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#21 Kali Durga

Kali Durga

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:47 AM

Jack White's Third Man Records tells the world: Your Music City is not dead. From Nashville Scene: The article, and a slideshow.

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It's an October night in Music City, a Friday, in a gritty industrial no-man's-land between downtown and The Gulch. Two years ago, nobody but street people and strip-club habituιs would have been found down here after dark. Tonight, though, outside a black brick building beside the railroad tracks, a line of eager music fans wraps around the block.

The occasion is the Next Big Nashville festival. It's an annual plea for the music world to see Nashville as it sees itself — a buzzing hive for everything from jazz to gospel to classical, but especially a rock scene that's been primed for two decades to pop. It's barely 9 p.m., but for most in the serpentine queue, hopes of making it inside the mysterious building with the Tesla tower on top are futile. Already the room is at capacity.

Midway though a raucous set, local garage-punk quartet Heavy Cream bash away before a frenzied crowd of any and all ages. Bathed in blue, the band can be seen above the undulating human underbrush, all pumping fists and airborne elixirs. The excitement, the energy — they're palpable. Is this really Nashville?

Indeed, if the major-label hitmen and local paparazzi shut outside could peek within the curved blue walls, they'd see a city they might not recognize. In here, Music City is ahead of the musical curve, not chasing it. Here, buzzed-about acts travel hundreds, even thousands of miles to play, instead of driving past en route to other tour dates.

In a dark corner, taking in this view from the shadows, is a man clad head-to-toe in black. He is international rock superstar, guitar god and Nashville transplant Jack White, and this epicenter of cool, Third Man Records, is his house.

In it, no detail appears without purpose, as if art-directed to a photo-shoot T. And every artifact, from the photo booth in the corner, to the logo behind the stage, to the red sparkle-wrapped drum-kit with peppermint painted skins — familiar to anyone who's ever seen a White Stripes video — bears the fingerprints of White's seeming Midas touch.

"People always look at the finished product and they assume it was written down on paper beforehand," White tells the Scene one afternoon, long after the crowds are gone and the blue lights dimmed. "The funniest thing is, the bands, and the building, and these records, they're all the exact opposite — they're all just happenstance."

Still, for anyone venturing into this room for the first time, it all just looks too perfect. In a sense, it is. Local rockers hoped White's cachet of cool would galvanize the scene when he planted roots here four years ago — even if they feared he'd overshadow them.

But past experience made the acclaimed rocker slow to impose his identity and curatorial savvy upon a music city so steeped in its own traditions. From The White Stripes' early success in Detroit's happening garage-rock scene of the 1990s, and the resentment it fostered, White knew the pitfalls of local rock politics and pissing contests. By the time he left, bands he'd helped get national attention tried to get even more by slagging him publicly and milking confrontations for coverage.

"I tread lightly on the scene in Nashville because I don't wanna infiltrate it and be too involved in it," he says. "I got really burned in Detroit, being heavily involved in the scene up there, so it's a little bit scary. I have some trepidation about it. I don't wanna cause any problems" — he laughs — "you know? I don't wanna interrupt the flow of what's naturally happening with [Nashville] bands either."

So instead of painting the town a White Stripes red and white, he settled for black and yellow (and white). He recruited a tight group of close confidants to start up Third Man — a boutique record label, store, production and distribution center, photo studio, and live music venue. Each show is recorded, and most are released as live albums — souvenirs of an experience, not a concert.

In so doing, Third Man Records has produced one of the most counterintuitive, and inspiring, business models the music industry has seen since the extinction-level advent of digital. Its releases are primarily vinyl. Promotion and marketing costs are almost nil. Above all, its artist roster is driven by personal taste.

And yet Third Man has become something of an indie-rock tourist destination — a magnet that attracts collectors, early adopters and vinyl junkies, as well as the attention of typically indifferent-to-Nashville media. Its headquarters acts as a veritable Chocolate Factory to White's Willy Wonka. And there's almost as much curiosity, and misconception, about what goes on inside.

People know Third Man is a store, but what does it sell? They know Conan played there, but who could get in? They've heard there's a recording studio inside. There isn't. Why do they wear matching suits? Because they feel like it.

True, the place is a monument to Jack White's musical accomplishments. But the dirty secret behind Third Man is that it's not a vanity project. You don't have to be a fan of White's to find records there you'd like but have never heard. And for those of you who are fans of White's, well, there's Mastercard.

It also helps if you own a record player. If not, they sell those too — in addition to headphones, and any other item that accompanies onset audiophilia.

Third Man's slogan, "Your Turntable Is Not Dead," applies to both the products they sell and the experience they provide. In this day of featureless digital downloads — the boneless skinless chicken breast of the music industry — White is the rare post-Napster artist who's a celebrity even to people who don't follow music closely.

Accordingly, the label's focus is on the tangible. While the rest of the music business struggles to keep up with ringtones and apps, Third Man is doing the opposite — investing in, and capitalizing on, the visceral appreciation of collectible vinyl artifacts, as if records were baseball cards or comic books. And just as the card collector gets little intrinsic payoff from a JPEG of Mickey Mantle, significant numbers of Jack White's fans get little from an MP3.

"I think the labels are just as confused as the fans are — confused by how many formats, and how many different types of experiences are thrown at them just from the Internet alone," says White, who describes his business and his aims in quick, disarmingly conversational terms. "[With] this place, we start with something real, and tangible, and things that you can only get and experience if you got up off your seat and went and did it.

"It's kids getting real records in their hands and listening to them, and starting a whole new trek down some other path that's not digital, not invisible, not disposable. It's about appreciating real experiences, and real objects, and art that can be appreciated, listened to, and loved."

Step inside the tiny storefront, and you'll see what's essentially a glorified merch-table display. Tour souvenirs and framed photos give a cursory history lesson of White's successes. Yellow tinted windows cast a golden glow throughout the shop, resonating off the yellow and black wood paneling, gold tin roof and black floor.

This space may be about 400 square feet, but it houses a carnival of antiquity. The store is decorated in eye-catching trinkets and gadgets: button dispensers, a wooden phone booth, stuffed birds, shrunken heads, vintage Victrolas, a coin-operated automated monkey band. Perhaps the last thing you notice is the lone record rack to your right.

Yet its seemingly modest selection of records — remember them? — is where Jack White's heart lies. Dig through and you'll find a treasure trove of releases you'd be hard pressed to find aggregated at any other record store. LPs and 45s span artists as wide-ranging as Flat Duo Jets founder Dex Romweber, rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, Swedish psychedelic outfit Dungen, even the late astronomer Carl Sagan.

