Subject: Fish 2000 - The Negative Light and Tony Turrell, Digging Deep!
Dear Freaks, Fishheads, Fans and the Company,
I had been hoping for some dust to settle before announcing this but some extremely shoddy and tacky journalism from the ROBW mob has left me with no option. I will say as an official caution to those guys to be very careful what they print and to whom they attribute it to.
I will no longer be working with Tony Turrell as he has decided to commit himself fully to the Positive Light projects with his creative and financial partner Mark Daghorn.
To begin at the beginning of this saga. After being introduced to the Positive Light's work (PL) on the Marillion remixes by their manager at the time I was intrigued as I was considering remixing elements of the Sunsets album. The price that was discussed was outwith my budget and I declined. A suggestion was made that in exchange for remixing at my studio that I would provide spoken word samples on a project that the PL boys had called "All these Christs". I was interested and the guys came up to the studio. We never worked on remixes but instead after hearing what they had already put together I suggested working on a co write on a track which came to be known as "Plague of Ghosts". At the time Elliot Ness was the engineer and was committed to continuing his work from the Sunsets album.
The idea blossomed and we became committed to working on Plague as a major piece which would make up 50% of the Raingods album. Tony Turrell was the most involved as we sculpted sections , lengthening some , adding others and shortening sections to manufacture the curve. At this point a deal was made where on the writing 25% each would belong to Tony and Mark and 50% would be mine. I was placing all the lyric together with most of the melodies on the piece while Elliot was bringing his ideas to the table with the rest of us with regards getting away from a machine driven work to something that would have eal drums, guitars , female voices and the rest of the epic that would be Plague.
Everyone was happy with the splits on the writing and the PL guys agreed to sign their shares to Fishy Music Ltd which would in turn be collected by Hit and Run (Music) Publishing Ltd Worldwide once the album came out on Roadrunner Records the following year.
We had discussed the PL guys producing Plague but as the time dragged on it quickly became obvious that this was not a good idea. Money and time was being wasted due to lack of decisions. In one case bringing a "recommended" guitarist up from England together with equipment only for him to be returned the next day with nothing worthy enough to be kept on tape resulted in over 350 pounds added unnecessarily to the budget. Tony was working very hard and was skilfully manipulating the track in order to get the curve we were after and the skeleton that was required if we were to create the drama we needed to hold the piece together. Throughout all this I was becoming more and more angry with Mark Daghorn who was proving more and more of a hindrance than a contributor and was definitely not the producer that I had thought he was. I was irritated by his presence in the control room and especially as he was being paid the same as Tony for his contribution - Four and a half thousand pounds. Tony had already committed to playing on other tracks and had whole heartedly shown commitment and loyalty to the album as a whole. Mark was only involved with Plague and neither Elliot nor I could work out how he was earning his slice. I had shaken hands on the deal however and it was my call.
I wanted Daghorn off the project and after consulting with Elliot AND Tony I decided to let him go with full session fees.
Steve Vantsis , Squeeky and the others were more than happy at this and very soon the studio got back to a creative buzz. Mark was not happy and throughout the project he kept on wanting to have control of the track. He was not involved in the main production and is not credited with any production on the track on the album sleeve. He has never complained or said anything about this. At the final count Mark Daghorn's involvement to my knowledge is only in the writing and basic programming of the Plague track with all engineering and studio production work thereafter done by Elliot Ness.
When Calum was brought in as planned to mix Mark complained even before he heard the mixes and in the end it was pointed out that the final decision of acceptance was mine. Eventually when the mastered album was heard Mark Daghorn said he liked it but he would have done something different and more radical. Tony said he loved it. The confrontations were put down to studio tensions and all was forgotten. Mark was at the convention last year and said nothing about the album apart from enquiring about the sales! It was at this time that Mark and Tony asked about the studio mixing desk and the digital Mitsibushi tape machine as the equipment was being sold when the studio shut down that Autumn. The price on paper for these items was around 23,000 pounds but I agreed to a deal for 20,000 pounds which would include extra wiring and other miscellaneous items. They agreed the deal and I allowed them the time to pay as they were upgrading their own studio and the new set up wouldn't generate income for a while. They agreed and soon after said that the publishing due to them from Fishy Music could be used against this. This was now October and I had been on tour with Tony for a while. He knew as did Mark that Raingods hadn't done as well as hoped and the 20 000 would not be covered by their share. I pointed out that there would be a shortfall and that this would have to be paid but that I was happy to accept their income from Plague as direct part payment.
Tony removed the desk and tape machine after the tour in 99 and installed the gear in their studio over the Xmas period. It is at the moment in situ and operational as advertised in their most recent studio mail out which I received only 2 days ago. I have still not been paid for this equipment which was sold to them by Millennium Studios.That is now 3 months and over 400 pounds in interest payments that I have paid on PL's behalf.
The publishing royalties have not been paid by Roadrunner Records who are owe Hit and Run Music publishing for over 65 000 albums minimum at this moment in time through the Dutch collection societies. I recently put Hit and Run and their new owners EMI music Publishing on the case as they have more weight and connections as well as authority to get the moneys owed from Roadrunner Records for sales to date. Neither Hit and Run, Fishy Music nor myself have received a penny for sales to date of the Raingods album. Until I receive the publishing statements from them I cannot pay any writers. I received a Fishy Music statement from EMI today for sales up to December 1999 and there is no mention of Raingods royalties. This is now subject to an investigation by EMI. Any suggestion by either Mark Daghorn or Tony Turrell that I have been withholding publishing royalties due to them will be met with legal representation.
