Allen- It seems to me that the labels have been sorely remiss in getting their shit together. They should have been on this and finding a way to make it, because it's an inevitability... Paul - On a way to make money.
Shiner is Paul Malinowski (Paul), Allen Epley (Allen), Josh Newton (Josh), and Jason Rhodes (Jason).
This interview was conducted on September 15, 2000 before Shiner’s performance at Brownies in New York City. This interview was conducted by Jason (TR), the editor of Tranjka.net.
TR- We’ve been talking about Mp3.com’s legal fight with Universal, and Napster basically being shut down at all the colleges. Different people taking sides, obviously different musicians have been taking sides for it; Dr. Dre is against it, Lars is against it. Then you have guys like Limp Biizkit that are for it. Generally what do you guys think about this whole sudden mp3-ness and the whole Napster Phenomenon?
Allen- It seems to me that the labels have been sorely remiss in getting their shit together. They should have been on this and finding a way to make it, because it’s an inevitability…
Paul – On a way to make money.
Allen – Yeah, they should of found a way a long time ago if they’re really that concerned about it, they were fools about it, because they haven’t taken it in their own hands. I think now, at this infant stage, it’s probably helpful for a lot of people. I think it maybe helpful, you know, you may find out in five years it may have been helpful. It may also do exactly what Lars and Dre are talking about, is taking art from people who are busting their asses for it, and they say you’re bringing down, it takes the power out of the big label’s hands and all that, I agree, but behind the big labels are artists who make money and it also takes the money out of indie labels, and behind that are individual artists. I see pros and cons for each side, basically I think the labels have been…
Paul – They’ve slacked.
Allen – …should’ve found a way to make a royalty inducing, you know what I mean…
TR- They should’ve figured something out, they shouldn’t have let it go so far.
Paul – It’s definitely not a surprise, really, the technology had been in the works for a long time, right down to bootleg CD’s, now you can actually make CDR’s and you can bootleg any CD you want the technology has been around forever, they’ve kept it from the consumer market.
Josh- They were worried about cassettes at one point.
Josh- It’s a joke now. At first I felt really threatened by it because with the amount of records we sell it could definitely effect a band like us more than a Metallica obviously, but, I’ve since come to realize that it can only do good, anything that gets the bands name out and people hearing the songs, is good. I’ don’t’ think it’s gonna, because you can have a whole record on mp3 and burn your own disc of it but if you go to the show and you see it there with the artwork and everything, I think you’re still going to want it. People have given me the promo the copy of a record.
Paul – And I’ll still go buy the record.
Josh- Which is ultimately the same thing, I still want the record.
Allen- And sometimes the people who have downloaded it off the Internet are people who maybe are fringe buyers anyway who probably wouldn’t have bought it in the store it seems like you know.
TR- That’s what they’re saying.
Allen – And you may gain fans by that if they end up with this blank disc that has the tunes on it ultimately they’re gonna want, if they really like it, that marginal buyer who could go either way, they end up really liking it, they’ll go get it, or get the backlog, back catalogue. (Pause) they want to see artwork, I think that’s the key too. I really do.
TR- You guys sell CD’s on the road? Have you seen a difference there?
Allen- In our sales?
Josh- It’s hard to know.
Paul- For us it’s really hard to gauge because our sales are…
Allen- Different each time.
Paul-…semi-sporadic; just because we had gone for a long time without having a record out. Whenever we have something new obviously its going to sell, so it’s hard to tell.
TR- What do the guys at Owned and Operated say about it, because you guys have your album embedded at your site.
Allen- On the site.
TR- Right, where people can go and listen to it.
Allen- Well they can go and listen to it, but that’s not an O and O run thing that’s our own thing.
TR- Well, do they mind that, as a label vs. the band?
Allen – No, they don’t mind that, I had considering offering several songs as a teaser or something like that, but it’s already out of my hands, it’s already on Napster, it’s already on other sites
P- We’ve got bootleg shows out there that can be downloaded.
