A couple of things, one new and one backward looking:
Firstly I have a guest post in the NZ National Business Review, on the recording industry, copyright, and various issues facing both. In particular I talk about the intriguing and hugely important Eminem / Universal case. This case has the potential to change the face of the industry, and I note that it’s been joined this week by Toto — a band who should probably be fined for inflicting aural agony on a whole decade, rather than rewarded…
And Peter Frampton. Yeech.
The flood cometh.…
The other impending industry maelstrom I neglected to mention is the arriving 1976 US Copyright Act provision that potentially allows artists to strip assigned copyrights from record companies after 35 years under so called Termination Rights. The first of these comes up next year and thereafter. Rather than explain it, this covers it well, but it doesn’t need to be said — although I am — that this could destroy the record companies in their current form.
Couple that with the UMG case…
Whilst that one runs I’m determined to track down missing masters of my ancient Propeller stuff and get all the bits that are stray on-line this year, and onto other formats. In a few weeks a 7″ re-press of the Spelling Mistakes 1980 debut Feel So Good will make the shops, via the wonderful folks at Sing Sing Records in NYC.
One I’d like to see available in some form is the Furtive Four Three Piece Pack, a mini compilation on Furtive, a briefly extant label owned by Paul Rose and myself in the early 1980s.
A little history since it’s so very long ago. Paul and I were partners in Propeller and most of our acts went via main distributor, Festival Records. However, Paul also managed the still correctly famous and fantastic Newmatics (if you are unsure why, this song might help) and the acquisition of said band was one of the reasons — aside from the fact he was a smart guy — I offered him a partnership in the label.
It worked and the Newmatics became the third band in the trilogy I wanted — with the Blams and the Meemees — on the label. This perfect plan was complicated by the fact that Paul had promised the band to CBS.
In order to keep Festival honest and to honour that commitment, we formed Furtive, a new label via CBS. I shifted the newly signed Tall Dwarfs across to the label and their 12″, 3 Songs, was the first release.
Paul and I then decided to issue an EP — four tracks by four new bands we wanted to sign to either Propeller or Furtive — and tour the bands. The result was the Three Piece Pack, so named because all the bands were three piece bands — except they weren’t: there were four members of The Skeptics and we even admitted the rouse on the promo blurb as below, and by the time we issued this The Bongos had grown (briefly) to five.
Paul chose the tracks. All the acts were from Auckland aside from The Skeptics who were discovered by Paul and various Newmatics in Palmerston North on a tour.
The record came out, had some fine reviews, and we thereafter released a record by each of the acts with, again, the exception of The Skeptics — their record, FUR 006, Pyrronhist Selections, remains unreleased after somebody stole the master tape, which was the only copy 1, from Paul’s desktop on afternoon. It was never seen again, thus becoming the holy-graildom of the Skeptics, and before we could issue another recording I’d decided to close the label(s) and move to the UK, which I did. They were subsequently on Flying Nun as we all know.
I own a copy of this — I know I do — but where it actually is is another matter altogether. So I was happy when Ben Curnow emailed me to tell me he had scans of not only the sleeve, but the promo booklet that came with the first copies. Thus, instead of waffling on, I will, courtesy of Ben, let the bands on FUR 004 speak for themselves.
The sleeve was credited to Gordon Bennett, which was an alias for Peter Urlich and Trevor Reekie. And I have no memory of selling ad space on the back of the promo book, but I guess it was contra — a Rip It Up ad and a tour poster from Hugh Stewart (now an Australian based photographer of global repute).
Now where is that master tape…
- Or at least we thought it was until a cassette turned up late last year. ↩