunes, everything on iTunes is $9.98. And our iTunes sales have been doing great, but the record should not be more in stores. You saw Coaster, we spent a lot of time on the packaging. It’s a nice looking package – I mean, you see me with a Close Encounters shirt on. That’s pretty fucking cool. Riding a Z-Flex skateboard.

(d)N0t: It’s something you’d want to put over your bidet, for example.

FM: [laughs] It’s suitable for framing, for sure. If we put the effort into packaging and making a good product and a good entire record, I think people are going to want the whole record. But that’s been the problem with the record industry for years, bands will put two good songs on the record and the rest is garbage. That’s why people are so fucking pissed at the record industry.

(d)N0t: Do you think that’s why people are buying less music?

FM: Well, it’s got something to do with it. But that’s been the argument for years. People are just sick of spending sixteen bucks on a record and then finding out there are two good songs on it.

(d)N0t: You think this price fatigue is the reason why consumer sales have gone down so much.

FM: Well, I think it’s one of the reasons. I mean, in the 70’s and 80’s when there weren’t very many bands being signed and you look at all those old rock bands, their records were basically good all the way through. You didn’t buy a Zeppelin record and go, “Oh, there’s only one good song on here.” The bands cared about how good the entire record was. And if there was downloading then, you’re not going to buy “Black Dog” and then not get the rest of the album.

(d)N0t: Right.

FM: You’re gonna get the whole fucking record. Because producers and bands cared about the whole record. It still happens, a lot of bands still do care, but a lot of bands don’t either. Like a lot of labels, “Okay, just get the hit song on there. Okay, we’re waiting for the hit. Once you get a hit, we’ll release your album.” How many times have you heard that from a major before? “We’re waiting for that one hit song. That’ll sell the record.” Fuck you.

Make a good fucking record. I tell bands, when they send me a three song demo, “Will you sign us?” No, I won’t sign you – send me fifteen songs, I’ll think about signing you.

(d)N0t: So, we developed a list of common commodities that are now more expensive than punk records from Fat.

FM: [laughs]

(d)N0t: I wondered if you’d be able to weigh on the relative entertainment value of each of these things to your catalog.

FM: Okay.

(d)N0t: A six-pack of Anchor Steam in Union Square is now more expensive than a punk record.

FM: Well, I’d take the beer.

(d)N0t: An hour of time at a National Rifle Association shooting range.

FM: Uh, I’d take the CD.

(d)N0t: No shit, a plunger is more expensive than a Fat record.

FM: Well, I’d take the plunger.

(d)N0t: A year’s membership to the Avenged Sevenfold fan club.

FM: [roaring laughter] Wow.

(d)N0t: That weighs in at $13.99, which is well above anything in the Fat catalog.

FM: [recovering] Wow. I’ll take any 7-inch on Fat Wreck Chords over Avenged Sevenfold. I’ll take a torn poster, how’s that?

(d)N0t: [laughs]

FM: I’ll take a broken record. I’ll take a smashed snuff record over the Avenged Sevenfold fan club. [laughs]

(d)N0t: Well, come on. I think you do get like a patch that you could sew onto your jacket with the fan club.

FM: An Avenged Sevenfold patch on your jacket is only going to get your ass kicked at some point.

(d)N0t: It’s like wearing a neon sign that says “Beat The Shit Out Of Me.”

FM: It is! Or “Poser.” Just get “Poser” tattooed on your forehead.

(d)N0t: The last thing thing more expensive than a punk record from Fat is the minimum donation to the Sarah Palin Political Action Committee.

FM: [laughs]

(d)N0t: You could actually get two Fat records for that.

FM: Well, the Palin thing really is a waste of time, but kind of a funny thing to do to at least say you did donate to that piece of shit. But uh… Whore.

(d)N0t: [laughs]

FM: Whore! It’s like Tourette’s Syndrome when I hear her name – Whore!

(d)N0t: We’re going to try to…

FM: I really don’t mean to say that, because it’s very disrespectful to prostitutes all over the world.

(d)N0t: Who, you know, are working really hard.

FM: [laughs] Yeah. So saying that about Sarah Palin is, I’m sorry. I take that back, to all the hookers of the world.

(d)N0t: To Amsterdam, we apologize. That’s terrible.

FM: [laughs] Yeah.

Via: Dream Not Of Today