TR- On Napster?
Josh- People have come up to me and asked me about songs.
Paul- New songs that we’ve played live.
Josh -They didn’t know thew song titles so its just ”untitled” so now there’s a few songs floating around the Internet that are untitled by Shiner.
Allen- It’s out of our hands at this point, which is such…
Josh- I think it’s awesome.
Allen- …I do too; it’s such an inevitability though, you know, it’s such a reality,
Josh- Yeah, and they’re songs that might or might not end up on our new record, we don’t know and I think its cool that there’s somewhere, out there are…
Paul- Performances whether they are good or not.
Allen- But since its at such an infant stage there will be some, there is going to be some regulation of it.
Jason- It’s going to be really complicated.
TR- Well, what do you think, ideally what would happen?
Jason- Man I don’t know, the things I do know are radio stations have to make playlists of the things they play and report to ascap and bmi and what not.
Paul- Yeah, that’s a whole monkey wrench of a thing.
Jason- And the other thing as I think about that stuff is what kind of effect does that have on record stores?
TR-Oh, it’s huge.
Jason- What, you know, I don’t understand how…
P- On top of that online sales have been beating the shit out of record stores.
Josh- But what if the record store was to go online download the whole record…
Allen – well that’s a novel idea, why didn’t, you know they should’ve fucking figured that shit out a long time ago.
Josh- I think I’m going to open my own record store. And charge seven bucks.
TR- Well then they’d sue.
Paul- Well that’s theft.
Josh- So are promo copies; they have them for sale in every record store.
Paul- In LA you can get records there before they come out.
Jason- Well, why wouldn’t Napster be theft in that case then?
Paul- Because they’re not selling it.
Jason- But the people that are downloading it are getting it for free.
Josh- But it comes from another person’s computer, Napster doesn’t do anything but hook the people up.
Allen- let’s not forget Napster is getting rich on this shit.
Paul- That’s from advertising.
Allen- Yeah I know, regardless they’re still turning a profit.
Josh- They just provide the software.
Allen- They’re still turning a huge profit.
TR- What they came out with, the figure is that 10% of all Napster users actually put the music out there. And the other 90% just download it. These are the figures everyone is using to say Napster will put the small record stores out of business and is going to put the small labels out of business. I don’t see many small labels doing anything about this except putting more mp3s out and one side is, yeah its positive because it gets the bands music out there, but I think, and this is where it gets a little political maybe, do you think free mps devalue music?
Allen- I think it does.
Paul- Of course it does.
Allen – I think it makes it, I heard Pete Townsend talking about this the other day and I completely agree, in an article, I fully think that it makes it this worthless currency after a while and it tends to devalue it…
Paul- Any time there is mass saturation like that.
Allen – You can get it for free whenever you want, when you go out and see the band it takes it out, it takes away from it.
Paul- It definitely takes away from it.
Jason- I don’t know, I’m still waiting for that revolution, wondering what its going to be.
Josh- Music is out there to be heard,
Jason- I wonder if this is it, you know.
TR- The music is out there to be heard?
Allen -But if we can’t make money from it, how are we going to do it? Who’s going to want to do it? What happens, is it that it gets so saturated everybody kind of gives up making music until it starts over again?
Josh- Let’s weed out the chaff, that’s fine, let’s get rid of all those that are doing it, you know…
Allen – It could be us; it could put us out of business.
Josh- I don’t think it will.
Allen- I hope it doesn’t, it’s at such an infant stage.
Josh- You don’t have to have cable TV, but you do. You don’t have to pay for your channels, but you do.
Allen – Well, I think there’s a threat….
Josh- It’s not really the same thing…
Allen – No, its kind of a…
Josh- You can get an antennae and watch “Friends” all you want to watch “Friends” but people are still paying up to seventy buck now usually for cable.
Allen – I think there’s a sense of lawfulness, fear of repercussions.
