Will Oldham has been called punk rock, enigmatic, bleak, hairy, and a genius. But a shill?
In our current culturoeconomic fuckscape the question of 'what is selling out?' has become murky at least, and many wonder if it's even possible anymore. From an essay in The Atlantic, writer Hua Hsu considers the question:
It sounds like a previous era's concern, and in many ways, it is naive to think there was ever a time before music was a commodity. But there does seem to be something qualitatively different about how music and money converge nowadays, if only because the possibilities multiply daily, infinitely. A recent piece in the Wall Street Journal described the Black Eyed Peas as "the most corporate band" around, and some of the ways in which they align themselves with their sponsors are both brilliant and unprecedented. They've taken the logic of the arena call-and-response to its very literal end.And so, back to Bonnie.
In this 'commercial' for the Dogfish Head beer company, Will Oldham (as "Jonathan Smart") discusses the benefits of destroying all humans and brewing tasteless beer with the factories caretaker, a monotoned robot (played by the founder and president of Dogfish Head, Sam Calagione). This, I think, is a lovingly unique way to make some money out your celebrity. If this is selling out, it's a soft sell; Oldham doesn't mention the brand once. That said, this will be the third piece I'm aware of on the video. I'm selling beer right now. What the fuck is a sellout?