The Sunny Side of Selling Out

A PACKAGE ARRIVED last week while I was laid up on the couch after a small surgery. I had been eagerly waiting nine months for my vinyl copy of Red Red Meat’s 1995 album, Bunny Gets Paid, and it came at the worst possible time. My wife offered to put it on the turntable before she left for work, but I realized that nobody would be around to flip it over for me.

I pouted and told her no thanks.

Frankly, it wasn’t urgent that I listen Bunny Gets Paid a thousandth time just then. But being beyond the record player gave me a moment to think about that album and to realize how lucky I am for sellouts.

Specifically, Sub Pop Records in 1995.



The mailman did not simply drop copies of strange, wonderful albums like Bunny Gets Paid onto your porch in 1995. He did if you had a Sub Pop mail order catalog, I suppose. But he didn’t if you were a young man like me in Deshler, OH (Population 1,700-ish, depending if anyone was on vacation that day).

Thankfully, that changed when one infamous record company threw its good reputation out the window.

If people know the name Red Red Meat at all today it’s because the core of that band went on to form a roughly similar group called Califone. Califone has gained attention for being bluesy and experimental, poetic and haunting. The guys in Califone perfected that tone with Bunny, however, as that album was some mysterious, scuffed-up blend of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music and Exile on Main Street.


Famously, that was silkscreened across Sub Pop’s t-shirts back then. The record label that brought Nirvana and Soundgarden into the world thrived off its underdog appearance. Sub Pop was a proud loser until it won big by selling 49% of the operation to Warner Music in 1995 a few months before releasing Bunny Gets Paid.

It may have seemed like the Pacific Northwest super indie was cashing in on its grungy success, maybe pulling a Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, considering that the Seattle sound was about as unfashionable as Layne Staley’s beard by then. But in reality, the label had already accomplished everything an indie could at the time. Despite accusations of selling out for big bucks, Sub Pop teamed with one of the largest record labels in the country for un-sexy reasons like improved distribution and marketing. (Though, yeah, $20 million didn’t hurt.)

But by sacrificing their underground cool, Sub Pop gave its weird post-grunge era records a chance at life beyond college campuses and hip clubs.

And it worked…at least once.

The headline was written in skuzzy green letters across the venerable shredder’s bible: “BRAVE NOISE.” The cover of Guitar World‘s December 1995 issue was probably the last known picture of Billy Corgan with hair. Believe it or not, that’s actually the least laughable part of that particular issue today.




Aside from the Pumpkins, who did the magazine consider part of Generation Axe (Their words, not mine) in its grandfatherly attempt at promoting alternative music? How about those bad boys of Pennsylvania Dutch country: Live. Plus, alterna-yawners Lenny Kravitz and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were honored with intricate tablature spreads.

Somehow, buried inside this white-knuckle selection of future T.G.I. Friday’s background music was a weathered, broken treasure. Hidden inside a publication that prided itself on interviewing fretboard jocks like Eddie Van Halen was a band that sounded like it might not even own a guitar tuner. Amongst tips on beefing up low end tone to better imitate AC/DC’s Angus Young was a tiny 200 word review of Bunny Gets Paid.

Take a moment and think about it. This was briefly considered a contemporary of the dreadlocked “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” dude.



The review stuck out so badly it couldn’t help but capture my attention. I reread the article roughly fifty times that December. It called Red Red Meat weird and bluesy and accused them of possibly abusing cough syrup.

I was sold, except for the tricky fact that Buckeye State farm boys didn’t exactly live near underground record stores. This was pre-EBay, pre-Amazon, pre-Google. People couldn’t stop staring at flying toasters on their computer monitors, for God’s sake.



Thankfully, Sub Pop had sold out and with it, their offbeat albums frequently got reviewed in slick glossies sold at mom and pop pharmacies like Scarborough’s Drugs in Deshler, OH.

My big gift after turning sixteen that December (and failing the driver’s test three times) was a 1983 Dodge Aires, bridal gown white exterior with blood red vinyl bench seats.