TR- Why do you think the people sharing files, using Napster, are not afraid, how all of a sudden…
Josh- Because its the Internet, its there.
TR- But guys like you guys who are in a band would want to do that to another band? Then you have fans that supposedly believe in your band. If they use Napster to listen to other bands music…To me it gets confusing.
Allen -It is confusing!
Paul- There’s a crossover.
TR- There are people downloading your mp3 for free, and even if they become your fan, do you feel there is some tension there?
Allen- And that’s our hard work.
Josh- Chances are they come to the show and buy something that’s not on Napster.
Allen- I guess, they’ll probably stay home and play Quake. Quake 4.
Josh- OK, now you’re burning me.
Allen- No offense, but you know what I’m saying, they’re home, I think they’re lives experience is devalued. Basically I think that as I said before the thing is in such an infant state, in a couple years we’ll start to see exactly…
Paul- Where it’s going.
Allen- What the payoff is as far as what it’s taking away from sales and record labels, record stores, bands, bands are like not able, are going we have, and also there is no way to check and see…is there a way to check and see which ones have been downloaded on Napster, who’s getting hit the most?
Paul- Like how many downloads?
TR- Yeah, you can trace…
Josh- Metallica came up the names of everyone who did it, everyone who downloaded their songs, they went in to the courtroom with names.
Allen -Right the stack, I saw that.
TR- The theory is that the people that run Napster and the other file sharing sites don’t understand the value of music to begin with. That for them it’s “hobby”, and that unfortunately is that the people that do it are the CEO’s of these dotcom co’s, technology people that have all the money. Can it be looked at as a class, not a revolution of sorts, but as an attack on artist who represent the culture. If it is what do you do to stop it? Would you try to get all your stuff removed from Napster or do you then flood the system with mp3s and set up your own mp3 site?
Allen – Exactly, I think, the later would probably be the result, there is a lot of confusing politics, and I don’t know if I have it worked out.
Jason- I definitely don’t. I try to drink myself away from that generally, but it does bum me out if I ever do think about it, so it must not be all that great.
Paul- Times are changing and the way music is made is changing, down to the fact that any band that gets together can record their own record basically if they have the skills and then they can go straight to mp3s and completely eliminate the record label. Which is also another facet. Records labels are becoming more, unnecessary I think.
TR- Your relationship with record labels; can you relate that to your relationship with record labels? You guys have been on Desoto and Hitit!, you have been on different labels, and from a fan point of view it looks like you guys are really trying to get your music out.
Allen – Yes.
TR- Like that’s’ the whole thing.
Paul- That is our number one goal, anything we release we want people to hear it, we want people to be ale to buy it when we record it. And we’ve just been trying our best to get the best scenario. We’re always looking for the solution.
Jason- That’s another story in itself. That whole world.
TR- Do you ever think you’re going to stop being on a label? Or do you think there is some sort of not prestige, but to be on a label that has history that has personality, and does that add something?
Paul- Of course it does.
Allen – Absolutely,
Paul- It gains buyers just by what type of reputation it has and the people that run it. I think that had a lot to do with immediate sales of a lot of things.
Allen – I do definitely believe that music is being devalued. If everything is free, what makes things rare, I really think that’s an issue. It will tend too weed certain people out who aren’t as committed, it will weed it out I think.
Paul- But there is also less commitment.
Allen – Yeah there is also less commitment, I can’t make a living doing that.
Paul- But you know you don’t have to put forth as much effort. Like I was talking about with the recording aspect of things, you don’t need to get a bunch of money from a label to record, really.
TR- Does that make it easier for labels? Does it take some of the burden off? Id your label, or other labels you hear about repositioning themselves after the influence of mp3s, what’s the general feeling?
Allen- I think everyone is waiting for the technology to catch up so everyone can figure it out. Right now everyone is going,”uh, I don’t know”
Jason- I think that a label, the definition of a label, is going to totally change. It won’t be a label, it won’t be like some place you call home, it will be somebody that works for you.
