To: Freaks Mailing List
Subject: USA lyrics and competition winner
First of all, thanks a lot to everyone who's sent in e's with all their comments on SOE and on the "American lyric". Judging by your reaction I have near total support on both and your praise especially on SOE has been more than welcome in the office which has been overwhelmed on all fronts by the workload and problem solving.
The Limited edition SOE's are finding their way into the system and for those in foreign lands you'll find all the titles on the web site (see the mechandise page) and available at Co Scotland. The Limited's were delivered to us today.
SOE ltd edition, 11.00 + 2.00
SOE (European version - standard jewel case), 10.00 + 2.00
B52 CD1, 2.00 + 2.00 p+p
B52 CD2, 2.00 + 2.00 p+p
B52 Picture Disc, 3.00 + 2.00 p+p
Credit card hotline: 01620 824111
USA & Canadian members are requested to support the Viceroy/WEA release when it becomes available in July 8th, but we appreciate the Ltd Edition will not be available in that territory.
Jez, Shona and Jane have worked wonders in getting the Ltd edition into retail in the lst week of release in the UK after having so many obstacles provided by 3rd parties. The attitude of one "Log" to all this was totally unappreciated and after reading his personal review and criticisms including a multi-paragraph bitch about the mis-spelling of the word "patois" on the sleeve notes, I can only concur that he's the sort of guy who'd get a blo*job and then complain after the act of lipstick marks! I toast you!
Jon Berger - thanks for the info on P3 in Norway. CD's have been sent although the Scandinavian distributors say they did supply the station. This illuminated a problem at radio so I'll fill you in.
1. Stations supplied with CD's who don't intend to play a track or artist will sometimes use the excuse of "not having received the album/single".
2. DJs or station employees, especially at smaller stations sometimes look on promo goods as their own personal property, ideal 'xmas' gifts or beer tokens. That means the titles never reach the station libraries.
It's sad but it happens and if like Jon you phone up and get the "we weren't serviced" routine drop me an e at the powernet address, with details and we'll follow it up with whatever action necessary.
Re Alex and Flaming Shroud - I miss the wee guy and thought he was a great writer and provided a happening zine. He was caught up in the 'cold war' of the late 80's, early 90's as were quite a few people.
The public divorce wasn't pleasant for any parties closely involved with either camp and Alex was an innocent victim of the need at the time for clearly defined battlelines. It all childish I know now but at the time it seemed important!
Liam Shiells - Thanks if you're out there for the Kerrang review. We needed the injection of 4K's of support!
JJJester - Yo my man! Thanks, as is to you Shane! CD Roms are too expensive to contemplate and Viceroy's idea of an enhanced CD with the Brother 52 video has been dropped due to the additional expenses of mastering and production. It's a shame but at the moment it's not a feasible project.
Jim Pitulski and I have appointed 'Little Big Man' in NYC as Agents for North America and they're already examining tour possibilities for August/September. Larry Webman (honest!) is our contact and he's a big fan having seen the Marillo's at Radio City with Rush as well as on other tours including the last 87. He's in short a big fan and his enthusiasm and commitment is second to none at bringing me to the USA and Canada and securing the success that's eluded me so far.
Tom Pickel asked about Marillo content on a tour. As much as I appreciate your long term starvation I will not be playing a retro or nostaligic set. There are tribute bands that play those songs far better than I could. I'm not eliminating that era but don't expect an 87 setlist in 97. All I'll say is that there will be respect given.
This brings me on nicely to the POJP debate which I would like to say has drawn some well conceived arguments and observations. Someone personally e'd with mild argument and then hit the list with a 'warmer' approach. This annoyed me so I decided to finish my say in public. I have had no problem so far anywhere in the World with the original lyric. The 1st time this was brought up was with the USA which has a far more sensitive racial problem and, therefore, a far more politically correct society. I may be Scottish but I have an awareness of this situation. The only serious deal I had on offer was from Viceroy through WEA who have a major problem with any racial slurs artistic/poetic/relevant or otherwise due to the prevailing social climate which forced them to drop the interscope label, a major jewel in their system.
BTW, For the record, the advance from Viceroy was minimal as we have both allowed for a heavy tour support and promotional capability. We would have made more money selling imports with no touring presence. Money is not the issue and my commitment is unquestionable. I recognise that if I have a hit album then the returns are potentially enormous but that can't be achieved without hard graft which will involve a lot of roadwork and promotion. To equivocate the change of words as a straight 'sale' is nonsense. I aided the creation of an opportunity.
