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« My Rival, Charles Nelson Reilly | Main | Please Read This. No, Don’t! »

May 31, 2007

Comments

LOLZ! A very entertaining, yet informational, blog indeed. Especially the Hitler pic you got there. It gave me a good laugh. :D

VW Parts Blog

Blather on all you like, but the guy has certainly sold out.

Yes Volkswagen was a product of Hitler’s Third Reich. But after the war the company was instrumental in rebuilding Germany’s devastated economy and mass-producing possibly the first economy car, the Beetle, overtaking the T-model Ford as the best selling car in history. The only emotions I would feel upon hearing a Wilco song coming from a Volkswagen radio is the desire to hear Wilco played on the radio more often and, this may make me a consumer-sheep, a desire to buy a Volkswagen. Fans often annoy me with their claim to ownership of a band. It reminds me of the hoopla when REM went with Warner Brothers, but it appears to me Wilco isn’t even going that far. I say, if Pete Townsend has done it, it’s alright—unless they are selling Mitt Romney or something.

Excellent post. Very thought-out and well written. I wanted to choke a few people on those VC boards. The calamity just seemed so ridiculous. It's one of the pitfalls of the internet.

May I also say how jealous I am that you are Sue's brother and Jeff's brother-in-law? Well I am. There. I've said it.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

I love the Hitler moustache pic. I think you're right, if you're a celebrity, everyone thinks they have the right to judge you.

Wow – my little rant pissed of Jeff’s extended family – my goodness.

As the creator of that thread I have apologized for its original tone, and went on to share my feelings regarding just how much I love the band. I’ve been a fan since the get go – I am a friend of a friend of Sean Slade, the recording engineer at Fort Apache – I was lucky enough to get a, ummmm…borrowed copy of No Depression before it was officially released. I would never suggest that they do not have a right to make a living – that is ridiculous – however, I stand behind my belief that selling songs to advertisers cheapens the original message – as many others have stated, many of the voices coming from within the recording industry – Tom Waits – Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young among others.

Jeff has stated that he feels as though the band and the audience share a strong connection – each playing a part in the creation of the songs and how they are received. I was not calling his indie cred into question, as they have not been on an indie label in many, many years – however, you can not simply brush off this decision without taking into account how this fits within the context of a larger framework, as more and more artists cozy up to larger and larger corporations, or, as partners as Jeff suggested, how this may have come across to some fans.

I apologize for my original tone, however, I will not back down from the underlying message – musicians should stick to playing music – car salesmen and woman should stick to selling cars (or burgers, or clothes or Bud or whatever.). Just imagine a world in which used car dealers took up guitars and abused us with their – “music.”

Yuck.

Please tell Jeff I said hello, and that I absolutely adore him, his music, and the rest of the band. I’m upset because I care, if I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be upset (Which is not to suggest that those who care but are not upset care less – we just have a difference of opinion.). Much of what I said was me playing devil’s advocate – I think it is interesting how little many people care that corporate America is gobbling up not only larger and larger slices of pie, but the genuine artists of this country as well – those who, not too long ago, acted as our defense against such crass commercialism.

Those are my two cents – which, at one time, could like, buy you something.

But Jeff drives a Honda?

more power to jeff and the band to get the music out there. that's what it's all about. who cares where you heard about it from as long as you listen to it and enjoy it!
i enjoyed reading this entry, VC can be crazy at times, but it really is a good place. sometimes people just get their undies in a bunch for silly reasons.

While I still strongly disagree that this episode sets any kind of unhealthy precedent for Jeff or Wilco, I appreciate the apology for the tone of some of your earlier posts, jnickerson. To say that comments Jeff has made in interviews should be called into question because of the Volkswagen ads seems absurd (and offensive) to me. And I would add that this ad campaign in no way represents Wilco being "gobbled up by corporate America." I get that you don't like hearing your favorite music in any commercial, no matter what, and that we simply have a difference of opinion there. As far as I'm concerned, that decision should be completely up to the artist. Thanks for commenting.

"It saddens me that these people seem to believe that the VW campaign will somehow affect Wilco's future activities or Jeff's commitment to his songwriting. From the outcries I’ve seen on several sites, you’d think Wilco had licensed “She’s a Jar” to sell Kraft mayonnaise, “Nothing’s Ever Gonna Stand In My Way” to hawk Viagra, or “I’m the Man Who Loves You” to promote the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Oy."

"This particular paragraph caught my attention because, in a way, one could read it as saying, "Wilco endorsing VW = okay....Wilco endorsing Kraft or Viagra = not okay". Obviously, I know he's joking...and I have no doubt that a NAMBLA ad would most likely raise the collective eyebrows of Wilco Nation (But, on the other hand, it might attract a whole new fanbase to their music!!). I guess I just wonder what distinction he's trying to make with this comparison."

I certainly appreciate and respect your opinion - wholeheartedly. However - the preceding quote was taken from a response on the forums - would you care to comment?

