Backbeat: Kurt Vile, Manager Rennie Jaffe Defend Bank Of America Commercial @ NYC Webster Hall Show
Backbeat: Kurt Vile, Manager Rennie Jaffe Defend Bank Of America Commercial @ NYC Webster Hall Show

Kurt Vile
Get in the Bus: Kurt Vile (right) with manager Rennie Jaffe, outside Webster Hall post-show. (Photo: Jillian Mapes)

Titus Andronicus' politically-outspoken leader Patrick Stickles may take offense to his fellow indie brother Kurt Vile licensing the song "Baby's Arms" to a Bank of America commercial, but Vile's nearly sold-out crowd at NYC's Webster Hall on Friday night (Nov. 11) didn't seem bothered by it. And neither is his manager, Rennie Jaffe (pictured above with Kurt), who continues to adamantly defend Vile's decision in the face of this minor criticism, adding that Vile doesn't write political songs -- "he writes love songs." If anything, he told us at the show, it gets people talking about Vile -- outlets like Rolling Stone and, yes, Billboard covering the folk-tinged, Philly guitarist/songwriter, whose stunning 2011 album "Smoke Ring For My Halo" has moved him beyond simply a "musician's musician," as Jaffe adequately phrased it.

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So what exactly was Stickles' major offense? Earlier in the week, the #OWS-minded Titus Andronicus leader took to Twitter in an attempt to shame Vile for licensing the track to Back of America. Stickles did back off from his disses after Vile made a rare appearance on Twitter to defend himself ("I did it to pay back my publishing advance. And because I never cared about that sorta thing," he wrote).

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile rocks NYC's Webster Hall. (Photo: Jillian Mapes)

The kicker of the whole pseudo beef? Neither Jaffe nor Vile have even seen the Bank of America commercial. Stickles hadn't, either - he had just "heard" about the synch, according to his tweets. As far as we know, the commercial has not started airing yet. Jaffe told us that from what Vile was pitched by BoA, music from several other indie artists was planned for the ad series.

Vile's label Matador, who handles Vile's licensing requests in-office, have made it clear that synch decisions are up to the artist, while Jaffe previously noted via a statement, "KV has never used his music as a political platform." He continued: "He's not Fugazi. He's a songwriter who's worked for a decade to make a living off of his work. Where does this ever end? No selling records to Republicans? Tea Partiers blocked from ...downloading singles from iTunes? Occupy Wall Street is about a fair distribution of wealth. Well, here's an instance of BOA breaking something off for a working artist. And for what its worth, this was in motion well before all the Occupy stuff started and Kurt is also one of several artists in the series."

Kurt Vile
Kurt Vile plays to a nearly-sold out crowd in NYC Friday night. (Photo: Jillian Mapes)


Vile will continue a 2011 hot streak on the road, reuniting with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore this winter for more dates. Both artists are booked by Ground Control Touring, who were out in full force at Friday's Webster Hall show.