But I do think Wilco reaches past all of that stuff in a way. I mean they try‚ you know? And ultimately I think they've spent a lot of time creating their independence from everybody‚ and they've achieved it through pure artistry. There's nothing marketable about this band. [laughter]
Yeah. And it's probably more of a blessing than a curse‚ you know?
Maybe the longevity of their career‚ even in their lifetime is different‚ but the longevity of how music history will judge them‚ I think that's a different thing entirely.
Yeah. I really appreciate you saying that it's a journey from the Sam Jones film to this film because I definitely… I mean‚ we were really setting up for it to be a totally different thing. And honestly‚ the idea of filming a band while they're in the hot house or the recording studio is really… I would never do that and expect anything to come out at least usable‚ because people are miserable in the recording studio a lot of times. I had eight hours of Fugazi recording -- a couple days just with audio‚ then instruments -- that Ian MacKaye just dug up and gave to me‚ and it's really intense. I'm freakin' out‚ we're kind of miserable‚ and‚ it's a lot of work‚ you know?
It is‚ yeah.
There's a lot of subtext in there that's kind of snarky and bitchy‚ you know? And so it's the same thing with I'm Trying to Break Your Heart. It's like people are making decisions in the studio… at the end of the day‚ everybody's got the record and you know how the song's going to turn out because you've heard the record‚ but when you're in the middle of it‚ you don't have any idea how it's going to turn out. So all the ideas‚ all the pressure is on your shoulders where you have to make these crazy decisions all the time‚ especially in a pretty crucial stage.
[laughs] Yeah‚ where you don't have the luxury of editing.
Yeah. It's not like‚ "Oh yeah‚ let's mix five hundred versions‚" or something. [laughter] It's not like I'm gonna do that. So you make decisions on the fly and those decisions require just an insane amount of objectivity‚ which just doesn't exist‚ not as much as it should on this video. So‚ I look at that band‚ I look at that film and I look at the band we're dealing with and I think‚ "Poor guys had to deal with having cameras around them."
[laughs] Right. On top of all the other bullshit‚ they've got a camera in their face.
And then the other thing I look at with that record [Yankee Hotel Foxtrot] is that you can feel the record industry in pain. I guess it was before they were really hurting‚ but my God you have to feel sorry for those people‚ if they can't sell a friggin' Wilco record‚ you know?
Right. [laughter] And it's weird what it became. The one thing that stuck out from that documentary was this idea where Wilco became the barometer of what record labels were willing to tolerate‚ and in a twist of fate‚ that record ended up gaining a lot of notoriety and a lot of critical acclaim as being one of the greatest records that came out in the last whatever years. And that's interesting to me because you would think maybe that would have some rub-off on the music industry‚ but I'm not so sure that's the case. I don't know. It's almost as if the record industry has started battening down the hatches even more.
Well‚ there's just no money out there any more. And that's the thing -- these labels are really contracting‚ and people aren't working there anymore. When you have something that loses every worker in the workforce from year to year the way it's happening‚ when they're firing so many people and people are moving on and moving in‚ it's a different company entirely than it was before. And these people that we talked to‚ they just don't have any money to work with‚ and they're scared. They don't know what's coming next‚ and they don't know where they're gonna work next. It's really hardcore‚ man. I think that in a way‚ I would think that Wilco hasn't sold millions of records. I mean‚ their records don't sell a million records. Maybe the labels feel like they did the right thing. And it was an interesting enough film. I liked that film a lot. But I feel that it was… you know‚ he was there at the right time with Tony [Margherita]‚ their manager‚ and was very open about what was going on.
I love the scene that they captured serendipitously‚ the moment that they were getting dropped.
That was pretty cool‚ Sam and whoever was filming happened to be right there in the same room with Tony as he was getting the phone call from the label. And he said‚ "You need to hear it from me‚ the best thing is for Wilco to be off of the record label." That's such a great moment.
Yeah. Tony's got their back‚ man. [laughter] They're his real only client‚ and he works like a motherfucker for them. He works so hard for that band.
Well‚ the film is fantastic. I look forward to watching it over and over again and delving into it more and more. It's so cool what you're going for‚ this whole… I just kept writing this idea of fading Americana. I like that idea. That's kind of what I'm seeing in this.
Yeah. Well‚ that's what I see on a daily basis -- that things are changing. And it's not so much that… maybe it's presentable‚ maybe it's not‚ but it definitely feels like we all have the ability to look at it‚ to realize what's happening and to document it as well as we can.
Yeah‚ a responsibility.
Yeah. If you feel the impulse to do it‚ there's your responsibility‚ you know? And if you don't feel it‚ don't do it. Everybody has other missions to accomplish in their lives‚ but this is just the thing where‚ shit‚ you know‚ we've got these great cameras‚ and we had to capture it.