Each is produced and overseen by White and manufactured in house. And each is a testament to the fastidious, hands-on presentation for which he is known.

On the opposite side of the building is its anchor, known as "The Blue Room." Originally intended as a joint rehearsal space/photo-studio — complete with adjoining darkroom — it has evolved into Nashville's latest concert venue, accommodating an audience of 300 or more.

But the performances you're likely to see there are unlike any you'll see at clubs in this city or any other. Like when White flew legendary Japanese garage-rock trio The 5.6.7.8's around the world to Nashville for a one-off gig, then got up and jammed with them. Or when he tapped Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, to host the label's Halloween shindig.

Or, yes, when Conan O'Brien stopped in for a performance last year on his way to Bonnaroo — an experience Coco described on the premiere episode of his TBS show (with White as a guest) as "one of the highlights of my tour, and my life."

All the shows in The Blue Room are recorded, and most are released (even Conan's). It's the only venue in the world where concerts can be recorded live direct to analog tape. That includes lesser-known artists like comedian Reggie Watts and locals like PUJOL.

Since opening in March 2009, Third Man now has an impressive 74 titles. Two weeks ago, the label released JEFF the Brotherhood's Live at Third Man, and on Tuesday they'll put out Wanda Jackson's The Party Ain't Over — an album White produced and performed on with the rockabilly queen and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

If you ask White, he'll say he's not trying to make over Nashville's street cred or give the town's artists a ride on his long coattails. But as Third Man's fame spreads, it's getting harder and harder to tell. After all, it's happenstance. So how did Nashville end up holding the golden ticket?

"I wanted to live down South when I was trying to leave Detroit," says White, who was looking for somewhere to explore his bone-deep affinity for Southern music and folklore. "I just looked everywhere — Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky — and I kept finding myself working in Nashville for reasons out of my control.

"And it sort of just hit me over the head, 'There's a reason I keep coming here.' At first it was Tennessee: I thought, 'Memphis.' But Memphis is too similar to Detroit."

Detroit's the reason White is cautious about casting his shadow over Music City. In Detroit, he was recording and championing bands long before he reached the highest echelons of rock stardom as singer, guitarist and songwriter for The White Stripes (and later as a member of The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather). But his rise above the fray rankled many in the Motor City.

"[Jack's] relationship with Detroit will always be peculiar," says Ben Blackwell, White's nephew and a Third Man fixture. "Not a lot of people can point to someone that they hung out with, that was doing pretty much the same thing they were doing, and turned around and made millions of dollars doing it. They say, 'What's so special about that guy?'

"Well, you know what? He wrote really great songs and he worked really fucking hard. And maybe you did too. And maybe you didn't."

Perhaps no one knows better than Blackwell how John Anthony Gillis became Jack White. In the band's first three years, he saw every show The White Stripes played, and he has long acted as their archivist. Independent of his uncle's celebrity, he's a Detroit luminary in his own right.

Blackwell, 28, spent his adolescence steeped in Motor City's legendary garage-rock scene of the '90s. By 17 he'd begun drumming for the Stripes' electrifying peers The Dirtbombs, and he went on to found Detroit's Cass Records. But before this fresh-faced, dry jokester could rattle off music-production factoids faster than Rain Man counts cards, he was a 15-year-old enamored of his young uncle's upstart rock combo. He'd meticulously file away each show's handwritten setlist — artifacts that obsessive White Stripes fans covet more than a white-label pressing of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

"At the time, I was just excited, you know, making my annotations and writing lists and all that stuff," Blackwell recalls. "And then three or four years later it becomes one of those things, like, 'Oh, this is actually, probably gonna be important.' Like you could see it happening in front of you."

Such foresight inspired him to ask for a fireproof safe one year as a Christmas present. It turned out to be a wise move. When a fire struck his mom's house two years later, the priceless fliers, handwritten lyrics and setlists stayed secure. They survive as proof of the hustle White honed early on, which would come in handy by the time he got to Third Man.

"It was five years until people really started to pay attention to them, and that was five years of touring in a Ford Taurus," Blackwell remembers. "It was Jack and [drummer] Meg [White] up front, and me in the back with my arm on the bass drum, driving to Cleveland on a Friday night for a show and then driving back after the gig. I've never seen a band do as little after-show partying and hanging out as The White Stripes. Where Third Man's at now is a testament to that dedication."

As Blackwell rode shotgun on White's meteoric rise to fame, he says, there were always moments where they'd say to each other, "It's never gonna get bigger than this." The most specific, he recalls, was when The White Stripes played The Craig Kilborn Show in 2001.

"I remember us just thinking, 'A two-piece band from Detroit made it onto late-night television,' " Blackwell says. " 'This is it, it'll never get bigger than this.' "

But while White may have never anticipated highs of success such as, say, playing for Sir Paul McCartney and President Barack Obama at The White House — as happened last year — he wasn't without an insurance policy. When inking his major-label deal with V2 Records in 2001, he established Third Man Records, a self-owned label licensing his masters to V2.

For years Third Man remained mostly exclusive to White's projects, existing in name only. In 2007, however, not long after he planted roots in Nashville, V2 collapsed. White's insurance policy paid off. He gained full control of his masters.

Unsatisfied with the original vinyl pressings of his White Stripes and Raconteurs records, White seized the opportunity to retouch and reissue them under his total control. To assist in the endeavor, he called upon Blackwell and longtime friend Ben Swank, a jack-of-all-trades whose background includes label promotion, music journalism and a stint as drummer in The Soledad Brothers. At the same time, White had grown tired of paying rent on storage spaces. He reveled in the opportunity to design his east of Eden — his Graceland, if you will.

"I'd never had the time to take courses in design or architecture like I'd wanted to when I was younger," White says. "So places like this, constructing them, I finally get to expand on the design fascinations I had when I was younger and I had my upholstery shop [also called Third Man]."

In March 2009, the label celebrated its private grand opening with a debut performance by White's latest project, The Dead Weather. Nearly a year would elapse before another audience would pass through the back doors to The Blue Room.

Third Man was open for business, but the establishment was, and is, largely a mystery to most Nashvillians. In terms of the label's mystique — and White's — Swank says, "We cultivate it to a degree, but I think people think it's worse than it is." He laughs. "I've had people tell me we're in a cult."

Really, he says, the mystery is no greater than quality control. "I think Jack's misunderstood a lot because people are like, 'Oh, he doesn't like computers. He doesn't like this, or that,' " Swank says. "No. I think he doesn't like having his art misrepresented."