I hope my tone does not come across as overly confrontational - unfortunately, these types of discussions often come across as angry - that is not my intent.

Thanks for provideing such a great blog!

LOL! Is that some kind of pooh-colored play-dough on Jeff's face? How juvenile! :-)

Seriously, Danny, you shouldn't read those message boards. I used to be intimately involved in a couple of online communities and the endless stream of homegrown controversies made me crazy.

I remember the selling out debate that occurred around Dylan more than a decade ago when "Times they are a changin'" first appeared in a Bank of Montreal commercial. Dylan proved to be ahead of the popular tide, as usual. Ironically, the Dylan debate smelled a little anti-semitic to me!

In any case, try to ignore the naive comments from so-called fans. TV commercials are simply one more venue for the music, nothing more or less. In fact, I discovered the late, great, singer-songwriter Nick Drake a few years back through a VW Cabriolet commercial.

Sincerely,
MKM (a fan of your blog)
Cotati, CA

"And none of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get you all."

Dear Jeff Tweedy's brother-in-law, you are a wise and senseable man. Two thumbs up!

Did you get to meet Billy Bragg when he did the sessions with Wilco? I love Billy Bragg, long time fan.

But with the myriad ways that Jeff continually demonstrates his devotion to his craft and his deep respect for Wilco's fans, it’s hard not to be a little upset when I see how quickly some of them turn on him because of their beliefs on what constitutes art, how much money they think Jeff should earn, and how successful he should be

Yes I can imagine it's hard not to be upset, but there is one big reason not to be: Because they weren't fans to begin with.

Thank God, for what it's worth, those people are just a meaningless minority and should be forgotten as soon as you log off the forums. They aren't worth a single thought, because they in no way represent the majority of Wilco fans.In fact, they don't represent us at all, seeing as they can't be call fans anyway.

"Yes I can imagine it's hard not to be upset, but there is one big reason not to be: Because they weren't fans to begin with.

Thank God, for what it's worth, those people are just a meaningless minority and should be forgotten as soon as you log off the forums. They aren't worth a single thought, because they in no way represent the majority of Wilco fans.In fact, they don't represent us at all, seeing as they can't be call fans anyway."

So - I guess, what you're saying here is, even though I've purchased everything the band has released, attended many shows, defended their evolution over time, but, since I don't agree with a few things they have done, I'm not a fan? Wow - that's quite a stretch - and none too offensive.

Have you ever disagreed with a parent, sibling or friend'd decision - does that make you less of a friend, less of a sibling, or less of a son/daughter?

With all do respect, that is ridiculous. Do true fans blindly follow, or voice their opinions?


I would like to make an ammendment to my comment. After a quick fact check I found out that the Beetle was the best selling car for a time but the current best selling car in history is the toyota corrolla--for anyone who cares besides me.

Thanks for your thoughts and insight Danny, and I really love that first picture as well. Mostly because I took it....:)

Yes I do disagree with parents/siblings/kids/friends/favorite bands, I do not like all Wilco songs, I don't blindly worship every head scratch from Jeff Tweedy - yet I try to voice my opinion in an at least remotely respectful way........and some people just didn't. That's what upsets me. As long as the band does what those people like, all is fine. When they do something some fans don't approve of, they seem to be rightfully slaughtered. Sorry, can't agree with that.

Great post.

Completely pointless criticism, but a bit of a peeve of mine: though you didn't quote anything I said, *every* time a board member quotes me they refer to me as a 'he,' though I'm not (screen names are almost always ambiguous in that regard, but still). Do you check up on that at all when you refer to the board posts you use, or just shoot in the dark?

Joe, sorry about "borrowing" that photo of yours from the Wilco website without giving you any credit! Nice shot.

Lauren, it's true that people make assumptions about posters without a lot of info. For all I know, jnickerson is a woman.

Jnickerson, I think I can speak for Jeff (but really shouldn't) and say that he has no interest in fans "blindly following" the band in any way—if they have critical opinions they want to share, bring 'em on! But I also agree with Dunja that some of the comments in that discussion were getting extremely personal and inflammatory and that's what bothered me because I felt certain criticisms were completely unjustified. As for your earlier query, yes, I do think having a Wilco song playing in the background of a Volkswagen commercial is very different from using the lyrics of a song to sell mayonnaise. But if Jeff wants to write a mayonnaise jingle, go for it! I love the song he wrote for the "SpongeBob SquarePants" movie.

"1 Jun 2007 : In a new form of music/promotion/communications, the band Wilco's recently released album Sky Blue Sky is the soundtrack to Volkswagen's latest TV campaign. This new form of marketing collaboration has the creative forces of Wilco and VW combining to launch both an album and a VW campaign in the same week (May 22nd). The partnership spans multiple commercials and multiple songs, with the first song being "The Thanks I Get." The Wilco Volkswagen union will run for the summer and all songs can be streamed on vw.com. It's also the first-ever licensing deal for Wilco." - prdomain.com

http://www.prdomain.com/companies/V/Volkswagen/newsreleases/20076141095.htm

As long as I'm having to watch commercials, I'd rather be hearing nice music while doing it. VW has had some great songs in their ads... it's how I first heard Richard Buckner.

