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But FS blocked the release of their own album, nixing offers from MCA and Sony to distribute #1 in the U.S. and outside the U.K. Fischer says it was about creative control. "We were very concerned about some promotional campaign going out in Australia that would embarrass us," he says.
Barney Glover, former Ministry U.S. label manager, sees the situation differently. "We underestimated their unwillingness to deal with the real world," he says. "MCA was a committed partner. Sony was a major that was hungry for them. To believe it doesn't matter when you release your recordnow or in 12 monthsit's missing the point."
Talks stalled. Averill mentioned the difficulties to a Capitol rep, who expressed interest. By August 2002, Ministry and FS had licensed the project to Capitol for an undisclosed advancereportedly enough to recoup Ministry's expenses. Ministry U.K. declined comment.
Finally, the music fans of Peoria can trundle to the Wal-Mart or the Big K and buy #1. Capitol is betting on a much larger audience than hipsters and, so far, their bet seems to be paying off. "Emerge," self-released on their four-song CD in September '99, is now climbing the Billboard dance charts, from 31 to 27 to 20 in three weeks. Some top radio stations are playing it even before the label has begun its mainstream push. FS nabbed a Hummer commercial getting heavy airplay, and in case you missed the Dirty Vegas and Telepopmuzik phenomenon, Capitol's electronic acts have done rather well for themselves shilling product.
"We've been catching the same heat from people for two years," says Spooner. "You gotta do it now! Now! You're missing the moment! If we had done that the first time someone had said it, we wouldn't be sitting here and you wouldn't be talking to us."
Back in Carson land, Mr. "I'm a massive tool" introduces the group in his monologue by saying, "I gotta be honest, they're a little out there," and then before they take the stage with "It's Creative. Weird. Interesting. Bizarre. It's European." (The way your parents told you your gay uncle was "European" at cousin Aileen's bat mitzvah.) Then, after the melee that is any FS show, Daly walks onstage. He doesn't rush to embrace Spooner. In fact, he seems to keep his distance. Daly stands amid the clearing smoke of the pyrotechnics and the strewn glitter and shiny streamers, and he sort of shakes his head, a little unsure of what he's just witnessed.
Mainstream America, meet Fischerspooner.