News

Pirates!

Posted on August 4th, 2007 by Mike

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Pirates! Stinking, loathsome, unidexter, parrot-loving pirates have struck again!

Recently a thoughtful correspondent (thanks, Trent) pointed out that Vancouver’s normally-upright Zulu Records had some copies of a re-issue of the our 1979 EP in their window, a re-issue that included some extra tracks from our early singles as well. First we’d heard of it. Some inquiries revealed that the bogus disc was being distributed locally by Vancouver’s normally-upright Scratch Records. Further inquiries resulted in Scratch telling us that the counterfeits came from a European distributor who they cravenly refused to name. Apparently they traded some of their product for the pirated EPs so there was no possibility of them withholding payment for them. And their stock was all gone, anyway. Oh, and they made some weak-minded comment about how if we’d re-release our stuff ourselves then nobody would bootleg it – as if the pirating was somehow our fault.

(We’ll fill everybody in some time about just why we haven’t re-released our older stuff yet – another tale redolent of sea air, bottles of rum, etc.)

This follows by a few months the appearance of a bootleg CD of “Incorrect Thoughts” from another band of villains going by the name “Punk Vault.” Also European, apparently.

Zulu made the comment that they “didn’t know it was a bootleg.” Yeah, right. Other music-store personnel who are similarly brain-fogged are invited to visit the discography page at our website (www.subhumans.ca) which has a listing of all of the actual real official releases of our stuff that have ever occurred. If it ain’t on there then it ain’t fair and square.

If anybody else hears of any other supposedly-legit outlets dealing in this stuff, please drop us a line.

23 Responses to “Pirates!”

  1. Unidexter, huh? I learned a word!

    Mike – y’all might also want to direct people to the new (and final) Punk Planet (which, alas, you probably gotta buy in town at Scratch and Zulu) for the Subhumans interview included therein… Would like to update things with you sometime – I have lots of material that Punk Planet didn’t use, and other magazines are interested; I’m working on putting that together, but enough has happened that we should talk again – questions about how the band felt about the tour, the reception to the new album, the decision of G7 to go to an online form, etc… Probably we should discuss piracy, as well!

    Sorry to hear about yet ANOTHER round of it, and sorrier to hear Scratch and Zulu played ball.

    A.

  2. I wondered about those releases (the EP and the CD you mentioned). About a year or so ago I saw sealed copies of Incorrect Thoughts on vinyl at Zulu, still /w the SST logo. I was surprised that it was re-pressed.. was this a bootleg too?

  3. Didn’t see the copies of Incorrect Thoughts at Zulu, dan, but the LP’s never been repressed. Shouldn’t have had the SST logo, though, cause it was on Friends Records, not SST (2nd LP was on SST). Sounds mighty suspicious.

  4. So did you get in touch with ‘Media Blitz’ distro after i (and probably others) told you about the Incorrect Thoughts CD that they were “stocking” as it looks as though they’ve recently shut up shop? I seem to remember that they had a bunch of other bootleg CDs in stock of various other bands as well. Takes some front to be so blatant. Any details on what happended?

  5. Oh. You’re right, it wasn’t Incorrect Thoughts, it was ‘No Wishes, No Prayers’. They were definitely sealed, but looked to be in such good condition that I suspected they had to be re-pressings of some sort.

  6. wow i’m appalled at such conniving capitalism!!
    whats the world coming to?
    for a punk band to reform with a different agenda, making money above all else, by the sound of the above article.
    Do you guys remember what punk was all about ?
    So what if someone bootlegs a record at least it gets it out to those who wouldnt hear it and I guess you feel the same about filesharing and would support the CRTC rules on pirate radio stations.
    and you guys are on Alternative Tentacles?!?
    It’s so sad when old punks join up with the rest of the fucked up people just to make a buck
    Im extremely saddened
    btw your uk namesakes the subhumans (UK) actively encourage the distrubition of music by any means necessary QUOTE
    “Music is not a choice, music is a right. They sell your culture back to you. Don’t buy it, download it….”

  7. “For a punk band to reform with a different agenda making money above all else.” Wow, this sure is presumptuous and ridiculous. How on earth do you know what the agenda of the band is? Are you a psychic? The idea that they have joined up “just to make a buck” is laughable.If people are just wanting to make a buck, they have a corporate job or invest in weapons manufacturing. They don’t play in small clubs and release records on independent labels. They don’t spend a lot of time and thought crafting insightful lyrics about the state of the world regardless of whether it is hip or trendy. How on earth are bands supposed to be able to afford to carry on – pay for food, gas and the like? I find the use of the word “namesake” curious as well. The Subhumans (Canada) never fashioned themselves after the British Subhumans either. They exisited two years before the British band. The bands are two independent entities who happen to have the same name. It is indeed sad that “Brixton Punk” trashes a hard-working old-school band because they have the audacity to need a small amount of money to hope to survive. Unfortunately, some on the left are too busy being self-righteous and judgmental to recognize potential allies.

