I know this isn’t metal related, but put the pitchforks down for a second. It’s worth noting this interview with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, as metal bands are usually in the cross-hairs of these policies more than others. Rather than conform to Walmart’s notoriously stringent and draconian censorship rules, Green Day opted to release this week’s 21st Century Breakdown without stocking the album at the mega-chain. CBC News has the story:
Wal-Mart’s become the biggest retail outlet in the country, but they won’t carry our record because they wanted us to censor it. There’s nothing dirty about our record. They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there. We just said no. We’ve never done it before. You feel like you’re in 1953 or something.
If you think about bands that are struggling or smaller than Green Day … to think that to get your record out in places like that, but they won’t carry it because of the content and you have to censor yourself. what does that say to a young kid who’s trying to speak his mind making a record for the first time? It’s like a game that you have to play. You have to refuse to play it.
That’s pretty cool of him, because I’d totally make a puppy dogs and rainbows version if it put a few extra bucks in my pocket. Or at least some really, really cheap athletic socks. Seriously, did you see this week’s circular? 12 pairs for $3! All hail Walmart!
I used to work at a fairly mid-to-large metal label, and we just gave Walmart the records without parental advisory stickers and hoped no one would notice. Thankfully, they didn’t. It just wasn’t worth the cost of having to go back and make edits, then produce a completely separate version of the record that will only be sold in one chain. If the record doesn’t sell, and Walmart returns the unsold edited copies, you’re stuck with thousands of worthless CDs. And that, my friends, is no fun.