The Great Lost Doors Movie Reveals ‘How Jim Really Was’
BY GAVIN EDWARDS | November 18, 2014
John Densmore and Robby Krieger talk about finally getting the band’s abandoned 1968 film ‘Feast of Friends’ released: “It’s a document of a time.”
In 1968, the Doors decided to chronicle their life on the road and commissioned a crew to document their in-progress tour. The band would produce the project itself; singer Jim Morrison and keyboardist Ray Manzarek had met at UCLA’s film school, so they reached out to some of their old campus cohorts. “We had some of our film-school buddies follow us around and shoot,” says Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. “The idea was to make a documentary, a cinema verite kind of thing. [Jim and Ray] were all hot on the new kinds of movies that were coming out in the Sixties.” According to Krieger, Morrison wanted the project to be a free-form, anything-goes look at the group, onstage and off. “He would say, ‘The film is making itself.’”
Unfortunately, the film didn’t actually make itself — titled Feast of Friends, the project was abandoned, overbudget and, in the wake of Morrison’s 1969 arrest for indecent exposure in Miami, left unfinished. After a few festival screenings, the movie was shelved. It’s been bootlegged among Doors fans for years, and the band has used its footage as raw material for music videos and other projects. But it’s never seen a wide release — until now. A new DVD edition features footage dramatically cleaned up from its 16-mm source, and its 39 minutes have been augmented with 34 minutes of outtakes (plus a British documentary on the band from 1968). “It’s a document of a time,” says Doors drummer John Densmore.
The disc features the Doors doing an epic version of “The End,” with Morrison improvising part of his monologue based on a grasshopper he spots on the ground; the singer trying to fight his way through a wall of white-shirted security onstage in Cleveland so he can interact with the audience; the group recording “Wild Child” in the studio with producer Paul Rothchild; Krieger and Morrison improvising songs while hanging around backstage; the whole band doing ordinary activities like riding the monorail to the Space Needle in Seattle. “I hope that people who have seen the Oliver Stone movie see this one,” Krieger says, “so they’ll see how Jim really was.”
In one memorable sequence, the Doors are captured in the middle of playing cards — Krieger says it was a game he taught the rest of the group called “Three-Thirty-Three.” According to Densmore, the card game they favored on airplanes was called “three-card monte” (not the street con). “A total bluffing game,” Densmore says. So who was the best bluffer in the band? “Oh, you know, Robby was full of shit.”
Many scenes show the Doors floating through mainstream society of the day, clearly not belonging. “We were definitely different from most people in those days,” Krieger says. “Now everybody looks the same. I guess we wanted to be different. Sometimes it got us in trouble: One time we went to a restaurant and there were some Army guys there, and we got into a big fight with them, just because of how we looked. That was actually here in Los Angeles — you’d think that wouldn’t happen in L.A. We were the only ones in town with long hair, pretty much.”
The main crew on Feast of Friends were cameraman Paul Ferrara, soundman Babe Hill, and editor Frank Lisciandro; one UCLA pal who helped out for a while was a carpenter named Harrison Ford. In one outtake, you can see the future Han Solo wandering into a shot. “I didn’t have much contact with him,” Densmore says. “He was just lurking around with the camera equipment. He’s a nice guy.”
Although neither Densmore nor Krieger attended film school, they both speak positively of how it influenced the band. “All of us loved the marriage of visual with sound,” Densmore says. Krieger, for his part, declares that “Ray and Jim both had cinematic minds. I know Jim got a lot of ideas from films. If you listen to some of the songs, a movie comes into your head — at least it does for me.” Asked to cite an example, he names “Soul Kitchen”: “Of course, it helps that I’ve been to the real Soul Kitchen — this cool restaurant where people sat around, got high and ate great soul food.”
For Densmore, seeing Feast of Friends now evokes “memories and a little bit of sadness for Ray and Jim.” (Manzarek died in 2013, Morrison in 1971.) He particularly cites a scene where the whole band is on a boat, looking innocent and sun-kissed. He reminisces about Manzarek’s musicianship, and how he managed to be the band’s keyboardist with his right hand and play basslines with his left hand. “Man, what a gift! Bass players and drummers are sort of pals, cooking the groove in the basement. What if Ray’s left hand and my feet didn’t sync up? There wouldn’t be any Doors!”