What bothers me also is that it seems to be somehow "justified"/"legalized" to flame the band/Jeff as long as you have bought all their releases.

I had the same discussion going on years ago on an REM board, when I openly criticized them releasing a "special edition CD with completely unreleased and new material that will thrill every fan to bits" which turned out to be mainly just live songs every hardcore fan had downloaded long before anyway. I thought it was a rip-off, and voiced my opinion in a polite and respectful but open way, and indeed mentioned the fact that I felt entitled to criticize the band and let it out when I am personally not ok with something as a longtime fan who has spent quite some money on them, and I also said that. (Of course I got torn into pieces anyway because people thought that nobody should criticize the band at all ; mostly the webmaster of that board who works for Warner now ;))

But I honestly don't see any entitlement to offend and insult them just because you disagree with something they do.

I guess a lot of harm in general life situations just like this could be avoided when you say "I personally don't like the song Casino Queen/the fact they are doing a commercial/their new setup a lot" instead of "their songs are crap/they suck/they sell out".

Everyone's quotes here are based on subjective opinions after all and should be expressed as those and not as if someone's stating a fact.

I'd have no problem whatsoever telling Jeff this very moment that I am not too fond of "Casino Queen" and can't see what others obviously see in that song - just as I had no problem telling him several times how much "Via Chicago" means to me. And I am absolutely sure that he'd have no problem in me telling him so. But I am also sure he'd have a problem with me saying "ey Jeffrey, y'know what? your new album sucks, it is unbelievable! selling out already with not even 40 eh?!" I am sure nobody would find such a remark in any way acceptable.

Personally, I find it somewhat amusing that Jnickerson just registered on that message board on 28th of May 2007 - it just surprises me that such a longtime devoted fan who bought all their stuff didn't find that board until they had something to rant on about?!

I'm married to an artist/songwriter and as far as I'm concerned, Stayfree Maxi Pad or Summer's Eve female products have our permission to use any of his songs as a jingle. Not a thing wrong with selling out. I can't speak for Jeff, but, most artists I know (lots) are in this business to make a living. Yes, they are dedicated to their art, but, dedication alone doesn't pay the electric bill or put your kids through college. Thanks to the Volkswagon people (and whoever else might use his songs in the future) Jeff will hopefully be able to have a nice old age and not worry about whether or not he should buy his medicine or buy groceries.

"Personally, I find it somewhat amusing that Jnickerson just registered on that message board on 28th of May 2007 - it just surprises me that such a longtime devoted fan who bought all their stuff didn't find that board until they had something to rant on about?!"

I've followed the board for years - I just never felt compelled to post. I've been a member of the, for lack of a better word - indie/punk community for 22 or so years - I think my passion insofar as this topic is concerned should give you a hint as to my devotion – you can disagree with me, and I completely understand, but please, don’t make veiled doubts as to my sincerity – loyalty – or honesty.

And I'll do the same.

If this means Wilco gets some extra $$ and I get to hear their music as I'm suffering through the commercial breaks on TV, then hooray! If some poor sucker buys a VW in the process, who am I to worry about that.

Good for you for posting this lengthy defense. I could not agree more. In fact, I not only wouldn't care if Wilco had allowed the use of their music for selling mayonnaise, like you mentioned, I'd full on support it. Get the music out there - get it heard. To anyone who says "Sell Out", are you telling me that after many years of making music, one of the top creative agencies in the world, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, comes to you and says we want to use your songs - you'd say no? Please. I say horse do-do to you.

Amen Liz!

Just a thought: Is it somehow "better" or "more decent" and less "sell out-ish" to sell music to fans than selling it to a company like VW? Really, where is the difference?

And isn't making music just as much a job as e.g. making pottery is, i.e. serves as making a living besides all artistic value?

Of course, if you're a born "Son-of-Mr. XX" and therefore don't need to sell your art/work, consider yourself lucky.

But if you are blessed with a talent as immense as Jeff's - and other artists - then selling this talent & making money out of it can also mean that more money will be donated to charity. Especially in case of the Tweedy family.

Who am I/who is anyone anyway to say that the money they earn with VW and are most definitely partly gonna use for the good cause is "bad" or "less worthy" money just because it has been earned via a commercial?

I find it ironic that same naive fans who are criticizing Jeff over the VW thing don't seem to be the same ones who applaud him for all the incredible charity work he does, for instance the "Letters to Santa" benefits in people's homes.
I've literally grown up with this band, having seen them in 1996 with 100 or so people in Mercury Lounge, all the way to New Year's Eve 2004 at Madison Square Garden. I really can't think of an artist who has done more for his fans, and who has more innate integrity than Jeff Tweedy.