    Adam

  8. Hey so-called “Brixton punk” (funny that a punk from Brixton would know anything about the CRTC, or are you actually a Canadian, who chose that name cause it sounded really “hardcore”). Are you on glue or are you just an imbecile in general? You’re “appalled” and “saddened” that a band might want to be able to sell some records in order to help continue to make music (and more records)? I guess you’re one of these idiots that think that artists should give their art to the world for free (instead of being able to pay the bills).

    Meanwhile, self-rightous chumps like yourself happily pocket your earnings from your job at Starbucks or wherever, saving up for your next Skates hoodie or dick piercing and you damn well expect to be paid for your labour, or else. And I bet if your boss came in and said, “Hey man, coffee’s not a choice, it’s a right. You should be doing this work for free”, you’d be the first person there to tell him/her to go fuck themselves.

    And what makes you think myself or anyone else in the band gives a fuck what the Subhumans (UK) have to say about it. They seem like a nice bunch of guys with their hearts in the right place and I have lots of repect for them, but they have their opinions and we have ours. Who says ours should be the same as theirs? Is that what you want, some kind of homogeneous world where everyone trumpets the same platitudes? Count me out.

    To assert that our agenda is to make money is absolutely absurd. We reformed just over 3 years ago to make music and to say something about the world around us. We didn’t expect to make fuck-all money at it and so far we’ve made even less than we expected. Equipment, recording, rehearsing and touring all cost a shitload of money and if you think the money we make from gigs and merch covers it you’re dreaming. Claiming that this is some kind of money making scheme on our part is like claiming George Bush is a pacifist. It’s just plain bullshit.

    Yeah, we are on Alternative Tentacles and why don’t you call up Jello and ask him what he thinks of piracy? He’ll knock you down your holier than thou ladder a rung or two. How the fuck do you think a record label like AT survives financially? From record sales you dumbfuck dweeb! What do you think would happen if you or some other moron like you bootlegged AT’s entire catalogue. AT would be forced out of business! Of course, you’d probably think that was a good thing seeing as how AT is a “conniving capalist” organization.

    Yeah, and for the record I am against file sharing. In fact, I don’t call it “file sharing”; I call it theft. Oh yeah, I know lots of people (including some musicians) make the argument now that no one should pay for records, you should just download. Well I guess if you’re making enough to survive and continue making music just from live shows, then you can afford to say that. Or if you’re on some huge corporate record label that you hate and that doesn’t pay you your royalities anyways, you’ve got nothing to lose by saying that. But tell me, if the very real possibility existed that you could receive money from the sales of your record and you needed that money to continue to make music, why the fuck wouldn’t you want it? And as a fan of a particular artist, who wanted that artist to be able to continue producing music, why wouldn’t you be willing to pay that artist for their work? (Unless you’re just too fucking cheap to pay anyone for their work.)

    Anyways, I suggest before you go wagging your purist finger at “sellouts” in the future you take the time to do a little more research on the actual status of your target. Now fuck off.

  9. “Brixton Punk” – Is that you Warren?

  10. 1. One of the things you’re missing, Brixton, is the presence of another set of “conniving capitalists”. Somewhere (likely in Europe, it seems) there’s a brave entrepreneur who’s getting vinyl records manufactured, investing capital and everything, and then recovering his costs – and making a profit – by selling them into the punk distribution chain. Just like a normal record label with one thing left out: payments to the artists. They take every penny themselves. Personally, I don’t feel any resentment toward the people who buy bootlegs. It’s the unknown, cowardly, shamefaced shits who get between the fans and us who get my goat.
    2. The UK Subhumans are relentlessly DIY, and good on ’em for it – but they don’t give their music away. Check out http://www.subhumans.co.uk for their prices and terms of payment. Or maybe http://www.fatwreck.com for their “Live in a Dive” CD.
    3. Adam: I don’t think “namesake” implies a priority.
    4. Unlike my colleague Mr. G. Hannah, I wouldn’t characterize filesharing with the inflammatory term “theft”. I think we have to recognize that the absolutist expansion of the notion of intellectual property in recent years has been at the behest of capitalists, not creators. Real peer-to-peer non-profit filesharing by music fans is just not in the same category as knocking over a liquor store, and music fans don’t deserve to be labelled thieves.

  11. The issue of royalties aside, I always felt having your band bootlegged was a bit of an honour. It means people really like your band. Thats cool isn’t it?

