I’m with the band: meet the pitiful proteges of pop music patrons

From Kurt Cobain accepting the middling Melvins to Kanye West signing a singer from the library tour, an masters ability to manufacture great music doesnt always mean they can identify it

Last week envisioned the release of the painfully bland new book by Vance Joy, one of the many proteges of Taylor Swift, who took him out as a carry act on her 1989 world tour( though apparently they don’t talk any more ). Swift has organized for bigging up other musicians: she has endorse not only Vance Joy, but Haim and Ed Sheeran( who in turn has championed Foy Vance, another singer-songwriter confusingly close in name to Vance Joy, but no relation ).

However, Swift’s proteges have tended to be artists already on an upward arch, already with major label treats and some success. She has not yet mastered the art of picking up on an artist no one has exposed any interest in and ceaselessly hollering about them, until all her devotees have gone to the gigs, bought the T-shirt and detected for themselves how questionable their hero’s judging is. Unlike this lot…

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Patron saint of lost causes … Kurt Cobain. Picture: Frank Micelotta Archive/ Getty Images

The Nirvana frontman was the patron saint of music’s lost causes. He was a man dedicated to promoting his acquaintances, his heroes and anyone who had once released a 12″ single that had sold seven copies. And those people derived the rewards of his patronage. The fearsome noise band the Melvins got a major-label bargain, with Atlantic, thanks to Cobain’s support.” You could make up a circle,[ and] even up a quote about them[ that] Kurt Cobain suggested. The Melvins were the greatest lesson. Kurt liked the Melvins, so everybody had to go signal the Melvins ,” as Janet Billig Rich of Nirvana’s management firm told NPR earlier this year. The Melvins’ three major description books for Atlantic left the US album map entirely untroubled, the latter are sagged, and it took until 2010′ s The Bride Screamed Murder for them to tallied a map targeting- at No 200.

Mind you, that label was clearly a chump for Cobain’s taste. Eugene Kelly had been half of the enjoyably perverse Scottish indiepop also-rans the Vaselines, whom Cobain adored( and whose Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam featured on Nirvana’s Unplugged album ). So, naturally, he took to going Kelly’s afterwards band Captain America( afterwards renamed Eugenius for blindingly obvious copyright reasonableness) on to his invoices. And duly, Atlantic came calling for Kelly. Eugenius’s two albums for the label, Oomalama and Mary Queen of Scots were precise as successful as you might expect from a middling indie band promoted above their capabilities, and they soon split.


A A gateway to terrible parties … Morrissey. Image: Sheila Rock/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Being a Smiths devotee in the 80 s was perilous. Not because Morrissey might at any moment open his lip and disclose himself to be a terrifying human being, but because he might at any moment open his mouth and inveigle you into buying a record by a appalling ensemble. Some were more awful than others. The Primitives were a cheerily blurry post-Mary Chain pop band whose chart success owed all is cleaning themselves up with 1988 single Crash, and nothing to Morrissey banging on about them. But dear God, you got to see any particular pattern have appeared in different groups he championed.

For a start, they might resonate not unlike the Smiths, exclusively not as good, because they didn’t have the melodic genius of Johnny Marr( receive Raymonde, fronted by Morrissey’s old-time friend James Maker, who seemed uncannily like his mentor ). Or they might sound not unlike the Smiths and be prone to saying the unsayable, in true-life Moz fashion( envision hard-left janglepoppers Easterhouse, who found that showing pity for Soviet communism was not the most wonderful roadway to plot success ). You could create a fairly sizeable carnival out of forgotten cliques championed by Morrissey; the only issue would be where on the invoice to employ Blackburn indie no-hopers Bradford.

Michael Stipe

Chum Chum to the meek … Michael Stipe. Photo: Ian Hodgson/ Reuters

REM devotees were often more disappointed than Smiths love after investigating different groups mentored by their favourite vocalist. Sometimes Stipe impressed gold- he championed 10,000 Maniacs, who truly deserved championing, and the Indigo Girls. He stuck up for faith acts, more, generating unstinting support efforts to Vic Chesnutt. Nonetheless, it’s entirely possible that no one would ever have heard of Hetch Hetchy had they not boasted Stipe’s sister, Linda, and been produced by him. And it’s absolutely certain no one would have heard about Chickasaw Mud Puppies without Stipe’s intervention. On the one mitt, REM love were leave behind an awful fortune of registers they were unlikely to return to. On the other, often of Stipe’s support was devoted to local strips from Athens, Georgia, and it’s hard to quibble with someone stirring the effort to support the music vistum in the town that nurtured them. Exactly don’t listen to the records too often.

Kanye West

Part Part of a long and rich institution … Kanye West. Photo: Leon Bennett/ WireImage

Hip-hop has a long and rich tradition of its hotshots fostering other MCs, whom they help propel to commercial success( so rich is that tradition that the proteges have their own specific call: weed carriers ). Kanye West epitomizes the process, having inaugurated as a protege of Jay-Z‘s, before producing his own family tree of rappers, vocalists and makes: John Legend, Hit-Boy, Travis Scott, Big Sean, Kid Cudi and so on. But let us recall instead the least likely of the Western endorsements.

In the mid-2 000 s, Ben Hudson was the frontman of Mr Hudson and the Library, a utterly unremarkable banding whose principal points of interest were that they employed steel pans and did a tour of libraries. This did not result in breathtaking commercial-grade success, despite a major label bargain: at one point you could have caught them playing a gig outside my house( which was nothing to do with me, though it did leave me with a continuing aversion to his music ). And then Kanye West listened him, and signed him to his GOOD Music imprint. Abruptly Mr Hudson started from touring the UK’s libraries to forming on 808 s and Heartbreak, working with Jay-Z, and Future and Miley Cyrus, and growing a successful songwriter for hire. His solo career prolongs, too, hitherto the world abides stubbornly uninterested.

Paul Weller

A A new Berry Gordy? … Paul Weller. Image: Tom Beard

Simply talking up his favourite artists wasn’t enough for Paul Weller. Instead, he thoughts himself a brand-new Berry Gordy, and as the Jam described to a shut, he set up his own imprint for his preferred being/ mod sound, Respond Records. Weller offered his assistances as songwriter, producer and guitarist( for the purposes of the pseudonym Jake Fluckery ). There are just a few minor reaches along the way, including Tracie, signed after responding to an ad in Smash Hits trying a vocalist for the Questions. She sang backing vocals on the Jam’s final single, Beat Surrender, and then with the Style Council before her solo entry, The House That Jack Built, reached the Top 10. Julie Hadwen and Tony Burke responded to the same ad, were introduced by Weller- and then duly left Respond to have a hit with This House( Is Where Our Love Stands ). As for the remainder of the Respond roster- whither ND Moffatt? Or A Craze? Or Meff? More than any other placed of proteges, the story of Respond supports that someone’s love will buy following a recommendation formerly, but their loyalty extends merely so far.

This article was updated on Wednesday 28 February to correct a mistake: the Melvins had three albums on Atlantic , not one.

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