Hugs and Kisses, The Outbursts of Everett True: Stolen Recordings
Plan B publisher Everett True is baaaaaaaack. Last week, he recalled knowing who the Pipettes were way before you. This week, he reminds you once again that he was there and you weren't. Oh yeah, he once wrote a book called Nirvana: The Biography (da Capo Press), which is useful to know before reading this column. E-mail Everett at email@example.com.
Pete and the Pirates.
Hugs and KissesThe Outbursts of Everett True
This Week: Stolen Recordings
No one's ever headhunted me to be an A&R person.
This is unusual, least where I come from. Once you attain a certain level of success--or, at least, notoriety--as a music journalist, record companies are usually queuing up to be clued in. Jeez, man: didn't they know I was the man who helped bring Sub Pop (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees) Records to global recognition, released the first record on Creation (Oasis, Jesus And Mary Chain, Primal Scream) Records, was drinking buddies with. . . No, wait. They were right. Aside from running two abortive labels, one in the Eighties (Dog-Faced Hermans), the other in the Nineties (Comet Gain) and an approach from a 4AD-style record company around 1991 (which I may well have put the kibosh on by stating I didn't like any of the bands they'd signed), no one ever had a sniff round me. And, as I say, they were correct not to come near me.
One of the questions I'm most frequently asked about Nirvana--aside from "Are you still in contact with Courtney Love?" NO, I'M FUCKING NOT!--is, "When did you first know that Nirvana were going to be massive?" Like sales is somehow relevant to enjoyment, like the reason a band first touches me is because I think a million other saps are going to be playing them as background music to their misbegotten existences. Let me state this here and now, bluntly, so everyone gets it: I NEVER KNEW NIRVANA WERE GOING TO BE MASSIVE. To me, they were just another great rock band among a thousand great rock bands that I've been privileged enough to see play live.
Overwhelmingly, the other 99 per cent of those bands never went on to press about 500 copies of their one record, and sell more than about half of that number. When I first reviewed Nirvana, I made 'Love Buzz' single of the week in Melody Maker in the company of The U-Men and Some Velvet Sidewalk, two other great ass-kicking bands from the Pacific Northwest. I didn't feel one was particularly better than the next (although pushed, I'd have gone for The U-Men), I just felt all were amazing. The U-Men and Some Velvet. . .who? Precisely.
It has long been accepted among my more professional peers (ie: the ones who actually make money for doing what they love) that if Everett True likes a band, it's the commercial kiss of death. It works in reverse, as well--I used to pride myself on recognizing commercial shit way before anybody else, and sticking the boot in way before the herd: Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Stereophonics, Radiohead, David Gray, Cranberries. . .I was there, man, manning the barricades.