So if you haven’t been following along, here’s what’s been going on with Derek Webb’s upcoming album.
First, this was Update #1…
Since then Christianity Today’s Todd Hertz wrote about the possibility of a cuss word being on Derek’s new record. A snippet…
More so, with Webb characterizing the song at issue as “important,” I sure hope this fight is about more than just using the s-word. I’m not so sure that sticking up for scatology for its own sake is noble. And is there ever a case where using a certain word to make your point is, as Webb contends, “important?” I’ll be honest, I have a pet peeve with artists who self-declare their own art as important. Is it important to you? OK. Is it your most personal song? OK. Is it the song you’re most passionate about as you make your record? Great. But this is one of the most important songs on your most important record? Is that for you to say?
Derek responded via Twitter:
just for the record, i never said my record was “important”. i said it was important to ME. why else would i be doing it, risking so much?
i know i’ll never sell many records, i’m a niche artist. but i hope everyone considers what they spend their time doing of some ‘importance’
and that’s all i meant. i don’t mind being disliked, but i’m not crazy about being flagrantly misunderstood. pay attention folks.
For the record, I’m quite confident that the reason Derek feels this record is important has very little to do with any cussing he might do on it.
Then this morning he dropped this email to his mailing list:
this is turning into a bigger deal than we expected. as a result, we’re having to temporarily _pull everything online down (can’t explain now). and to be on the s_afe side, i’m going to pe_rsonally go offline while we sort this out. i re_ally shouldn’t use my twitter account for now either so _don’t expect any updates there.
make no m_istake, our trouble with the label over content i_s very real, and not as simple as one word; we’re back_ed into a corner. but we have applied all of our creative resources to th_is, working furiou_sly to create something that we believe not only subverts any leg_al issues but should also be a _pretty wild ride.
so this will be the l_ast email for a while. we’ll t_ry to lea_k information via a new tw_itter account, @ssyndrome. you’re o_n your own so start payin_g attention. i’l_l see you _on the o_ther side-
From what I’ve seen already this morning, it looks like the underscores are a code that lead to a website that gives further instructions. You can try to figure it out yourself, or you can fish around the internet (or the comments on this site) and find out where to go and what’s next.
I have a feeling a lot of you are going to hate what Derek is doing with this for a lot of reasons. Some of you will not like the fact that he is working around his responsibilities to his label. Some of you will be annoyed by the coded emails, hidden websites, and the rest of it. I’m sure he anticipated that. Personally, I think it’s fun and I’ll wait until I have all the information about what’s going on before I pass judgment on him for the label stuff.
But just remember one thing. Derek has, for the most part, always done things the way he wants to do them and that’s what has endeared many of his fans to him. He was journaling online before you had ever heard the word ‘blog’. He left a great band and people wondered why. He played shows in people’s living rooms when he could have booked bigger venues. He gave away an album for free before Radiohead did. He wrote the lyric “I want to read the bible and I want to make out” in a song about falling in love with his wife. He rejoined the band he left for an album and a tour and people wondered why. And now this. But through it all, the reason you still care about Derek is because of the music and the message.
Derek doesn’t need me to defend him, and that’s not what I’m doing. I just want to remind you that through all the stuff he’s tried and done in the past, it still came back to the fact that his music was enjoyable and challenging in a way that few artists have been able to do. And if I was a betting man, I’d bet that label issues aside, that’s still the case.
We. Shall. See.