To press their vinyl, Third Man looks no further than their own backyard, using United Record Pressing Inc. — a Nashville institution that dates back more than a half-century. The plant is a whopping 1.3 miles from Third Man's doorstep, a drive Ben Blackwell makes on a daily basis. He's such a fixture at the plant, he even moonlights as a tour guide.

The proximity of the plant cuts down dramatically on shipping costs. Plus it fits Third Man's neighborly attitude. As Blackwell says, "If you have something in your hometown, use it." In Third Man's first 18 months, the plant has pressed more than 200,000 pieces of vinyl for the label — more than half of which have been sold. Almost each label bears the branding, "Manufactured by United Record Pressing, Nashville, TN."

"That's one of the secret weapons of Third Man, that we're in a city that isn't crazy expensive like L.A. or New York, but has that infrastructure," Blackwell says, showing a guest through the factory while its odd-metered mechanical clamor rattles the walls like a T. Rex.

As for Third Man's catalog, Blackwell says, instead of "Your Turntable Is Not Dead," the label's catchphrase could just as easily be, "Recommended if you like Jack White." While the Third Man crew are democratic in their decision-making, the last word on everything is White's. And like the collectors who bend over backwards to get the next release, he's racing to get it out.

"He could just sit and let 'Seven Nation Army' pay his bills for the rest of his life," says Blackwell, "[but] the guy does not stop working. It's constantly the rest of the staff trying to keep up with him."

As White guides the Scene through the Third Man offices, while The Cold War Kids sound-check for their show later that night — a sellout despite the late December snowstorm outside — he walks and talks at the pace of a shark who must keep moving, and he can taste the blood of each finished product. Despite his success, he moves like a hungry man.

In an age when it's a Dostoevskian struggle to sell a single iTunes download, labels froth at the idea of selling more than 100,000 physical copies of anything, let alone a vinyl record. But they don't have what Third Man has — brand loyalty. When someone in the industry murmurs the mantra, "You have to brand your artist," they might at as well just say, "Do a magic trick and pull Jack White out of a hat."

But you can't create lightning in a bottle, which is the beauty as well as the limitation of the Third Man model. Third Man has succeeded in large part because White — like multimedia mogul Jay-Z, who reportedly stopped by Third Man's offices for a summit meeting — has tended his fame and image with the care of a Japanese garden. That care frees his creative endeavors, shielding their vital spark of ramshackle spontaneity.

"If you don't stand for something to begin with, you can't be branded," says White, "It has to come from what you love to do, first and foremost. I happen to care about the design of covers, and the design of the presentation, the aesthetic, the lighting onstage ... [But] I would never put anything out that looks cool just because it looks cool, or sounds cool just because it [sounds cool]."

Third Man's success is a testament to the rabid interest of a worldwide fan base, which counts the days till each Third Man release and lineup. Many even travel from outside the city to be one of the lucky 300 to get a split-colored Jenny & Johnny LP, or a tri-colored Dead Weather 45. And even more limited items, like Third Man's split-colored White Stripes reissues, are proportionally more coveted.

Some fans are driven by completism. Some are driven by their desire to hear what new — and old — sounds come out of their speakers when they spin the records. Still others are just trying to get something they can flip on eBay — where, at press time, Third Man merchandise is listed at prices as high as $1,599. That's one reason the label made the controversial decision to post some of its releases on eBay itself. The move infuriated some fans, who accused the label in December of jacking up prices by deliberately pressing limited quantities. But Swank says they're committed to getting the records into the hands of those who will cherish them. For fans, the records are their window onto Jack White's world: their way of touching what he touched, hearing what he heard — or just hearing a show they heard themselves.

"If some kid in Topeka wants to buy it, we'll make sure he can," Swank says. "We want people to be able to buy these records. ... The collectors stuff is harder to get, but that's kind of the joy of collecting. Honestly, I don't think any other label worries as much where their records go once they leave the door as we do."

As proof, he cites their practice of distributing limited-edition copies of a release to independent record stores in the artist's hometown. While doing so drastically reduces the profit margin, Swank says it's part of the label's greater mission to get people in those towns "back into brick-and-mortar record stores, buying records from real people."

Would real people buy those records, or see Third Man's shows, if they didn't come with the Jack White stamp of approval? In some cases, probably not. But White's fans, sometimes entire families, will make hours-long treks to any show that bears his imprimatur. Their devotion gives Third Man shows a singular energy. Visitors take to every performance the way the hordes at Bonnaroo greeted The Dead Weather. It doesn't hurt, Swank adds, that most Third Man regulars have at least one story of meeting White.

Not that all of them want that. Die-hard Third Man fan and collector Peter Galloway, a 48-year-old Irishman based in Los Angeles, thinks close contact might spoil the illusion of what he really cares about: the music. But whenever his business consulting brings him to Nashville, he says he plans his trips around special releases and events in The Blue Room. He credits Third Man with rekindling his lifelong interest in collecting records.

"I'm back flicking racks at Grimey's," Galloway says. "I probably wouldn't have tripped into the whole Nashville scene if I hadn't been experimenting through the Third Man channels." Galloway estimates he owns "a couple hundred" records from artists exposed to him essentially via Jack White, including locals such as PUJOL and JEFF the Brotherhood.

Asked if he considers himself a tastemaker, White claims, "If I am, it's by proxy." But for fans like Galloway, that's exactly what he is. For him, Jack White has filled the void left by rock's supreme arbiter of taste: the late BBC disc jockey John Peel, who was among The White Stripes' ardent early champions.

"My window into the world was John Peel," Galloway says. "And it was until he died. That was where you heard pretty much anything worth hearing — including The White Stripes. So when Third Man came along, and knowing what Jack's tastes were, and bands around that scene, I said, 'I've gotta check this place out,' and the rest is history."

Nineteen-year-old Dillon Watson of Murfreesboro can relate. For him, Jack White was his gateway artist to a life-changing musical continuum.

"I got into The White Stripes when I was 12, then I got into pre-war blues," Watson says. Country from the '50s and '60s would follow, then rockabilly, then garage-rock and onward. When a high school job shadowing assignment turned into an internship last year, he jumped at the chance.

Being near Swank and Blackwell, Watson says, gave him access to their music-distribution knowledge. That was a priceless resource: Not only has Watson played guitar in local bands such as Kindergarten Circus and D. Watusi, he helps run the local label Nashville's Dead, an offshoot of co-founder Ben Todd's popular blog of the same name.

