This is what it sounds like when a foot is removed from a mouth: After a round of bad press, producer/writer Ryan Murphy has issued an abrupt about-face regarding his comments toward musicians who refuse to allow their music to be used on his popular FOX program, Glee.
In January, Murphy responded to Kings of Leon and their dismissal of his show’s request to use their song ‘Use Somebody’ by referring to them as “self-centered a**holes” and speculated that any such refusal was tantamount to a slap in the face of arts education.
Recently, however, at SXSW in Austin, TX, the beef seemed to reach epic proportions when Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl stepped in and offered his two cents on Murphy’s comments, and Glee as well. Needless to say, the musician disagreed that an invitation from Murphy was somehow to be followed with a compulsory approval by any band in question.
Things have calmed down a bit, and in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Murphy took back his harsh statements and even went so far as to place the blame squarely upon his shoulders.
"I didn't speak with as much clarity as I would have liked. Who am I to say 'F**k you?' That's not what I meant. I completely understand when artists don't want a show or another artist to interpret their songs. In fact, I respect it. It's their personal work and I'd feel the same way. We get turned down all the time and I don't fight it or even go back after a rejection."
"I've never felt that if you don't give Glee your music, there's something diabolical about you. To the contrary: I support artists and what they choose to do...I think Kings of Leon are cool as s**t. The Foo Fighters are brilliant. We'd love to do one their songs, if they were ever interested."
Is this a sign of a kinder, gentler Ryan Murphy who can take rejection in stride? Apparently, yes. According to Murphy, Icelandic singer/songwriter Bjork recently turned down an offer to have her music featured on the show without any public name-calling.
"She read the scene and didn't think it was the right fit for her song. I told her, 'That's completely cool,' and she said to come back to her down the road. We deal with that every day."
Perhaps it is pure cynicism, but this sudden mea culpa likely has less to do with any sort of realization of wrongdoing, and more to do with quashing further backlash against Murphy or the show. Additionally, with the pilot for his new FX drama American Horror Story on the way, bad press might be seen as a potential deal-breaker, so mending fences is likely in the creator’s best interest. However, give credit where it is due: publicly eating crow like that can’t be easy, but it may go a long way to repairing whatever damage was done to Murphy’s professional image.
While it is unlikely that viewers will be hearing teenage renditions of Foo Fighters or Kings of Leon anytime soon, plenty of bands will be loaning their tunes out to Glee before the current season ends on May 24th.
Glee airs Tuesday nights @ 8 PM on FOX.