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Thursday, February 19

WTF?

I have tried all day, and now most of the night, to come up with something to say here about T+G's shedding of its distribution arm, a decision that appears will take with it the bulk of the jobs currently employing 25 or so people, many of whom are friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, boyfriends and girlfriends of friends, and future all of the above.

Now that I've had 20 hours to sit on it, not only am I no closer to anything profound, I can't even find anything to say that's not completely stupid. I can only say that from the time that we opened CTD in 1996, we always said that we needed to be aware of what three other companies were doing, and if we were not going to adopt one of their policies, it could only be after a serious round of examination and self-criticism. Those three companies were Mordam, Revolver, and Touch and Go. They are or were all run by people of the highest integrity, people who frequently put the good of their employees, labels, bands, and sometimes the greater indie community ahead of their own selfish interests, and almost always to the good for the rest of us. While Revolver is still going, Mordam is long gone, and, at the very least, T+G will not emerge from this anywhere close to its present shape and size.

I do not know Corey Rusk in an immediately personal sense. We have never spent a weekend camping or even a long night drinking together. During twenty years of business, we have talked for short periods of time whenever we have run into each other. He is a quiet, unassuming, sometimes apparently shy person. I also know that when Lounge Ax was in trouble with neighbors and thus the city, everyone at his label and many of his bands stopped what they were doing long enough to release one of the coolest benefit albums ever. It was an act that made them no money, and in fact cost them a lot of it in seed money, production and accounting time, and energy that would have been spent doing something else profitable.

After doing business with him and his company for twenty years in various guises, I feel confident that I know enough about him to know that this decision had to come after deep soul searching and not without significant interior stress and regret. While that does not lessen the blow on those who are losing their employment at this very difficult time for industry and country, it is also true that this isn't just a faceless corporate layoff made by a bean counter with no regard for anything but the bottom line or anyone but himself. Quite the opposite.

While I am somewhat heartened that at least the label will continue, our interactions with T+Go will be drastically changed forever.

To everyone who has lost their job and is facing a great deal of uncertainty right now, please know that we will miss you and look forward to hearing from you again wherever you may land, inside or outside what's left of the stupid music business.

Some of the proudest moments of my life have been the few lucky times when one of my actions or decisions has been favorably compared in any way to Touch and Go, and specifically Corey Rusk.

Thanks Touch and Go and everyone who has passed through its doors as employee, band, or intern.

You have made all of our lives better by your work, by your vision, and by your example, and especially by your music.

You rock.

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