TR-like booking agents?
Jason- Like a publicist. I think that’s ultimately what they are going to turn into. I mean if everything is just being downloaded, the labels not going to be able to use you as the cash cow, like you’re making hits and whatnot.
TR- The idea of the hit song, has become, that’s how you’re going to make it now. It seems the whole structure for music, even indie music, is that you have to have the hit.
TR- How do you guys deal with that?
Allen- Trying to write hits man!
Paul- There is a certain amount of truth to that, we’re constantly trying to make better music and make music that more people want to listen to, without compromising our integrity, our sound. It is true; you have to have a hit more or less to make money .
Allen- Or be on Jade tree ( pause).
Jason- There is just so much stuff that goes around and around and one thing effects the other. All connected by some small thread that if you start talking about it you ultimately find out that it’s who you know.
Allen- I think we’re under the old school assertion that if you write music that really matters, even if it’s not an exact hit people will recognize that and see it. Bust your balls and write the best stuff you can, and people will react to that.
Jason- But we’re finding out, we might be slightly disillusioned about that. As it goes along, I’m not saying it’s going to stay like that.
TR- Explain that.
Allen- It depends on how well you’re distributed. We are not distributed as well as we’d like.
Jason- It’s where you are and who you’re working with.
Allen- And you see other bands that have their first record and they put it out on lets say Jadetree or Touch n’ Go, Killrockstars, and nobody knows them but they’ll buy it because they like the other stuff on Killrockstars, you know it has nothing to do with whether they mean it, or integrity, or they busted their ass on it, or they toured the world.
Paul- Without sounding like sour grapes.
Allen- Without sounding like sour grapes, exactly, we’ve been busting our balls.
Jason- We could all have the coolest hairstyles, and be screwing models and whatnot, being in the limelight all the time. You know, you’ve got to be in the right place.
TR- Do you consider yourselves a s the band that carries the standard? To a lot of people you are considered the band that gets in the van and goes.
Allen- I think there’s a payoff to things.
Paul- I honestly believe things do pay off.
Allen- There are success stories of bands like that.
Paul- Perseverance and hard work are always going to pay off whether they’re as big a payoff as you’d expect.
Jason- Generally it just makes you feel good.
Paul- It may lead to something else, but if you work hard at something, it’s going to come around.
Allen- We’re generally of that assumption that if you continue on and work hard enough, that’s what gets us through hard times or bad shows or a bad set of shows. Continue on if you believe in the music. It goes back to if music is cheap and has been devalued everyone is just picking it up for free and you’re not making any money from it, that tends to pull the rug out from underneath you I think.
TR- Do you believe that music has a cultural value like a doctor or a lawyer have a value? Do you think musicians should have a similar position? Or should be taught that way in schools.
Paul- I think it’s very important to have…
Allen- Absolutely, growing up in school, not only does it spread your understanding of other cultures and things like that but it helps in like…
Paul- Bringing them together…
Allen- …math and language. I think it’s a huge deal. My folks are educators, music educators, definitely, I think it is as big a deal as learning to read and write. I think it is that key, I really do because what it opens up, what it adds, in enlightenment, its like the people who go to a big state school and study just business, they take just business courses all throughout college end up as ignorant as ever and as fools in the world with a specialty in one subject as opposed to those who went to a liberal arts school. And I think a liberal arts education is so much better, should be, some of the courses that are required are logic, if everyone took logic in the world I think the world would be a better place. And the same thing with understanding different religions. At least know about it so we can choose…
Paul- Well you eliminate the ignorance of it.
Allen- Whether you like it or not at least you understand it.
TR- What’s the biggest difference you have seen in crowds since the mid-nineties to now?
