THIS HAPPENED TO ME AND THIS WAS KIND OF A TURNING POINT IN MY VIEWS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
I've had a hard time writing about this since it happened in 2006.
There's a song called "Army" by Ben Folds Five about a guy trying to get his shit together all while trying to maintain a band.
grew a moustache and a mullet
got a job at chic-fil-a
citing artistic differences
the band broke up in may
and in june reformed without me
and they'd got a different name
i nuked another grandma's apple pie
and hung my head in shame
Take away the mustache, mullet, and shitty fast food job, and that actually happened to me.
It was 2006. I was in a band that was good. Not like "Oh, that's a nice group of boys." No, I mean, like, really, really, really fucking good. We were arrogant little shits who were incredibly tight in musicianship. Our songs were scattered in genre, but we were just trying to find our feet, knowing we'd eventually find the type of song that'd strike. When we played showcases, we would stun the other bands away. Promoters wanted to book us (for no-pay, but still). We occasionally had crowds. One time, we even PROFITED from a show! But only once. It was pretty fucking awesome.
And right then, EMI called.
Yeah, that EMI.
Some rep/connection to a bandmate/I don't really know/whatever took us out and comped us a fancy-schmancy dinner. They wanted to buy one of our songs.
The going price? Up to $100,000. Cool, right? It would be part of a compilation/music-industry experiment in social media purchase-cards. We'd be the guinea pigs along with a few other artists.
There was a medium-thick contract, which I was immediately skeptical about. I told our singer/principal songwriter, "Yo, we should probably see a music lawyer about this. I don't want to fuck up our ability to play this song in the future." That was my concern. Playing the song in the future. Not money.
A few days later, the contract was adjusted without any notice. Everyone's name was eliminated except for the singer's. Classic La Bamba shit. Seriously.
And he signed it. Behind our back. EMI-asshole wanted an artist so badly that he convinced the singer that he really didn't need us.
We disbanded immediately. But weeks later, the singer put the same group together, without me, and renamed it. They were playing the same songs. It was heartbreaking.
I still don't know why I wasn't called back. Maybe it's because I suck at keyboards, or because bands with keyboards are fucking lame, or because I'm ugly, or because I'm a pain-in-the-ass about "play fair and treat everyone with respect" or something.
Whatever it is, it's water-under-the-bridge. I still talk to the singer and he apologized, like, 2 years later. We're not really friends anymore, but I'll definitely hear him out and I'm sure he'll shoot himself in the foot to get me out of a rut (probably out of guilt, really.) I can (half) forgive but I'll absolutely never forget. The part of me that's a real dick intentionally acts ignorant when I know the answers he has questions for. Tit for tat. Long term winner: Me. Yay.