The new Son Volt is greatness.

Just to add to this: America's very own General Motors (through its Adam Opel subsidiary) made a tidy sum out of the Third Reich...

Additionally, should Wilco pull all their tracks from commercial radio, so they are not seen as selling out?

Some people have too much time on their hands!

And to think Jeff kidded about some of the band not wanting to play Lollapalooza...Wonder who chose the VW spots, probably Tony Margerhita.

I'm afraid this is just a sign of the times--the era of expecting less. I'm betting a young Jeff Tweedy would have whole-heartedly excoriated the bands he loved for doing the same thing.....

I wouldn't have known anything about this band Wilco had it not been for me checking out news on the Volkswagen company, something I do constantly for my business. Wilco just might have a new fan. Congratulations, Wilco, for joining forces with a great youth oriented company like Volkswagen.

"I'm afraid this is just a sign of the times--the era of expecting less. I'm betting a young Jeff Tweedy would have whole-heartedly excoriated the bands he loved for doing the same thing....."

Come now Dave – stop being so naïve – the idea of selling out is so passé, so fifteen years ago. This is a new world we’re living in – you really need to suppress those nagging feelings telling you hold true to your ideals and just like, sell baby sell. Commercials are the new radio – all the kids are doing it so that just has to make it right. Let’s do away with record companies and in their place, sell the music to advertisers – it’s not like bands would ever change their sound to gain wider acceptance. Who better to sell records than Nike – VW – McDonalds – Arby’s – Pepsi – Coke – Burger King - et al. They’re hip baby, hip – and you can be hip to if you just give in to the brand – become the brand – live the brand – love the brand – internalize the brand lifestyle baby, it’s your future.

And I'm betting that since you are not a young Jeff Tweedy, you really can't say for sure what he would have thought when he was "young". (I put "young" in quotation marks because I don't really consider him "old" now.)

Also, as we grow older and wiser, sometimes our opinions change. So even if Tweedy would have condemned using music in commercials when he was younger, it's ok if he changes his mind about that now.

IMHO, it is his right as a musician to use his music in commercials, or any other way he would like. And while we do have the right to our opinions, I don't think any of us have the right to stand in judgement.

Bravo for Jeff & Co! To all that choose to look at this as a 'negative' definitely don't make music for a living. Try feeding you family on the income so-called FM radio provides. The advent of downloading has allowed Wilco to consider it's fans as another member of their family and THIS is how we respond??? Be careful to not bite the hand that feeds us. The industry is still trying to figure out how they can get back to 'pushing artists' rather than having Jon X see if the 'bottom line' was met with the new Wilco record. Bravo for Wilco as I 'get it.' It's a new medium that happens to be available for artist 'at this moment.' Don't hate the player....HATE THE GAME.

Peace
man-child

Jnickerson's argument has sold me. I'm off to Starbucks to get that new Paul McCartney album. I hear that it has more pep than a caramel macchiato and doubles as a coaster.

I'd also like to edit my previous post to say a "younger" Jeff Tweedy.

"And if the whole world’s singing your songs...

...Just remember what was yours is everyone’s from now on

And that’s not wrong or right
But you can struggle with it all you like
You'll only get uptight"

"Be careful to not bite the hand that feeds us."

No offense, but us long time fans put those Ramen Noodles on the table back when VW wouldn’t have given them the time of day – at our own expense. It’s a two way, give and take street – they write the music – we buy it. Those of us who have supported them over the years helped bring them to a level of success in which advertisers took notice.

"Be careful to not bite the hand that feeds us."

No offense, but us long time fans put those Ramen Noodles on the table back when VW wouldn’t have given them the time of day – at our own expense. It’s a two way, give and take street – they write the music – we buy it. Those of us who have supported them over the years helped bring them to a level of success in which advertisers took notice.

Sorry about the double post - I have an ichy mouse finger is what happened.

"Jnickerson's argument has sold me. I'm off to Starbucks to get that new Paul McCartney album. I hear that it has more pep than a caramel macchiato and doubles as a coaster.

I'd also like to edit my previous post to say a "younger" Jeff Tweedy."

See now – doesn’t that feel better, doesn’t it just feel right?

Yes much better. My head is no longer filled with questions or outrage. Just the memory of an orange mocha and some reduced-fat orange creme coffee cake. Oh and the music of that one guy that wrote the song "Yesterday."

And don't resist---join us here: http://www.starbucks.com/

This blog is very well said. Anyone who complains about "selling out" has absolutely no idea how the real world works. I respect Jeff Tweedy's music, and I respect his right to do what he wants with those songs--especially if those choices lead to the opportunity for him to continue making music.

"This blog is very well said. Anyone who complains about "selling out" has absolutely no idea how the real world works. I respect Jeff Tweedy's music, and I respect his right to do what he wants with those songs--especially if those choices lead to the opportunity for him to continue making music."

