Subject: Open letter to Simon Long
To: Freaks Mailing List
(This message was in response to a few Email messages sent to the freaks list (including an "open letter" to Fish). - Mark Wynne.)
As you've ignored Jeremy's attempts at dealing with issues privately and as you've continued to maintain a constant whine I've decided to answer your open letter openly.
I personally don't care if you've bought everything. What bothers me is your constant criticism on certain subject matters of which you know f**k all about. I wouldn't dream of trying to tell a communications consultant how to do his job or tell a cancer specialist what to look for. "I've got everyone of your records man doesn't that mean that I own you", Peter Hammill "Energy Vampires".
I don't "expect the fan base to unquestioningly accept everything you (I) do". So far on the list you've accused me
1. of deliberately delaying the release of the Ltd Editions CD to (a) enhance the chart position (wrong) and (b) to trick the fans into buying both (wrong again).
2. Using parental guidance stickering to boost sales (ridiculous).
Also it was a 3 paragraph "joke" about the "patois" mis-spelling which betrayed no sense of humour and ended with a tumbleweek punch line about"amount of time we had to get it right and professionalism". You're opinions no matter how grudgingly positive on the album I accept and disagree with, so the lyrics on "Say it with Flowers" are trite, "Worm" and "Change of Heart" are instantly forgettable, POJP is tedious after a minute and goes on too long, the lyrics are overall un-inspiring and the standard falling" etc etc. Personally I think you're talking out your a**e. You try and come across as having knowledge of the mechanics of songwriting but I know you're a bluffer, full of overblown self importance. You are no more than a consumer and I object to being lectured to by someone who has a consumers knowledge of a business I have been working in for 16 years as a professional. Opinions on albums are one thing, pedestal rantings are another.
I informed the list on the predicament of the Limited Edition. I didn't believe it necessitated the apologies you feel the "fans" deserved. If you're not happy with the packaging return it to your local store. Some packs are damaged, we replace them, if we sold them direct. I don't agree that the packaging damages discs on removal or insertion. Careful handling and ensuring that the discs and covers are kept clean and free from grit etc. will result in scratch free surfaces. The teddipak is used by many companies including majors none of whom would risk having large returns for damaged product or face the wrath of consumers complaining about scratched cd's resulting from faulty packaging. So far we've found 5 damaged packs out of the 1000 we had here in stock. This style of packaging will become more popular as more companies take an environmentally friendly approach. Jewel cases are easily damaged and as more people resort to cardboard sleeves will become more expensive. I stand by my decision to use teddipaks and contrary to your inference that a number of fans have complained about the "extremely poor nature of the Limited Edition packaging", it seems the vast majority are perfectly happy and compliments far outweigh complaints. We tried to provide something special and delivered.
And now to the really contentious bit.
"At least half of your posts to Freaks are to explain and defend your business practices and explain about how this particular strategy will finally make you a household name/crack America/enable you to afford your own Caribbean island". The last part I take as a joke as I've never mentioned the above bo****ks in any posting. I am not a major label. I run a business of which you have no idea about. I work in the music business which you have an extremely limited knowledge about. It is my job which I like to think I handle in a professional manner.
"At least when you were with a major label any crap decisions of a business nature could be laid at the feet of said label". That is the most naive and ignorant statement I've heard for a while. Do you really belive that's how it works, that band and management have no say in strategy, marketing, packaging etc. An attitude like that would quickly result in loss of control of career/ a fast decaying relationship with said company; strong possibility of financial mismanagement and confusion with direction as everyone in the said company tries to enforce their own vision. Cue screwed up band. I work in the music business, you don't. I have to make decisions, I have no choice. I accept the responsibility and criticism when valid and when made by people who have experience and knowledge of the subject matter. As an independent record company I am able to answer and deal with questions relating to the product and all matters pertaining to the marketing, promotion etc of the artist. The number of units sold are important. I invest huge sums of money in the writing, recording, promotion, manufacturing and delivery of these albums. Without recouping these costs I can't continue to operate. If I don't sell albums I don't have a living. I don't get a nice fat monthly salary. I have no safety nets. I pay my mortgage, feed my kid and pay the bills from income from these albums. It's important to me and my family. I cannot divorce Fish the artist and Fish the record company boss. They are one and the same, take it or leave it. I would rather sell albums than be a "household name". I would like to "crack America" to both fulfill a lifetime ambition and open up another territory to tour and sell albums in. I could never envisage earning enough money to afford my own island in the Caribbean or in the Outer Hebrides. Amassing huge sume of money does not provide my drive. Creating albums, continuing a professional career in the music business and providing security for my family does and not necessarily in that order.