Discussing Morrison, Densmore says that he wishes he had known “that we were in a band with a crazy kamikaze. I had an inkling that he was charismatic and different, but I didn’t know that it was a death pact.”
Watching Feast of Friends footage today, Krieger wishes he had gotten a better haircut. “One writer said that I had the worst hair in rock & roll,” he recalls ruefully. (He still has most of it, although it’s white now.) He has conflicting feelings about the scarcity of Doors video, claiming that The Doors R-Evolution DVD from last year pretty much cleared out the band’s vaults; the guitarist wishes there was more, but knows that the rarity makes what exists more precious. Back when the movie was first cut together, he confesses, he found it “kind of boring.” With a laugh, Krieger says, “One good thing about living a long time — you can go back and stuff appears different than it was.”
WebSummit 14 – Jeff Jampol’s Keynote Address
WebSummit 14, one of the world’s largest technology conferences, was held last week in Dublin. Jeff Jampol delivered a keynote address to the Music Division on Friday, November 7th, focused on protecting, maintaining and promoting an artistic legacy. Listen to it here:
Web Summit Report: Casting A Wide Net
Over the last three years, Dublin’s Web Summit has catapulted itself right to the forefront of the tech world’s consciousness. It’s some achievement, says DANNY WILSON, although our man does have some reservations…
Danny Wilson, 18 Nov 2014
This year, when its doors opened, tens of thousands of lanyard-draped laptop botherers poured into the RDS to shake hands, pat backs and maybe, just maybe, get that American lad ostentatiously smoking a cigar the size of an infant’s forearm to throw a couple of hundred grand into their app. The one that’s “like Tinder but not Tinder.”
As the summit increases exponentially in scope, the sheer variety of businesses in attendance has mushroomed hugely. This year, countless new start-ups of every ilk imaginable took stands. In itself, this should be a good thing. Navigating my way around the RDS, however, I wasn’t so sure. Was I alone in feeling that there was something depressing about the atmosphere?
For a start, the vast majority of attendees seemed to have drunk the Kool-Aid and got high on the notion that, ditching the suit means that they are somehow operating on a more respectable moral level then the Gordon Gekkos of yore. Well, maybe they are…
And yet, whenever a broader social or philosophical issue was broached in a talk, it seemed to be immediately shunted to one side, as the focus switched back to how, exactly, one might go about making money out of the internet – any and all quandaries of conscience notwithstanding. As speech after speech washed over the masses, intently bent over their smart phones, tweeting about how they are at the Web Summit or taking photos to illustrate this fact in glorious Technicolor, one talk started to feel nigh on indistinguishable from the last.
The spectre of the late Steve Jobs loomed large over the event, as speakers eagerly set out to establish themselves as the new celebrity entrepreneur du jour. Web Summit mastermind Paddy Cosgrave, meanwhile, confidently occupied the gargantuan main stage, pointing out that the event was spawned from a Ranelagh apartment not too far from the summit site itself.
The Music Summit took place on the final day of the event. The industry is in flux, as it grapples with the implosion of physical sales and the ever-changing shape of music consumption in web-world.
In fairness, the day got off to a promising start as Roland Lamb of Roli led a remarkable display of the Seaboard, an instrument that draws inspiration from the traditional keyboard but re-imagines it as a kind of soft, continuous surface. The Seaboard has the capacity to offer a more delicate response to pressure on keys and also the technology to emulate the sound of any existing instrument, and take it off in new directions.
This remarkable instrument blurs the line between electronic and acoustic, and raises questions about what, in the future, it’ll mean to “play” any one instrument. This is fascinating stuff for anyone who is actually interested in music – though, as the day wore on, it became ever clearer that the art form itself was very low on the massed throng’s collective agenda.
Lamb was one of the few people that, to me, seemed excited about making music, as opposed to the business of selling it. The buzz word was ‘monetising’: that’s what the Music Summit was really all about.
Perhaps most telling of all was the fact that one of the few people who delivered a speech that reflected the significance of music, or indeed art of any kind for that matter, was Jeff Jampol of Jam Inc, a company that specialises in preserving the legacy of acts like The Doors and The Ramones.
