September 24, 2013


Godspeed You! Black Emperor Slam Toyota-Funded Polaris Prize After Win

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

On Monday night during a Toronto ceremony, Montreal-based post-rock outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor won the prestigious Polaris Prize, Canada's indie-leaning 'Album of the Year' award that comes with a $30,000 paycheck.

Although the reunited version of the 20-year-old band were not present, a rep from their label accepted on their behalf and announced the money would be donated to music education programs in Quebec prisons.

This morning, GY!BE published a "thank you" note of sorts that also doubles as an eviscerating screed against corporate-sponsored attempts to turn music into a competitive sport.

After claiming to be "shy to complain when we've been acknowledged thusly," the band rips into the fact that the Polaris Prize gala was funded by an automaker in a time when the ice caps are melting at an alarming rate.

Here are three key bullet points from their note:

1) "Holding a gala during a time of austerity and normalized decline is a weird thing to do."

2) "Organizing a gala just so musicians can compete against each other for a novelty-sized cheque [Canadian spelling, y'all] doesn't serve the cause of righteous music at all."

3) "Asking the Toyota motor company to help cover the tab for that gala, during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet, IS F--KING INSANE, and comes across as tone-deaf to the current horrifying malaise."

This isn't the first time a Polaris winner has responded less-than-appreciatively to the honor. Back in 2009, Canadian hardcore outfit F—ked Up won and simply had this to say: "Well, we won the Polaris. It's a lot better than an iPod."

Note to corporations: Fringe rock bands are not turning out to be the most grateful recipients of awards doled out by "the man." In the future, give more trophies to Justin Bieber and he will richly reward you with a Twitter mention favorited by thousands.