Allen- I think in the mid nineties there was a certain raison d’être, everybody was, especially from 91 on, there was a certain, everybody knew what you were doing, it had to do with the revolution, the Nirvana revolution. There was a certain ethic, you had certain labels, like Amrep, that represented what was going on, since sounds and trends and styles change all the time things are open as to what is cool. So, most people are sheep, they’ll follow different things and when there’s nothing being handed to them exactly as what is cool at this time, everyone is like “do I think that’s cool, oh, he thinks its cool, yah, its cool!”
TR- There’s more group, more looking for group acceptance?
Allen- I think there is a lot of that, that’s what I think has to do with people standing around at shows. Nobody wants to walk up front in front of a group of people; it’s a group thing. If there is a bunch of people in the back of the room I’ll call them up front, “come on lets make a show, we’re all here” Why come to the show and stand.
Paul- And then they do. If you just tell them.
Allen -Everyone is going, “oh I don’t want to stand up there people will look at my butt.” I think its as dumb as that as silly.
Paul- Someone might see my bald spot.
Allen- Or whatever there little personal issue is. It may seem silly but I think things are that silly. But as I was saying, in the mid nineties and a little earlier, there was a real reason.
Paul- There was a lot more aggression in the music at that time too.
Allen- Right, and it represented, and you see people united in the cause of Limp Bizkit, and the anger generation trying to call it…
TR- Limp Bizkit to me took parts of the old hardcore scene and made it a little bit more danceable in the mosh parts and then they yell. They have the elements but they don’t have the whole picture. They are yelling about nothing.
Allen – Totally
Paul- It’s kind of the Dr. schme effect. The watered down Dr. Pepper version of authentic, its the third generation, fourth generation.
Allen – I think it represents, to a certain extent, however dumb and bunk it is, its still is representative of a lot of people and what they want to hear right now and what is coming up.
TR- How important is the aggression factor in a lot of rock music?
P- I think it’s only important if there is something to be aggressive about.
Allen – But I also think rock and roll is reckless and aggressive and is supposed to be dangerous, and if its not, I mean you’re not going to call Belle and Sebastion rock and roll. It’s pop music or its popular or whatever and it falls roughly into the same, it’s not jazz.
Jason- Every level of music from Seals and Croft to Deep Purple to Zepelin, to Limp Bizkit, all that shit is just an upheaval of expression and some of it is bullshit of course, there is always someone bullshitting somebody else, but seems to me there’s a lot of angry kids out there right who’s white trash parents left them home to watch Springer. I mean, I know a ton of them. Everybody does their different way, some people moan about it some people want to kill people. Everybody has got their different way.
TR- How many bands do you see like yourself out there?
Jason- Very few.
TR- And did you ever feel like you were one in a group?
Allen- Our style of music?
TR- Yes, and you’re genre.
Paul- Considering we came up in the nineties, started touring in the nineties, we were definitely a part of a large group. We all had friends all over the country in bands, like and unlike our band. We were friends with the Neurosis guys. Seriously, it went that far in diversity, but we feel very alone, right now. So many of them don’t exist anymore…
Allen- For different reasons
Paul- and we’re a little out of touch with some younger bands, but there are still a lot of bands that we know, but its definitely declined. And, you know, we’re definitely not young and kids, we’ve been doing this a while so.
TR- Sometimes I think that’s why Jadetree does so well. Its because there are less bands, everyone who was a former somebody end up in this band that ends up on Jadetree.
Paul- Well, there has definitely been a cleansing in the amount of bands that are out there. Good and bad. It’s a shame that I’ve seen so many great bands break up, like Jawbox for one, but J. went on to Burning Airlines which is equally as great I think.
Allen- I think there’s a lot of younger bands see our lead and respect it and follow it, that we just don’t know about or are not thinking about
Paul- It’s hard for us to keep our perspective sometimes.
Allen- It’s hard to keep our perspective, its hard to see the forest through the trees, we’re so in the middle of it. If we got away from it for a while we could like see different bands. We play with bands all the time that sound like us and have taken different ideals, or have taken different things, that’s always a good thing, its encouraging to me.
