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Geoff Rickly & Collect Records sever ties with Martin Shkreli; future of label not looking good

photo: Geoff Rickly w/ United Nations at Saint Vitus in 2014 (more by Greg Cristman)
United Nations

Yesterday we mentioned how drug price-gouger Martin Shkreli, the current most hated man on the internet, was revealed to be the sole backer of Geoff Rickly‘s Collect Records, and how in lieu of Shkreli’s actions, Rickly and several Collect bands acknowledged their future was questionable. Now, as Pitchfork points out, Rickly has released a statement announcing the label has severed ties with Martin Shkreli:

Today, Collect Records — with the support and encouragement of all of our artists — have agreed to fully sever our relationship with Martin Shkreli, effective immediately.

When I decided to get into business with Martin, we took him on as a patron. He was completely silent and allowed us to do business as we pleased. His only ask was that we sign bands that we believed could make great art given the right environment and not to focus on a profit, no matter how dire the bottom line.

Never in a million years did any of us expect to wake up to the news of the scandal that he is now involved in. It blindsided and upset us on every level. As such, we know it is impossible for us to continue having any ties with him. For my part, I’ve always strived to make Collect a place that was so liberal, encouraging, and artist-friendly that no one would ever walk away from us willingly, though to do so at any time would be very easy. To that end, I hope that our bands continue to believe in our guidance and passion. Any of them that have had an incurable crisis of confidence will be allowed to leave with nothing but the kind of encouragement that we’ve built our label on.

For all the kind words of encouragement that I’ve received over the past two days, I’m forever grateful.

From all here at Collect Records, thank you.

Wax Idols already tweeted, “I’m staying with Collect bc I know they’ll do the right thing & we’ll get through this. Fuck Martin. I won’t be defined by his actions.” Nothing have yet to comment further, but they did reveal that their new record will be called Tired of Tomorrow.

UDPATE: A NY Times article came out today, revealing more info about Geoff’s situation with Martin:

Mr. Rickly said he was aware of Mr. Shkreli’s past business dealings, which included controversial investments and lawsuits from former employees, at the time of their partnership. “Of course I Googled him,” Mr. Rickly said. “I had apprehensions and I talked to him about it. He has a cavalier attitude about things. At the time, one on one, it was soothing, but in public now it comes across as borderline sociopathic.”

“You take any capitalist money and you never know. It’s a dirty system and usually people do something questionable things,” Mr. Rickly added.

Mr. Rickly said he had hoped to use the money to fund struggling artists. “At the very worst, if Martin was a bad guy, then you’re taking his terrible money and giving it to artists who never get any,” he said. “I wanted to make something great out of it — the stupid Robin Hood narrative that everybody knows.”

The article also points out that the future of Collect may not be looking good:

Mr. Rickly said losing Mr. Shkreli’s financial support might result in the label’s closing. “This is going to end the career of the record label, no doubt,” he said. “If I were a band on the label I would be having a serious crisis of faith right now. The amount of money I have in the bank doesn’t cover my outstanding invoices. It’s devastating.”

Lastly for now, Geoff has tweeted the following:

Because there are some conflicting things, I feel the need to say this plainly. I have always been an honest and caring person. Collect has been a labor of love from the beginning. The bands on my roster are the best, the brightest, the most forward thinking, rhe most diverse group of people. I’m so proud of all of them and they didn’t deserve this. Tonight I’m running on nothing but faith. Faith that any missteps I make in the next few days will be forgiven by people that matter to me. Because I’m human and I hurt. Faith that tomorrow will be better and I’ll use my 20 years of punk rock resourcefulness to fulfil every promise I’ve made. Faith that all of you that have sent their love to me today will help pull me up and teach me a better way to make this label work. And some bands will leave and I will love and support them and some will stay and I’ll bleed for them like I do. And I’ll make new mistakes. But I’ll do it in the best, most honest, most caring way that I can. With my friends and family @SkeeterNYC and persevere.

I love you friends. I love you kind strangers. I love you who have been outraged. We need to rage against things sometimes. Now is one. Mostly I love our brilliant bands and @normanbrannon and @shaundurkan leonora Liza and @BraceYourselfPR — thank you brothers and sisters.

Good night from Germany. Xoxo

We’re wishing for the best for Geoff, Norman, Shaun, and all the bands involved with Collect.

As you may know, BrooklynVegan is co-presenting a CMJ showcase at Baby’s All Right with Collect. As it currently stands, the lineup is Geoff’s band No Devotion, Nothing, Wax Idols, Creepoid, and Foxes In Fiction.

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