Oh you’re right – I don’t know anything about the real world – the real world in which we just had our first child, who is now already ten months old, the fact that we’ve been trying to sell our home for the last year and a half – or, how my wife left her teaching job because we both decided it would be best for our little Lily, leaving us to survive on my salary, which, without getting too specific, is a little over 30 grand a year, cashing out my 401k to keep us afloat so that we do not face foreclosure – dealing with health issues on all sides of the family, turning down a job offer that would have led to a substantial pay increase, but, would have also required me to work for a fella with an extreme GW fetish, which, thanks but no thanks – dealing with the fact that if we do not sell within six months, there is a very real possibility that we will lose our home while trying to figure out a way in which to pay off thousands of dollars in hospital bills resulting from our daughters birth, but, yeah, you’re right – I don’t know a dam thing about how the real world works....honest to Christ.

Hey good article. It is all opinions, nobody is correct or incorrect. And in my opinion, i do think its lame if you don't respect wilco now because they put music in a tv commercial... get over it people. Be glad we have some great music to listen to.

Ok. Jnickerson, I truly appreciate your honesty about your family situation, and I truly feel sorry for you, as it sounds more than familiar to me; I won't bother you nor anyone else here with what I have been through until 2004, just add "alcohol & domestic violence" to your report and note that I probably wouldn't be sane anymore if it wasn't for Jeff & "Summerteeth".

But then I really don't understand how you can pick on Jeff who does just what you are also desperately trying to do, i.e. to provide a stable living for his family? Why do you blame someone for doing & achieving what you also try to do & achieve? Is it because you didn't quite succeed so far (and I say that without any irony, just as a simple question!), or is it because you are secretly blaming yourself for not having accepted that job offer because it would have meant your wife & kid were protected now?

Ideals are fantastic, and I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to live them - as long as you can actually afford it. If you trade your family's social security for them, you should maybe reconsider.

I wish you and your family all the best, and I mean it.

JNickerson,

As Dunja already said, much more eloquently... how can you judge Jeff (or any artist) for wanting to provide for their family the only way they know how - through their art?

Does something that you consider "art" become less "arty" once it is put up for sale? If selling a song through a CD allows the song's integrity to stay intact, but not through a commercial, where exactly do you draw the line? Money is money. Selling is selling.

And if you wrote a song, and a company offered you enough money for it to pay off your mortgage, your medical bills and your daughter's future college education... would you say no? Really??

Don't judge someone's decision until you've been there too.

-Rachel

ps: If, in fact, you have written a song that would be perfect for a VW commercial, I say make some calls! I bet Jeff has the number...

Great point, Rachel.

It's easy to say you'll never sell out when no one's making any offers.

Of course, commercial music is my business, so I'm anything but unbiased.

Either way, a great topic and lively discussion. Music matters to people. That's a really, really, really great thing.

yeah you cant please anyone if everybody.

they should do what they feel is necessary to profilerate their music.

cmon. they leaked their record two months in advance and people are dissin on them for such petty garbage?

how else can a band like wilco survive in times like these?


so buy the record, let the industry know how you feel, and for those of use that buy a vw based on a wilco track, well more power to you all.


i just wish they didnt say "unlikely japan" in their song as i live in tokyo. cmon. japan is beautiful, let me show you how and why.

jd

There are some things that just don't really matter that much. People should just listen to the music - if it moves them, that's what's important, and it doesn't matter if it's in a commercial or on the radio.

And how many people would have discovered Nick Drake without Volkswagen?

Find something worth caring about, like Darfur.

Fans can be funny, so far I must say, I appreciate all of mine, however I have not yet hit my high. Why would fans want their favorite bands to be successful and then when they finally get their "break" they call 'em sell out? Why should we musicians not get paid for what we do? That whole musicians have to be poor and struggle is bullshit. Be happy for them! Do you enjoy their music? Then do that and be supportive of the bands you like. AND understand that for any musician to be able to create music and be on the road, we must make money, not break even.

Every internet discussion that goes on long enough eventually winds up comparing someone to Nazis. It's known as "Godwin's Law": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

great post. well played.

Danny, I thought you might like to read a little about another music hissyfit this week, ArcadeFireStolenBasketballGate. Check it out:

http://www.indietastic.net/cms/2007/06/the_arcade_fire_stole_some_guy.html

Hehe.

Selling out is charging your fans $100 to become a part of your fan club. Selling out is charging hundreds of dollars for tickets or even worse, auctioning off tickets to your shows for the highest price. If Wilco ever did stuff like this, I would be disgusted and dismayed, but Wilco has always been good to their fans. As for commercials, if Wilco didn't sell their song, someone would probably just copy it as close as they could without getting sued and then use that in the ad. So Wilco may as well get the $$$!