TR- Do you see…when they write the book lets say you know 20 years 30 years down the road when they write a book about the time period do you guys, now I’m not trying to make you guys sound egotistical or anything, it’s a real honest question, do you guys see yourselves as being one of those bands that they are going to say this is the band that had the heart and the core of that whole time period…of that type of genre of music…if they are going to talk about bands In the 90s through the next millennium whatever if you look back, the bands that were not on major labels, the bands that didn’t get crazy play on MTV but were one of the bands that influenced another generation.
Allen- It’s hard to guess that…I don’t know if we typify that but it would be neat if we did.
Paul- I think we’re not well known enough to make that much of a mark at this point.
Allen- Although there are lesser known bands that have sold much less records that you know tend to have a longer lasting effect…I kind of got the feel of it between Lula Di Venia and Starlust is that the legend of Shiner grew…
Paul- Not because of press…
Allen- Not because of press but lack of because there was like “aw man there’s this band where are they at” they would pass Lola DiVenia however either online or whatever (everyone laughs) it got around and, so as a result when the legend had grown, I mean legend, the word of the band had grown a lot more than I thought.
Paul- Strictly by word of mouth.
Allen- Yeah, by word of mouth…bands all over the US and Canada and Japan and Europe, I get emails from out of the country all the time.
Paul- And we don’t have distribution out of the country.
Allen- Well we do…Southern distributes Lula and Splay.
TR- Right, some of the albums Southern distributes and…what’s the distribution thing for this new one? They do their own?
Paul- No, it’s a company called Simbiotic.
TR- Right…no, cause I’ve know guys…
Allen- It’s just not out in stores as we would like because for one reason or another you know either…
TR- Well it seems like distributors are acting like major labels in some ways…distributors, to even get in their catalog, you know what I mean? Or to even get orders and stuff…it seems like they’ve taken on more power.
Allen- Ya, you have to pass their test or something…. like it used to be…you know I don’t like anchovies on my pizza but I’ll sell it to people that want anchovies on their fuckin’ pizza you know what I’m saying? So it has to do with…
TR- You think it’s trends.
Allen- So I would just sell it, even if you didn’t love the music you would still get it out and sell it if it’s going to sell you know
Jason- If we were on a certain label and so-and-so liked us, that the guys at such and such distributors looked up to they’d like it too.
Allen- But why is it about that? Why…
Jason- That’s exactly right, why?
Allen- If you have a trinket shop, you’re gonna have some trinkets you like and some you don’t like but you’re still going to try to sell them all
Jason- I know, it sucks.
Allen- But why is that?
TR-I just noticed that with Koch and these guys called the Orchard that seem to be making it more difficult in what they’re doing it that, if you didn’t sell enough they put your stuff on sale for you without you even knowing, so all of the sudden your record was selling below cost so they could just get it out of their warehouse…better than returning it but still it was a weird thing that I saw going on…so are you pretty happy at O and O?
Allen- Well, we’re happy that cause at a certain point we went through a lot of problems trying to find somebody to put it out.
TR- But that’s crazy to me
Allen- It’s crazy to me too!
TR- Can we talk about that?
Paul- I’ll talk about that
TR- Bring that on…that’s news to me…that’s shocking!
Paul- That’s why it took three years to get a record out between Lulu and Starlust because we talked to so many labels that were lukewarm and didn’t want to commit to us.
Allen- Cause we’re not the flavor of the moment…were making music that’s not get up kids or is not…
Jason- However, if you think about it like this, if we were given the opportunity to be with trendy people do you think that we could turn into trendy?
Allen- It has nothing to do with that, I really believe that under our noses at times trends change and we continue making music and have this set of songs and things move along we still this set of songs in this era and although we did find a distributor or label with Zero Hour before they went belly up, we actually….
