Monday, June 25, 2007

Earache & Sub Pop ( how we nearly signed Nirvana!)

Question: It has been said before about how earache had negotiated with sub pop to release nivarna material, however im wondering why are godflesh listed as a sub pop artist on their wikipedia page and also in a book about the label\'s history, did earache license the material to them ( perhaps to sweeten the deal for getting nivarna or something) From:

Answer:Earache in the late 80's was making waves in the Uk Indie scene, supported by John Peel etc, and selling a lot of grindcore and Death Metal records.Our UK distributor was Revolver Distro based in Bristol, and working at the distro was an amiable American chap named Gary Held, who ran a DIY one-man label called Tupelo, with i think 4 or 5 releases out(including Sleep's debut).Meanwhile the Uk press were beginning to fawn over the coming Sub Pop-led Seattle grunge scene, most of which i thought was garbage, with one exception- Nirvana- who quickly became my favourite band on the planet, mainly thru the heaviness of the guitars and the sense that they were an intense band.
Meanwhile,Gary Held had pulled off a major coup for his label by licensing the debut Nirvana album for the UK- the story goes that he flew up to the Sub Pop office armed with $1000 in cash and said he's not leaving until they license Bleach to him for UK!
By the end of the day, he had the album! A genius move by any standards..
Tupelo quickly sold out of its first pressing of "Bleach" and The guy hired to do publicity for Tupelo/Nirvana in the UK (Anton of Bad Moon) was also doing Earache's publicity for a short while.Earache and Tupelo quickly became the biggest selling labels thru Revolver distro- so i had a front row seat to witness the Nirvana bandwagon starting to roll in the UK.
You gotta remember tho Nirvana on the debut were deemed very cool by the media,but the band were still quite underground and merely a promising US band among thousands of promising bands, and far from the superstars they(albeit reluctantly)later became.
Earache wanted to license the next album by Nirvana badly- and offered a whopping $13,000 to Sub Pop in order to license the next Nirvana album.It was a fortune for us at the time, but was never even considered, as events began to snowball and Nirvana quickly left Sub Pop to sign to DGC/Geffen.Oh well, - nevermind.

As for Godflesh- Earache licensed a couple of Godflesh tracks to Sub Pop for their 7 inch series, which became their Slateman single.Earache released it on CD for Europe.

Another piece of trivia- The second guitarist on the cover of Bleach is actually Jason Everman, who joined Nirvana briefly as a live guitarist, but did not feature on the recording.Later he joined the band OLD signed to Earache and appears on the lo flux tube album by them.

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