An integral member of the vaudeville revival act Squirrel Nut Zippers, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Tom Maxwell helped form the group's faithful hot jazz sound. In late 1999, Maxwell struck out on his own (due in part to his dissatisfaction with Disney's purchase of their label Mammoth Records) and continued to pursue his interests in a wide variety of musical styles. In an unorthodox move, the artist made his 2000 album, Samsara, available exclusively on his website a full six months before it became available in stores. Maxwell was given an opportunity to voice his experienced opinions when he was asked to deliver the keynote address at the CMJ conference, championing independent music and internet distribution, while downplaying the traditional record company structure.
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