GQ recently interviewed noted producer and Shellac / Big Black guitarist Steve Albini about myriad of topics, including the problems with the mainstream music industry both now and twenty years ago, the re-emergence of vinyl as a viable format and Albini's repulsions of fashion and most media in general. When asked for his opinion regarding political, "indie" bands signing to major labels, Albini had this to say:
"I'm not really interested in participating in mainstream culture. Participating in the mainstream music business is, to me, like getting involved in a racket. There's no way you can get involved in a racket and not someway be filthied by it. You're another catalog item, another name on the list of people who are collaborating with the enemy. But by the same token I don't know what circumstances every other band is in and what they feel forces their hand at some point. I know some bands feel like they have the choice between working with someone at the independent level who they think is inept, or working with someone in the mainstream--who may also be inept, but at the very least may give them some money. That's the kind of choice I never want to have to make for myself."
Albini also took to task Sonic Youth's decision to join a major label in 1990 after nearly a decade of success in the underground:
"Sonic Youth chose to abandon it in order to become a modestly successful mainstream band--as opposed to being a quite successful independent band that could have used their resources and influence to extend that end of the culture. They chose to join the mainstream culture and become a foot soldier for that culture's encroachment into my neck of the woods by acting as scouts. I thought it was crass and I thought it reflected poorly on them. I still consider them friends and their music has its own integrity, but that kind of behavior--I can't say that I think it's not embarrassing for them. I think they should be embarrassed about it."
Check out the entire interview here.