I have to take issue with jnockerson and his original comment. First I think his opening sentence is telling in that he, to me, snidely congratulates himself for getting a rise out of a member of Wilco's REAL extended family. Secondly, this next comment had me scratching my head for its extremely faulty logic, "I apologize for my original tone, however, I will not back down from the underlying message – musicians should stick to playing music – car salesmen and woman should stick to selling cars (or burgers, or clothes or Bud or whatever.). Just imagine a world in which used car dealers took up guitars and abused us with their – “music.”
What??? Are you saying that Wilco is "abusing us" with their music because of the medium they use to share it--a VW radio. Please explain, if you can. Are you saying that Wilco are no more than used car salesmen? What kind of fan are you? Your argument, plus the blatant name dropping, makes me question your credibility to no end. Sorry Danny, but I feel this guy has it coming to him.

Oh please - that line was meant to be like, a joke - you know, humor?

Lighten up.

There is really no way for me to confirm my early involvement with Uncle Tupelo via Sean Slade, whether you choose to believe it or not is entirely up to you - I can tell you I visited Forte Apache Studio many times with friends who recorded there, again, whether you choose to believe this or not is up to you.

I am close friends with Kevin Stevenson of The Shods, (now defunct.)they were signed and quickly dropped by Fort Apache/MCA.

I'm not in the habit of attempting to impress strangers via message boards.

....then why are you quoting all your connections *confused*?

This all seems rather pointless since almost everyone has TiVo now and fast-forwards through the commercials anyway. I guess the joke's on VW.

If I were going to get all huffy about Wilco selling out it wouldn't be about the VW ad - they had "How to Fight Lonliness" included on a Martha Stewart mix CD with a title like Sunday Brunch or something like that. She has done time, so that's gotta do something for your street cred. ;)

If any band or musician out there deserves to be paid for their music it's Wilco and Tweedy; and the more people that hear what GOOD music sounds like the better. As for the whiners who think it's selling out . . . then throw away every flipping t-shirt you own that has any sort of logo on it. Strip the names off your cars. Pull the pockets off of your trendy jeans. And take the stripes off of your painfully "indie" Pumas. Grrrr. I have nothing but respect for these guys. The music industry is so screwed up . . . people like Britney and every American Idol alum can make millions for crap, but a good band filled with good people has to take heat for having one of their songs used in a VW ad? It ain't right. I hope they keep on rockin' for a long time to come, and if it takes a VW commercial to help that happen then so be it. I just bought my 2 tix for the concert in Troutdale, OR, so I'll fund the cause wherever I can.

I love Wilco. I love VWs. I love the three I've owned. I love the two I didn't own but rode in a lot. I love listening to Wilco in VWs. I even like listening to Uncle Tupelo in my VW. Wilco sounds good in a Bug and a Jetta. In fact, I like Wilco and VW together so much that I drove my VW to a Wilco concert last week. And, as far as I know, the world kept on spinning. Kudos to Wilco for getting some cash money for their great music. No shame in that game. You earned it.

I know a few people who have become interested in Wilco thanks to seeing these commercials. I think the term "selling out" is being used a bit vaguely here, though I can see why someone would take issue with their favorite band doing business with a corporation. I guess the main problem I have with relating to this debate is that I rarely watch television, so I have yet to see a VW commercial featuring Wilco's music. I believe this article can voice many of my opinions on this issue far better than I can: http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/feature/43599-column-get-that-out-of-your-mouth-36

People, calm down!!!

so a few of their songs appeared on commercials. big deal!

live and let live. Stop caring so much about where the songs are, and listen to the actual song! this is a good band so stop making a bid deal out of it and let it be.