The only problem with this dream machine, other than its ability to repel teenage girls like a windowless van, was a lame factory AM/FM radio. Thankfully, by purchasing the world’s most geometrically angular sedan, my parents had saved enough cash to install a stereo, too. Not a CD player, of course. At that time in-car disc setups were only for millionaires like Jennifer Aniston and Urkel.

Thankfully, I had a solution:




But, the first step was to drive an hour north to civilization.

Civilization, in 1995, meant Best Buy, which was pretty unique and thrilling back then. While the Aires was getting tricked-out with the best sound system $65 could buy, I happened to browse the R section of the CDs.

There it was. A decapitated doll’s head inside a wine glass, crowned with dried flowers and what, up close now, looked like the same green shag carpet we had at home. I am certain there is no way a big box store in 1995 would have carried Bunny without Sub Pop’s sellout to Warner. How fortunate for young hicks such as myself.

I spent some birthday money on that album and Bunny Gets Paid was the first thing I listened to when I was finally able to drive alone.

I may be the only person on Earth who can make such a claim. I certainly was in Deshler, where my friends’ musical taste stretched across the spectrum from Metallica to Pantera. I don’t think I ever played Bunny for anyone in high school. I kind of liked it that way. Besides, how would I have even tried to explain such a haunting, wart-covered blues record with my Bevis and Butthead vocabulary?

Twenty years later, lying on the couch with a pack of ice over the incision, I realized Bunny has been the most frequently played album in my collection since that day. I own that original CD, plus the 2009 deluxe reissue, but bought the vinyl because the band had gotten back together to finally release their whole catalog on wax. I wanted to dissect Bunny on a high quality turntable, to find new things to love in something I already felt so deeply about, to experience it differently like the way classic movies look on Blu-Ray.

I had to laugh when I was finally able-bodied enough to man the record player and my three-year-old son sang the chorus to “Chain, Chain, Chain.” Maybe I shared Bunny with more people than I realized?

Thankfully, Sub Pop shared Bunny with as many people as it could in 1995, namely the coveted 14-to-18-year-old-Ohio-Farmboy demographic.

To this day some people still hang on to that outdated, Albini-esque stance that major labels ruin indie music. It’s a belief I also gripped tightly for years. But if you hold the facts up to the light a certain way, you can see how selling out also changes lives for the better. I need look no further than my turntable these days. Bunny Gets Paid has spoken to me for different reasons through up times and down, through high school, college, cross-country moves, marriage, a dozen dead-end jobs, and parenthood.

I’d like to think that up in Seattle, while I was studying the defensive driving textbook, Sub Pop was signing its Warner contract in hopes that the music they loved might do that rare thing that only great art can: to make a deep, personal impact on someone.

And, yes, stacking a few million bucks in the bank wasn’t a bad side effect.



About Patrick Wensink

Patrick Wensink (@patrickwensink) is the author of the bestselling novel Broken Piano for President and the essay collection Everything Was Great Until it Sucked. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Oxford American, Salon and many less-reputable sources. He lives in Louisville, KY.
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One Response to The Sunny Side of Selling Out

  1. Taren says:

    Pedagogia Ead
    Uma boa estratégia para perder bojo rápido é passar
    durante 25 minutos todos os dias e também fazer uma sustento com
    poucas calorias, gorduras e açúcares porque corpo gaste em direção a
    adiposidade acumulada. Mesmo que motivo pelo qual você queira perder peso seja truão, se é uma razão essencial a fim de que você, então é tudo que importa Por
    exemplo, um causante desde pequeno prazo uma vez que uma festa e também você
    queira ficar em forma para colocar uma roupa bacana.

    Distinguir que, sobre mais que os exercícios em cima de uma vez que perder ventre sejam importantes, é para
    complementariedade entre eles, uma boa orientação cevar e também um bom
    suporte emocional que vão embora fazer com que você verdadeiramente chegue lá.