But Swank, White and Third Man got something in return: a pipeline to kids doing something similar on an even smaller grass-roots level, building a scene and a cottage industry by following their tastes. Watson and Todd act as curators of Nashville's rock underground just as surely as the Third Man crew surveys and filters the outside world.

"They're not just young punks saying, 'Screw you, old man,' " Swank says. "They're really eager young guys that really have their own strong brand as well, and they're eager to learn from what we're doing. A point came where it was like, things are actually kind of happening with this sort of music in town, and it would be silly to ignore each other."

Taking on the role of de facto A&R man, Swank was eager to bring bands in the scene to White's attention — especially Daniel Pujol. But there was a slight problem.

"I can't take Jack to Glenn Danzig's House," Swank laments, referring to the scruffy house venue that's become a magnet for hot Nashville bands. For White, one of fame's costs is he can no longer see shows without taking the spotlight off the stage.

"You can't check somebody out because immediately it's an endorsement: You 'love the band,' even though you've never even seen them before," White says ruefully. "Then there's the aspect that everyone's got a camera in their pocket, and you've got flashing. I don't wanna do anything that's rude, that's distracting to the person onstage."

So instead of going to house shows, White built a house and brought the shows to him.

"I think at the first couple shows we did people felt like they were in an art museum or something," White says. " It was very quiet between songs. They were worried because it was being recorded. But now, that's all gone. It's rowdy; and electric. When JEFF the Brotherhood played here, it was incredible."

The Nashville rock scene has spent years waiting for something different to happen — something idiosyncratic, something no other city does or could have. In Third Man Records, it has that thing: a curatorial institution with enough star power to generate headlines, while focusing attention on local, national and international acts of genuine distinction — raising them all in estimation in each other's company. Jack White says he finds the Nashville's Dead kids as much of an inspiration as they find him.

"If you don't have that electricity and energy to begin with, it's harder to get to someplace new, someplace that musicians haven't gone to before," he says. "It's a wild abandon inside them. I can see that it's inside of those guys, and it's just gonna keep snowballing."

Outside, it's gray and wintry near the gaping hole of the convention-center site. Inside Third Man Records, Jack White talks as if enthusiasm alone could change the season to summer.

"Out loud, we don't say, 'When I go to the show tonight, I want something to catch fire, I want something gettin' knocked over, I want a new song I've never heard before that I want listen to 50 times this week,' " White says. "But that's really what we want once the lights go down and the show starts. We wanna see something happen. So I gravitate to those people who wanna make something happen."



Yow-fucking-za.

#22 Kali Durga

Kali Durga

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:22 AM

And the Q&A behind the article, from Nashville Cream: http://www.nashville...cream-interview

Jack White: The Cream Interview
Posted by Adam Gold on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 7:00 AM

This week's Scene cover story is a profile on Jack White's Third Man Records, the shows they have there, the records they put out, the fans who buy them, and how they've began to find their groove in the Nashville rock scene. Last October, White hosted me in his Third Man office for a sit-down in which he opened up about why he left Detroit, how he ended up in Nashville, how the Third Man operation came to be what it is today, the confusion of the music industry, what he likes about PUJOL and JEFF the Brotherhood, and more. Check out the Q&A below:

Nashville Cream: Why Nashville? What brought you here, and what's kept you here?

Jack White: Well, I looked all over the South. I wanted to live down south when I was trying to leave Detroit. I just looked everywhere — Mississippi, South Carolina, Kentucky — I just was on the look for about a year, year and a half, and I kept finding myself working in Nashville for reasons out of my control. And it sort of just hit me over the head. [I thought], "There's a reason I keep coming here"' At first it was Tennessee, I thought. I was like, 'Memphis.' But Memphis is so similar to Detroit — it seemed like a lateral move to me.

NC: How so?

JW: I just think the vibe of the town, to me, felt exactly like Detroit. I think that an operation like this [would] be tougher to do in a small town, with a smaller music community, because you'd just get chewed up and spit out in a couple months. You couldn't stay afloat. That was the problem in Detroit. In essence, Detroit is a small town, it's just scattered over a wide area. You can get away with a lot of things in L.A. or New York, [but] there's so much going on, no one even notices what you're doing. When you're in a small town, when something big is happening, everyone's got an opinion about it. For some reason, Nashville felt like it was the in-between of all of that. Fame, and the plastic side of the music business, and the real deal of the American South that influences me, where I can just sort of sneak through the cracks and make sense of it.

I couldn't live in a small town, and I couldn't live in a big town. I don't like L.A. and New York. I don't like big towns. London. Paris. They make me claustrophobic.


NC: When you talk about fame vs. the grass roots, visceral part of being a music fan; Is part of having this space having a place to be comfortable?

JW: It's form follows function. I'm going where I can do what I need to do without being hindered. I was being hindered in the Detroit scene. I was too engrossed in it. That's why I try to stay a little bit out of the Nashville rock 'n' roll scene. Because I'll get too engrossed in it if I don't watch myself. I wanna record and produce bands. I've been doing it since I was a teenager. But it's different. We're not in the jazz world, or the bluegrass world, or something like that. Rock 'n' roll and alternative music is very shaky ground, because people are always jumping from one foot to the other about what's cool and what's not. And when you wanna keep moving forward it's really hard. You're walking through a mine field and you have to really figure out how much to give of yourself. That becomes tough, but I think this town's got a good head on its shoulders about that sort of stuff.


NC: In terms of the label and this operation, when did you start conceiving this idea of it being this whole storefront, live space, etc.?

JW: A couple years ago I was looking at buildings because I was getting tired of paying rent for storage all over the place. I had a lot of gear in Detroit, gear here. Between three different bands it just seemed like I had, like, five different storage spaces. I was looking for a building where I could keep it all myself, and also maybe get some other work done. I found this building and one thing led to another. I'd been talking to the Bens [Blackwell and Swank] who work here about reissuing all the White Stripes and Raconteurs vinyl that, once V2 had collapsed, I'd gotten [those masters] back, no one was producing them.

So I wanted to start a small, small division of Third Man to reissue those records; all those 45s and albums on vinyl. That was the plan. I was like, "Well, I'm looking for a place to store gear, and I wanna reissue these old 45s." So I thought maybe with these two guys, we can do that, it'd be enough work for them. And then this building started to grow and I thought, "Well, it might be good to have a venue in the back to rehearse for tour." And that was the photo studio, too, and I said, "Well, let's build a darkroom. And, you know, it'd be great to have a little record store in the front. Because if we're [putting out] these records, if someone buzzed in we could just sell 'em a record right here." And it just kept going, and going, and going, and within three months it was this. I'd never had the time to take courses in design or architecture like I'd wanted to when I was younger, so places like this, constructing them, I finally get to expand on a lot of that — the design fascinations I had when I was younger and I had my upholstery shop. Designers like Eero Saarinen, Eames, Frank Lloyd Wright — those people led me to architecture and design in several different ways.


