The Streets' Mike Skinner: "No One Needs a Record Label"

September 18, 2008 2:50 PM ET

UK musician Mike Skinner and his project the Streets release fourth LP Everything Is Borrowed on October 7. Everything Is Borrowed represents a series of stark departures for the 29 year-old Mercury Award winner. "I'm always rebelling really," he says. "It's another way of getting away from the album I did before."

That album, 2006's The Hardest Way To Make A Living was a dark, cynical album that fell short of the sales marks of his previous work. But Skinner still stands by it. "I think that's the bravery of the last album is the moral position. I'm playing the bad guy," he says. "This album was hard definitely, but I think my moral position coming out is much more difficult to argue with. The last album was complex and kind of ironic. It was partly a kind of an explanation almost as to kind of why the dream isn't a dream, you know? 'What's at the end of that dream?'"

Indeed, Hardest Way's cocaine and fast cars, paranoia and grief, and sex as sport has given way to Borrowed's tales of clean living, walks in the countryside, personal contentment and yearning for real relationships. Two tracks — "Alleged Legends" and "On The Edge of a Cliff" — hold the keys to the record, he says, "because 'Alleged Legends' says 'You don't need God' and "On the Edge Of a Cliff' says that 'Life is amazing. Life is as beautiful as they say.'"

Skinner says he's readying a U.S. tour for the end of '08, plans a final Streets album and foresees a label-free future that started with the mock burial of his own record company at a recent concert. "No one needs a record label, you know? You just need artists and maybe a bit of management," he says. "The record label has to do everything it can to sell the album, but if I didn't have a label I don't think I would really be running the CD gambit further. I would do something more creative."

Related Stories:
Pete Doherty and The Streets Compare Drug Escapades
The Streets on Making The Hardest Way To Make an Easy Living
Album Review: The Streets, The Hardest Way To Make an Easy Living

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

More Song Stories entries »