If you’re a comic book fan you’re probably familiar with the DC comics group of supervillians called the Legion of Doom. That is not the Legion I am talking about. Lex Luther, Bizarro, and The Riddler didn’t start a grunge rock band.
The Legion of Doom is a duo of music producer Chad Blinman and Trevor Keith (frontman of punk band Face to Face). After Face to Face broke up in 2004, the Legion was formed as a way to experiment in new genre-redefining ways. Their first album, Incorporated, was a beautiful blend of hiphop, hardcore punk, emo, metal, and more into a magnificent synthesis of 14 mash-ups. This album has a bit of something for everyone, it has some upbeat songs, some downtempo songs, happy sad, light dark, and it transitions between all mediums with complete fluidity. It almost sounds as if the songs were written to be heard symbiotically rather than as distinct entities. For example, I don’t like Dashboard Confessional at all but my 2nd favorite mash on the CD, “The Quiet Screaming,” is half a Dashboard song, “Screaming Infidelities.” Check it out for yourself in this fan made music video.
Incorporated was redefining not just genres but also to the entire music industry and method of doing business. Instead of selling a CD they gave it away. Yep, you heard that right, free. Though it was eventually released as a limited edition CD and is on iTunes, you can still find it all over the Internet for free and the band still encourages you to obtain it on P2P software, as I would. If an artist creates a work and wants that to be free it is wrong for anyone other than the artist to change their mind and charge money for that work. You may get the vibe I don’t like record labels much and you would be right.
The next major project they worked on together was composing the soundtrack to the independent philosophical/existential horror film, Eyes Front. I love independent movies and have seen my share of the stereotypical artsy over the top indie films, some were good many sucked. This was a good one, but somewhat hard to follow. Eyes Front wasn’t the first nor the only soundtrack the Legion made an appearance on. They have songs on the soundtracks for Las Vegas, Saw II, Saw III, Underworld Evolution, Resident Evil Extinction, and more. Check out their downloads page for some free downloads of their music.
Many musicians and other artists might be baffled by this business model of investing lots of time into something you intend to give away, but it worked well for the Legion. I am a huge fan of this business model and thank the Legion for showing me that it can be a big success. The CD got them most popularity which guaranteed songs in movies and royalties from those songs, a constant revenue stream. The limited edition CD was effectively self-produced giving nearly all the profits directly to the artists themselves, instead of to a greedy money vampire (read as: record company). As a huge fan of the Legion, who wants to support them and all the artists I like any way I can I bought a CD. I viewed my purchase not as paying for the music, I already had that; I was buying the album art, I was buying a 1/3000th share in the Legion. I was incorporating myself into Incorporated and distinguishing myself as a fan from a listener. While I haven’t hear much of their new music I still listen to Incorporated on a regular basis.
I’ll leave you with the sage words of Sage Francis.