Bullard walks out on Americana/Country Music for good with a plethora of reasons and the cancel culture set in his crosshairs.
“Before I allow my art to be dictated and censored by a weak society,
I will shoot it in the fucking head and watch it bleed out…I created it, I’ll decide when it ends.” -James Scott Bullard
Even before Covid-19 ground life to a worldwide halt, there seemed to be a recent influx of artists turning their backs on the music industry in their prime and walking away to either pursue other endeavors, or for reasons only known to them.
This is nothing new, but due to the sad state of the music industry and the uncertainty of a post Corona world, it is now far more understandable than ever.
From Grammy-winners such as Lauryn Hill, who announce their retirement only to return sometime later, all the way to Hank III, (son of Hank Williams Jr. and grandson of the king himself; Hank Williams,) who, after a 6 year absence is still M.I.A. …and then of course there’s Alt.Country wunderkind, Ryan Adams, who was ‘cancelled’ last year.
And now Americana/Outlaw Country recording artist, James Scott Bullard has joined these fugitives and announced his own retreat from the industry that gave him a name.
James Scott Bullard is what one would refer to as ‘cult famous,’ which in lay terms means; though he is not world renowned, he is well-known enough so that anyone with any knowledge of that musical genre knows who he is.
Besides, it only takes one Google search to find out more than enough on Bullard to back his credibility.
So why walk away after recently having earned worldwide acclaim for his albums: “The Rise & Fall of James Scott Bullard,” “Box of Letters” and “Full Tilt Boogie” and a successful 2 & ½ year tour?
“It began with a health issue that sidelined me after two and a half years of touring, but my health was only the catalyst in my decision to leave this side of the business. says Bullard.
There was FAR more weighing on my mind long before my health became an issue, and I should probably clarify up front, I’m not leaving the ‘music business’ as a whole. I AM walking away from the ‘Americana’/’Country’ music genre. “
I was fortunate enough to see a good amount of moderate success with my career that very few artists get to see and I can’t thank my loyal following enough for their critical part in that. continues Bullard.
It’s very humbling to see an audience singing your words, or waiting in line after a show to get a photo or a signature. Awards, recognition, your songs on radio, your face in magazines, your videos on TV, your name next to people your heroes, playing on stages you only dreamt of playing, meeting people you only dreamt of meeting, going places you only dreamt of going.
It’s all very surreal to a small town Southern boy who just wanted to be in KISS when he grew up, and they are all memories I will cherish forever, but there’s no room for me here anymore.”
Here’s a ‘cliffs notes’ version of some the reasons Bullard gives for putting Country Music behind him, which he covers in a VERY in-depth and quite graphic tell-all blog coming to his website: http://www.jamesscottbullard.com
- No money left in the industry due to technological theft.
- Some of the people involved.
- Being persona non grata.
- The over-celebration of mediocrity.
- Lack of originality/cloning.
- Political correctness and censorship.
Bullard states quite firmly that his decision had noting to do with his personal team “My manager, the label, my booking agent, my PR were all beautiful wonderful people that delivered everything they promised and then some.”
He’s also eager to make sure up front that the words and views expressed in the forthcoming blog are his and his alone and in no way reflect anyone associated with him, past present or future.
Though his reasons are many, recent political issues seem to take the wheel in Bullard’s choice to leave, which is new for an artist who has never expressed an opinion on such things one way or the other.
“A true ‘Outlaw’ is simply a man who said no.” ~Unknown
“That’s all I’m doing.” states Bullard. “Saying: “no more.”
“I am officially leaving the ‘Americana’ genre and avowing my refusal to continue to be a part of any artform that just allows outside entities to come in and tell artists what they can and can’t create anymore.
I refuse to be restrained by other people’s ideals or an overly sensitive generation gap.
I will not put my art in the hands of a public who lay in wait for artists to make a mistake so they can measure you by their insecure, autocratic ruler, and I absolutely will NOT walk a tightrope anymore just to please 50% of a demographic in an industry that’s dead anyway.” Bullard declares.
“The cancel culture is obviously censorship disguised as heroism from the “Hero Complex” generation.
But censorship has ALWAYS been disguised as something good, from banning Elvis’ hips for being too sexual to an all out war on gangsta rap for being a threat to society.
