An Open Letter To Earache Records

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We need to talk about Blackberry Smoke.

Dear Earache Records,

I hope this letter finds you well. How is the family? I write to you today because I have noticed a recent trend in your social media presence. I know when a label is trying to push a new band or record, it feels like an all-out blitz is necessary to get the word out. You need videos, samples, press photos, interviews, and all sorts of material to get the word out. You need positive press and good word-of-mouth to sell records because at the end of the day, you’re in the record business.

Earache pioneered extreme death metal and grindcore. You say so yourself on your website (once you get past the landing page advertising Blackberry Smoke, of course). Still, diversity isn’t something new to Earache. You’ve had Dub War, Ewigkeit, and Scorn on your roster, three very different bands from your usual artists. Heck, you even had Adema at one point. All record labels have a few signings that don’t fit in with the main focus of the label. Just look at Roadrunner Records.

For many metal fans, Blackberry Smoke is almost entirely unknown and for good reason. They’re not a metal band. They’re a Southern rock/country band who has opened up for ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. My problem doesn’t lie with the band or the fact they’re you’re releasing their album in Europe (by the way, you should probably mention that BBS is actually on Rounder Records in the United States). It lies in how you’re going about promoting them.

In the past few weeks prior to the release of their album, your social media has been a verifiable Old Faithful of Blackberry Smoke, gushing out news, videos, and pictures. The avatars and headers for your Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Youtube area all advertising BBS. Your last 4 uploads on Youtube in the past week and a half are BBS. Before that there were even more, sandwiched in between stuff from Oceano and other non-metal bands you’re pushing heavily, Rival Sons and Massive.

earacheyoutube1

earacheyoutube

The same can be said for Twitter, which up until very recently, looked like a BBS fan-fiction page. Earache uses Twitter heavily, but at one point, out of 100 tweets and retweets, 56 were about Blackberry Smoke. I know because I sat there and counted.

earachtwitter

Your Facebook has only been slightly better. Slightly.

earachefbGross.

iTunes is also in on the Blackberry Smoke game, tweeting this out to their 6.7 million(!) followers:

itunestwitter

There’s even a commercial for the band airing on Sky TV in the UK.

It’s safe to say that Blackberry Smoke isn’t hurting for outreach and press. So why, Earache, are you going all in with this band? My guess would be that you either think that they can make you money or you really like them. Either reason is acceptable. As I said previously, you’re a record company and your job, ultimately, is to make money. Part of owning and running a label is to push your bands, and you think that Blackberry Smoke can make you a good chunk of change if you push them to the moon. I know nothing about the American southern rock scene, seeing as how I thought it pretty much died with the 70’s. I haven’t listened to the band much, but I can see how they would appeal to a larger audience than a metal band. I can practically hear BBS being blasted out of an old Ford pickup while waiting for the Sonic waitress to bring the limeade, tater tots, and chili dogs.

Maybe you ‘re just on a Southern dad-rock kick. Perhaps you tripped, winged your head on a coffee table while “Slow Ride” was playing, and woke up loving the genre. Maybe you heard BBS and just knew that you had to have them. And Rival Sons. And Massive. I know your relationship with Napalm Death is this side of Jotunheim in terms of frostiness, but does that apply to the rest of your metal bands? You’re still promoting Oceano, so that can’t be it. Could it be that Earache Records, one of the biggest metal labels of the past 30 years, just doesn’t like metal anymore? That’s not for me to decide, but looking at their self-description on Tumblr, Earache Records has already made that decision.

tumblrearache

Ultimately, you can do whatever you want Earache, but the constant barrage is annoying and upsetting your longtime fans. Please don’t forget what got you to this point. I only wish you, Blackberry Smoke and just about every band you represent the best of luck. Just take it easy on the social media postings. Speak to you soon.

XoXo

(Image VIA)

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  • DeeSnarl

    Gross indeed. I hadn’t realized the gravity of the situation.

  • Yo Earache…just give us some new Vektor or Wormrot and call it a day. Seriously.

    • Tyree

      Wormrot should just jump ship. Much more grind that way any how. Keep it DRI!

  • MoshOff

    Missed the opportunity to open with “Dearache”, slightly disappointed about something extremely minor / 10

  • This seems to be betting the farm on a longshot. Are the kids suddenly going to apeshit for blooz rock?

    • No, but their uncles are. Dig wants to tap a market he actually knows.

    • FeelTheDarkness

      He probably found them on a farm

  • As long as they put out the new Wormrot whenever that happens, they can jam the old man rock.

