Thursday, July 29, 2010

“ONE STOP CLEARANCE” AKA “STICK IT TO THE MAN”

Mike Gent on drums, guitar, backing vocals
GP on guitars and backing vocals
Ed Valauskas on bass
Professor “Louie” Hurwitz on keyboards and accordion

A year or so back, my publishing administrators, Primary Wave came up with the idea of re-recording some of my older material specifically to push at TV/film and other media. The reason for this is that my old record deals were "in perpetuity," which means they (mostly all owned by BMG now) own the rights forever. Seeing as I was paid large advances and tour support by the companies that have now been swallowed by BMG, every time one of my old songs makes money, I only get the publishing share because, like many artists who did not get into the multi-million record sales bracket, I owe tons of money to BMG. They get the Master Recording share. Luckily, even in those draconian deals there is a clause that lets the artist re-record the songs after five years, and so I was free to do this. So, when any of these newly minted versions gets used, both the publishing and master rights monies are going to me and Primary Wave, not some fossil record company who doesn’t give a damn and will often actually hinder the process of usage by trying to up the money on the master rights end or not bother to get back to the potential placement customer in a timely manner, which results in them giving up and going somewhere else.

Primary Wave chose some of the songs (mostly stuff from before 1980, natch, apart from, unaccountably, “She Wants So Many Things”!) and I chose a bunch of the others, mainly songs like "My Love's Strong" and "Depend On Me" which I contend are far more usable than the old stuff (I was proved right when "Depend On Me" got used on the Fox show "Fringe" and earned me a pantload).

Artistically, it was not a pleasant thought to commit to this project. I can't imagine any artist wants to go backwards and rerecord old tunes, and I'm no exception, but a chance to "stick it to the man" is always worth a go, and so I went along with the idea and tried to enjoy the process. Primary Wave want to up the value of my catalog, and the idea that such easy-going songs such as the two I've mentioned above are doomed to reach only a handful of fans is a shame, so it's nice to see them getting the chance of new life.

This recording is not in any way an artistic statement. It is what it is. I am a working musician and just trying to make a living. Very simple stuff.

Obviously, you can't improve on or match the ferocious intensity of a ‘70’s GP/Rumour performance, and so my stance was to take my live solo treatments of many of these tunes and simply add instrumentation. I did not see this as a releasable product because I consider myself a current artist and was quite sure when I recorded these songs that a new creative mode could strike at any time and I would have to follow the muse and do a new album, which I did, hence “Imaginary Television.”

At first, Primary Wave had an idea of releasing it on top quality vinyl which I would then promote by playing records stores. Right. I nixed this idea without a second thought. It has not been my experience that doing gigs gets one anywhere other than having a good time and hopefully pleasing an audience. It does not get your songs on TV shows.

That does not exclude the idea that this might not be released in the future when I feel there is a gap in the output worth filling with an odd artifact. Perhaps we’ll be forced to eventually by popular opinion!

Regarding the folks who are making money selling this: please cease and desist or I will sue your ass.

Thank you,

GP

5 comments:

2ohgasi said...

too sue their ass is a mild statement, since they let music that is noteworthy rot in some vault if u ask me.
Surely taste vary, except for the fact; quality of lyrics should be shared and shown acknowledgement some how, some way, no one can owe that much to anyone, except when the music is not marketed properly, they need to learn how to do losses on taxes if u ask me, so life can go on.
Glad to know that Fringe was innovated enough to put your music on, since quite frankly; I don't want to watch shows that don't play music I buy, and listen too over and over more the watching the tube or movies that I see once.
Keep up the great writing of lyrics that find their way home to the hearts of many that have been tossed aside for commericalism.

DiscConnected said...

For what it's worth...

My vote is to release it! And I like the vinyl idea (of course I purchased the vinyl and CD of Imaginary Television so I may be a little disturbed anyway)

dante said...

Stick it to the Man!!! Ahh yes...Words for the hypocrite to live by: 'stick it to the man'. Just be careful not to be 'the man' who gets 'stuck'--and remember that every 14 to 40 year old who has never, EVER, paid for a cd, mp3 or lp thinks that he, too, is sticking it to the man with each burn. We know GP has been mis-treated by 'the man', at least that has long been his rallying cry: from "Mercury Poisoning" to "One Stop Clearance". But a dodge is a dodge, hide as it may behind hackneyed cries of injustice. Whoever said "Every stink that fights the vent thinks it is Don Quixote" had it right, and this kind of evasion stinks.

DiscConnected said...

I just read Dante's comment-I was a little surprised (if I understand you right) that you object to the "One Stop Clearance" CD?.

While I don't share GP's "stick it to the man" sentiments, I don't see anything wrong with the idea of releasing this CD.

Corporations exist to make money.

Most musicians who are not Bruce Springsteen or Billy Joel seem to want to forget all of those nice advances and all the record company money blown on drugs while recording an albums that never sold enough to recoup the advance.

I do not find it unreasonable that these labels are abiding by the contracts that both parties signed, presumably without any duress.

I'm not sure why America wants to demonize corporations for trying to make a profit, but then wants to be first in line to sue them when they lose money and 401K stock values plummet.

You can't have it both ways.

Mercury and Arista have certainly worked the GP catalog, with re-release after re-release of various titles (I have several CD versions of "Sparks," for example). As was their right, and in fact, obligation.

I see no problem with GP recording alternate versions of his songs and having them released by a new label.

Totally legal and ehtical, in my opinion.

We'll make a capitalist out of Chairman Parker yet!

(Sorry, GP-no offense meant. For the record, I've purchased everything you've ever released on vinyl and on CD, and own almost every variation!)

wally said...
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