Punk moves to San Francisco -- Big labels court artists like Jawbreaker and Rancid
Seattle can go back to complaining about the rain. The quest for the next rock & roll gold mine — having touched down around the U.S., including Veruca Salt’s hometown, Chicago — has shifted to San Francisco. Drooling over the platinum sales of Bay Area punkers Green Day, record companies have descended on Fog City to woo Rancid and Jawbreaker, two local bands carrying the punk torch. ”This is the biggest bidding war in the world right now,” says Jeff Saltzman, who comanages Green Day and Rancid and is Jawbreaker’s lawyer. Atlantic’s Mike Gitter agrees: ”The climate has definitely become more conducive to bands like this.” The battle has become so heated that the labels have sent their big guns to the mosh pit. Among the suits spotted: Capitol CEO Gary Gersh, Atlantic president Danny Goldberg, Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field — and Maverick’s Madonna. The outcome? Jawbreaker, which toured with Nirvana last year, is expected to choose between Geffen, Capitol, and Warner Bros. Rancid has been juggling bids from Warner, Maverick, Interscope, Epic, and the indie label Epitaph. Either way, it’s bound to be a green day: Saltzman says both bands are fielding offers in the seven figures.