Friday, May 23, 2014

Robert Fripp's diary

I'm having fun reading Robert Fripp's online diary, mainly to learn about his long and tortuous battle to get paid for back royalties owed by the various scum and villainy of the music industry.

Also because it's strange to see my guitar hero, in photographs, now looking like boring old landed gentry.

Though at least he doesn't look like Steve Tyler

Anyway, this one passage was enlightening to read - you suddenly realize the answer Fripp gives is so obvious, why haven't we all thought of that already?

In 2007 Guy Hands’ Terra Firma bought EMI, allegedly for a lot more than he should have paid (with subsequent legal action from Mr. Hands, and which failed). Mr. Hands cut costs… ridiculing the “fruit and flowers” that had been lavished on stars in headier days. And in these few worlds two good journalists, Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Alex Barker, gambol as innocents into the messy field of the music industry.

The assumption is that fruit and flowers, a euphemism for drugs and hookers, falling within the larger category of artist entertainment and socializing opportunities with record company characters, were provided to meet an explicit demand from artists. My own experience suggests something else: that artists were used as the excuse for music industry characters to fund fruit and flowers from the artists’ promotion budget – for their own use. I have never been a drug user, nor a recipient of the higher end of industry “entertainment provision”, nor have I paid for professional sex. But, as a generalization, and from what I saw, stars didn’t need record company types to provide them with sexual opportunities; and anyone who was interested in getting drugs didn’t need the record company to get those either.

So, why would/did certain record company individuals access the promotional budget to do so?

Personal use was one factor; the manipulation of artists another. One manager of my close acquaintance told me of taking managed-artists to a brothel in Amsterdam, using the management company’s Amex card to pay the tab. This information, if used, would perhaps have embarrassed the managed-artists if discussed with their partners; and a good negotiating card if the artist got uppity: like, wondering where their royalties went.

Expensive meals, nominally provided for the artist from their promotion budget, was an everyday abuse. The Spice Girls, at Virgin Records, provided lunches for people they never heard of, nor met, and who were not even employed by Virgin. The Polydor after-show party in Soho, for UK’s NYC gig in 1978, cost $8,000. My Polydor tour support, for two months of Frippertronics travelling throughout North America, was $10,000. Exposure outsold UK. How often have KC/RF record company lunches/dinners been an excuse for perhaps a dozen record company employees to eat at their favourite-and-expensive restaurant at our/my expense via the promotional budget? Or fed the promo-guy’s friends?

Stories can be told forever. Could I mention names? Probably. Has the situation changed in recent years? Oh yes! I’m sure it has!

Quite obvious, really. When has any rock star had to pay for sex or drugs?

Also, apparently Robert Fripp has a pet bunny:

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