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Marketing Syria

Miles and Aaron on Marketing Syria

Supporting Assad and thumbs up to the I.R.S.

In a previous segment of The Copeland Chronicles, here on AND Magazine, Miles Copeland said a little something about how countries market themselves and how one man's terrorist is another man's savior. In the same breath, he sits as purveyor of other people's artistry, wearing an "The I.R.S. is Watching You" t-shirt, marketing his former record label with a USG parody (...and a witty one at that, spinning the company acronym with a lyric from The Police's "Every Breath You Take" together with current political events.)

Excerpts from this segment:
  • The IRS has a job to do, and when it all settles down, I think we'll all figure out that the problem wasn't as big as we thought.
  • The IRS man [logo] was our little thumbs up at the establishment.
  • Miles, you thumb-up to the establishment on a regular basis, probably on a daily basis. Yet, you were born and raised from within the establishment. I know for a fact you respected and loved your dad immensely. Where did that separation come in?
  • I support the democratic system on the United States Government, but I don't necessarily support it's workings. I think the Constitution is all well and good, but there are certain aspects of it that are out of date.
  • Either you correct the flow of money into politics, which isn't gonna happen, or you create a system when the [politicians] have a couple of years to do their job before they have to worry about getting elected again.
  • We really should have supported Assad in the beginning if we wanted to do the right thing.

About I.R.S. Records
I.R.S. Records is a record label, launched in the United States in 1979 by Miles Copeland III along with Jay Boberg and Carl Grasso. Miles was also the manager of Wishbone Ash, The Police (which counted Miles' brother Stewart as one of its members), and later, Sting, as well as other bands. The "I.R.S." in the title stands for International Record Syndicate (Inc.), as a play on the acronym of the Internal Revenue Service. I.R.S. was the sister label of Copeland's Illegal Records (UK).

In 1985, Copeland brokered a deal to switch the label's distributor to MCA Records. Under the agreement, A&M continued to release the label's pre-1985 catalog, much of which still can be found under the A&M banner.

In 1990, the band Green Day included a letter from then-I.R.S. college radio rep Lori Blumenthal in one of their last cassette releases for Lookout Records. The letter expressed IRS' interest in signing the band to the label. A reply letter from Lookout, also included in the cassette artwork, deemed I.R.S. a "cheesy" and "washed up" record label, and they expressed their loyalty to Lookout! Records.

The last IRS release was the 1996 Buzzcocks CD All Set before it folded. Shortly after, Copeland formed Ark 21 Records. The label was revived by EMI in 2011.

On the Charts was a 1994 compilation album that chronicled the acts of I.R.S. Records from 1979 to 1994, featuring the following:

  1. Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go-Go's
  2. Mexican Radio [Edit] - Wall of Voodoo
  3. Only a Lad - Oingo Boingo
  4. The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades - Timbuk 3
  5. Save It for Later - The English Beat
  6. She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
  7. Mad About You [Single Mix] - Belinda Carlisle
  8. Tenderness - General Public
  9. The One I Love - R.E.M.
  10. Joey - Concrete Blonde
  11. Rain in the Summertime [Edit] - The Alarm
  12. Dizz Knee Land - dada

Acts on I.R.S. included R.E.M., The Buzzcocks, The Go-Gos, Bel Canto, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin, Gary Numan, The English Beat (North America), General Public (North America), Camper Van Beethoven, The Cramps, Wall of Voodoo, Squeeze, The Animals, Wishbone Ash, Marillion (US & Canada only), Henry Badowski, Karel Fialka, Murk, Nuclear Assault, Human Switchboard, The Fleshtones, Oingo Boingo, Doctor and the Medics, Suburban Lawns, Over the Rhine, The Alarm, Skafish, John Cale, Renaissance, Sahotas, Caterwaul, Gren, Dread Zeppelin, The Surfing Brides, Show of Hands, Lords of the New Church, Fine Young Cannibals (North America), The Truth, Foxy Shazam, Chrome Molly, Black Sabbath, Let's Active, Concrete Blonde and Sea Stories.
An instrumental-only imprint, I.R.S. No Speak, released albums by Wishbone Ash, Stewart Copeland, and William Orbit. I.R.S. also produced the feature film Shakes the Clown, which starred Bobcat Goldthwait. It released David Lynch and Alan R. Splet's soundtrack of the movie Eraserhead in the 1980s.

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Updated Feb 1, 2018 7:51 AM EST | More details


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