Photo by Jack GouldI think any time you can do something with music and make money at it, you should do it, even if it's not the particular style of music you've been playing. It's better than working a real job that you have to go to every day.
It all depends on how you approach it. If you approach music as a job, as a career, then it's okay to bend your music to the will of a record label. If you compare making music to what you would normally be doing, like, a construction job or an office job, I think that would be fine. If I was in a position in which I had to make a decision like that, I would continue to make my own music from my heart—music I enjoy playing—on the side.
I've dealt with bigger labels such as Atlantic Records a little bit with my old band Electric Koolaid. Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray was in it for a while, as was Tony Scalzo from Fastball, and we had conversations about the business end of it. But we never got to where we were talking business stuff in depth. I haven't really had to deal with anyone ever putting pressure on me to alter my music. But I know guys like Tony and Mark who, with their new bands, have had to deal with that. Tony goes through that all the time. They'll change songs he's recorded and take out parts without his knowledge. It's brutal, but he has a really good outlook on it. He looks at it like, "I'd rather be doing this than anything else." I think as long as you know what you're doing and it's a conscious decision, then it's totally cool.