NC: It seems like it was an organic thing that took on a life of its own. You hadn't originally planned it to be what it is now, but people put a lot of focus on how calculating they think you are.

JW: That's always been the case with me. People always look at the finished product and they assume it was written down on paper beforehand, and all the bands I'm in, and all the projects — the funniest thing is, the bands, and the building, and these records; they're all the exact opposite, they're all just happenstance. Dungen was here a couple weeks ago. They were coming through town and [we were like], "Do you wanna make a 45? Yeah? OK!" I didn't plan that six months ahead of time. I didn't plan that 24 hours ahead of time. [Laughs.] I was here, they were here. But having a building like this, it helps those things exist. Now we're on our 60-something-th record, and those records wouldn't have existed had I not constructed this place, so that's what I really like about it — making new things exist.


NC: Even having grown up in L.A., where there were a lot of good all-ages shows, and good all ages venues, I'd still never seen something like what I saw the first time I came to a show here…..

JW: Well that's the main bridge we're trying to figure out. If bands wanna do a session, or a live record — first of all, I think this is the only venue in the world where you can record in front of a live audience, to tape. If there's another one I'm sure someone would've told me about it, but I haven't heard of another one yet — and also, that record will come out on vinyl, like, four weeks later. That's a pretty unique experience. But we also thought, we wanna do this blue series — it's just bands coming through Nashville, so it's very natural. It's not premeditated in that sense. So the other problem was we didn't want to piss of the local venues. We love all those guys at Cannery, Mercy, The End, etc. If they have a show planned, we don't wanna take away [from it].

So we have to figure out a different way to do it. So it's not a full set [that bands play]. We can't even do a full set, because an album, on vinyl, should be less than 40 minutes for the sound to be good. Sometimes the shows are free, and [bands] can just use the house equipment. After their soundcheck across the street, they can just come over here and do a quick set for the teenagers and kids who can't get into the bar show that night. So it's not a crowd [the clubs] are missing. That's where we're trying to find the balance. It's important for us to work with those guys too. We're not trying to swipe anything away from them.


NC: When people come into that room, come into this building, what do you want them to experience?

JW: Just rock 'n' roll. It has to feel alive, you know? I think at the first couple shows we did people acted like they were in an art museum or something. It was very quiet between songs. They were worried because it was being recorded. But now, that's all gone. It's rowdy — and electric. When JEFF the Brotherhood played here, it was incredible. Now we're at that point we wanted to get to.


NC: It seems like a lot of this is about what it means to be a music fan. Where the Venn diagram of being a music fan and being an artist meet. This place is a monument to music fandom — whether it's by bringing in the 5.6.7.8's, whose fans would seldom have the opportunity to see, or whether it's your fans who come to get things they can't get elsewhere, or if it's just people who are fans of vinyl as a tangible aesthetic. In the 10 years since you've risen to prominence, the music industry's struggle to sell a tangible product has become the bane of its existence, so they've had to focus more and more on mass appeal. In doing that, do you think they've kind of squeezed out the voracious fan? The voracious listener?

JW: I think the labels are just as confused as the fans are. If you go and listen to what the fans have to say on the Internet, they talk a game that they're not confused, but I tend to disagree. I think they're very confused by how many formats, and how many different types of experiences are thrown at them just from the Internet alone, and it's just too hard to compete with all that and have it make sense. That's another reason why this place made sense. Ten years ago a band was expected to have three or four press photos, and now they're expected to have three or four hundred press photos. Instead of other people deciding the content for bands, and just throwing them into this pit of "you have to come up with all this content," why don't we just make it ourselves and have it be real, and let people experience it from a different angle then just having someone throw something at you and you just have to go along with it? That's not really creative; that's just, sort of, perfunctory. So I think that the labels and the fans are both, just, inundated.

[With] this place, we start with something real, and tangible, and things that you can only get and experience if you got up off your seat and went and did it. You know, we don't allow people to take photos, or film a concert. Some fans might say, "Well that's not fair, blah, blah, blah," but they have to remember, if you're really respecting the artist, the artist doesn't want to look out from the stage and see a thousand little metal gadgets pointing at them, and people who are watching the show don't want to watch a thousand blue screens between them and the stage. That's not experiencing anything. You're watching a little screen when you should be watching real life. It's such a strange concept. So we just wanna encourage things that are really happening. It means a lot more. Take a picture afterward.


NC: In the case of Third Man, it seems like the value of the product was been augmented by people focusing on digital mediums, and what not, whereas a record actually has more value. Do you think the record industry has sold short what the value of an actual vinyl record can be?

JW: I just think that the industry's not dictating it as much as people think. I think they're following what people want. They always will. They go where the dollar is. And they have to do that to stay afloat, it's not really their fault. If kids are saying, "We're not buying records," then [the industry] has to pull out every trick in the book to try and stay afloat, and that's what they do. All you're witnessing now is them pulling out every trick in the book, and none of them really work. So [Third Man] is on a totally different angle — starting from a very small, boutique idea — but it's more important than all of that trickery, because it's kids getting real records in their hands and listening to them, and starting a whole new trek down some other path that's not digital, not invisible, not disposable. It's about appreciating real experiences, and real objects, and art that can be appreciated, listened to, and loved, and all that.


NC: Industry chatter these days is all about branding, branding, branding. And I understand what they're getting at, trying to build careers instead of quick cash-ins ...

JW: But they have to stand for something first. Nobody stands for anything anymore, because they're so scared. If you have an opinion now, it becomes the goal of people on the Internet to spot the hypocrite. "But how dare you say that about my iPod. I love my iPod." No one's dissing your iPod. I have an iPod, y'know? People are scared to take a stand. And if you don't stand for something to begin with, you can't be branded.


NC: You're an example of an artist who has a brand, and a style your fans know, that allows you to go fluidly between different projects. That's what the industry wants for their artists — some of whom are kids who don't know what they stand for yet. But you can't just create that. Doesn't it have to come from somewhere internal? Somewhere intrinsic?