Dear Danny-
While I certainly understand you feeling the need to defend Jeff from criticism in the wake of these ads (I would do the exact same thing for a family member)...I do take issue with the fact that you go out of your way to point out how generous Wilco has been with its fans, without recognizing the same generosity displayed by the fans to Wilco. You seem to be saying that Wilco has always gone out of its way to give back to the fans (I completely agree) and therefore, those of us who disagree with the band's choice to promote a product with their music are somehow being ungrateful. While you do admit to being somewhat biased regarding this topic (understandably), I feel that you come across a bit too accusatory in your tone. Jeff & Wilco are truly one of the most generous bands working today...but I would say that their devoted fanbase goes to great lengths to reciprocate that generosity. I, myself, have been a fan of Wilco since its creation and I would be hard-pressed to tell you how much of my own income has gone towards supporting them and their music in the form of albums, concerts, t-shirts, posters, side-projects, etc. I've allowed out-of-town fans that I'd never met face to face to crash at my apartment following shows. I've burned Wilco mix cd's and loaned out my copy of the Sam Jones doc to friends with the hope of spreading some of the joy Wilco has given me to others unfamiliar with their music. I've stood outside for hours in Chicago winters in order to get tickets for shows. I've vehemently defended their stylistic evolution and their line-up changes from naysayers. Given the choice between paying my rent on time or travelling out-of-state to see a show, I've often chosen the latter. I have done all these things GLADLY. Wilco's music has meant that much to me through the years and still does. Please understand that I am not trying to say that my opinion means more or that I am better than other Wilco fans who agree with/are indifferent to these ads. My point is simply that there are many Wilco fans like myself who have shown the same generosity toward the band. And I would argue that the band has certainly benefitted from that devotion. Wilco is now an international act, playing at bigger venues, high-profile music festivals, and nearly every late-night talk show I can think of. I'm happy for them...they deserve the recognition and success that a larger audience brings. But I think that the reason they've achieved this success is because of their MUSIC, and the intimate connection their fans feel towards it. I personally feel that using their music to promote a product compromises that connection with some fans. I have no problem paying for an album or tickets because I'm paying for the music or the chance to experience the band playing their music live and in person. But when I hear that music in a commercial, it starts to feel like a bait & switch. VW is hoping that we make an association between our love for Wilco's music and their automobiles...and Jeff/Wilco seem to be saying that they are all in favor of people making that association. If I'm in the market to find the best car for my money, I'm not going to put Sky Blue Sky in the stereo...I'm going to pick up a copy of Consumer Reports. I respect the opinion of fans who have no problem with a Wilco/VW partnership, but I hope they would show the same respect for my point of view on the subject. It's one thing to disagree, and quite another to question someone's devotion to the band/interpretation of the music. All I'm trying to say is that even though some of us may criticize the band's decision on this issue (and I do concede that some individuals have been rather strident and off-base in their criticism...I, for one, do not believe that the band has endorsed fascism!), I believe it comes from a deep respect for the music and the band. For that reason, I don't think it's right to say someone is any less of a fan merely because of a contrarian point of view on this issue. I always thought Wilco (Will Comply) was the perfect name for this band, because of the playful tongue-in-cheek irony it conveyed as to their uncompromising outlook pertaining to the music...never more evident than with the now famous battle with Reprise. I don't know Jeff & the boys personally, but I'd be willing to bet they would much rather have their fans speak their mind instead of blindly acquiescing, "We Comply." Now that truly would be fascist!
Anyway, I'll climb down from my proverbial soapbox now. Thanks for hearing me out and my sincere apologies if this is too long-winded or if it offends you (or your family) in any way. I'd like to add that I still LOVE Wilco and their music more than ever, and I will continue to be a fan (In the words of the late great Wesley Willis, Sky Blue Sky "whups a mule's ass!"). Best wishes to Jeff, the band, and their families and I look forward to seeing Wilco in Chicago (hopefully) sometime soon!
Just a Fan,
Pete - Chicago, IL

Jeff Tweedy, Wilco and the music we are lucky enough to have them share with us can stand alone against these attacks. I have some advice for all you who have nothing elso to do but judge and call names. Put on Sky Blue Sky, it won't take long to pull you in. Then watch your kids swim all afternoon to their music... they are happy in their childhood, beautiful tunes playing. Really look at how the sun gleams of their faces, water in their lashes, close your eyes and feel your heart grow. I did it yesterday. Had a great day today!

I don't care if Jeff Tweedy and Wilco license a few songs for use in a VW commercial. I just don't care. And I don't care that Bob Dylan is hawking lingerie for Victoria's Secret, either. Have we forgotten that rock and roll was a commercial enterprise to begin with, from Elvis on down to Britney? That the Rolling Stones were as ambitious commercially as they were artistically, even in 1962? That part of the charm of the Beatles lies in their working-class determination to "make it" as rock stars? That even Delta blues singers like Robert Johnson were cribbing lyrics and licks from popular blues songs they heard on the radio and trying to hit the big time? Yes, we live in a thoroughly debased culture in which commerce somehow manages to degrade everything. And yes, I can understand feeling disappointed in a band that's earned so much respect for its artistic "purity," when they decide to let a car company use their music to sell cars. But then I would argue that the band's slow explosion into the "big time," such as it is, has depended heavily on the myth of their purity--in other words, their artistic purity has become a selling point, in and of itself--and I would also argue that the anger directed at Tweedy et al says more about the band's fanbase than it does about the band. After all, strip away the white noise and the mythology surrounding it, and as memorable as it is, YHF consists of nothing more "revolutionary" or "avant-garde" than folk ditties. Time will tell with the new record, of course, but to my ears, musically, it's the most complex and ambitious record they've yet made, and the lyrics are more consistent than on any previous effort. "Hate It Here" might be the best song Tweedy's ever penned, and nothing on the record makes me wince like "Muzzle of Bees" does. So if they're continuing to take risks, continuing to push themselves and improve in every way with age, isn't that more important than their decision to license a few songs for use in a VW commercial? The day they start cranking out product, is the day I'll consider them to have "sold out." Until then, all this hoopla says more about us than it does about them.

This argument has happened in quite a few bands hard-core circles in the last ten years. It gets old, and then the next band comes along and does it and it starts all over again.