Jampol spoke frankly about his disdain for the callously business-orientated idea of bands as brands, a view that caused a ripple of discomfort through the audience, who had spent the day thus far talking about how best to go about making brands and bands indistinguishable.
When it appears that the only people concerned with artistic credibility are those representing bands that don’t exist anymore, then we might be in trouble, folks.
At the same time, there were plenty of sources of enthusiasm. Jimmy Chamberlin appeared on stage to the strains of Smashing Pumpkins hit ‘Today’.
“I love this; the drums are the best part,” he joked. The former sticksman now pours his time into his position as CEO of LiveOne, and credits being in the group as a key learning experience.
“We saw so many bands in Chicago come and go, losing all their money,” he recalled. It prompted him – and bandmate Billy Corgan – to treat the band as a business, though it never came before their art.
“The love of music begat the business,” Chamberlin added. “It wasn’t the other way around. Billy and I had a deal: if we had to sit through a marketing meeting to plan a single, we would just go write a better song!”
Those sentiments were echoed by Adrian Grenier. Perhaps best-known as Entourage’s Vincent Chase, it was in his guise as founder of Wreckroom Records that he appeared here. The New York-based label has given Grenier an inside-track on the patterns of the industry.
“The days of private jets and cocaine are over. Emerging artists are focusing more on music again,” he said, before adding – with tongue firmly in cheek – “Except for Kanye West!” He also said that bands are “looking for smaller intimate gig experiences,” rather than the massive arena productions which lead to a lack of connection. Grenier did add a word of caution, to mitigate against the increasingly definitive statements about music’s future.
“There is so much change,” he pointed out, “that it’s hard to say where the industry is going. We’ve only just begun.”
I didn’t go to the Web Summit with an “impress me” attitude. But seeing the people that pull the strings behind the music industry generally display such an abject lack of interest in the music itself had an effect on me akin to seeing how sausages are made. I’m afraid it wasn’t very good for my appetite.
How Michael Jackson Made $150 Million in 2014
By Anthony Effinger and Katherine Burton
Nov 16, 2014 9:00 PM PT
Elvis Presley boasts 12.4 million “likes” on Facebook (FB) and 187,000 followers on Twitter (TWTR) and recently released a duet with Barbra Streisand. Never mind that he died in 1977.
And that’s just the beginning for the King of Rock ’n’ Roll and other long-dead celebrities, Bloomberg Pursuits magazine will report in its Holiday 2014 issue. Reviving a corpse from a cryogenic deep freeze is still the stuff of science fiction — and even Madonna is unlikely to be entombed like Lenin when she dies — but every other promotional possibility is on the table. Jamie Salter, the branding guru who owns a majority of Elvis’s estate, is planning a “live” show in Las Vegas with Presley appearing as a hologram, much like the one of Michael Jackson that appeared at a show in Sin City earlier this year. Pinup queen Bettie Page, managed by dead-celeb superagent Mark Roesler, is slated for a holographic burlesque herself.
Today, deceased icons from pop culture’s heyday are enjoying unprecedented success, out-earning even their former flesh-and-blood selves, says Salter, one of the new breed of brand managers using technology to wring big bucks from superstars otherwise resting in peace (or so we hope).
These late luminaries are profitable in part because they first captivated fans in a pre-Internet age of truly mass media, dominating the popular imagination in ways few contemporaries can match, Salter says.
Even better, they aren’t able to create the sort of mischief that bedeviled their handlers back in the day, potentially damaging their brand in the bargain. They can no longer lapse into drug-induced comas in hotel rooms (Elvis), assault girlfriends with vodka bottles (Jimi Hendrix) or set themselves on fire while freebasing (Richard Pryor).
“They can’t get pulled over for drunk driving,” says Donna Rockwell, a clinical psychologist with a celebrity clientele. “Their reputations are intact.”
Model Kate Moss, by contrast, can still embarrass sponsor Burberry Group Plc (BRBY) by appearing to snort cocaine on the cover of a British tabloid. Bets on the dead have lately paid off big. Salter bought the Elvis estate, including Graceland and the rights to the singer’s image and music, from Core Media Group Inc. in November 2013. Salter’s New York–based Authentic Brands Group LLC expects profits to rise by 25 percent this year thanks to Elvis-themed bathrobes, calendars, cookie jars, cuff links, luggage, Christmas-tree toppers and, oh yeah, music.