"I for one would rather hear about the music but the impression I get is that that (sic) is less important in your grand scheme of things nowadays" If you would rather hear about the music then stop going on about the business. Your impression is based on a belief in your own self importance and your ignorance of the business I work in. If all the above matters concerned you why didn't you show your face at Cambridge or another gig and address your problems to me personally. I met a couple of list contributors at the gig and I discussed your postings with them. It seemes they were aware of you and had knowledge of you in the real world. It seems my impression of you derived from your postings was correct.
If you want to carry on then I suggest we meet face to face at the Norwich gig in September. (The date will be confirmed in the next month) Rather than continue on the list or on e-mail.
I resent your insinuations and constant sniping and bitching. Your arrogance is outstanding. There are "negative" opinions and negative attitudes. You have the latter. If you have so many problems with how I approach my career, write albums, deal with my business and defend myself from the ocassional personal attack then I suggest you leave the fan club, sell your collection, don't come to gigs and forget about me. The point of making music is to hopefully bring pleasure to people. It would seem you derive nothing but irritation.
Fish - Director of Dick Bros Record Co., Artist, Husband and Father.
To the others on the list I apologise for having to deal with this openly but after "Longs" continued postings on the list I felt I had no other option.
Subject: On Tour With Fish
To: Freaks Mailing List
OK I've chilled out now. Temperature is back to normal. I'll start with some general messages.
Don - respect.
Jon Berger - thanks for your work over there. Yeah, it's a real wind up when you find the lies. As I said on a previous posting radio stations can be very devious with their excuses.
Greywolf - sincere thanks for your kind words and best wishes for my wife. I showed her your post and she was really touched and sends her personal regards. Following her operation on the 24th May the biopsy returned on the 28th revealed a 100% all clear. She'll be in recovery for at least another 6 weeks but a very dark shadow has left our lives. I'm incredibly proud of her and amazed at her strength in coping with what has been 5 weeks of horrendous stress I wouldn't wish on anyone. She's desperate to get to see a show and we're aiming at the Radio in-concert show in Berlin on the 28th June as being her return to the party circuit. God helps us all.
It was sad to see the HvF eruption. I get a wee bit embarrassed as one one hand declarations of loyalty are one thing but slagging of the other party really doesn't make much sense as I wouldn't think that a "statement of support" is going to really change anyone's opinions no matter how eloquently it's set out. It just becomes a big wind up in the end.
Ken I appreciate your thoughts but to have Krakatoa unleashed on your doorstep!! The nationalist thing can easily (and did) get ugly. Believe me I wore a Scotland football strip on stage in London last night!! The Irish Question!! Please guys few are qualified to discuss and even fewer to even attempt to supply solutions. It's been on the go for hundreds of years and it ain't going to be solved on the list. The protestant/catholic thang. Noooooooo! I grew up with that sh*t and left it behind a loong time ago. Leave it out.
It's ironic that all the nationalist jibes have been flying after the recent caring pojp threads! Ken I hope you didn't didn't take offence at the "Mick" in POJP!! (I had my Jock head on at the time). Funny enough no one said anything about it in Ireland and to be honest I completely forgot about it until it left my lips during the song!
Mr Whamsley of Cambridge - The room at Cam. is dreadful and difficult to combat. Some investment by the venue in acoustic drapes would greatly improve the sound. One of the only ways to deal with "slapback" is to power up and our onstage sound is hard to deal with. We're picking up PA's at Venues rather than carrying our own which means that we're often at the mercy of what's there when we turn up. I know Andy W (Hair Bear) had a terrible time coping with it all and we had to restrain him from od'ing on Vodka that night. Sorry about that. It was a great gig though!
Email 16th June 1997