Paul- We were in the middle of making a record
Allen- For months, months we’re talking about. It’s not as if there was no interest, there was interest, we had management here in town that really believed in us, CEC management which manages Ben Folds Five, you know what I’m saying, but the majors, we weren’t going to write any hits for major labels we did a bunch of shows at Mercury lounge and the Troubador in LA…
TR- You did showcases? Is that what you mean?
Paul- We played shows that a bunch of labels showed up to, we didn’t do showcases.
Jason- Does the music make the trend or does the trend make the music, I personally think that the trend makes the music, it seems like it at this point.
Allen- Well, I think the music happens through an influential band that happens to hit for whatever reason there’s that je’ne sa quoi about a certain thing that everybody flocks to.
Paul- Yeah, nobody picks what the sound of it’s going to be they’re just waiting for it, it hits and then everything follows.
Allen- It’s part of the fun of the music business it that you never know what’s gonna, I think that’s neat…
Jason: Basis of my question…
Allen- What happened is, I think it’s cause and effect, you have something that’s going to happen because it’s exciting and cool like At The Drive-In right now cause their tearing it up and they have a great live show, you’re going to find a lot more bands going nuts at their live show with afros…and everyone else is going to follow that, but for that moment for a year or two At The Drive-In is very exciting. That happens in the mean time while you are trying to find an outlet for this set of songs and by the time it comes around it’s songs written three years ago.
TR- But you had the album pretty much recorded.
Paul- the album was recorded…
Allen- When Zero Hour went belly up.
Paul- …then we were trying to find somebody to put it out after that, finally decided, I just called Bill Stevenson which I’ve known for years just being a fan of the Descendents first of all and then asked him if he wanted to do the record and within a week it was like a done deal and they were putting the record out and we were finishing mixing the record and it was like a done deal, so it went, that was really easy…
Allen- As far as getting the record out it was the right thing for us to do to not dwell too long trying to find, I think for a long time we were looking for making the step up, kind of like go from single a to double a to triple a to the big show and I think…
Paul- …the thing is we know how the indie music world works.
Allen- You know we wanted to step up and didn’t feel we needed to solicit ourselves all the time, so we came maybe lazier and complacent for 6 or 8 months and before you know it a year has gone and you think things should have happened… why is this…why are people not going nuts for this stuff, you know and you know it happens underneath you. We needed to get the record out O and O was perfect for it, got it out and it’s done pretty well but it’s not exactly the perfect home for us…the distribution is mainly the thing that’s disappointing. The label itself has done very well and has worked hard.
Paul- and has a lot of potential to be a great label.
Allen- Yeah…they have every potential in the world to be great, and we think we’ve upped or helped their position in the public eye some to a certain extent…
Paul- diversifying their roster.
TR-You guys going to do another album? Soonish? If you…
Paul- By this time next year it’ll be out.
TR-Okay so a year from now. What about your experience with Desoto records? In the past and present?
Allen- They have always been enamored with Shiner. We’re not necessarily flavor of the month, but they’re the reason we are still here because they got us such an initial…
Paul- They gave us the first hand up and it was a big hand up.
TR- any experience working with J. Robbins?
Paul- I’m very impressed with where he’s gotten himself, he’s doing very well. He’s leaned a lot about recording records in a very short amount of time, I think, in the whole scheme of things…really started really doing it the last three years-four years
TR- Yeah, working over at Inner Ear in Virginia, he’s going to be one of my heroes forever.
Paul- He’s definitely hero worthy, cause he’s always moving forward I think.
TR- Well, is there anything you guys want to say or get any message out on something I missed?
Paul- Come to the shows.
Allen- Come see what it’s all about…they’ve heard about Shiner…I think what happens is, one of the things we struggle with is maybe changing the name in order to just have people go, so they don’t go oh it’s Shiner I know what they sound like, they sound like Splae or I had that first record, are they still around, what are they doing?
Jason- Why aren’t they huge?