“We bought Elvis at the right time,” Salter says. “None of the kids listen to his music, but look at how they’re dressing, and their flipped-up haircuts.” (For a page ripped straight from Presley’s pompadour playbook, just Google Justin Bieber’s latest coif.)
Resurrection experts like Salter are making money on even-dustier icons. Visa Inc. (V) used the voice of Amelia Earhart in an ad during this year’s Winter Olympics celebrating women’s ski jumping. The once-sleepy Earhart estate, managed by Roesler at Indianapolis-based CMG Worldwide Inc., has since gotten offers to lend the trailblazing pilot’s name to a retail store and a restaurant chain.
The bizarre business works because the truly famous tend to remain famous, even in death, says Nathanael Fast, a professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business who has done research on the psychology of fame. People like to talk about things they have in common, Fast says, and celebrities are among the more-pronounced topographical features of our cultural common ground.
Outselling Living Artists
Indeed, dead musicians today regularly outsell even living ones. And no one crushes mere mortals like Michael Jackson. When he died of a lethal cocktail of the anesthetic propofol and the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam on June 25, 2009, the King of Pop was more than half a billion dollars in debt, according to a March filing in Los Angeles Superior Court — much of it incurred from the upkeep of his 2,700-acre (1,093-hectare) Neverland Ranch, legal bills from defending child-molestation charges and legendary spending sprees on Rolls-Royces and almost anything else with a luxury label. If Jackson were an investment, he would have been a junk bond.
The singer’s savviest financial move was to name as his executors Los Angeles lawyer John Branca and music producer and family friend John McClain. With Jackson no longer dangling babies over balconies, Branca and McClain have been able to get down to business. In their hands, the Jackson estate made $250 million by extending the singer’s contract with Sony Corp. (6758), and more than $260 million from This Is It, a film cobbled together from footage of Jackson rehearsing for a series of concerts canceled in the wake of his death.
The estate shared a further $371 million in ticket sales with Cirque du Soleil on a big-top-inspired act called — what else? — The Immortal World Tour. (A second Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show called One permanently occupies an 1,800-seat theater at Las Vegas’s Mandalay Bay.)
Branca and McClain paid off Jackson’s debts in their entirety in 2012. Now, the money accrues to the estate and its beneficiaries: Jackson’s mother, Katherine, and his three children: Michael Joseph “Prince” Jackson Jr., 17; Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, 16; and Prince Michael Jackson II (aka Blanket), 12. Branca and McClain earn a 10 percent commission on much of the cash that flows into the estate, which so far totals $600 million, according to court documents. And 2014 could be the singer’s biggest year yet. After all, like Elvis, he’s still minting new music, releasing seven albums and DVDs since his death, including this year’s chart-topping Xscape.
Naturally, the Michael Industrial Complex has its detractors, who accuse the estate’s managers of exploiting the star, releasing old songs not up to Jackson’s exacting standards.
“He would not have released anything like this compilation, a grab bag of outtakes and outlines assembled by Jackson’s label,” Jody Rosen wrote in Rolling Stone about 2010’s nevertheless million-selling Michael.
One of the consultants to the Jackson estate, Jeff Jampol, says that’s the single biggest challenge for managers of the dead: monetizing their memory without devaluing their good name. Jampol, 56, has been deeply in love with rock ’n’ roll since he first saw David Bowie play the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1972. Music got him through a decade-long heroin addiction, during which doctors almost removed his leg, the flesh on it dead from repeated, misdirected injections.
After hitting rock bottom numerous times, Jampol got clean in 1989 and subsequently mentored longtime Doors manager Danny Sugarman through his own recovery. Afterward, Sugarman asked him to help manage the estate of the Doors, whose Bacchus-like lead singer, Jim Morrison, had died in 1971. (Of the four founding members, only drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger survive.)
The Doors have done well with Jampol. Their album sales now total from 1 million to 2 million a year, up from 400,000 in 2003, when Jampol joined. They’ve sold a digital box set on iTunes, and in November will release Feast of Friends, an unfinished film chronicling their 1968 tour.