  • Soviet Tapir

    They sound quite boring. I wonder if JJD digs them. Sounds like his kind of music.

    • JWG

      Aw. Beat me to it by mere minutes.

      • Soviet Tapir

        Get Shrekt

  • Tyree

    RIP Earache Records. Fuck off with your new shit bands!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mfvSSl9L9M

  • IronLawnmower

    Dearache Earache you’re giving me a rearache.

    Go back to good ol’ fashion death metal for christ’s sake. Have they been bought out?

    • BASEDBEARD

      Dat was lolzy

      • IronLawnmower

        I just want metal to go back to the way it used to be 🙁

  • MoshOff

    OK, so I just checked up on Earache’s current roster and… holy shit apparently everyone good has already jumped ship.

    • IronLawnmower

      They have like 8 metal bands none of which are actually doing anything atm.

      • MoshOff

        17 according to Encyclopedia Metallum, but yeah.

        • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

          Of which 16.5 can’t do anything and can’t release albums. God I hate this label.

    • Except for Wormrot, Vektor, Anata, and Cerebral Bore.

      • MoshOff

        Vektor are supposedly writing and haven’t put out anything since 2011.
        Wormrot sort-of split up, then got back together and are supposed to be writing again.
        Anata… no one really knows, but it looks like they just get dropped from the label.
        Cerebral Bore, keyword “bore”.
        Then you have Evile, who have basically been inactive since 2013 when their guitarist quit; Order of Ennead, who haven’t put out anything since 2010; Lawnmower Death, who haven’t put out anything since 1994, and a handful of other bands no one cares about.

        Bright future for Earache it is not.

        • Soviet Tapir

          Who needs those poser bands when you could listen to Blackberry Smoke?

        • i sure do miss Evile. Five Serpents Teeth is a thrashterpiece. *slaps self

    • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

      Or forced to quit Re: Anata, bands more lucky than

  • BASEDBEARD

    DRIP earache

  • Tyree
    • IronLawnmower

      EARACHE DO YOU REMEMBER THE DAYS WHEN YOUR SLOGAN WAS SPLATTER ON PLATTER?

  • VVayne Brady

    This promo onslaught caused me to unlike the label on FB.

    • JWG

      I’m kind of torn about un-following them on Twitter (at least until the PR onslaught dies down). They actually follow me, which I think is kind of neat.

    • ja-ja!! 🙂

    • Scrimm

      Makes me glad I never liked it.

      • EsusMoose

        Makes me glad I don’t like too many things on fb and I make sure to like a few underground bands to scare away any women who’d be interested and make other people jealous of my clearly superior taste

        • Scrimm

          I’m the same way. 99.9% of my fb activity is toilet related.

  • FeelTheDarkness

    Blackberry Smoke. Sounds like a rub you use on meat

    • This is DEFINITELY the kind of band that will one day sell their own brand of barbeque sauce.

      • JWG

        Would they team up with Good Ol’ J.R., or try to navigate the competitive field of condiment sales alone?

        http://www.jrsbarbq.com/

      • FeelTheDarkness

        Blackberry Smoke BBQ Sauce!!! It puts the Hill in Hillbilly!! Get some…..TODAY!!!!

      • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

        As long as they don’t do like those fucktards in Duck Dynasty and release beer coasters, candy bars, and fuck knows what else. The roomies at my last place before this actually collected that shit, which gives you an idea of how well I got along with them. I ended up breaking most of that shit and tossing it in the garbage about an hour before I moved out, and ganked all their silverware and knives. Aaaaaaagh I hated that place, but thankfully in greener pastures.

        • Soviet Tapir

          You did the right thing, son.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            Are there rednecks, or a version of them, in Finland?

          • Soviet Tapir

            They aren’t 100% similiar to the ones you guys have, but we do have some. We do have idiots that we call “elämäm koululaiset”. They are not educated, quit school as soon as possible, usually racists, alcoholics, don’t work and generally idiots.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            About the same as here then. Every country has their version, I think. My ex-best friend (the one who I moved to IL with) had a grandma from Japan, and she said that out in the countryside there’s definitely something like that. I dunno about what the rest of Latin America calls them, but in Mexico they’re called ‘nacos’. Sometimes an endearing term, but more often than no, it’s pretty much an insult, especially if you’re talking to people from the city.

          • Soviet Tapir

            I find it funny that they complain about immigrants not working and living as leeches here, while they themselves live on other people’s taxes.