Paul- Yeah, why aren’t they huge? Do they suck? Why are they moving around labels they must suck? Why have they changed band members…well the guy must suck, he must be an asshole…I must be an asshole and I think it’s hard to erase that stigmatism or you know what I’m saying or that stigma or whatever.
TR- You didn’t change labels for any bad reasons?
Paul- No we didn’t get kicked off any label at all, in fact the Hitit! thing wasn’t supposed to be just Hitit!
Allen: It is a DeSoto release.
Paul- Because DeSoto couldn’t get the record out…busy with the Jawbox record and we were feeling very very pumped to get going, you know get Lulu out so we had the opportunity to get involved with Hitit! which gave some more options for us to put it out and you know business took over from there…went south.
Allen- So for whatever reason, and I think people tend to assume that they know what a certain band’s about or not about and then when people come see it they’re “damn you guys are this and this but you’re also this and this and that’s another thing that we’re writing diverse music if you listen to one track to another track we’re not like emo core we’re not rap rock or we’re not easily classified and I think that, while it’s one of our strongest points is our Achilles heel also because it takes a while to really figure out what it’s all about we’re not just going to lump it in we’re not gonna do one song over and over and be gone. We’re trying to make music for a long time, have a roster of albums that grow and evolve and do things the right way that all our heroes did like Led Zepelin they didn’t make a bad record there are bad songs you know what I’m saying but every record was a growth, and they made smart changes and wrote songs that were just kind of awesome all the way around.
Paul- And the Who also, The who is a better example because their music changed so much from the beginning to their peak which…
Jason- They gained and alienated fans with each release.
Allen- That’s the archetype that we’re shooting for and that’s not necessarily followed by a lot of bands. What it takes is commitment from a label, and commitment from your fans to listen to it but I don’t know if you are gonna get that in today’s.
Paul- Short attention span.
Allen- And other things to occupy your time, you could go buy three albums at the record store and that’ll last you three weeks, you could stare at the album artwork while you’re smokin a dubie and listening to your headphones, that made it for, when I was growing up in the 70s.
Paul- made it very personal.
Allen- Yeah and right now you don’t need that stupid artwork or whatever, I got this and I’m playing Quake while I’m also sending emails or whatever…back to the devalued.
TR- Becomes a background.
Paul- It’s become the soundtrack for your life.
Allen- Exactly and it has less to do with, but what we’ve all found out with our fans and there is a core of about, actually I have no idea how many, but I know that those fans that are truly committed do get it and are moved by all the little subtle nuances and things that we have.
Paul- It definitely makes it worthwhile when somebody comes up and you can truly see that they understand and it affects them and I would like it to affect more people but it certainly helps when some people really get it.
Allen- I think we’re cultivating a certain core, cult audiences. Certainly not to equate ourselves with Rush, but Rush is going to ship a million records and they are going to play probably to the same fans every town and in the same arena every time they come through cause they’re not going to gain many new fans, maybe a few each time but those Rush fans…
TR- Someone’s younger brother.
Allen- Right, that’s what it is but without having publicity or a million articles or something like that, Rush can continue to exist and have a great living you know they make I don’t know probably a million dollars a fuckin’ concert or some shit, who knows
TR- But still they make royalties off their old, you know YYZ
Allen- But they’re doing well, They put out new records and I think it’s possible, I don’t want to just do that, I want new fans all the time I want to create new and relevant music all the time, I want girls to come to the show and not just guys who listen to Rush.
Jason- How many people do you think downloaded the last Rush mp3?
Allen- Probably quite a few, you know there is so many Dungeons and Dragons playing nerds that are downloading that shit.
Jason- That don’t already own it and have owned it for years and years and years?
Allen- who knows?
TR- Well they download so they can have it at work.
TR- They can put it on their computer at work.
Allen- they send it over, email it over, waiting so they can have it at work.
Shiner’s most recent release is “Starless” on Owned and Operated Records. You can buy the album at Owned and Operated or listen to the album at the band’s website, Shiner.net.