"Hello Everyone. We've noticed that there have been a lot of rumors floating around on the internet and especially on our message board and we'd like to set the record straight. We hope that this clears some things up.
When we first signed to Victory Records we were really excited about the idea of working with a label that supported bands we all grew up listening to. The opportunity to be part of a "hardcore tradition" was great. However once we signed, many of our friends warned us that we had probably gotten ourselves into a situation that we would regret..."
The statement goes on, at length, to describe the band's relationship with Victory, as well as the band confirming their long-rumored signing to Island Records. Read the whole statement below.
Hello Everyone. We've noticed that there have been a lot of rumors floating around on the internet and especially on our message board and we'd like to set the record straight. We hope that this clears some things up.
When we first signed to Victory Records we were really excited about the idea of working with a label that supported bands we all grew up listening to. The opportunity to be part of a "hardcore tradition" was great. However once we signed, many of our friends warned us that we had probably gotten ourselves into a situation that we would regret. At first we weren't sure what they were talking about, but we figured that it was ok because part of our deal with Victory was that we could go to another label if we chose to do so. The deal that we signed stated that any movement away from Victory had to be towards a major label, which at the time seemed like a far-fetched idea to say the least. In any case, soon after beginning our relationship with Victory we began to realize what people had been warning us about.
The problems started with what we thought were minor issues. For "Full Collapse", we had intended to make a nice booklet for the artwork but Tony (the owner of Victory Records) would not allow that. He told us that it would be cheaper to do a 1 page insert and that the lyrics to our songs were unimportant and should be left out of the packaging. We obviously disagreed and worked out a compromise that would ultimately produce the final packaging for Full Collapse. In another instance, while we were visiting the Victory offices we discovered that for promotional purposes they had made "Thursday Whoopee Cushions" that they intended to have passed out at the Warped tour. We were kind of shocked by this, and were also puzzled why we weren't consulted before hand. Geoff sat down with Tony and expressed the band's position on the matter and asked Tony if Victory would get our approval before doing things like that. Tony's response to Geoff was that Victory was a big company and that they didn't have time to run everything by the band. On several occasions we expressed to Victory that we needed to communicate more to make sure that we were on the same page regarding promotion and art direction. Unfortunately it really never got any better. Tony began to promote our song "Understanding In A Car Crash" (for a second time) without ever informing us of any plans to do so. And we still have no idea what their future plans are concerning radio promotion.
On our way out to the Murder City Devils tour we stopped in at Victory for a friendly visit. Steve and Geoff sat down with Tony to talk about how things were going. Tony told them that he was sorry that Thursday wasn't living up to his expectations but that it was ok because he had just signed a new band that was going to "open up doors" for everyone on Victory. We expected at that point that his thoughts on our progress as a new touring band would have been more positive. We knew that we weren't selling millions of records but we were touring relentlessly and by most indie-label standards one could say we were doing well. Tony's words were not exactly words of encouragement or satisfaction.
About a month or so later while we were on tour with Saves The Day we suddenly found ourselves with a new best friend. Tony seemed to think that the more high profile tours ie; 1500 to 2000 capacity clubs, were the tours we should have been doing all along. Never mind basements and VFW halls, never mind forming meaningful intimate relationships with people with their own self sufficient DIY scenes around the country. The calls we were getting from Victory became more frequent, Tony started calling us just to say hello, or to ask how record sales at shows were going. We found it disheartening that this support wasn't there from the beginning. It not only seemed that this new friendship was disingenuous but it was also defeating to us. The notion that all of our touring before this tour, which totaled 3/4ths of a year straight was not worthy of moral support was upsetting. Instead of Tony's relationship with us being based on a love for music, it was based entirely on numbers.
Throughout this whole time we were approached by various major labels. We were initially shocked that our tiny band was getting any such attention. As certain labels grew more persistent through the course of the year, we found ourselves having to seriously consider their attention as something worth entertaining and learning about. We were very cautious for obvious reasons and we were still uncertain that moving to a major label was the right decision for us. We have always been concerned with maintaining a familial and mutually caring relationship with people we have worked with. And at the time, there was so much we didn't understand about major labels. While we were on tour with Saves The Day we found out "through the grapevine" that Tony was probably going to sell a part of his label to MCA (Music Corporation of America). Of course he has every right to do this, but one would think, as we certainly did, that being an indie label, he might consult his bands about it. This was not the case. Feeling deceived, and nervous about such a potentially serious move, and with the knowledge that becoming part of a major not of our choice was going to happen regardless of what we felt, we decided to find other options. We brainstormed, and knew that there were other indie labels that we would have loved to be a part of. However, we were contractually blocked from moving to another independent label.
One label, Island Def Jam, had been coming to our shows since we started touring full time. They had seen us at our worst, they knew at the time that we were not concerned with radio or huge record sales, and they understood that we just wanted to tour and play music. Throughout the entire year various members of the Island staff would come out to shows to tell us that we played well and to show their support for us. Later, they would express interest in working with us. After hearing from several major labels over the past year, and after learning of Tony's dealings with MCA, we decided that it was in our best interest to sign a deal with Island. While our deal with Island is subject to our getting released from Victory Records (which Victory is obligated to do according to the contract), we are confident that we will soon be a part of the Island family.
Victory Records helped us very much. They helped us to make a record and to get it out to people. However, we have realized that we are not and never will be creatively aligned with Tony and his vision for our band and his company. The idea of family is very important to us, members of a family should treat each other in a forthright, honest, respectful and supportive manner. This is not the case with Victory because of the way Tony has acted towards us. We have been deceived, bullied and compromised to an unsatisfactory end. This is not to say that we don't care about members of the Victory staff. We wish them all the luck in the world. We simply want to continue autonomous from Victory. Regarding MCA records, because of their deal with Tony they have now begun to promote "Full Collapse" as if it was their own. However we have had no communication with them and we do not consider ourselves an MCA band. We are looking forward to building a relationship with Island. They have illustrated over the past year that they understand the basis of our band, and they have no intentions of changing the music that we naturally write, record and perform. Neither do we.
This last year has been amazing. To all of you who have come out to our shows and shown your love and support we would like to let you know that it is greatly appreciated and that we sincerely thank you. Being a newer band out on the road we took a leap of faith that was initially very scary but thanks to all of you it has been an incredible experience thus far. And while this year has been so much fun, this situation has been very trying. We're confident it will be worked out, but we want you all to know that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that we obtain full and complete control of our music and the way in which it is presented to you.
We hope this settles any confusion.
Steve, Tom, Geoff, Tim and Tucker