    Na realidade, fazer treinamento cardio excessivo verdadeiramente trabalhará versus
    seus resultados, porque você vai estar estimulando para produção excessiva
    de cortisol em lhe corpo e quebrando tecido muscular
    magro… que leva em direção a subtracção da sua taxa a metabolismo ao longo do tempo e armazenamento a mas adiposidade na ventre em cima do
    que você já tem.

    Essa é uma forma com driblar seu organismo, conseguir sustentar seu processo com emagrecimento e manter respectivo corpo em forma.
    Enquanto isso acontece, você se torna um falso
    magro”, e para verdade aparece enquanto você coloca uma camisa regata, um maiô ou biquíni. Ao longo dos últimos 10 anos de treinamento e também consultoria com centenas de mulheres a respeito de nutrição, muito poucos padrões começaram em direção a surgir e eu notei que a maior parte das mulheres estavam caindo em muitas das mesmas armadilhas. Ao passo que outras têm desespero com ir à balança, por medo de descobrir se engordaram ou se ainda permanecem com igual peso.

    Você vai poder consumir um peito desde frango ( 100 calorias ) , um grupo a arroz integral ( 100 calorias ) , uma salada ou algumas verduras ( 100 calorias ) , e um grupo a nozes ( 100 calorias). Número reduzido de chás até possuem notabilidade como emagrecedores – uma vez que chá virente – e também tem muitas outras propriedades benéficas a fim de que organização. Tome os chás dentro de lugar das refeições intermediárias, ou melhor, lanche da manhã, lanche da tarde e ceia.

    Elas finalmente começaram para ver os resultados e perderem camadas acima de camadas a obesidade corporal após anos desde luta a fim de que perder até igual poucos quilos! Esta é uma jeito bastante simplória desde se encarar enfraquecimento, porque nem todas as calorias são ingeridas são ‘iguais’ uma vez que as mesmas vêm desde diferentes tipos a mantimentos.

    Quando as mulheres desenvolvem muito seus mesocarpo é porque elas fazem exercícios específicos para isso desenvolvimento bem como sua dieta é privativo para ajudar nesse trabalho. Se verdadeiramente fosse desta forma tão fácil, você poderia comer barras desde chocolate e salgadinhos durante todo dia e também sem embargo perder peso, de que comesse abaixo do respectivo nível com manutenção. Um dos mitos é existem exercícios localizados, de que maneira abdominal, que podem tirar essa sua indesejada bojo. Na primeira temporada, citando caso análogo, que se labareda tempo de ataque você só pode consumir proteína pura.

    Nos seis meses que eu estive no programa, eu perdi 25,4 kg e também passei de 30% a obesidade corporal para 11% com gordura corporal. Com tempo essas seres perdem a vergonha e também passam em direção a existir uma vida melhor, indo à praia ou passeando em qualquer lugar, com qualquer roupa, sem medo com ser feliz, conseguindo por último conseguir seu objetivo que é emagrecer e porventura perder ventre. Muitas vezes tentamos de tudo para perder peso e não damos conta que ao cometer pequeno número de falhas dificultamos para perda de peso. A verdade é que todas estas técnicas são maneiras ERRADAS e ineficazes com treino.

    Outras indivíduos buscam dietas para acender aqueles quilos extras, e também estas muitas vezes podem não ser muito saudáveis. Ou melhor, é vário simples, todavia seguramente você a qualquer momento poderá regredir e ceder respectivo novo estilo para toda a vida saudável e também restabelecer todo peso que você perdeu e também talvez até mais.

    Essa é unicamente entre inúmeras técnicas para acelerar lhe metabolismo ajudando sobre lhe definhamento. Quando você elevar pesos, aumente as repetições, séries e / ou pesos em direção a todo semana. Dessa forma para mulher do nosso exemplo necessita diariamente a 1.886,95 calorias, logo se ela permitir com ingerir 686,95 calorias por dia, consumindo somente 1200 calorias, ela emagrecerá. Ao contrário de optar ao longo de dietas das mas várias que você pode facilmente encontrar pela rede.

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