JW: It'd be pretty hard to do. I've always wanted to hear stories of the pop stars who supposedly have. Even Madonna — I don't really see her as such a pre-calculated thing as everyone thinks she is, you know? I think a lot of it really comes from her thinking up ideas and collaborating with people. A lot of spur of the moment ideas that just turn into something bigger. She's just really good at it, but when people see the end product they assume. It's like conspiracy theories. You see the end result, so you assume someone was smart enough to think way ahead of time of how to do that. But that's not very easy to do, y'know? [Laughs.] It has to come from what you love to do, first and foremost. I happen to care about the design of covers, and the design of the presentation, the aesthetic, the lighting onstage — I happen to care about all that stuff. A lot of artists don't, and they don't need to. You can just be a singer, and be a songwriter, and that's enough. It's enough for me, to appreciate someone else. But when you care about all that stuff you just can't help but be obsessed with it. You're not doing it for a branding, to make money off of it, you're doing it because you wanna see that project be something you can stand behind and defend 100 percent. I would never put anything out that looks cool just because it looks cool, or sounds cool just because it [sounds cool]. It has to come from something real to begin with or it's just gonna fall apart. It'll fall apart in my brain — I won't be able to defend it to myself. [Laughs.]


NC: Whether it's reissuing the 5.6.7.8's record, or working with a local artist like Daniel Pujol, how much of your goal with Third Man is to give exposure to artists you like?

JW: That's a nice plus. Once this institution is set up, people can slide through it. People like Dex Romweber can come by. People I really respect. Also, a lot of times these are people who've asked me to do things years ago with them and I had to pass. Like, say, Wanda Jackson wanted to do one of those duet albums where every song's a different collaboration, and I don't really like those records. So I said, "Well, can we do something else? Can we do a 45 together maybe? If you wanna work together, let's do it like that." Because I think those [duet] records are sort of throw-away records. It worked for Santana once, and that's it, [laughs] you know? So it breeds a new idea for that kind of collaboration, as a producer, or however I'm collaborating with people. But, yeah, it's nice plus to be able to have the ability to bring over The 5.6.7.8's — who'd never played Nashville before, and have played America very few times. To be able to reissue their album, it's just ... that feels really good. I love the idea of being able to help expose people to records that are hard to find. We're gonna do a lot more of that in the next couple years, because there are so many records that aren't being pressed.


NC: And a 16 year-old kid who's a White Stripes fan or a Dead Weather fan is probably gonna hear about those records a lot sooner. I found out about most of my favorite bands through other favorite bands, and through reading about my favorite records and their reference points. Do you see yourself as a taste-maker?

JW: I don't think so. If I am, it's by proxy. 5.6.7.8's — that show was gonna happen whether anybody showed up or not. [Laughs.] If five people were there, we were still gonna do that show, and still put that record out. So it's hard to define people's taste. You really can't put it on a graph.


NC: But if they'd come here a year ago and played a club, there would've been 50 or 60 people there. Maybe. Here, there was 300 people there to see them.

JW: Over 300, yeah.


NC: Part of that is the aura of this space and how that makes the show more of an event. Because it's a unique venue, it doesn't feel like it's "just another show." At most shows in Nashville it's this, sort of, armchair quarterback thing where everyone in the crowd's a musician, and no one wants to show too much excitement or enthusiasm. Does it feel good to have an island of excitement amidst that?

JW: It's cool to have [something] a little off to the side of what a normal venue is, where people could possibly have more of a reason to come here from farther away. Because they can say, "Well, I'll go to the show, then I'll go to the record store too and, hey, I've never been to Nashville, so why not? Now I've got three reasons to go." As opposed to New York, where there's 16 shows happening every day. It's nice to be able to have the opportunity to be able to make an event out of the things, and to make an event out of bands who don't get events made around them very often. That's a plus, because the artist is excited about it, because it's something new to do. Jenny & Johnny were here doing a show a few weeks ago. I know what it's like to be on tour. When you go on tour, and you're playing a different show every night, you're dying to do something else that's creative on the way, but nothing ever happens on the road. You don't find yourself in a studio with some blues musicians on accident in Mississippi, or something. It doesn't happen. So an idea like this, to record something live, and to have a different kind of scenario that isn't thrown at you for the sake of content, for some corporate reason, but for a music reason, for making a recording of something real and tangible — it's really exciting to artists. I mean, I just know they're gonna be excited about it, because I know I would be if I was on the road and someone came up with that idea I'd be like, "Ah, great! I can't wait to stop by. Even it's just two songs or something. Anything to just stop the monotony." And have it be creative at the same time. It just doesn't happen on the road.


NC: If you keep making these live recordings and putting them out for years, it could become a Peel Sessions kind of thing, where you have this time-capsule of all these artists who came through Nashville during this period. Have you thought about it that way?

JW: Yeah. When we first started doing the live records I said, "You know, it'd be great in five years time to have a hundred of those in the bin at the front of the store." A kid could come in and just flip through names and say, "Wow! Who is that? They did a live show here? I'm gonna check it out." That could lead on to so many other things. And that would be really great. And it's cool too, because we're not selling them a full, glossy photograph cover live album. They're just die-cut sleeves that just say the names of the artists. Everyone's in the same room; given the same treatment, you know? It's sort of a "Show us what you got!" situation. It's also a challenge for those artists to, in the middle of a tour, record live. I like those challenges. So I like to see when those artists are excited to take on that challenge too, you know? It's pretty cool.


NC: What about the local artists you had in here during Next Big Nashville, or in your studio to record? What is it you like about the Nashville's Dead scene? How did the alliance you've got going with them come to life?

JW: Well, I tread lightly on the scene in Nashville because I don't wanna infiltrate it and be too involved in it. I got really burned in Detroit, being heavily involved in the scene up there, so it's a little bit scary. I have some trepidation about it. I don't wanna cause any problems [laughs], you know? I don't wanna interrupt the flow of what's naturally happening with those bands either. So, it's more of a case of how those bands would gravitate to what we're doing, and if it makes sense to them. And I don't think the bands we've worked with, they're not opportunistic or anything. PUJOL just wanted to make a good recording, you know? That appeals to me. There's no other side-issues of anything going on. I had enough of that up north, so I'm not looking to come cause any problems in that realm.

But at the same, you know, my mind has become so all-over-the-place as far as artists. The 5.6.7.8's from Japan. Or Laura Marling from London. I don't care anymore. I used to care [about scene politics]. When I was in Detroit, I was so Detroit. I did a whole compilation of Detroit bands. We had a Detroit flag hanging behind us when we went on tour. I took all the Detroit bands on tour with us, etc. All that stuff. And I loved all that. But it causes a lot of problems, you know? Again, it's not the jazz world, or bluegrass world, or something, so it's a little bit tricky to do something like that. I just think more all-over-the-place now, and Nashville's just a part of it because this is where we are.


