There are more than 60 artists on Matador Records' 'Matador at 21' six-CD retrospective. There are 26 playing the New York indie label's birthday concerts in Las Vegas Oct. 1 through 3. When you've put out nearly a thousand records, not every band can make the cut. Every longtime Matador fan can name at least one artist that they wish was playing, from first-ever signing, Austrian duo H.P. Zinker, to Railroad Jerk, Mark Eitzel and the Fall. Spinner went straight to co-president Gerard Cosloy for a list of bands that even Matador itself wishes could be there.
Mission of Burma
Since reuniting in 2002, the Boston post-punk legends have made four albums for Matador, but founder Roger Miller is otherwise occupied in the Alloy Orchestra during the Matador at 21 weekend.
Gary Wolstenholme, Redferns
"The most commercially successful band in label history," Cosloy notes. "Unavailable due to European touring commitments."
Andy Sheppard, Redferns
Back in 1990, the Fannies slept on the desks and floor of Matador's first office before playing CBGB; the label released the Scottish foursome's debut, 'A Catholic Education,' as well as the 'God Knows It's True EP. "We tried," says Cosloy. "Couldn't agree on a fee."
Brian Sweeney, Getty Images
"Schedule conflicts with their new recording for Sub Pop," Cosloy says of the Scottish volume merchants, who had been on the label since their 1999 double LP, 'Come on Die Young,' and signed with Sub Pop just last month.
Jason Kempin, Getty Images
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282
"Politely declined the invitation," Cosloy says of the San Francisco experimental rockers, which reunited briefly in 2004.
"We couldn't fit everyone we wanted," Cosloy laments. "These three are as deserving as anyone on the bill." Chicago trio Ponys and experimentalists Matmos (the duo of Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt) are part of the label's more recent history, and Dutch rockers Bette Serveert (pictured) were next big things in 1992 with their album 'Palomine.'
Lex van Rossen, Redferns
"At the very least, they could've defended the pride of Connecticut's Indian casino resorts," Cosloy jokes of New London, Conn.'s finest garage-rock covers band. Their good friends Yo La Tengoare playing the festival, however.
Tom Tomkinson, Retna
Matador at 21 begins Friday night, Oct. 1, with sets from Pavement, Sonic Youth, F---ed Up, Chavez and Guitar Wolf, as well as a late-night gig in which F---ed Up and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists will share a single stage. Check back at Spinner for reports during the weekend.