Hoax, Lies and Audiotape

John Vanderslice is an excellent musician and songwriter. He's also a pretty good prankster.

If the Do-It-Yourself credo has taught musicians anything, it's that the freedom of a church mouse often beats the slavery of a lionized superstar -- especially when it comes to the quality or personality of a recording project.

"You can do whatever you do and follow through on it and find a cult audience," Vanderslice says. "It might be a small cult audience. You might only sell 2,000 copies of your record, but that's fine. Make the kind of record that you want to make. Because if you dilute it and compromise it, you won't have anything in the end."

One thing seems certain: No matter how good or bad an indie creation actually is, there won't be a living soul who hears it without a little juice, a little word of mouth, a little precious ink shed in hype's name. Publicity is one mean fix, partner, whether it inspires Dennis Rodman to don a wedding gown or makes Jennifer Lopez show up at an awards ceremony a few threads away from public indecency. For Vanderslice, though, any more media whoppers will have to take a back seat -- especially now that Bill Gates has been spanked and finally sent to bed.

"The thing with those hoaxes is that they get tired really fast," Vanderslice says. "I'm done. Now I'm just trying to make interesting records."

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