Having fulfilled its commitment with former label Nonesuch, Wilco finds itself in a pretty enviable position right now. With a core fan base firmly established, the band has, in essence, established a framework to assume greater control of its career by releasing its own music — in its own time frame.
In a recent interview, Nels Cline mentioned that the outfit was in the process of launching its own imprint (something he also revealed to us in a recent chat). Turns out Cline's revelation was a bit premature: While having its own label may indeed be in the cards for Wilco, right now the guys are in no big hurry to put out a new record, says Jeff Tweedy, whom we spoke with in advance of Wilco's performance this weekend in Aspen.
Westword: We spoke with Nels recently when he came through Denver, and he mentioned something about you guys launching your own label. Is that true?
WilcoJazz Aspen Snowmass, with DeVotchKa and Calexico, 8 p.m. Friday, September 3, Snowmass Town Park, Snowmass, 1-866-527-8499.
Jeff Tweedy [laughs]: Well, Nels maybe jumped the gun a little bit in his interview with you, and it actually caused quite a ripple in the, uh – I'm sure you're aware...
We actually didn't end up reporting it, but I guess he did an interview with somebody else that actually did end up reporting it.
Oh, really? Most likely, some scenario like that is going to be what happens. But right now, we're not really in any hurry to figure it out. We don't have a record deal, and it's kind of nice not having a record deal right now. We're just going to make our record and see what makes the most sense.
I really doubt that there will be any traditional-type major-label record deal in Wilco's future, in the foreseeable future. You know, it just doesn't seem like it would make any sense for us or a major label. But as far as us starting up completely from scratch on our own, making a label that's a freestanding entity — I don't know.
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That's a really big decision that we're still kind of weighing. But you know, everybody in the band — and Nels, in particular, he wouldn't have any of this stuff if it wasn't for the fact that we're all pretty excited about the prospect of, you know, exerting more self-sufficiency and being able to control more aspects of what we do, which is something we've been working toward for a long time.
Well, it seems like right now, if you don't actually have an album recorded, there's really no urgency to get things going in that direction.
I think it's probably smart to do the things we've done for a long time. I mean, we've done as much of the publicity and as much of the marketing and as much of the, uh — I don't know, we've tried to do more and more things over the years in-house and as part of our own organization as opposed to depending upon other people to do it. In that regard, there's a lot of things about having our label that are kind of already set up. But at the same time, it really doesn't make any sense to do much more than that at this point until there's a record done.
Visit Backbeatblog.com to read the rest of our interview with Jeff Tweedy.