By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
“Record sales are still declining. Companies are focusing on acts that already have a big fan base. Whether radio or online, you want to see the phenomenal response to the music,” says Max Gousse, senior vice president of A&R, Island/Def Jam Music Group.
Despite the buzz, Gibbs remains very much an underground phenomenon with his MySpace and YouTube metrics not yet on par with recent acts that have attracted seven-figure deals. But he has inspired a devotion rare in the Rapidshare-era.
“Even if Gibbs never becomes a superstar, he can still have that regional success, he can be a voice,” says John Gotty, editor of the influential music Web site The Smoking Section, one of the first to break Gibbs. “You can start on the Net, but you need to tour like the indie rockers, meet the people and build a brand. It’s bigger than mixtapes.”
Though labels have expressed interest in light of his recent acclaim, Gibbs’ management team is waiting until they can command the right price. “We’re about building a fan base. If you have fans that follow you, you have all the power,” Bonkers says. “We can license his songs for TV, video games and movies. We can secure producers. You only need a label to be a pop act on the charts.”
With the odyssey of guns and grams momentarily abated, and new material being recorded daily, Gibbs says his purpose is clearer than ever. “Until a few months ago, I never knew what I wanted to do, but right now making music just feels right.”
In essence, he’s back at the beginning, waiting for the train to stop.