          • more beer

            We used to have a name for that type of person before all this political correctness. We called them bums.

        • more beer

          There are a lot of rednecks in the Hampton roads area. That Duck Dynasty crap come with the territory there.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            Yep, but it’s kinda rare here in Newport News. Poquoson, though? Oooooooooh boy…….

          • more beer

            I was on the other side of the bay in Ocean View years ago. It was all pretty redneck back then.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            What’s that next to? I’m still figuring out the HR area.

          • more beer

            It`s part of Norfolk right on the Chesapeake Bay. It was pretty ghetto back then.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            I’ve been to Norfolk waaaaaaaaay back when (’99) and haven’t heard anything good about it since moving back.

          • more beer

            That`s why I haven`t been back since I left.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            Newport News and Hampton are pretty nice, and very different from when I lived here before. Still miss Chicago, but fuck if there isn’t things I don’t miss about there. It’s still number 1 in my heart though.

          • more beer

            That`s how I feel about New York. But Denver is pretty good place to live.

      • perhaps we’ll be seeing Blackberry Smoke wing sauce at BDubs! @CyberneticOrganism:disqus would have to get some and review it for da site

        • Lacertilian

          unless we have intervention from the superiors it won’t be making it to G’Dubs Mexican Bar & Grill.

    • BASEDBEARD

      Or a dank strain of bud

      • FeelTheDarkness

        I like the way you think

        • BASEDBEARD

          I like the way you like the way I think

          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

            I like the way you… way I… whatever.
            *Lights exquisitely dank bud*

          • Soviet Tapir

            Fobba matkaan lähtee
            Huumeet pois hän kitkee

          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

            Lähtee niin kovin kiireessä, kiireessä kovin.
            Viettää torpassa vain lyhyen tovin, lyhyen tovin.
            Unohtaa sitoa kengännauhat, kompastuu, kengännauhoihin.
            Ei saanu kiinni Fobba Huume-veikkoo, Ei saanu kiinni Huume-Veikkoo.

          • Soviet Tapir

            Mutta Fobba, tuo miesten mies, yli-ihminen
            Mulkkuaan nopeasti heilauttaa ja lähtee ilmaan lentäen
            Hän helikopterina ratsastaa
            Ilmoista käsin kaikki kolot katsastaa
            Kunnes hän huumeissa juoksevan miehen kaappaa
            Ja rosvon karvaisine perseineen selliin nakkaa

          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

            Argh! I give up! There is no defeating Fobba.

            (Nauroinpa aika kovaa tälle mulkkukopterille)))

          • Soviet Tapir

            Fobba is love, Fobba is life, Fobba is everything.

          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM
          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

            Lol at Disqus just now saw the image. Laughed. Hard.

          • Soviet Tapir

            I was in between this and the one you posted. Both are grrreat!

          • FeelTheDarkness

            Fobba Fett

          • Scrimm

            Son of a bitch you guys are killing me. I hate being out.

          • KJM

            I had some Blueberry Kush not too long ago, close enough.

          • BASEDBEARD

            We used to grow a spectacular strain of Blueberry years back

          • more beer

            I grew that for a while too. Those old strains seem to be really hard to find anymore. That blueberry from the Dj Short collection was amazing.

          • BASEDBEARD

            honestly, I dont know how far back the mother originated. There’s no telling.

          • more beer

            There is Blackberry Kush.

    • JWG

      That also sounds like a euphemism.

      One I might use.

    • you said… Rub…. and meat…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1agaZinJHg

    • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

      Lol, is it one of those e-vape flavors? PS, I did get a giggle out of seeing ‘Good Kush And Alcohol’ scented incense at the gas station.

    • more beer

      Blackberry Kush is much better.

  • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

    365 Days is allergic to positive articles. EVERYTHING you post is something on the negative side. On another note, I agree and R.I.P Earache.
    As I and W agreed the other day, it won’t probably be up for much longer.

    • ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • #Leave365Alone T_T

    • I wonder what will happen to their stuff on Bandcamp.

      • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

        I guess some comes to the bands, and the rest goes like Cirith Ungol, ie. never to be seen again.

        • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

          You know what really sucks? The Chasm released their most well known and probably best album The Spell of Retribution on Earache’s sub label Wicked World. That label went under years ago, and I’m sure Corchado still hasn’t gotten the rights back. So while he re-releases/remasters all of their other albums on his label’s Bandcamp, he can’t really do anything with that one.

          Stupid Earache.

          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

            No, gut Earache. De-internal-organ-ize them. FLUSH! IÖR! EIK!

