Eisley Leaves WB
Mon Feb 08, 2010 10:00 pm
After you read below... click on this clip and dream of an Eisley future full of constant musical
offerings outside of conventional label mindset. I'll post one with better audio *Details/credits
Dear Eisley fans - By now many of you might have noticed that Eisley has neither a 3rd album out... nor a release date for it. There's a reason for that. We've been waiting patiently to fill you in on what's really going on. Tonight everyone was hanging out at the house; we all just said, "let's start talking about this".
Opt'ing Out - No one has any idea how long we've wanted this. In September of '09, just before the Say Anything tour, our contact at WB called and outlined an option for Eisley to leave the label. He agreed we were likely going to get over-looked again. Big layoffs, several well known acts tanked... he had the power to help: "If Eisley wants to be one of those bands who just sits on the label and basically makes records... fine - you should stay... but that's not what I'm getting...". Us: "We never wanted to re-sign. We made it very clear a year ago; we wanted out...but you guys pushed us into staying... if we can get off, yes... please".
Ever heard of an annulment? More like ripping up a contract we worked on for a year. The ink was barely dry. Surprised by this news? Of course you aren't. Upset? You might be - but only because you were expecting a record this Spring. But I've heard the silent screams and the verbal complaints all along the way. Sorry if we're being candid or whimsical with this info; this is old news. We've been operating indie since before Fire Kite ep was ever manufactured but haven't had the urgent sense to drag you guys into the chagrin.
Chronopsis' - Short run down of what has happened during the last year: 1.) Began working on current LP Summer '08 completely outside of WB's knowledge (we decided there was no point in continuing). 2.) We begged to get off the label (actual quote: "Please... tell us where we sign to get off this label"). 3.) They held our feet to the fire, said they wouldn't drop us (option on a 3rd); they insisted we negotiate something that would be good for both of us... spoke of their "retooled label" and about how everything would be different (you can trust me). 4.) We continued working on the record (they got involved financially) 5.) We eventually signed a new deal, made plans for the SA tour 6.) The phone call (para 2) with the good tidings that they would let us out of our deal 6.) We amicably ended of our relationship (hand shake. legal shiz in process) and hit the road happy campers (SA - main support) 7.) WB held up the ep order and you got pissed 8.) WB failed to provide the merch they had promised (we had to scramble, pay out of pocket w/ only about a week before first showdate) 9. We got happy... returned back from the tour 10.) Holidays. People got married. Current. Life is great.
We're not choosing this post to articulate super-personal feelings on this issue but surely you've been reading between the lines. WB's questionable handling of Eisley's career from the dating all the way back to 2002 has been the source of much frustration both from the band and fans. I've been speaking cloak & dagger for nearly 2 years. What a relief to be at a place where we can talk openly about the future.
Nice Bunny Words - We're way more thankful than pissed. Business is business. Sometimes things go wrong. The industry basically crashed, burned and began rebuilding during the time Eisley was on WB. And let's be honest... there was a lot that went right. The same thing probably would have happened anywhere... on any label. The band made music, grew, toured, made more music, toured... repeat, etc. We are still in relationship with the key people at WB and have many friends there who recently came out to the LA show. This honestly isn't sour grapes. We appreciate what WB did for Eisley and hope the best for them. I think it's fair to pose the question: where would Eisley be today without WB? Whether it was the best road... it was the road. We can all ask - "what if..." but what would that accomplish. It's best to be thankful.
It might be fun to go back and talk about all the ridiculous problems we experienced at some point such as wb not releasing Eisley's major label debut in the UK... or perhaps - why they pulled the plug on that ridiculous fan site they insisted on (remember the failed attempt to send fans their cheesy prizes earned through point accumulation?)... we could talk about why they (admittedly) didn't push "Combinations"... or why after 7 years being on a major, the word "single" referred only to text on the paper label stuck to the cellophane on the jewel case (featuring the single: "Invasion") but let's not dwell on the past. They probably blame us. Let's talk about the future.
Long Awaited LP3? - I think you're going to believe it was worth the wait when you hear it. I refuse to bloat. And whether it sounds like a broken record or not we are finishing the record... making it better ourselves. The tracks are being approached from a final edit/magic sprinkles/mixing standpoint.
BUT - we have to make important decisions about the release of this record. All about new options. The band is leery of the current wilds of the industry and we're not entirely sure we want to resign. Majors are all requiring 360˚ deals (screw that) and many indies are incapable of doing more than we could do ourselves. Not saying we are not open. We are. Eyes wide open.
Labels - The good, the bad, the indifferent... I'm not being cocky but any label interested in signing this record/this band is going to really have to want it. They're going to have to be in love with this band from top down or we're not going down that road. They'll have to answer some tough questions. In this market, they might rather not.
