While taking a break from news related to the douchey price-gouging biotech CEO, I pointed my browser at the too-hip-for-its-own-good music site Pitchfork to see what was new there. That’s when I learned that there’s no escaping Martin Shkreli.
Back in 2014, the douchey CEO — whom I presume took some measures to mask his douchiness — bought a guitar off Geoff Rickly, frontman for the band Thursday. Somehow, during the transaction, Shkreli ended up financing Rickly’s indie label, Brooklyn-based Collect Records. This investment was supposedly a “thank you” by Shkreli to Thursday for their music, which had helped him when he was younger.
To a musician, this is a dream: to be approached by a rich benefactor who appreciates your work and be given money — which musicians are almost always short of — to keep doing what they’re doing. To this day, I hear musicians tell each other the story of how the prog-rock band Supertramp was bankrolled by a millionaire because he thought their keyboardist (Rick Davies) was incredibly talented (he is).
Nicky Palermo, frontman for the band Nothing (who are on Collect Records), posted this to the band’s Facebook page last night:
Last night I read an article about this guy who was hiking up prices on some pharmaceutics that were leaving people on their death beds empty handed due to the cost. Not soon after that found out that this guy is backing the label I’m about to release a record on.
I scoured the internet all night and early morning to try and see both sides before I made an opinion on the matter as I know how one sided people can be when there is a public lynching. But by 6 am today I literally just felt disgusted by everything and this seems to be in fact, the work of a soulless man.
I was approached by Geoff Rickley about a year ago now, about how he was starting a label. He said he really believed in Nothing and the music we were creating. We were told of a backer who was an old Thursday fan that wanted to give back to the music and arts, but literally didn’t even know his name until last night. After Geoff told me his plans I really believed in him. He’s a great guy and he like me had, no idea what kind of monster was funding the label and soon to be album. And like he has helped me with my problems the past few months, I plan on helping him in anyway I can as well through this all.
I’m not sure what the next step is here for us as were contractually attached to this person, but I had to share my revulsion with you all as the future is not quite foreseeable.
Palermo told the Washington Post that he grew up in a poor single-parent family and often couldn’t afford health care:
“I’ve been a person who hasn’t had health insurance for pretty much my whole life since I was a kid. I’ve had broken bones. I’ve had to Super Glue my forehead shut when I hit myself with a guitar. I owe money to hospitals for things.”
And as you might expect, many of the other musicians on the label are in the same boat, and don’t like the idea of being funded by a douchey guy who price-gouges medicine.
And there you have it: not even indie/post-punk/hardcore rock is safe from the douchey price-gouging biotech CEO.