  12. The only way I’ve ever even heard you guys long before the new album was when one of my best friends gave me a CDR copy of your older tracks. Without that I’d never know you would end up one of my favorite bands. I’m very against file sharing unless its completely unavailable, I always want the actual album and have plenty of friends who agree but sometimes there is shit you just cannot find anywhere or you don’t want to dish out $50 for a Subhumans record when band isn’t even going to see dime. I don’t know, you tell me. I definitely won’t get bootlegs when the band is against it. Then again Hubble Bubble isn’t even trying to get their LP back out and the bootleg is an excellent copy I must say, to download… what does a music fan do?

  13. I’m in no way affiliated with Scratch, but maybe they’re right. Get the details hammered out and re-release your stuff. People want it, obviously. What’s the point of withholding it?

  14. The post by “Brixton punk” is pretty much right on. I guess the SUBHUMANS would agree that only the most affluent of “punks” or record nerds should be entitled to listen to their “rare” music.
    Also, Scratch records’ comment makes a point. If you don’t want it pirated, then put it in print. Oh, and i thought I’d just ask, is there a guy named Lars in the Subhumans now?

  15. As much as I’d like to see “Incorrect Thoughts” back in print (and I mean the original and official 1980 album), as it is one of the greatest and most underrated punk albums of all time and needs to be unleashed on a new generation, I totally disagree with buying bootlegs (at least of honest, hard-working bands that I respect). Brixton and JP, you guys obviously have no clue what it’s like to be in a totally dedicated, self-sufficient band. You can’t keep a band going on the money made from gigs alone, especially when 60% of the promoters will most assuredly rip you off, and gas is $4 a gallon and you have to get to the next town 200 miles away. People like you are so quick to yell “sellout”, when you a) have no idea what that term really means, and b) have no idea how things work in the real world, not your little textbook-punk idealistic fantasy-land where everything is communal and we’re all happy little anarchists. You know what selling out really means? It means compromising who you really are in order to gain something with no substance, be it money, fame, or social acceptance… kind of like people who claim to be from places like Brixton when I doubt they really are, just because it gives some false image of punk “cred” or whatever. I payed $12.99 for New Dark Age Parade, which in today’s market is a very fair price…. and I seriously doubt these guys are sipping champagne and snorting lines off some stripper’s fake tits in the back of a stretch limo because of it. You have no idea the hours these guys put in for their music, so why don’t you just shut the fuck up and quit spouting off so pompously about “music is a right, not a choice… BLAH-BLAH-BLAH”. Especially when the band you’re quoting is going to be on the next WARPED tour.

  16. Blowing up property is a kind of theft, too, and sometimes doing that is ok, so I guess labeling bootlegs as ‘piracy’ or ‘theft’ does not advance the argument much in my mind, especially when I am hearing it from a guy who – at one point in his life, anyhow – saw the need to blow up property.

    I have just downloaded a copy of “Incorrect Thoughts” online. I bought the album when it came out and no longer have the vinyl. Call it theft if you want. But consider: I built some houses for folks back in the early 90s and set my own wage for the work. A few of the folks I worked for have gone on to sell the homes I helped build. I did not see a penny of that money. Do they owe me?

  17. God this debate is starting to get tiresome…. Okay, I’m not suggesting that in every case downloading music files for free or buying bootleg albums is unacceptable. Sometimes the music is totally unavailable and likely to remain so indefinitely. In such a case (as someone said above), what’s a fan to do? Also, there are times when you like one song from an album, but can’t stand the rest of it. Maybe downloading the one song in that case is relatively harmless. After all, you’d never buy the whole album anyways, so no particular loss to the artist. I mean, I think that when a person is considering paying for an artist’s work or taking it for free, they should exercise their conscience and use some common sense. If you like the artist/s and you want them to be paid for their work, buy it whenever you can.

    What I was arguing against in my earlier rant (see above) was the act of bootlegging another artist’s release for profit and the systematic use of free downloads instead of going out and buying albums that are readily available. As well, I was arguing against the points brought up by so-called “Brixton Punk” in his/her excruciatingly self-righteous attack on Mike’s fairly light hearted complaint against the manufacture and sale of the bootleg.

    As for blowing up property being a form of theft, well I suppose that’s true. There were and always are losses to someone in such scenarios. But I imagine you would agree Bluebeard, that global nuclear war could also be considered a form of theft. In the case of the Litton Systems bombing, rightly or wrongly, that was the theft that Direct Action was trying to avert.

    As for your house building analogy, you were paid for your labour at the time you built the houses. We spent weeks recording the EP and Incorrect Thoughts (not to mention the time and energy spent writing and rehearsing the songs beforehand). When do we get paid for our labour (and expenses)? In Brixton Punk’s idea world, we simply don’t.