Jampol, who is 6 feet 8 inches (2 meters) tall and remarkably boyish-looking despite his decade lost to drugs, works out of the Hacienda Arms Apartments on Sunset Boulevard, once the most notorious brothel in California. These days, it’s hung with Doors albums in gold and platinum. Rick James’s bass stands by the door.
In addition to managing the Doors, Jampol shepherds the posthumous careers of Rick James, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Tupac Shakur, the Ramones and Peter Tosh. To hear Jampol tell it, he’s caring for careers as delicate and precious as Faberge eggs. One wrong product-endorsement deal, one craven tribute album, and a legend is reduced to mere lucre. And unlike, say, Madonna, who can endlessly reinvent and recover from the occasional misstep, his artists don’t get a do-over.
“It’s very gossamer,” Jampol says. “Every couple weeks, I poke my head into somebody’s office and tell them, ‘It’s now 10:45 a.m. If you’ve had coffee this morning, and you’re particularly energetic, by this afternoon you could completely desecrate and destroy what took Janis Joplin years to build. So have a careful day!’”
The estate of actor Steve McQueen, controlled by his son, Chad, and granddaughter Molly, is exceedingly cautious about entering into product-endorsement deals, says Lisa Soboslai, vice president of Bill Gates’s Corbis Entertainment licensing company, which represents McQueen. His heirs insist almost exclusively on pitching products McQueen actually owned, including Barbour jackets, TAG Heuer watches and Triumph motorcycles.
“They don’t want to do anything that’s not believable,” Soboslai says.
Unlike some in the business, Jampol isn’t trying to sell old music to old fans of old artists. He’s trying to find new fans for old artists—and he isn’t sticking to just music. He’s promoting his artists as icons, betting the things that made James, Joplin and Morrison big in their day will connect with a new generation.
“Every four years, there’s a brand-new crop of kids who are blank canvases,” Jampol says. “If I can have my artist, with his or her magic, in the pop culture conversation where those 12-year-olds are, I win.”
Jampol often enters that conversation through social media, which he has wholeheartedly embraced. Thanks to Jampol’s efforts, the Doors have 17 million “likes” on Facebook. Wilco — whose The Whole Love earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album of 2012 — has just 630,000.
Celebrity superagent Roesler is another forward thinker on the subject. He’s been managing estates on behalf of heirs since 1981. One of his most profitable clients is James Dean, an actor with all the assets necessary for a boffo posthumous career: a catchy name (improbably, it was his own), a timeless look and a knack for embodying rebellion as effortlessly as Albert Einstein manifests intelligence. (For the record, Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the beneficiary of the late physicist’s estate, per the last will and testament of the man himself.)
Sadly, Dean’s demise at age 24 while speeding in a Porsche to an automobile race in Salinas, California, illustrates an unfortunate truth: An early death bodes well for future returns. The music industry reinforces this truism like no other. The so-called 27 Club includes dozens of stars cut down at that tender age, including Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Hendrix, Joplin and Morrison, to name but a few.
Salter, who is backed by private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP, got into the dead-legend business in 2010, when he bought the majority of Marilyn Monroe’s estate for more than $30 million, according to a person familiar with the transaction. (He now owns all of it.) Before Salter got involved, the Monroe estate brought in less than $3 million a year through 300 licensing agreements for low-end products such as shot glasses and T-shirts. Salter has since whittled the number to 85, and the estate is on track to make about $18 million this year, according to people familiar with its dealings. Salter declined to comment on the revenue.
Many of his Marilyn-branded products make sense: spas and nail salons, a line of lingerie, hair spray and, soon, eyeliner. For teens, there are $25 T-shirts with Marilyn’s image and $49 body-hugging dresses, both sold at Macy’s. Last year, the late star appeared in an understated TV ad for Chanel No. 5 comprising archival footage overdubbed with an interview.
“They ask you questions,” Monroe says. “What do you wear to bed? Do you wear a pajama top? The bottoms of the pajamas? A nightgown? So I said, ‘Chanel No. 5.’”
Other projects stray from the established narrative. In his office, Salter has a snowboard plastered with an image of Monroe in fishnets and a bustier. He has also created a cartoon character called Mini Marilyn aimed at little girls that’s more Hello Kitty than Some Like It Hot.
