Dear Record Label Scum -
You should pull a dump truck full of cash up to the band's house. Those guys are too good for you.
Dear Abject Weasel,
Thank you so much for writing.
I used to spend more than my fair share of time in Bronx Housing Court. Contrary to what sniveling clerks and spineless attorneys for the City's housing department tell you, I do not hate all landlords. I knew a bunch of landlords who'd had their life savings yanked out from underneath them when the housing prices in Hartford plummetted and they were left with aging hulks, mortgaged to the nines and lookin' ripe for insurance arson.
But in the late-90's Bronx, most of the dudes who were in Housing Court every day were nearly the worst kind of rat turds walking around on two legs. The okay ones were just stupid - they'd bought into some unseemly version of the American dream, hoping that whatever magic works wonders in NYC real estate would throw a fat crumb their way. They had grand visions of some gentrification wave of Ryer Avenue and 187th that was "just around the corner". Dumb as rocks, too brainless to be evil.
The bad ones though, were just what you would expect. Milking the buildings for all they could, racking up violations that they knew the City would never enforce, using drug-addled supers to do their dirty work and physically threaten the tenants who called for heat in the wintertime. The worst thing was that I knew a number of landlords doing good work and turning a fair buck. When the scum would cry poverty and excessive regulation you could just imagine the pleasant feel of their tonsils slipping through your fingers, slick with blood and gristle.
I say "almost" the worst, because they were barely one step up the evolutionary ladder from a form of life even more base and pathetic: the Bronx Landlord Lawyer. I'll stand corrected when I'm presented with evidence to the contrary, but until then, I've gotta say they were all pus filled rot. Even the amoral slumlords could be given the charity of ignorance. But the lawyer had to get a law degree, could have done something different with their lives, had to know better. You'd see them every day. Usually they were trying to get someone to sign a waiver of all rights, getting a special twinkle in their eyes when the person couldn't read English. "No, no, you don't have to worry, it's just a standard form." They'd stare at the person who they'd just illegally evicted, seeing cocaine the same way Bugs Bunny looks at a pile of money and sees carrots.
Their king was Scott Ettlestein, a mealy-faced pasty worm with tender, milk white palms and an immaculate comb-over. Scott would hover around all the floors of the new housing court building, tending to his many staff lawyers and bearing down ruthlessly when some broke matriarch told the judge "I have rights" or something equally as absurd. Rights? No, ma'am. Scotty had lunch with half of the judges presiding in the court and was paid more in an hour than you will see in a month. You have the right to move in with your sister, because Ettlestein of Novick and Ettlestein was on that case.
The point of all this is that record company executives don't fare much higher. You probably had Hillary Rosen over to your pool parties, sipping Grey Goose and promising your real estate broker that you could get Nickleback to play for his son's confirmation party. Late at night, when your trophy wife has drifted off to a Vicodin mini-coma and you stare out the patio windows, across Rod Stewart's yard and the twinkling lights of Tinseltown, you drunkenly hum "Penny Lane" to yourself, trying to remind yourself why you do it all. Now one of your minstrels doesn't honk the horns, eat fish and clap flippers the way that you like. That's really a shame. I hope it's not adding any wrinkles to that orange-tanned forehead of yours.
Here you go: suggest some minor creative changes to make to their next product. No doubt they'll immediately chafe at any suggestion of a taint of their artistic vision, do the honorable thing and immediately part ways. Sure, you'll develop a reputation as a controlling goon and no one on the West Coast will ever want to talk to you again, but you'll have these pesky upstarts off your back. They'll be someone else's problem.