If there was a band I liked and I saw them advertising something, Id probably be disappointed, and Id look at that song a bit differently, he says.
A couple of decades ago, this opinion was widely held. But in the years since Neil Young ironically declared, This notes for you, artists have discovered that licensing tunes for use in major tube campaigns is the surest way short of payola to guarantee that a single becomes a smash. Ask Nelly Furtado, whose Promiscuous vaulted to the top slot on Billboards Hot 100 chart thanks largely to exposure it received in ubiquitous ads for Verizon Wireless.
As a result, Partons views make him seem hopelessly out-of-date in todays marketplace, something he understands well. I kind of assume that everyone sees it the same way I do, but most people probably dont, he says. Anyone new, thats not how theyd go about it. Still, he isnt about to alter his position, however anachronistic. If youre making music, then to patch that music through whatever it is petrol or beer or something changes it in a way. And I want to keep it kind of pure.
Purity isnt the first characteristic that comes to mind when the Go Team is mentioned. After all, the combos most recent album, last years Thunder, Lightning, Strike, is an exuberantly bastardized amalgam of rock, rap, soul and soundtrack music that hardly serves as a monument to homogeneity. But deep down, the Go Teams offerings are an undiluted reflection of Partons main ambition: to create a sound in which low art and high art can peacefully coexist and maybe even party together.
And if the folks from Nike phone again? Parton will politely decline the offer. Im probably seeing it a bit too seriously, he acknowledges, chuckling. In the grand scheme of things, its not a massive deal, and if anybody heard Id turned them down, theyd be like, What the fuck? Theyd think I was a proper idiot. But, you know, I think music should be kept special, and I dont think selling it for a commercial is a good way to do that.
Nelly Furtado couldnt agree less but Neil Young would be proud.