          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

            Haben’t even checked that album. Going to now.

          • Lacertilian

            Have you considered writing a Porcelain Throne article about The Chasm?
            I don’t hear anyone talking about them with much detail except you and I’m just starting to delve. I remember you had a solid grasp of their stuff when I mentioned them to @webb71:disqus a couple of weeks ago.

          • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

            I actually would love to do that (My subject for a Porcelain Throne article would be either them or Rudra), but I’m going to tackle a couple more articles before I do so, so I can get a feel for writing about a band I really enjoy.

      • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

        Also, some will probably be resold without a word from the band, to get some re-compensation for the debts, leading to the CU situation most likely.

    • In the future, I’ll try to be more positive when talking about bad band shirts.

    • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

      So, I gotta ask, since I haven’t kept track/lost hope with Earache years ago: what’s the whole controversy about? I’ve heard about some of their shady dealings before, but never bothered to look it up.

      • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

        They don’t sign metal but indie/souther rock acts.
        They don’t give (metal)bands money to record their albums and don’t let them out of the deals. Making their existence practically impossible.
        They keep pushing bands like this with unbelievable force.
        Are overall the EA of music labels.

        • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

          Well, I’d have to say about the second part: been through management and promotions, and even the shittiest ones at least give an advance. A band would have to be stupid as hell to sign contract without (1). notarizing it (2). not getting an advance to make the album. That’s just common sense, no jab at the bands who did that.

          • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

            There’s beem all sorta of things connected to this. Take Anata for example as it has been recently talked here. They got an advance, but it was too small to pay the studio, so practivally they have instrumentals of a new album, but no money to go with vocals and Earache that diesn’t want to spend a dime on them won’t let them do anything with anyone else either.

            I think, at this point, common sense should dictate not to sign with Earache.

          • Hey @Earache, you can sign my shitty folk music band. We recorded the last album on less than $500. It’s a steal.

      • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

        Also. Digby talks shit about all the bands that don’t say yes to him. When he offers them shit deals. Check out Barney’s short interview linked in the article. He says much of the same that I but better, and sometjing else too.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Music sucks.

    • EsusMoose

      That’s why I listen to my head hitting the wall

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Much better choice, I miss the days of white noise on t.v.

        • VVayne Brady

          Ed’s bringing it back with all the power electronics.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            That just brought a single tear to my eye.

          • BASEDBEARD

            Do not fear me, gypsy, all I want is your tears

        • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

          I miss the days of crazy homeless people screaming at clouds in my back alley and throwing garbage cans around. Awwwwwwww the symphony of the night!

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    southerners–portrayed in “submissive”yoga poses—also “onrnery” in a pc way–saw them on pbs–which is also usually a fucked up thing—yet there was a definite “electricity” -in the audience—also there was a genuine drug influence felt –that gave a sense of “strength”to the jam/situation—

    a strange “revenge fantasy” by stoners who work at earache—inflicted as iron in a velvet glove—-straight in their non squaredance /anti hoe down –“too fat to fly” mentality

    sheltered kidnap victims—begininning to see a light/escape—as 6foot5 southern stoners–play nice for the camera

  • I unfollowed them when my Email box was filled with Blackberry Smoke ads.

    No thanks.

    • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

      I never followed them in the first place. I had no idea Earache was even still around, to be honest.

      • Well, I followed them because they uploaded good old material in Youtube from bands that I like and I discovered: the at the gates wacken dvd, entombed, carcass, carnage, napalm death, etc.

        • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

          Fair enough. I think the only label I follow on FB nowadays is Metal On Metal Records.

  • IronLawnmower

    I left a snarky comment on one of their FB posts!

  • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

    I think the conclusion is: Digby is and has always been nothing, but a piece of shit.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Blackberry Smoke: twice as ugly as Rush, but only half as redneck as Duck Dynasty.

    • Tyree
      • KJM

        That’s the stuff!

    • Max

      That seems to be about the size of it, looks wise.

      Music-wise, I’ve never actually heard them. I get the impression that I really don’t need to in order to have an idea of what they sound like.

      Although a sentimental little part of me would like to suspect that it’s all a massive Earache troll, and that if I ever did click on one of their songs, I’d be greeted with something that sounds like Sore Throat’s “Horrendify and Kill” with a guest appearance by John Zorn, but all chopped and screwed.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    So, are these guys the more kult version of Black Stone Cherry?

    • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

      *less Kvlt version of BSC

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        I’m so confused. I’m going to start a band called Blueberry Haze.

