CommunityFDL Main Blog

The Spin I’m In: Fall Into The Cash

Junior Brown

I went to a fun show last night at the Troubadour in L.A. to see two bands that I really like, Gram Rabbit and The 88. The 88 have released two stellar records on their own without any help from a record label. They are not played on commercial radio but you may have heard their music on TV (The OC, Grey’s Anatomy and a gazillion others) or in movies (Little Miss Sunshine, You Me and Dupree).  They have also been extremely successful at getting their music licensed to commercials.

Now, at one time, this was the credibility kiss of death. Use of one’s songs in a commercial was considered extremely taboo or even a "sellout". But it ended up giving national and mainstream exposure to numerous "underground" artists. I can still remember some jaw dropping moments in the past: Henry Rollins in a Gap print ad, (beautiful photo), Luscious Jackson in a Gap Christmas commercial (which was pretty good, no?), Iggy and the Stooges in a Nike commercial, Iggy Pop in Princess Cruises, Ramones in Cingular, The Flaming Lips in a Lexus (I think) spot. 

These days whenever I hear good hard working bands on TV spots, I think ka-ching ka-ching, good for them! They have found a way to get paid without being on payola radio or selling millions of records. The 88 on Target – good for them! The Bellrays on Nissan- good for them! Peaches on The Gap – good for her! Eagles Of Death Metal in Pay-Less Shoes – good for them!

Low to mid-level bands do not have it easy. These bands are not living high on the hog. This is how they are supporting themselves so they can continue to make music. This is how some of them pay to get their next record made and ultimately enrich our lives on this Earth. 

What I think is most interesting and really great, is that some of these ad agencies and music supervisors have far hipper tastes than commercial radio. Kudos to the money people who want something fresh and interesting and not something shoved at them from major labels or crappy commercial radio.

How about Donita Sparks for the Prius or….Jaguar?  You know, which ever comes first. (I do realize that my two songs posted on my MySpace page "Infancy Of A Disaster" and "Curtains For Cathy" wouldn’t really be appropriate.  I know, I know, a bit dark). FYI… if you’re an ad agency person out there, I am working on a new, more upbeat number I’m tentatively calling "This Car Is Fantastic". Sign me up, momma needs a new Marshall.

What’s The Spin You’re In? 

The Spin iMix In: Fall Into The Cash

(Requires Apple iTunes v6.x or above)


The Spin I’m In: Fall Into The Cash




Hide Another Mistake

The 88

Highway Patrol

Junior Brown

Revolution Get Down

The Bellrays



Naked Eye

Luscious Jackson




Dick Dale

The Passenger

Iggy Pop

Previous post

Prove It

Next post

To Biodiesel or Not To Biodiesel

Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks

Donita Sparks is a singer/songwriter living in Los Angeles, CA. Her first solo record, Transmiticate, has been released nationwide and a US tour is booked for Spring and Summer 2008. Donita is also the co-founder and front person of the rock band L7 who have released six studio albums.

Her original scores can be heard in the upcoming feature film The Life of Reilly starring Charles Nelson Reilly and in online projects for Activision and Microsoft. In 1991 Sparks and L7 formed Rock For Choice with the Feminist Majority Foundation staging numerous concerts benefiting pro-choice organizations.
Donita has been a contributing writer at Firedoglake since July 2006 with her music column The Spin I’m In.