Pete Townshend says, "These songs are my property. They came out of my head. I have every right to do whatever I want with them. You own your personal reactions to them and whatever memories they evoke for you, but the songs are entirely mine and I will use them any way I like."

The fans don't own the music. Jeff can do what he wants. After all, the songs have been 'for sale' ever since they came out. Rock bands charge a fortune for shows. Does that make all commercial artists a sell-out? I guess it does. Maybe expecting them not to be a sell-out is where you are going wrong.

Go hang out down by the coffeehouse and listen to some musicians who don't have a record contract. I guess they are the only non sell-outs, if that is what is important to you.

And, if the commercials are so bothersome, maybe you are are watching too many commercials.

I blame Nissan, not Pete Townshend, for them using a song that makes no sense for them whatsoever. Pete can joyfully give more of his money to the Double OO charity because of it.

I think artists who give their permission should make as much money as they can, while they can, if that's what they want. They cannot exist to please their fans. Jeff is still dealing with the UT fans that are still pissed that he went a different way with Wilco. And the YHF fans are annoyed that Sky Blue Sky isn't more of the same. How can he win? The only way is for him to be true to Jeff. Luckily, it works out well for a lot of us.

I dont understand all the fuss about using a Wilco song in a commercial. So what, why do people look into something that isnt there? Surely its a good thing to have a Wilco tune on an advert? Doesnt it get the music out to a wider audience? In the UK we rarely hear a Wilco track on our radio stations, I would be one of many fans that would welcome one on a commercial. Any UK fans that read this will understand: - 'CALM DOWN DEAR, ITS JUST A COMMERCIAL'

I dont know how I found this blog. But who gives 2 shits if Wilco's songs are on a commercial? Why does accepting money somehow make music less visionary and noble? Musicians have a right to be paid. I hate rock snobs who pull that attitude, you know the ones who know every little detail of some obscure album and then act like you are an asshole for not knowing all the words to things like Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant.

In all my life I will never be convinced Jah Wobble is good sounding. Or Fripp and Eno. Or belle and Sebastian.

I saw Wilco just a few short months ago, paid for t-shirts, cds, drank beer til I was drunk, had a great time and had no problem paying for the privledge. Good band and have actually introduced their work to people who formerly thought Nickleback was the greatest band only becuase that's what the popular radio exposed them to. Subtle nudges people, less snobbiness... Make people feel included and not excluded... To have friends you have to be a friend...

So I say "Viva la Tweedy!" Go make your buck however you can before the music industry puts together another musical equivlent of an organ grinder's monkey with a Wilco sound then rapes and pillages the music that you put your soul in to. Think Nirvana doing The Replacements lite or Coldplay retooling the U2 sound for one more whine-a-thon. The Escape Club literally stealing Elvis Costello's music...and who had the balls to sue George Harrison for my Sweet Lord? I still dont hear where that sounds like He's so fine... but whatever. I'd rather see a Jeff Tweedy make a dollar than another Jessica Simpson/ Britney Spears/ Insert name here, quite frankly.

Also if Volkswagon was so still Nazi based why is it in exsistance today? You know Japan bombed Pearl Harbor should we ditch the Honda Hybrids and Sony Vaios?

And everyone who drives the German highways is a Nazi too... :-x

Thx! :)

Greetings guys. I'm new here and I'm making my first post.

Nice piece. I just quit the VC board. Those folk are ravenous under their tender shells. Damn. I read the board to learn more about the band, but after 2 years of it the toxicity began to ruin the musical experience. I hate those douchebags. I know they are all Republicans, too.

Let JT be JT...

Hello to members of this site please to have joined your forum.

I don’t know some moments of this post..

I visited this blog first time and found it very interesting and informative.. Keep up the good work thanks..

How dare a band make money!

Is it not a band's ultimate objective to make money? What do you think they live on, your pretentious idolatry? Be happy people.

I was reading this blog for only two reasons:

1. It was mildly entertaining to hear people speak to a subject that I do not really care about (do not get me wrong I am a Wilco fan...I just don't care)

2. I am very bored at work


But jnikerson if you were trying to impress with your idealistic qualities that now may cause you to lose your home because, oh my god, you do not agree with your boss's political views, maybe time on a message board is not what you need. Maybe it's time to reevaluate what is important and what is not important. What a band does with their product/art/song is their business. Someone's political opinion is their business. Your livelyhood is YOUR business.

I guess the main problem I have with relating to this debate is that I rarely watch television, so I have yet to see a VW commercial featuring Wilco's music.

TV commercials are simply one more venue for the music, nothing more or less. In fact, I discovered the late, great, singer-songwriter Nick Drake a few years back through a VW Cabriolet commercial.

May I also say how jealous I am that you are Sue's brother and Jeff's brother-in-law? Well I am. There. I've said it.

love stacy budowsky's comment. sky blue sky kept me sane many times! love wilco and jeff and will listen to them in any media, commercials included!

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