When The Doors licensed their song "Light My Fire" for a commercial advertising the Pontiac Firebird ("light my Firebird") they were roundly and justly criticized for selling out (though in fairness, frontman Jim Morrison was told about the deal after-the-fact). For the next few decades licensing songs for commercials was definitely a no-no. But as it became increasingly difficult to break an act the idea of using a song in a commercial didn't seem so repugnant. However, singer/guitarist Kurt Vile may have turned the clock back to the late-60s.
Vile was hardly a household name before controversy struck. He was respected by an ever increasing number of his fellow musicians, like Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon who referred to Vile's '09 album "Childish Prodigy" as her guilty pleasure. "Guilty because I listen to it too much…," she claimed.
Vile's follow-up, "Smoke Ring For My Halo," went to #154 on the U.S. Album Chart. That's about three miles south of nowhere. Not even comparisons to Bruce Springsteen or having his song "He's Alright" featured during the credits of second season finale of Eastbound & Down seemed to garner much attention. Then it happened.
Probably for no other reason than to try and get a few bucks to make the rent or pay back a publishing advance, news broke that Vile had licensed his song "Baby's Arms" to Bank of America (for use in their commercials) - at just the time when banks were coming under fire - Occupy Wall Street. BOA may have been 'too big to fail' but Vile wasn't.
"Come on, Kurt Vile, yr a million times better than that," tweeted Titus Andronicus frontman, Patrick Stickles. "I thought you were, like, the best dude in music!"
Vile responded both jokingly and seriously but his manager was quick to point out that the Bank of America deal was in motion long before the Occupy protests began. Like banks had just started swindling people.
Even so, the Bank of America snafu shouldn't obscure the fact that Kurt Vile is very talented musician.
2008 Constant Hitmaker
2009 God Is Saying This To You
2009 Childish Prodigy
2010 Smoke Ring For My Halo
2009 Fall Demons
2009 The Hunchback
2010 Square Shells
2011 So Outta Reach