“Mini Marilyn empowers girls, encouraging them to be confident, take risks and dream big,” reads minimarilyn.com.
Left unmentioned is the prospect of naked pool parties with a Mini Bobby Kennedy and a Mini JFK. When Salter bought the Elvis estate, he also got Muhammad Ali’s name and image — even though the former heavyweight champion is still very much alive.
“He’s going to be huge,” Salter says of the 72-year-old, who suffers from acute Parkinson’s disease.
Not only did Sports Illustrated name Ali “Sportsman of the Century,” but he stands for religious freedom and social justice, having gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to establish his right to conscientious-objector status during the Vietnam War.
Not a Sprint
In an interview, Salter hints at a deal with a big athletic brand.
“The story line has to work,” he says. “You have to remain on message. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
These days, with posthumous record releases vying with viral cat videos, the dead have to seem more alive than ever to effectively compete for consumers’ attention. After Ali dies, or perhaps even before that eventuality, we should expect to see him re-enter the ring, probably in Vegas, possibly as a hologram — and most definitely in his prime.
Full article: Bloomberg.com
Adele’s manager: ‘Streaming’s the future, whether people like it or not’
By Stuart Dredge, Thursday 6 November 2014 11.05 EST
But Jonathan Dickens wants Spotify to change policy of not allowing some albums to be restricted to paying subscribers only
Adele’s manager has backed streaming services like Spotify as the future of music, but warned the company that it may need to change its policy of insisting all albums be made available on both its free and premium tiers.
“Personally, I think streaming’s the future, whether people like it or not, but I don’t believe one size necessarily fits all with streaming,” said Jonathan Dickens, speaking at the Web Summit conference in Dublin this afternoon.
He was responding to a question about Taylor Swift’s back catalogue being removed from Spotify earlier in the week.
“Spotify have always been pictured as the bad guys in this, but the biggest music streamer out there is YouTube, without a doubt,” he said, pointing out that when artists or labels remove music from Spotify, it is often still easy to find it on YouTube.
“If I make a search now for Taylor Swift on YouTube, give me 30 seconds and I can have the whole Taylor Swift album there streamed. Some of it’s ad-supported, so there is revenue, and some of it’s not,” he said.
“On the one hand, labels are trumpeting YouTube as a marketing tool: 10 million views on YouTube and it’s a marketing stroke of genius. But on the other hand they’re looking at 10 million streams on Spotify and saying that’s x amount of lost sales.”
He elaborated on his theory that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to streaming, suggesting that Spotify could “make it easier for themselves” by relenting in its policy of having albums available to all its users, rather than allowing some to be restricted to its paying customers.
“The premium tier to me are real active record buyers, paying their $9.99 or €9.99 or £9.99 a month. My feeling would be to get around the situation with someone like Taylor Swift – but Spotify won’t do it – is a window between making something available on the premium service, earlier than it’s made available on the free service.”
Dickens has first-hand experience of this policy, with reports in 2012 that Spotify refused to allow Adele’s last album 21 to be made available in this way. The album was added to the service later that year.
Even so, he was positive about the prospects for streaming overall, and Spotify in particular. “It’s all about scale. Spotify will work if they get enough payers.”
Dickens, who also manages artists and producers including London Grammar, Jamie T, Rick Rubin and Paul Epworth, was speaking as part of a panel of managers alongside Jeff Jampol, who manages The Doors and The Ramones, along with the estates of other artists.
Jampol talked about the changing nature of the music industry, suggesting that record labels are no longer at the centre of an artist’s business.
“Here’s the way an income pie should look for a successful or current artist: 60-65% of their income is going to come from tickets, 15-25% from tour merch, 10-15% from publishing, 2-4% from ancillary and 2-4% from record sales,” said Jampol.
Dickens agreed that touring is becoming hugely important to most artists. “Adele is the exception not the rule. The record 21 came out in 2011, we’ve sold 30 million copies of that album,” he said. “We haven’t toured that much, for many different reasons. But I think touring has become a major focus point for 99.9% of current artists’ careers.”