NC: What is it you like about the music of those artists from Nashville you've had here?

JW: That PUJOL record, and JEFF the Brotherhood too — they're really, really, highly energetic. And that's a good place to start. [Laughs.] If you don't have that electricity and energy to begin with, it's harder to get to someplace new, someplace that musicians haven't gone to before. It's a wild abandon inside them. I can see that it's inside of those guys, and it's just gonna keep snowballing. In three or four years from now, it's just gonna get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. It's the timid ones that I don't know sometimes whether I should be an enabler and help push them off the cliff — a little lemming sort of thing — or just watch and see what they do on their own. Timidity is hard to deal with in any style of music. Because people don't want to see someone onstage nervous, or shy. [As audiences] we want you to act like you own the place, and impress us, and show us something new. We don't know that we want that. Out loud, we don't say, "When I go to the show tonight, I want somethin' to catch fire, I want somethin' gettin' knocked over, I want a new song I've never heard before that I want listen to 50 times this week." But that's really what we want once the lights go down and the shows starts. We wanna see something happen. So I gravitate to those people who wanna make something happen.


NC: What's been your impression of the attitude among the local rock community in Nashville? What's been your experience in dealing with people here?

JW: It's all been good. But maybe it's all been good because I'm a little bit stand-offish from it. I haven't been to that many shows in town, for the sake of protecting that for myself. But I've felt nothing but positivity from everybody in town we've worked with here, or that The Dead Weather's taken on tour, or who're session musicians who've played on recordings, I've got not one complaint — it's been incredible. It's been an incredible place to be, and I just know that those records, and those live experiences wouldn't have existed had I been someplace else. So it makes me feel like this building's in the right place.


NC: When you go to shows elsewhere, do you feel people's eyes on you? I remember an interview I read once with Ian Mackaye where he was talking about how it was hard for him to go to shows because he felt like the audience was watching him to see what his reaction to a band was.

JW: Yeah. Some people who are famous have the problem where you can't check somebody out because immediately it's an endorsement: You "love the band." Even though you've never even seen them before. You just wanted to see what they were like. So there's that aspect of it. Then there's the aspect that, everyone's got a camera in their pocket, and you got flashing. I don't wanna do anything that's rude, that's distracting to the person onstage either. And that's hard to do too. There's a lot of reasons why it can be difficult. But it's tough to talk about that stuff without sounding egotistical or something. I don't know if people would understand the real answer to that question. The easy thing to say is, "It's tough."


NC: Nashville's been wanting attention for things …

JW: Other than country.


NC: Yeah. I think people here want people on the outside to see it as being as broad as it really is. So it seems like Nashville's welcoming of something that can come along and galvanize that reaction. There are so many bands that do so well outside of Nashville, but then they come here and it's like everyone's over it, because they're spoiled on it. Shows at Third Man don't feel that way, people are excited about it here — like they're coming to the visit the chocolate factory.

JW: Oh? Yeah? That's great.


NC: Tell me about your relationship with Ben Blackwell and Ben Swank, and how you work with them, and how you work with everyone else here.

JW: Well, we don't have real job titles here. Which sort of sounds maybe a little pretentious, but at the same time, we don't have them because I didn't want anyone to ever say, "It's not my job." When we're putting on a show I sort of have that "our gang" mentality. Like, "Let's put on a show in the basement." I want everyone who works here to feel that way. That, "Yeah, we're filming a video here tomorrow and you're working the spotlight. I don't care if you went to Harvard and got a graphic design degree, it doesn't really matter because we need someone to hold the spotlight right now." You know what I mean? Or, "Where's an amplifier? Someone go buy a guitar chord. Whoever can go get it, go get it, because we need a guitar chord." And on, and on, and on.

The videos we've filmed here have all been like that. There's been no script, and how it's gonna be done, and budget for whatever. If we wanna make something happen, we make it happen. And in the end it'll all work itself out. We're doing that this week with Elvira, and The Greenhornes, and the Black Bells. There's hundreds of ideas going back and forth with people. I'm not that interested in throwing a party, you know? That's not really my cup of tea. But I'm interested in people all brainstorming and trying to put on a show. That element of show business has always appealed to me. I'm always interested in people wanting to create something that didn't exist already. Because anybody can sit back and let everybody else do it. So that's what this environment here is. All those guys, they all have names on their business cards like Gravedigger and whatever. It's better for them, because when the photo booth is broken we've got someone who'd be in marketing, or works the vinyl department is helping me fix a broken photo booth [laughs], and that's the way it should be. It shouldn't be like, "No, sorry, that's not my job."


NC: Is there any label, or operation — be it something from the past or otherwise — specifically that you're emulating with the Third Man model and how it operates?

JW: Well, there's elements of a lot of things in what we're doing, whether it's Sun Studios, or Chess, or Paisley Park, or whatever, there's a lot of small elements of all those things. But we're not setting out to copy anything in particular. I mean, there's a lot of new things that this generation has to offer that all those places couldn't.


NC: Like what?

JW: Like our online subscription service — The Vault. That people can belong to that kind of a club, I mean, you couldn't have a thing like that, obviously, 20 years ago. And the access to United pressing plant that's a few blocks away, to be able to have such a marriage with them, to create really unique pieces and break open new ideas in vinyl — a format that's over a 100 years old — to try and come up with new twists on it, we've come up with a couple so far and it's not easy. But the marriage with them has really helped, and I think having all that in house is totally different then what a lot of those [other labels] were doing. A lot of those labels were interested in making great music, and they did it, and they handed it off to other people to process and exploit. But we're doing it all together — from beginning to end — from the first note recorded, to the photograph is printed at the printers, we're all a part of it as a team. And this is what I've been doing with the Bens. We were doing all that in my living room in Detroit in '97. A band would come through town — like The Greenhornes — we'd be recording them, and they'd be sleeping over, we'd take photographs the next morning for the cover of the 7-inch, etc. We're doing the same thing we were doing then, it's just a different way of doing it.


NC: I imagine it's easier now, with the resources your success has provided you.

JW: Oh, no doubt. It's great. A band like The Dead Weather can sell a lot of records, and that helps pay for all these little records that maybe only a 1,000, 500 people will buy, but now they exist and it just keeps going, and going. We're having a glut right now. We have, like, 10 records we want to come out right now. We're to find the space to put them all out so they all get their own attention. There's too much happening, and there're so many ideas that are gonna change in the next six to eight months too. It's expanding in a lot of ways I can't tell you yet. [Smiles mischievously.] But there are some really cool things that are gonna happen just in the next month or two.