I am a relative f**k all in the USA and a decision to pass would have been easy. A pass would have meant NO domestic release in the USA as no company would seriously pick up an album and release it 6 months or so after the European release.
The words and the verse are not critical to the overall lyric. It's not about a nigger but the inclusion of those words could have had a seriously dramatic effect on WEA if included and as mentioned by many people they could have been taken completely out of context by a majority not interested in the music or the meaning and transformed into a major spark of contention with devastating results. I wouldn't have stood a chance at explaining myself as I don't have access to the media as I have in Europe. I have no weight and no power. Even John Lennon was forced to apologise after the "God" remark and after thousands of Beatles items were ceremonially burned in protest. Beatles fans understood, but a majority didn't. To be the focus of attention for a radical slur and potentially a racial schism is not my idea of an introduction to the USA. There are a number of people who have been mentioned in posts who would love a sacrifice and love the conflict. I refuse to provide the fuel. On stage I will mention this. In interviews I will discuss this. I won't shy from the discussion. I will deal with it in the USA. Without the deal I can't even get started. It's easy to adopt self righteous standpoints here on the list, which I suspect has a predominantly white membership (I'm interested to know if there are coloured subscribers who have a view on all this btw), but I'd like to see how many of you who have condemned my decision would be willing to take an afternoon off and stroll through Compton, Watts, East LA, Harlem or any other predominantly black area with a sandwich board or placard declaring the original lyrics. When approached try and explain what they're about and how you don't mean to offend and that it's all about artistic integrity. It'll be kind of hard with a Remington 12 gauge between your teeth or as you're being shouted down for being a racist, but that's the problem when you expect everyone to understand your intentions are good and no one listens because they won't let you explain. If you can get away with it you have my utmost respect and I'll be proved wrong but I really don't think so. The USA has a far deeper and uglier history of racial conflict and as pointed out it ain't getting better it's getting worse. Let the message spread from gigs and where reviewers can note what I've said and how the audience reacted to the WC is God Story (take out the Malcolm X video one night and pay careful attention to the prison library scene - I promise you'll wake up whitey!)
If the album is successful then my voice gets louder but without a deal there is no album, no tour and my thoughts will be limited to keys punching away messages to the USA. F**k it, there's more to me than a few lines of controversial lyric! I am at present a nobody in the states with no voice and no one apart from a few enlightened souls who really give a sh*t about the fate of a Scottish singer. I'm trying to change this. The accusations over sacrificing artistic integrity I find petty, bitchy and ridiculous.
Integrity - wholeness, entirety, soundness, uprightness, honesty - Oxford Dictionary
I brought this whole situation up. Not the list. I have been open and honest about having to change the lyric but I am painfully aware of a sad situation in the States. I made the decision, I stand by it with no regrets having carefully deliberated the options - for those of you who'll still berate me, paint up your placards and test out your convictions down your local 'hood'. If the message gets across you'll have contributed something more than whining. If you think that I'll revert back to the USA lyric on a successful tour then you seriously underestimate me.
I've already been offered a bet over my choice of tour lyric and I'd like to offer a $10,000 kick off to takers. (I don't accept IOU's) I will open with the European version. For those who proclaim they understand my motives and intentions and think it's nothing short of a sell out then come on down. They will be don!!!!
To end on a lighter note - the tattoos never happened and I agree stick on's are for wimps and posers. Maybe I should take Doc out on the road with his gear anad set up a stall!!
BTW, I appreciate the sentiments re a tour fund but I'd prefer to decline any offer that may be made in advance. I welcome the support and if some of you have to travel then use your greenies to get there and if you still feel flush buy some merchandise. It's a simple and more direct contribution to the cause!
Finally, honest, the Prizewinner of the competition for the flights etc. to a gig anywhere in the world is WILK TADEUSZ of NOWY TARG in POLAND.
1. Track 9 (the beginning of Shadowplay)
2. "Say hello to the sound guys Squeek" written on the middle tom drum.
The winner was picked on Monday by Tara but we couldn't work out the name and address until today when our Polish record company explained all!! We've sent a letter to him but if you know Wilk, drop me a personal e with his phone number. The draw was in fact made twice, as soon after the first draw we found a pile of additional entries (only around 100 correct entries). Tara picked a number and Wilk Tadeusz was chosen. The letters were then reshuffled with all entries present and she picked another different number. His name came out again!!! It was meant to be!
Email 22nd May 1997