Is This Your Band?

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Namaste Jesus, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    RJM posed this question to me on another thread in reply to a post I had made about the passing of a member of the band I was in, way back when. So, thought I'd take a walk down memory lane and share how that all came to be.

    It was late '72 and I was invited to a cousin's birthday party. I really didn't want to go as I barely knew her, despite there only being a week between us age wise. We just traveled in different circles, me being from the wrong side of the tracks as it were. Parental pressure won out though and I ended up going. So I show up and just as expected, I'm like a fish out of water. Didn't know anyone there.

    Among the quest, were 2 Puerto Rican brothers. The younger of the two was playing the piano and the older accompanied him on bass. They were quite good actually and being a music lover, that became my focus for the evening. At one point my cousin tried to join them on guitar, but didn't play very well herself and ended up handing her guitar over to me. "Here, you play don't you?"

    Well, the rest is history. That night ended up being the first of many regular jam sessions. By the following year we had found ourselves a drummer and formed a band. Our band name came from a bottle of Rye whiskey we were passing around one night. "Man, this S**t's 100 Proof! Hey, that ain't a bad name for the group!"

    Before long, we had landed a regular weekend gig at a local club which paid us in cash! Unfortunately, that little fact would end up biting us in our collective behinds a few years later when we got nailed for tax evasion! More on that in a moment.

    Anyway, things were going pretty good. Started writing some of our own music, cut a demo album and even got some airplay on a few local radio stations. That's when things started going awry. You see, we had no legal representation nor even an agent at the time. Basically, we didn't know what the hell we were doing! So, when a record company offered $150 for one of our tunes, we grabbed it. Hell, we were still kids really and that seemed like a lot of dough.

    Imagine our surprise when we hear the melody from that song being played on the radio a few months later, by a popular band! "Hey, I wrote that!" Imagine our further surprise when the same tune hits #1!!! That's when we got ourselves a lawyer and tried to sue. Got absolutely nowhere with the lawsuit though, as yours truly had signed over all rights to any future revenue for the paltry sum of $150! The damn lawyer we retained costs us a hell of a lot more than that!

    Now in fighting our lawsuit, the record company countersued, prevented us from publicly releasing the album we had cut which included the song in question, claiming copyright infringement. Oh, and it gets even better. Our efforts also attracted the attention of the IRS who in turn sued for back taxes. We honestly had no idea we were even supposed to pay taxes on our earnings. To us we weren't working, we were just having fun, playing a gig. Well, the judge saw it differently and after the audit, we were barely left with car fare.

    We continued on for a year or so after, but it just wasn't the same anymore. The fire was just gone. We each went our separate ways, pursuing other interests.

    Well, no sense crying over spilled milk as it were, but I do find myself looking back often these days, wondering what if.....
     
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  2. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Yes I do actually. Just for fun though and in the background on a couple of my YouTube vids.


     
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  3. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Yo! Who swiped your song?

    A friend knew two guys who wrote a song and went to Bob Dylan to try to sell it to him. Dylan listened to it and told them no, he didn't want it. But it appeared on 'Highway 61 Revisited' as It Takes a Lot to Laugh, it Takes a Train to Cry ...
     
  4. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Subscribed
     
  5. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Ah, there's the rub. You see, they didn't actually swipe anything. We in effect sold it to them. Here's what happened. We had cut a demo album that got some airplay locally. Sort of a run it up the flag pole and see who salutes type thing. About a week later, radio station manager calls saying a major record label is interested in one of your songs. Long story short, $150 changes hands and we sign a release basically giving them permission to use our song whether whole or in part.

    Now, really that should have been end of story. Just that when we realized a hit single contained part of our song, we saw an opportunity to possibly cash in. Wrong!!! Our efforts backfired completely and ended up preventing the public release of what would have been our debut album.

    Turns out, the record label never really wanted our song. The only reason they contacted us in the first place is because the riff was very similar to the chorus of a song the band they represented had already recorded. Basically, they were just trying to avoid any conflict. What we failed to take into account was, the original release we had signed, did not prevent us from using our own song, only taking future legal action.

    Because we did however, the recorded label was prompted to take legal action against us for breaking the terms of the original agreement. That's how we ended up losing all rights to the song and the album it was included on. Had I known then what I know now however, that release we signed would have been in exchange for a 1% royalty fee. So in a nutshell, we screwed up! o_O
    Cool beans! :)
     
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  6. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Sigh ... story of my life
     
  7. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    That's one our band didn't cover. We went for Steppenwolf's more obscure stuff. "The Pusher" "Sookie Sookie" "Tighten Up Your Wig" "Hoochie Coochie Man" "Berry Rides Again" to name a few. The reason we started covering Steppenwolf is, our lead singer, also the bassist that recently passed, sounded a lot like John Kay.
     
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  8. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Hey, look what I dug up! :)
    Album.JPG

    That laid back dude on the far right of the album jacket is me.
    That old codger holding it is what's left of him. :D

     
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  9. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Just an update:

    I've been diligently trying to salvage some audio from that old album. Unfortunately, it's in worse shape than it's jacket and I was only able to get one song to play all the way through without the needle jumping track. That, thanks to the efforts of my neighbor's grandson. He DJ's on weekends and has access to a pro turntable.

    Anyway, we were able to make a decent MP3 from it, so I decided to do a little YouTube tribute to days gone by... Oh, as an aside, I teared up a bit hearing this song again after so many years, but then I had to crack up. You see, our bassist and lead singer had a very thick Hispanic accent. We use to make fun of him when he sang this song, "Sookie, Sookie" because it always sounded like he was singing the chorus, Sucky, Sucky Soup rather than Sookie, Sookie Sue. After a while he gave up trying to enunciate and just started deliberately singing it that way. You can hear it, if you listen close. I had forgotten all about that. Man, good times.

     
  10. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    You play well. Are you in standard tuning, or in an open tuning?
     
  11. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Thanks, just standard tuned with the keyboard. I guess I had a somewhat unique playing style as I never quite got the hang of bar chords and didn't use a pick. Still don't.
     
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  12. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    A lot of great players don't use a pick. Dire Straits Mark Knoppfler doesn't use a pick.
     
  13. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    I used a thumb pick early on, but later switched to ultra lite strings and adopted a sort of, Linsey Buckingham fingering style. Not in the same league with those guys though.
     
  14. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens

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    Do you know Travis picking? I've wanted to learn finger picking all my life, and so during the 3 month lockdown I practiced Travis picking from you tube videos until I started to get a handle on it ... the basics. Never too old to learn, lol.

    So now I can fingerpick 'Streets of London' and 'Sunday Morning Coming Down' etc, and it's a great feeling to be doing it
     
  15. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai Staff Member

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    Oh sure, that's a pretty popular picking style. Never quite mastered it myself. What I do is pick with my thumb, pluck with the pads of my fingers (not the nails) and strum with the flat of the nails on my index, middle and ring fingers. Easier to do than it is to explain. ;)
     
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