  18. Sorry if you tire of the debate. I never expected an answer.

    I have done pelnty of work I never got paid for but never after making an agreement beforehand for payment. I guess I figure that if I don’t settle on a fair price before I put the labour in that I can’t reasonably complain after I put the labour in…

    But, more importantly, while you’re listening, will there be a 30th anniversary Anti-Canada Day gig? I’ll be in town and would be more than happy to buy whatever stuff you want to put out on a table. I kind of owe you guyd. I sold a crushed beer can on E-Bay for $500 that we had used to play a brief game of parking lot foot hockey with THE SUBHUMANS outside of the Rock for Central America gig in 1982 (?)

  19. You said: “I have done pelnty of work I never got paid for but never after making an agreement beforehand for payment. I guess I figure that if I don’t settle on a fair price before I put the labour in that I can’t reasonably complain after I put the labour in… ”

    Er, so it’s our fault for not simply negotiating an iron-clad enforceable agreement for our original recordings which would somehow prevent unknown third parties in countries thousands of miles away from bootlegging us with no compensation, and would also prevent some guy named “Bluebeard” from acquiring our music using technologies that weren’t invented when the records were first released?

    Say, how do you get to that planet you’re living on? Sounds nicer than this one.

    ” . . . will there be a 30th anniversary Anti-Canada Day gig?”

    Naw, missed that date. Won’t be playing till later on in the summer. Will post dates when we’ve got them.

  20. I really think you have to use these technologies on a case-by-case basis. If the music is OOP, or was never available, then file sharing technology perhaps can actually keep interest in the music alive. I should imagine that, if and when there is ever a legitimate reissue of the EP, INCORRECT THOUGHTS, and/or NO WISHES NO PRAYERS, a good percentage of the people who will buy the albums (or pay for “official” downloads or whatever is being done at that point) are people who were introduced to the songs through file sharing (which is, right now, about the only way for most people to access them). However, the fact is, Gerry has long since convinced me to curtail my downloading (not based on the above, but on past conversations). I only use file sharing if I’m checking out a band I’ve never heard and want to know if I like the album enough to buy it, or if I’m looking for unreleased or OOP stuff. It’s getting harder and harder to find music I want to buy in CD stores; the old system seems to be slowly crumbling, and since I LIKE CDs, or LPs, or SOMETHING with art and liner notes and so forth that is designed as a cohesive package – not just digital files to mix and match – it seems like I should do my bit to keep it going, by actually PAYING FOR THE MUSIC I WANT TO LISTEN TO.

    Maybe some of the experts on the board can tell me if that’s a punk rock attitude or not.

    A.

  21. Hi:

    I guess it would be polite to wait for the Subhumans to announce it themselves, but in case anyone checks in here, there’s going to be a show by them in North Vancouver on July 26th, also featuring The Rebel Spell, doing a benefit for Darfur. I interviewed Todd of the Rebel Spell about it – we talk about Gerry and Direct Action a bit – so if you can find The Skinny, pick it up. The gig is at Seylynn Hall, and is all ages. I blogged their gig poster:

    http://alienatedinvancouver.blogspot.com/2008/07/rebel-spell-and-subhumans-all-ages-show.html#comments

    I just have this bad feelin’ that none of the guys are gonna get around to posting it. Maybe they want it to be a secret? I guess they’ll be mad at me, then.

    Ah, well.

  22. “Incorrect Thoughts” is one of the most enduring punk albums of all time and deserves a place, with D.O.A.’s Harcore ’81, in whatever Canada calls a music hall of fame. These two albums informed and shaped Canadian society in the 80’s in an unexplainable way.

    As such, these bands should be payed for their work.

    They are not asking to be rich, just get an honest paycheck for a job well done. Royalties are owed when sales are made. Period.

    Scratch & Zulu should not make the case that because the people want it it is okay to support piracy theft as that makes a case for kicking down their doors and taking their shelf stock. After all, Scratch is a label?!

    As for “Brixton Punk”: You can always tell someone that lives at home….those are the one spouting off about anarchy & punkness. And yes, 40 year olds still sound like kids if they are living in their parents basement. Could this “Brixton Punk” be a not so long lost acquaintance?

  23. Uh, anyhow, once again, the Subhumans have an upcoming show that they haven’t posted here (as of this writing, anyhow): August 29th at the Cobalt, as part of Chris Walter’s booklaunch for the Personality Crisis bio. See my interview with Subhumans drummer Jon Card about this gig, his time in both bands (and in DOA, SNFU, etc), and about his work in the downtown eastside (alongside Brian) in the upcoming issue of the Skinny…

    A.

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