So there’s this joke that goes, “there once was a band in a bubble…” And the punchline comes June 12th when, after 20 days of living and recording an album in a televised, Dr. Pepper-sponsored bubble/studio on NYC’s Pier 54, pop-punkers Cartel will emerge to perform tunes from their new LP and absorb an undetermined mix of laughter, cheers, and jeers.
You’ll be able to watch ‘em live in the studio from May 24th on at drpepperbubble.com, and eventually on the four-part MTV reality show Band in a Bubble presented by Dr Pepper.
On one hand, with every Thom, Ben, and Swede getting into the studio-video-update thing, we know it’s not an entirely deplorable idea (i.e. you’d watch if they did this with Arcade Fire), but bringing on a brand name cola, throwing it all on MTV … makes you wonder about Cartel’s integrity. Wait, does a band like Cartel even believe in integrity? After taking a shot from rabble-rousing rapscallion Bob Lefsetz, Cartel’s Will Pugh wrote Bob with a two-steps sideways-one-step back response.
First off, lets get all the things we agree on out of the way. Of course this is a marketing ploy and a huge one at that. There’s not one person who reads about this fan or not that isn’t going to see this as a stunt. Second, if I were not the subject of the matter I would whole-heartedly agree that whatever band was doing was being suckered in and hoodwinked and hijacked or whatever phrase we can think of. Lastly, the industry nowadays should be about the music and nothing else. The artist should feel that his or her talent and expression of which should be the only thing that matters and nothing more. With all that I agree.
See, we only have one record. We’re about to record our 2nd. People don’t really know us from any other band on the radio or mtv. All that is about to change. This bubble shit is stirring up all kinds of dust around the music world. Its something people find ridiculous. People think we’re crazy, sellouts, whores and everything else negative they can think of. Some people see it as cool. (I would venture to say that most of these people don’t have their head up their asses about music in the sense that they don’t think they are the definitive source on music knowledge or “what’s wrong with the industry”). The big point is that people who have never heard of us are hearing about us now. I know that great bands get out there some way…..but how long does that take. Even the upstarts from left field don’t have a career long enough to even call them road tested…..shit, some of them have played less than 100 shows ever by the time they “make it”.
The industry is crumbling. People are losing their jobs. Less established bands are being dropped from major labels everyday…..even ones that sold pretty decently but didn’t get the break everyone was looking for. We are looking at this as our make or break opportunity. If this bubble thing never happened we would release our next record to our 200,000 or so fans with a single to radio that would be negligibly pushed and we would just sit back and see what happens with our career as our tour schedule continued. It might have broke and we could be sitting on cloud nine by the end of the year and everyone is happy with no cred lost and no harm done. That’s best case scenario. What if it flopped in the labels eyes and only sold 300k or so…that’s not good enough for these people. We’d be shitting ourselves still calling it awesome and enjoying the modest loot we make on the road. Now here’s where you say “shouldn’t it only matter what you think…..that you did your best and did it without this whole mess”. Well, it does only matter what we think. It really doesn’t matter what you or any other blogger in the world thinks. We think we fucking rock. We think we’re one of the best bands making popular or any other kind of music right now. Our producers don’t do shit to our songs and we don’t listen to our A&R…he just got fired anyway. We’d dropkick most of the top 40 artists right in the face if we were put up to the tests of live performance or songwriting ability. With that being said, there are artists who are up there who are fantastic and bust their ass and earned it the old fashioned way. We, however, feel we deserve to be up there too and just because pete wentz doesn’t tell everybody they should like our band doesn’t mean we don’t belong.
This marketing scheme shows the world that we are a real band with real inspiration and real songs. Not some american idol winner or a label lottery contestant. People get to see us do what we do under intense pressure and scrutiny and still hit a fucking grand slam while in the meantime people in your position are hating like there’s no tomorrow on a band that they know little to nothing about.
All you guys think we’re just another dickless band with mediocre songs without even giving us a chance. That’s no way to find out about a band you might actually like. We will gladly accept all the fans that will have us even if they are of the generation that only listens to radio…..why? Because they just listen to music…..they don’t analyze business decisions or marketing ploys. They only care what’s coming in their ears and that’s what we’re about. Not some scene that’s too stuck in the past to do anything worthwhile anymore.
So we put our necks on the chopping block. We throw ourselves at everyone’s mercy with the belief that we wrote badass songs and that’s all that should matter. Which, as you say, that’s all that should matter. Not a bubble, not a gimmick, not a marketing stunt, not even mtv…..but the tunes. If we fail at that then that’s our mistake and ours alone. But if we knock it out of the park then we bypass all the lame fucks who are too full of themselves to take on opportunities such as this. Its not for everybody but its for us. Fuck selling records if that’s what you think this is all about. We want people to know that we will write rock songs and ballads and shit you probably haven’t heard before right in front of everyone’s eyes with no strings and no puppeteers doing the work for us. Listen to the record and decide then what to do with us.
Call this my manifesto but for one I’m sick of all the ninnies running around acting like they know anything about what it takes to create music. To all of them and you I ask……where’s your albums?
In other words: they’re sacrificing their integrity to show you they have … integrity. Wonder if the bubble is gonna be circular. Ya know, to match the shape of their logic.