MusicPhilly band Nothing wants to leave label backed by drug price-gouger Martin Shkreli
Hopes&Fears talked to Nothing's lead singer, Dominic Palermo about the band's predicament and his plans going forward.
On Sunday, the New York Times reported a dramatic increase in the price of the drug Daraprim. A wave of backlash followed, targeting Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, who bought the drug and increased its price from $13.50 a pill to $750. Daraprim is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection. Pregnant women and AIDS patients are vulnerable to the parasite. Shkreli has defended his decision to raise the price, saying, "The price of a course of [Daraprim] to save your life [is] only $1,000...Daraprim is still underpriced relative to its peers."
Today, the Philidelphia-based band Nothing posted on their Facebook after learning that Collect Records, the label on which they were planning to release their next album, was backed by Shkreli. Collect Records was founded by Geoff Rickley, the lead singer of the emo band Thursday. "After Geoff told me his plans [for our album] I really believed in him," Nothing wrote on their Facebook. "He's a great guy and he like me had no idea what kind of monster was funding the label and soon to be album." Rickley has previously tweeted about his friendship with Shkreli.
Hopes&Fears talked to Nothing's lead singer, Dominic Palermo, about the band's current predicament and their plans for their album.
Hopes & Fears: How did you find out about the connection between Martin Shkreli and Collect Records?
Dominic Palermo: I first found out there was a backer about 8 months ago. Geoff and I were talking about possibly signing to the label. Geoff was just like, “We have a guy who reached out to me.” He was trying to buy a guitar off Geoff on eBay. They wound up talking. Geoff said he made a lot of money from investments, he didn’t go into much detail about it. I’m pretty clueless about money anyway, I have like $150 in my account. Geoff said [Shkreli] was a big fan of Thursday, and he wanted to give back to the arts.
Last night I had a friend hit me up. He was like “Hey, is this the guy that’s backing Collect?” and sent me a link to a really weird article on some weird website. I had to ask Geoff, and he was like, “Yeah man, figuring out all this right now.” I was like “Oh, shit.” So I just did some research. I don’t really buy into the internet a lot of the time, going overboard and making people’s lives miserable. I did a lot of research and drank a bunch of red wine, and I saw that this was the case: this guy has a history of doing really inhumane things. I started to feel a little sick to my stomach.
H&F: Do you know what percentage of the label Shkreli backs?
DP: As far as I know, he is the sole backer of the label.
H&F: Have you talked to your band members about this yet?
DP: Yeah, everyone is just kind of bummed, and nervous. We put a lot of work into this album over the past year. There are high expectations for us and we’re really proud of it. There was a lot of emotion and struggle and strife in getting this done. It’s really defeating to see this happen and not be sure of the foreseeable future.
H&F: What options are available to your band right now?
DP: Honestly we are not quite sure yet, this is the beginning stages of something. Judging by this guy’s history, he could really drag this out. I really don’t know. I don’t really want to speculate on it.
H&F: How is Geoff feeling about the whole thing?
DP: Geoff is actually flying to Germany right now. I talked to him for a little bit, he’s kind of a wreck. He doesn’t really know what to do. I don’t think he’s going to continue to work with Martin, well, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on. I feel bad for him. I know he was not aware of this at all, that he was dealing with a person like this.
H&F: How are your other Collect labelmates feeling? Have you spoken with them?
DP: I talked to Pat Troxell from Creepoid. He was the second person to give me a call after he read the articles. He was like, “Dude, what the hell is going on? Call me back.” I actually haven’t called him back yet, today has been so hectic. You’re probably the sixth person I’ve talked to for a media site. I did an interview with Maxim. That’s probably the only magazine [Shkreli] reads.
H&F: If you had the option, would you want to release your album on a different label, not connected to Shkreli?
DP: Undoubtedly. I’ll sit on this record forever until we find a way to release it that’s not connected to him. I’ll never put another record out before I’ll do something with anyone connected to this guy.