Sturgill Simpson has never exactly been easy to pin down. After independently releasing two albums, he moved on up to major label Atlantic to release his well-received 2016 album A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, which won for Best Country Album at the Grammys and was nominated for Album Of The Year. After that, he moved over to Elektra Records with last year’s Sound & Fury, which was paired with an anime companion film that debuted on Netflix and which is rumored to have cost $1.2 million to make.
And in a new interview with Uproxx (via Pitchfork), Simpson seems pretty pissed off with how his label handled that album and how the music industry has treated him in general. “I don’t talk to the record company,” Sturgill said during the interview.
“Maybe if you don’t want to be on a record label anymore, you make a record they can’t market, then you get them to spend a million bucks on an animation film and refuse to promote it, and leave them holding this giant un-recouped debt,” he said, seemingly referring to Sound & Fury. “Maybe the bean counters will make a decision for me. I can go back to just doing it myself better than they do. That’s what I’ve learned. Because they don’t know what the fuck to do with me.”
When asked specifically if he’s done with Elektra, Sturgill responds: “I’m done. I’m done. Unless they drop me, I’m done” and “I’m not going to give them anything ever again, so I guess I’m done.” He said that he has been writing music, but won’t say if he has enough songs for another album: “If I said that then the record label would never let me go.” He continued:
I’m done working for them. I’m done giving babies away. I equate it to, if you owned a fucking dry cleaners, and it took off, and somebody showed up like, “Hey, we want to buy your dry cleaners. You can sit here and run the counter, but we’ll keep all the money.” Like, what other business model would anybody fucking think that makes sense in? And honestly, I don’t really see what they’ve done that I couldn’t have done myself, probably better. They haven’t delivered on any of their promises, so I’m fucking done there. But they wanted me to promote the tour, so here we are.
The whole interview is pretty much like this, and it’s pretty entertaining — read it here. He also talks about what else he’s been working on outside of music (he’s been transitioning into Hollywood) and he mentions that he’s been working on a couple of screenplays, one about his time in the Navy and another one that’s a “punk-rock, really gritty version” of An American Werewolf In London. And he also says that he’s been writing a book called A Sailor’s Guide To The Music Business that’s all about his experiences in the industry.
Simpson is about to stand an extensive 52-date tour in support of Sound & Fury.