In reality it’s not that different than when Tipper Gore and the PMRC decided to slap the ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers on records they deemed offensive.
All it did was ensure that kids were only going to seek out and buy those records.
I’m beginning to see the opportunity to capitalize on it. You can’t pay for that kind of publicity! Being cancelled is a new badge of honor. The ‘cancelers,’ like before, are just too stupid to see it.
I think from now on artists should, and eventually will start going out of their way to be offensive in order to get ‘cancelled.’ I know I certainly will.
And I am proud to announce that I’ve decided to go back to making metal music, where your fans back you 100%, flaws and all, don’t turn against you and forgive your faults, because they’re smart enough to separate the art from the artist, and they know the truth as Sir Mick Jagger spoke it: “It’s only rock & roll, but I like it.”
I started my new band, Saints of the South, right after Covid happened.
Metal was my first love, and more importantly I wanted to distance my self as far from what I had done in the past as I could.
Adding: If you’re into Down, Corrosion of Conformity, Black Label Society, High on Fire, and Southern sludge metal, you’re gonna LOVE it!
JAMES SCOTT BULLARD BY THE NUMBERS
- In his career, Bullard received 12 award nominations and 7 wins for album and/or artist of the year, including Torch Awards, L.A. Critics Awards, the coveted Gram Parsons Legacy Award, which he won after the release of his 2nd solo album, and after the release of his last album: “Full Tilt Boogie,” in 2018, he ended up on 11 ‘best of the year’ lists.
- Out of roughly 170 ‘alternative/outlaw country’ radio stations in the world, Bullard was picked up by 167 of them, charted 3 times in the Americana top 50 and once in the top 10.
- Bullard’s last 2 (self-directed) music videos both hit over 100,000 views in less than 3 days and were picked up for play on DittyTV, the International Americana/Folk Music Television Station.
- Bullard spent 2&½ years (between 2017/2019) on a headlining tour across the U.S. (also sharing the stage with the likes of The Steel Woods, TN. Jet and others) in some of the top venues to house the genre.
- A documentary about Bullard titled: “I Thought I’d Be Dead By Now” is scheduled for release in the future and reveals some very candid and at times, graphic and unflattering moments.
Also included are interviews with friends, family, fans (some of whom are so dedicated, they have his signature, logo or lyrics tattooed on their bodies) and Bullard offers his own personal insight on the demise of the music industry.
- 2021 will see the release of Bullard’s final Country release: “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy” which consists of all previously unreleased original tracks and 2 covers. 23 tracks were recorded in all and according to Bullard: “There are no bells and whistles, it’s just me, an acoustic guitar and my soul. That’s the way I started, so I felt like that’s the way it should end…A full circle.”
- In 2019, Bullard was honored to be asked to be a contributor in a forthcoming book about legendary Waylon Jennings collaborator and songwriter, Billy Joe Shaver, penned by Courtney S. Lennon.
- Along with being photographed by some great photographers in his career, Bullard’s cartoon likeness was immortalized by Disney artist Don Howard in 2019 for a ‘Country Legends Series.’ (You can buy a print on Howard’s Website @ donhoward.org/country-legends/)
- After a 8 solo record career, 116 James Scott Bullard penned songs were published under ASCAP in 2018.
- Bullard released his 90’s rock band, Crane, recordings on Spotify, iTunes, and every other streaming, download format in 2020. That was followed shortly by a private 21 year reunion jam for which there is video footage available online.
- Bullard’s first book: “Dead Man”, a work of past poetry and writings, was published in 2020 and is now available through Amazon, Kindle and at Barnes & Noble starting at $5.99 with the majority of proceeds going to The Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, for which the book has already raised over $3,000.
- After earning diplomas in Digital Photography, Editing, Cinematography, Film and television Directing, Bullard’s photography has won him 3 awards and the trailer for one of two horror films he is directing found it’s way into the finals of the Bitesize Film Festival.
- Ever the overachiever, Bullard is also an Ordained Minister, which he says means: “I can marry you, bury you, give you your last rites or hear your confession.
But do you really want to confess your sins to a guy like me? It’ll probably just turn into a pissing contest.”
*Be on the lookout for Bullard’s final Americana album: “Say Goodnight to the Bad Guy” and his new band’s EP, (as yet untitled) both coming soon, and with talent and ambition like his, I personally cannot wait to get my hands on his new project!