NC: And business is good?

JW: [Laughs.] YEAH!



#23

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:32 AM

totally out of time, he said something about TWS?

#24 Kali Durga

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:36 AM

No, it's really all about Third Man Records. But, holy hell, it's just so damned exciting to read. Come back when you have time!

#25 Divemistress of the Dark

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:41 AM

YAY! just logged on to post this, glad you are on it! I literally screamed when I saw this on nashvillecream.com this morning...

#26 Karen

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:52 AM

That was great, thanks for posting.

#27 Divemistress of the Dark

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 10:57 AM

Should it get its own thread? I mean, it's an incredible article...but I'm sorta new here and don't know how things are done. I'll let cooler heads prevail...;)

(As I'm typing this I'm sorta mentally jumping up and down like a little kid...I'd been wondering about a few of these topics lately, like 'how did Nashville get so damn lucky to land TMR'...)

God bless you, Jack & Karen...and the entire rest of the crew & staff...Gonna go & upgrade my Vault membership this morning.

(Edit, more rambling thoughts...Adam Gold is a great reviewer generally and I LOVE that 'chocolate factory' line. Really nails down the local vibe on TMR...and Jack even sends out 'Golden Tickets' to the fans fairly often...ok, I'm gonna be giggling about this all morning...;) )

(More edit: WOW! In my haste I had read the shortened, interview-only link at Nashville Cream:

http://www.nashville...cream-interview

Where Gold is also a blogger. I'm not sure what I think about the longer article...I mean, don't get me wrong, but I think Gold may be attributing a few things to TMR that I'm not sure they intend. But then, that's the Nashville Scene for you. There's always going to be a bit of hyperbole...)

Edited by Divemistress of the Dark, 20 January 2011 - 11:22 AM.


#28 Kali Durga

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 11:10 AM

Should it get its own thread? I mean, it's an incredible article...but I'm sorta new here and don't know how things are done. I'll let cooler heads prevail...;)

Six of one, half dozen of another. Some folks like a separate thread for big things like this, others like to have stuff of this sort compiled in one place so that it's a tad easier to search for at a later date.



Goddammit, I have work to do today and I can't stop coming back to read this.

Edited by Kali Durga, 20 January 2011 - 11:15 AM.


#29 cheriebobbins

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 11:19 AM

woah striking picture and looooong article, Thanks Tam! *back to job hunt/boring paperwork*


saw the end of the question/answer and now im gonna have to come back to read all those bits the journalist skipped such as

There's too much happening, and there're so many ideas that are gonna change in the next six to eight months too. It's expanding in a lot of ways I can't tell you yet. [Smiles mischievously.] But there are some really cool things that are gonna happen just in the next month or two.



goddam it i love it/hate it when he teases Posted Image

Edited by cheriebobbins, 20 January 2011 - 11:23 AM.


#30 stripes42

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:00 PM

ooh, very exciting!

#31 Aquamarine

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:10 PM

The bit about "really cool things that are gonna happen just in the next month or two" makes me feel both YAYY!! and Oh God, more $$$$. :lol:

#32 elizab0727

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:57 PM

The bit about "really cool things that are gonna happen just in the next month or two" makes me feel both YAYY!! and Oh God, more $$$$. :lol:


Yeah, but it said the interview was done in October, so he's probably referring at least partially to Wanda.

Thanks for the links, Kali. Great articles!

#33 Kali Durga

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:58 PM

The bit about "really cool things that are gonna happen just in the next month or two" makes me feel both YAYY!! and Oh God, more $$$$. :lol:

Yeah, but it said the interview was done in October, so he's probably referring at least partially to Wanda.


And probably to the vinyl starter collections, as well. But the way things have been going with TMR, Jack could make a statement like that at any point in time and it'd be valid.

#34 Divemistress of the Dark

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 05:31 PM

Yeah. That's why I finally sprung for upgraded Vault...I have the feeling it'll be worth it. ;)

#35 CassTech

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 06:31 PM

i think as a premium member to the vault i think we need a badge, pin, crest, or card or something that we have that says we are a member to the vault. the records of course are fantastic, but every great club i have ever been in or seen has something for its members.

#36 roxxan23

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:39 PM

Ooh. Finally read it. Yay! Blackwells office has been painted since I was there and that is the couch that I LOVE.

#37 dazed22

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:05 PM

Awesome read! Can't wait to see what he does next!
Hopefully one day ill be able to make it down to third man...

#38 cheriebobbins

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 11:00 PM

oh! i forgot to look at the slide show last time! blackwell has a well decorated office wall and a record player collection, swank looks like he had a rough day, haha whats with the third picture.

Yeah, but it said the interview was done in October, so he's probably referring at least partially to Wanda.

Thanks for the links, Kali. Great articles!

oh i missed that, i was skimming.

And probably to the vinyl starter collections, as well. But the way things have been going with TMR, Jack could make a statement like that at any point in time and it'd be valid.

true true, and did he say something about one thing in the next couple months (from october) and something else over a longer time period?

Edited by cheriebobbins, 20 January 2011 - 11:04 PM.


#39 Kali Durga

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:43 AM

From Nashville Scene-- According to guys like David Bazan, David Mead and Jack White, making a music career work in 2012 might be all about thinking small

...That approach — limited, unique items, aimed at particularly engaged fans — seems to have worked well enough for the Jack White-helmed Third Man Records. The label keeps a stock of standard vinyl, but routinely dreams up wildly creative packaging ideas (a greeting-card gatefold, 7-inch single stuffed inside a 12-inch), produces a small stash, then watches fans hungrily snatch them up. They've also enticed fans into TMR's Vault subscription service with members-only releases and members-only perks.

"The collectible thing is there almost just to satisfy a small contingent of our fan base," says Third Man co-founder Ben Swank, "but it's absolutely become the most popular aspect of what we do."

White — an artist who's managed to grow a dedicated community into an all-out army — has a clear enough sense of why the approach works.

"If you do something creative with a mechanical object — an actual, tangible object — people remember it and hold on to it and cherish it," he said in April, during a Record Store Day interview for Rolling Stone. "It's easy for a small operation like ours, in a boutique sense, to be a success, because we're not trying to go platinum with everything we're doing. We're just trying to turn people on to new music. It's easy for us to say, 'Look how people are responding to real music and real, tangible items.' But that's all we can do. That's the only romantic thing we can possibly do."


Not really news, but always cool to hear them talk about their philosophy.

#40 Little Jellybee

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 02:11 PM

there is a new interview with ben blackwell

http://fnewsmagazine...category/music/

:)




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