I have offered them a chance to audit Fishy Music Ltd and have had no response . I have nothing to hide.
I received a registered posted letter from PL asking for their publishing back as they wanted MCPS to pursue their case. I declined as the publishing is under legal contract to Fishy Music and also bound to Hit and Run/ EMI . The MCPS legal departments are very good but the challenge of EMI to Roadrunner will produce far more effect as no doubt there will be other acts signed to EMI who are also signed to Roadrunner for recording. This gives EMI publishing more reasons than just mine to investigate this breakdown in payments. Tony Turrell agreed it made sense.
I also reminded the PL that as they are still owe me 20,000 pounds of which a major contribution is expected from their publishing income it is perhaps more in my interest than theirs to pursue the unaccounted publishing from Roadrunner.
Only a few days later I received yet another communication. This time it was an "offer" to "create" my next album.
I had asked Tony if he was interested in working together with Wes and posssibly Steve Wilson and others on the Fellini Days album. He said he was. As I was unsure of how the time elements would span due to the house sale and other commitments to filming and generally getting my life together I couldn't nail a specific period for recording. With the PL studios having my old equipment there was a sense to record there and I planned to talk to the guys about studio time.
At no point was I entertaining working with Mark Daghorn in any capacity outside writing and programming. Elliot Ness was scheduled to engineer and Calum Malcolm as always was to mix and master the album.
The communication from PL was I considered arrogant and disrespectful. I will keep this short but should Mark or Tony challenge this I will be happy to print the entire communication on the web site.
Pl wanted full creative control of the next studio album. Mark Daghorn was to engineer, mix and produce with a full credit to Positive Light. They were to write all the music and control their publishing . They refused to write with anyone else. They refused to work with Elliot or Calum both of whom they criticised severely for their efforts on Raingods.
"Neither of us are able to listen to Plague, when it should have been a masterpiece. We respect the fact that you obviously rate Callum's mixes but we detest them with a passion and would never allow our work to be mixed by him again and would never want it to be 'produced' by Elliot."
Wes had told me that they didn't want Steve Vantsis either and they wanted total control of who played on the album.
In short they wanted me to become a session singer for Positive Light.
This was to happen in their studio and I had to book a 3 month lock out. For all this I was to pay 20,000 pounds on confirmation of the deal and I had to pay another 20,000 pounds before they would let me have the masters from the studio.
I refused to commit to this and politely declined saying that I intended to work with Elliot and Calum and a number of collaborators on the writing team. I said that I would be interested in hiring the studio.
The reply was arrogant to the extreme.
"We are not interested in hiring the studio to you on a dry hire basis. It doesn't make sense to us. We can do a Positive Light album very cheaply and only have to sell a very small number of copies to make it viable and we have complete control over the end product."
"We would not be interested in being involved in the writing if its going to be produced and mixed by other people. Sorry but never again."
I asked if Tony wanted to write outside the PL - no answer. I knew what was coming.
I had talked to Tony on the Friday 25th February to confirm his flight up to Edinburgh on 10th March for a rehearsal before the private gig in Wales the next day. He said all was ok and that he was on board with no hassles. The e-mails flew over the weekend and on Monday I was faxed by Tony who now had a busy studio schedule and had to "unfortunately" pull out the gig. The only thing in his favour was that he offered to pay the flight ticket. In all this time re the confrontation with Mark I have never heard a word or received a call from Tony . I had thought that after all our time on the road together that he could have made his true feelingson the album clear and in recent days at least have contacted me to let me know his stance. All I have had is the PL standpoint and it is made very clear that it is the 2 of them who offer the Dictat.
On receipt of Tony's fax I e'd back and said he would be replaced on a permanent basis as it is obvious that he is more committed to the PL projects which include a "tour" in the summer after the release of the first albums on their own label.
One of these albums has Squeeky, Wes and Tony with Mark Daghorn on bass playing a long conceptual piece with a sleeve that was to have been done by Mark Wilkinson. Perhaps I am being too cynical but there is more than a whiff of blunt marketing, overt commercialism and exploitation that overwhelms those high idealistic creative designs that were raised high on the flagpole this past weekend.
You will hear bleating hearts spout forth about how I have used influence to interfere and ultimately screw people over.
Some people after hearing about my experiences have had their present doubts realised or confirmed and made their own decisions with no prompting from myself. My reputation stands for itself and I have no need to indulge in pettiness that tbh with the current PL debt to me affects that repayment.
At the bottom of this is money. PL owe me 20,000 pounds for equipment that they have in their studio which is being advertised for hire. They owe me this now and I am currently pursuing this debt which is due to Millennium Studios account.
I owe them publishing money from royalties which I have not as yet received and at the moment have no idea of the figures involved. When they are received by Fishy Music Ltd they will be paid over. I am legally on firm ground and my conscience is clear. I am fulfilling all my legal and contractual obligations to PL re the publishing whose copyright is signed to and controlled by Fishy Music Ltd.
The rest is down to their attitude which I find disturbing and arrogant and downright insulting. I have told them this.
Tony I am totally surprised with and very disappointed in. I leave this to his conscience.
I did not want to bring this to your attention but I feel that the attack and the "news" that has been spread by people who should have more common sense as to get involved with something that they don't know the full details of deserves an address of balance from my side.
I regret to have to clear my name in public but sensing that there will be a more concerted attack in the near future as events unfold this represents the basis of my standpoint.
all the best
Email 3rd March 2000