Jampol talked about the importance for managers of being able to handle many different business areas, from books and merchandise to publishing income and even museum partnerships – he’s worked on several for his artists.
“The record business is a key but small part of it. A book publisher knows nothing about the record business, who knows nothing about the apparel business, who knows nothing about museums, who knows nothing about publishing,” he said.
“We’re in the middle. We’re the quarterback, and the artist is the CEO… We have to get all these players to work together.”
Dickens talked about the importance of turning down opportunities, rather than trying to do everything. “The one thing the internet has done: content is everywhere…. and part of the hunger for content is we’ve reached saturation point. and when you reach saturation point it cheapens it. And one of the things I do is say no,” he said.
“That might be ‘no, I don’t want to do an Adele perfume, we’re not doing a nail polish’. Or ‘that ticket price is too expensive’. Whatever it is, the power of saying no, and being the gatekeeper to these opportunities is key.”
He said that major labels nowadays “live under a culture of fear… people live with these two-three year deals, whatever they’ve got, they’ve got kids at school, and they have to produce hits. And if they have a hit – which are few and far between – there’s the opportunity to kill: to rinse every last bit of blood out of a record. And I think it’s dangerous.”
Jampol agreed: “Labels are all about getting their profit and loss for the third or fourth quarter. We’re about the long-term vision. We plan in decades!” he said.
“Having an artist legacy is kinda like walking up a down escalator. If you’re standing still, you’re not standing still, you’re moving backwards. You have to find that sweet spot that’s not doing nothing and not doing too much. And over-saturation is a big problem.”
Meanwhile, Dickens said that managers are getting to grips with the biggest change in the music industry, which is its transition from sales to streaming.
“The business was always about buying stuff. When it was cassettes and vinyl, then it became about CD, then the disasters like DCC [digital compact cassette] and mini-disc,” he said.
“Streaming will be ubiquitous in five years. We are going now into a streaming model. Whether you want to be in it or not, within five years it will be everywhere. That something does not become about buying any more. It becomes about consumption and it becomes about access… and that hasn’t been done before.”
New Classic Rock Awards Show Coming to L.A., Honoring The Doors
By Andy Hermann Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 8:10 AM
You would think the last thing Los Angeles needs is another music awards show. But with rock & roll getting more and more squeezed out at the Grammys and VMAs in favor of pop, hip-hop and EDM, it might be nice to see a trophy-fest where the guitars are more important than the costume changes.
That’s the idea behind the Classic Rock Roll of Honour, an awards ceremony hosted by the U.K.-based Classic Rock magazine. The awards have happened for nine straight years in the U.K. amid much ballyhoo (as the Brits like to say), attracting various and sundry rock legends: The Who, Rush, Alice Cooper, Slash, Zakk Wylde. Imagine a British version of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, only with less Rolling Stone favoritism and better jam sessions.
But they haven’t yet attracted much notice in the States. So for their 10th year, to change that, Classic Rock is moving the whole shebang to Los Angeles. And fittingly, they’re honoring L.A.’s favorite classic-rock-era native sons, The Doors, with the Inspiration Award, their version of a lifetime achievement award.
Surviving Doors members Robby Krieger and John Densmore issued a joint statement in response to the announcement:
“In 1965 and ’66, our brothers across the pond were making a lot of beautiful noise, and we attempted to create our own magical sound out here on the West Coast. It’s really nice to see them now turning around, coming back here to L.A., and recognizing what the four of us accomplished together on a beach in L.A. To receive this award on our own soil, from the Brits, is an honor, and we take it as a sign of respect, so — thank you, from us and on behalf of our fallen brothers, Jim and Ray.”
They’ve also picked another Southern California legend to host the awards: rock & roll’s bro-in-chief, Sammy Hagar. Say what you will about Hagar’s music, or his stint with Van Halen, but we actually think this is a great idea. Anyone who’s read Hagar’s autobiography Red: My Uncensored Life knows that this man is as unfiltered as a Mad Men cigarette. Inappropriateness should ensue.
The Classic Rock Roll of Honour awards will take place Tuesday, Nov. 4 at the Avalon in Hollywood and be broadcast in December on AXS TV (exact air dates to be announced). More info at classicrockmagazine.com/awards.
Fans can vote in all the major categories online until Oct. 22.