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Sell your soul…and mine

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In late June, The Nation ran a piece by John Densmore, drummer for The Doors, describing his fight against selling out to advertising companies. Like rats, these companies swarm the three remaining members of the band, offering ever-increasing sums of cash in return for the right to co-opt the emotional cache of the Doors’ songs. Hey — it worked for Moby, it can only help you as a band, right?

Well, no. At best the use of emotionally-charged music ironically reveals the limitations of ad execs’ awareness, as in the case of the Jaguar ad fueled by The Clash. At worst it can undermine memories and emotions that are, for better or worse, locked to a song. “We Can Build You”, indeed — where’s Philip K. Dick when we need him?

Continuing this discussion, the current issue of The Nation features a letter by Tom Waits, penned as response and support for Densmore’s position. Waits has had his own brushes with advertising; in 1990 he was awarded damages in a suit brought against Frito-Lay, who had used a Waits sound-alike for a radio spot after being repeatedly turned down by the real thing. That trial is a landmark of sorts, establishing, as Waits puts it, “that my voice is my property.” That such an essential, obvious truth need be proven in court reveals far too much about our culture, and the price we’ve put on it.

Thank you John, for not taking the cash-laden route and thank you Tom, for an eloquent public expression of support.

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About Russ Fischer

  • Rodney Welch

    Great comments, Russ — I’ve referenced both articles on my own blog. After a summer of watching — and watching and watching — as the Clash “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” was used to sell liquor to spike-haired corporate punks, it really hit the spot.

  • SIR

    i have soul as someone spiked myself with a legitamite drug to give me soul, i will not sell it ever, i will always stand tall above all religious aspects in life, I AM A MAN, it seems what soul calls man lacks in this world, so i am going to tell you this, I HAVE SOUL, i cannot and will not sell it, it is better than any of those so called soul sellers, THE INDUSTRY OF SOUL SELLING NOW NEEDS AN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, i will either have this my way for the youth of the world as i start the biggest internet campaign in the history of the world, to explain soul which i have studied to the greatest extent on how to use it, i will never be overcome by anyone or any pressure, i have my safety locked down,. my soul will, I REPEAT WILL PROTECT ME AS I EDUCATE THIS WORLD IN A LIFE OF SOUL, it is our world to share not to destroy by selfiah pigs, america is full of selfish fantasical assholes, who think they are all that, i will say this only once, soul selling is going down the tubes, they will be able to do nothing without the sayso of the world soon enough, their industries will either join up to the way of life that the world is our childrens or my soul says they will be killed destroyed and publicly smeared as each one of them is deleted, it is either the way of the united one nation of power or we will stand up together as i spread the word of soul by giving it to people showing them you don’t have to sell it, you can be spiriually inclined and not sell you soul, it is either the way of the collective protection of our youth, or game over, this is not my way but the soul of the earths way, so you should start to listen to the sion or you will have you name publically smeared,