Being on a label doesn't mean you're going to be pushed. Not saying WB didn't push Eisley. Just saying - there are no guarantee's. Even if your torch (A&R or significant person - a project manager, etc.) is super powerful and is really into your band, sometimes they're dealing with uninspired, rank and file 'ney-ney' people behind the veil who don't care about your band or have been given another band to push instead of yours. Labels sign SO many bands. That's the game. You can get overlooked as bigger bands take priority. So - it's very possible to be legally signed but practically dropped.
For example - Eisley's radio person was never on-board. She once told me: "yeah, i just don't really get Eisley... never have..." (quote). Everyone loves what they love and I'm not saying Eisley writes singles. I am saying that 'radio' wasn't a battle we could have never won while on WB.
I plan on writing several more successive posts about all of this... signed vs unsigned, what labels promise vs what bands give up, etc. I've learned a few things from working w/ 7 departments at wb, working on the jots and tiddles of a contract w/ an attorney for almost a year, from reading and experiencing first hand the reality of this changing industry... blah, blah, blah. Seems like lately so many bands, managers, promoters that I know are talking about all the crap they're dealing with. Just today I read a very heartfelt message from OK Go to their fans [edit: since then they parted ways and are on their own.] So if you guys are down, let's talk about it. Post a comments here or in Laughing City. Could be entertaining.
SXSW - The purpose of SXSW is to let the industry know what we're doing, stir the pot, showcase live music, let key people hear tracks, see what the interest level is... either find a label we really believe in or release this ourselves. It's really that simple. I could have written a book. Be glad I didn't.
Please come if you can. You can get in line, pay - without a badge. We're stoked over this line-up. Kashmir is one of our favorite bands. Our SXSW contact set this up because she knew this. Also, the Rocketboys are good friends. They're great. I've heard great things about Barcelona.
SXSW Showcase - 3/18 MAGGIE MAE'S Rooftop
Goldheart Assembly @10
1. vigor; verve; pep.
2. courage and aggressiveness; nerve.
3. skill; know-how.
One of my friends at wb (a high-up) once referred to Eisley as "the little train that could". I know he meant well but I would never characterize this band as this huffing/puffing little engine trying to climb a steep mountain but I can certainly attest to their level of perseverance and commitment to what they're doing.
I think it does take moxie but Eisley is not merely trying... they are being. Sure - the business side of this can be discouraging but you don't give up on what you are/who you are just because things are tough along the way. I've said it many times (read exhaustive study in previous journal): this is not about status, fame, popularity, money... or even about the struggle. You don't track your success by how fast you make it up the mountain or whether you even make it to the top of the mountain. It's not how many downloads you get or how many "next big thing" articles they write about you. It's not about whether Rolling Stone thinks you suck or if they think you are the "new god's of new metal" (where is Evanscence?). You don't win by being more popular than your peers.
You win by writing, recording, releasing music you love, are proud of. You get it out there however you can. You win by connecting with people through music. You win by influencing the world around you with your art. Hopefully along the way, you make the difference in someone's life. Hopefully you create a musical backtrack they can call their own. You define yourself by how you positively influence others in space and time. You use the talent God has given you.
*The Silver Springs Video - That's a Stevie Nicks song. Darren King is playing guitar, Jeremy Larson is playing piano at his studio in Missouri and Brandon Goodwin caught it on tape. This honestly was not planned. They were just hanging out... jamming... decided moments before this song just to push the button (track it); Brandon grabbed his video cameras, pointed, taped... edited.
I love it. I thought it was a great segue into more dialogue about how to approach the new world. Eisley hopes to do more and more and more of this kind of collective work... and more importantly - to create more and more and more Eisley music outside the industry construct - with it's worn out, old model conventions. We basically want to do what we want to do. That doesn't mean getting out of the biz', the game, the industry... it might mean we get in deeper. It might mean things like - if we want to play Cornerstone Festival, we do it. We don't care what anyone thinks (Dave Bazan, the atheist, plays CS - drunk). If we want to play a random one-off show in Louisiana, we do it. If we decide to make a live, collective video/recording of Eisley and their enclave of family & friends, we do it. Get it?
The End - We live in a technological world that affords the weak and the strong to be able to create. The digital revolution has changed the music business forever. The industry that monetizes music might be slowly losing the battle but music itself is winning. Major labels are no longer able to dictate what is good or what we should like. iPods are the new compact disc. We now listen to SO much music - from Grammy winning (recycled) artists to our friends' bands who live next door. Anyone can record a record. If small, start-up bands can write & record their own music, play shows, tour... how much more can Eisley accomplish - with or without a label. After all - that's how it all began. This is only the beginning. When you hear the new album, I think you'll agree.
We love you all.
p.s. The Silver Springs video is also on Yahoo - that's great publicity but the sound/video quality suffers: http://new.music.yahoo.com/videos/StacyDuPree/Silver-Spring--218627935 so if you aren't super stoked over the YouTube quality, I also posted it on our server. The quality is way better than either: http://www.eisley.com/myspace/Silverspring_small.mov