Wilco, the Chicago-based experimental rock band led by Jeff Tweedy, has announced they are leaving their long-time label Nonesuch Records to start their own record company, dBpm Records. The band's longtime manager, Tony Margherita, will run the enterprise from his offices in Easthampton, Mass. dBpm's releases will be distributed and marketed through the L.A.-based independent label Anti- Records.
"This is an idea we've discussed for years," Tweedy said in a statement. "We really like doing things ourselves, so having our own label feels pretty natural to me. And, to be working with Anti -- a label that was started by a punk rock guy to sell his own records -- seems like a perfect fit for us."
The singer-songwriter was referring to Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz, who founded Epitaph Records of which Anti is a subsidiary. The label's eclectic roster includes such disparate and critically-acclaimed artists as Mavis Staples, Nick Cave, Blackalicious, Tom Waits, Buju Banton, Merle Haggard and Roky Erickson.
"Wilco's independent streak is well documented and nothing new," Margherita said. "And this is the culmination of what we've been working towards for the last 15 years. As we reached the end of our last deal, it felt like it was time for a change and the one thing we were certain we did not want to do was to sign another traditional recording agreement."
Margherita went on to cite his experience working with Mavis Staples, an Anti recording artist, as helping inspire the band's decision to work with Anti.
To many Wilco fans, however, the band's departure from Nonesuch may come as a bit of a surprise. The story of how Wilco came to the label is well-documented in the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart. The documentary, directed by Sam Jones, showed the band struggling with both inner-band turmoil and its former record label, Reprise Records, which was inexplicably critical of the band's acclaimed fourth album, Yankee Foxtrot Hotel. The film seemingly ends on a happier note, at least where the record was concerned, as the album and band were picked up by Nonesuch, a label much like Anti, with a diverse and impressive roster.
Wilco is currently recording the follow-up to 2009's Wilco (The Album) in Chicago, and just confirmed the return of its Solid Sound Festival to MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass., June 24-26.