        • Lacertilian

          Sounds like something @KJMKerrAvon666:disqus or @blackbeard_s_ghost:disqus could get their hands lungs on

  • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

    Never heard of them. I’m guessing I’m not missing anything of value? As per new Southern rock bands, the only ones I’ve heard in years that caught my attention was Alabama Shakes and The Union (who are actually from Britain, oddly enough).

    • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

      Stale. So very stale, with a twist of JJD on the side.

      • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

        JJD?

        • Soviet Tapir

          He’s the guy that likes dad rock.

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            He does have some damn solid picks, though!

          • Soviet Tapir

            Rarely something that appeases my superior taste in music
            *smells own farts*

          • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

            You have some good ones here and there, but fuck if I can remember the names since I can’t speak or read Finnish. Have that same problem remembering Moonsorrow songs.

          • Soviet Tapir

            Some of them have been på svenska as well.
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ftUb-tMB5LY

        • Nordling Rites ov BDSM

          JanitoJimDuggan. Current Eddie Trunk.

    • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

      Alabama Shakes is love. They’re releasing a new album around May. So stoked.

  • “Perhaps you tripped, winged your head on a coffee table while “Slow Ride” was playing, and woke up loving the genre.”

    monitor, i bet you didn’t asked to be sprayed with water today

    • Scrimm

      That happens all too frequently with me, usually related to a Howard Dean comment.

  • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record.

    LET ANATA RELEASE A NEW ABLUM YOU JERKS!!!

    • tertius_decimus

      Why they holding it hostage? Really curious.

      • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

        Nordling pretty much explained it better than I can below.

  • Interestingly enough, I was going through some of my subscriptions on YouTube and got extremely annoyed by the past month of being blasted by Blackberry Smoke videos. Fucking hell. I haven’t enjoyed much from them in a long time.

  • (refresh for image)
    “stadium-sized American rock”, LOL!!

    • Soviet Tapir

      This is definitely JJDcore.

    • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

      It’s Roadrunner all over again……….

  • BASEDBEARD

    OT: I know you guys from the NE has been stealing all our snow this winter, but you can have this shit back

  • tertius_decimus

    Can anyone, please, clarify relationship between Earache and Anata? Thanks in advance.

    • Earache are fuckheads, Anata is not.

      • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

        What is Anata? Any bands I’d probably know?

        • Anata is a god tier tech death band that has been in label limbo for a while because of earache

          • KimJongUn’s Dingleberry Smoke

            Oh them! I thought you meant a label. What happened?

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Earache used to be good for your earbuttz but now they’re not even good for your lolbuttz.

    • KimJongUn’s Dingleberry Smoke

      Well, it hasn’t become Roadrunner. Yet…………..

      • …And Justice For Lolz

        Suffocation, Mercyful Fate, Cynic, Deicide, Type O Negative, Gorguts, Annihilator and Fear Factory all made their debuts on RR.

        Now it’s a handful of bands who were well established when they signed, a few mainstays and a shitload of lolbuttz.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is fuck Warner Music.

        • KimJongUn’s Dingleberry Smoke

          No Atomicide = no record labels, and no Grammys!

  • FeelTheDarknessness
  • Just got my BBS sticker for the D-MAX in the mail on Saturday. Roll on…

  • Kim Jong Un’s Turkish Snowcone

    This thread has come this far without this (sorry, having trouble finding the movie clips on Youtube to post)?!?!?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8yA2iLE15g

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNQNF6rKnDk

  • JWG

    Addendum: I think this article caused my Twitter to add even more posts promoted by Earache concerning BBS. Now with more RTs added.

  • David Vincent’s Spandex Shirt

    Flush Prolapse records, and their wannabe collection of dad-rock down the dirtiest, foulest, most unholiest of all toilets from Nurgle’s personal lavatorium!

    BLACKENED IS THE END

  • KimJongUn’s Dingleberry Smoke

    Remembered this one earlier today while I was drunk and bored as hell. Quite possibly the worst music video ever made (only reason I ever even seen it before was because I bought the VHS copy of ‘Beauty In Darkness’ back in ’98. Mostly good stuff, but some major stinkers like this). Behold, suffer, and laugh your ass off!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIAGDPHp9gE

  • Herr Schmitty

    I went to my local record store over the weekend and… sure enough, BlackBerry Smoke CDs and Vinyl in a very prominent spot on their ‘new releases’ wall. I lol-ed hard, and that was even before you wrote this article!