For Greg Werckman, co-founder of the new Ipecac Records label, starting a new
imprint isn’t just a chance to release unusual music — it’s a chance to release a
lot of it.
Werckman and partner Mike Patton — former frontman of San Francisco
hard-rockers Faith No More — plan to do just that in the coming year.
Spearheading their list are three LPs by slow-core metal act the Melvins.
“We’re going to help the Melvins commit career suicide by issuing a series of
three full-length releases,” Werckman said. “[The albums are] going to be
connected in some way, but not musically. There will be three
different-sounding records: one a lot more poppy, one seems to be way more
ugly than any of the stuff they’ve ever done and one will have several different
The Melvins, who’ve been creating such plodding metal tracks as “The Bit” (RealAudio excerpt) and “Skin Horse” (RealAudio excerpt) from their
1996 LP Stag since their formation in 1985, plan to stagger the release
of the three albums, with the first, The Maggot, set to arrive in the middle
Buzz Osborne, singer/guitarist for the Melvins, explained his band’s decision to
issue records this year at a pace at which rabbits breed.
“Why not?… That’s about the size of it. Why not? I feel like it’s my obligation to
be sometimes as ridiculous and stupid as possible,” Osborne said. “There’s
enough sh—y bands out there not doing anything. At least they can look at me
to do something interesting.”
Werckman emphasized that he and Patton hope to make Ipecac an
artist-friendly label, signing friends’ bands and bands they admire, as well as
possibly some bands adversely affected by the label consolidation resulting
from December’s Polygram/Universal merger.
“We’ve been contacted by several bands on major labels [who] are not really
happy,” Werckman said. “They’re predicting they’re going to be dropped. We’re
open to those kinds of things. Bands understand we’re not going to pay them
$100,000 for a record they can record for $10,000.”
Declining to describe the sounds of The Maggot, Osborne predicted fans
will respond to the first of 1999’s three releases in one of two ways.
“They’ll be pleasantly surprised or hideously taken aback. At this point,
especially after doing things like the [summer metal show] Ozzfest, I’ve lost all
faith in the general public and lost all respect for music fans.”
Osborne said recording for Patton — his bandmate in the art-rock side project
Fantomas, whose April 13 LP will be the first release on Ipecac — is a better
option than most.
“I hope I can trust that bastard, that’s all I can say. We’ll see. Proceed with
caution,” Osborne said. “I’ve never cared about pursuing record deals. That’s
nothing I’ve ever wanted to do. Most record labels are full of maggots. I can’t
imagine anything worse than pursuing a record deal.”
Ipecac will be distributed by Caroline Records.