Wednesday, April 2, 2008
(part 46) ALL ALONE / THE MONKEES / WHAT NEXT?
The next record I made in 1966 was "All Alone/Your Sweet Lovin" on Current Records. The company was run and partially owned by one Mike Goldberg. After my Penthouse Records experience I went outside of Randy Wood's reach and signed a 1 record deal with Current Records. I was given label credit for arranging, writer, and artist. It was a good record.
I cut that record in a couple of hours one afternoon but don't remember everybody's name who played on it. I am sorry for that, because they all did a hell of a good job. J. Fisher is listed as producer and I have vague memories of who that is. He also played guitar as I recall, and possibly did the harmonica parts.
After the record was cut nothing was done with it. There it was and that was it. Same old shit. I went to Goldberg's office and asked him why nothing was being done with the record? He told me all the reactions by L.A. radio were negative and there wasn't much he could do about it.
I'd signed a contract that was going to tie me up for a minimum of 1 year and there was nothing he could do about it? I told him that was no good for me and asked him to release me from the contract which he said he could not do. I recall getting mad at him almost immediately because this was just one more bullshit hangup in a long list of hangups where my life and career were involved.
Goldberg finally said he'd let me out of the contract if I paid him for the cost of the session. Great! I was broke, as usual, and this guy wants me to pay for my own session to let me out of a contract that he's using to hang me up? He wouldn't work the record, so it's dead, and I gotta pay him to get out? Man was I was pissed off.
This guy had sweet talked me with promises into signing the goddamn contract in the first place and now wanted money to let me out of it because he wasn't doing his job promoting the record. It wasn't that it was a lot of money $500 or $600, but for me that was a lot. Fortunately at the time, I'd met another women named Carol Paulus, who I still know to this day, and she gave me the money to get out of that contract.
The record says Lightswitch Music is the publisher, but I will challenge that on similar grounds to those involving Penthouse Records and claims by other publishers. Record labels and publishers are bound, at least minimally, to do something more than record a song, claim the publishing, and sit on it. A contract is between the various parties involved, and each party has some sort of obligation to perform some duty to make the contract binding.
I upheld my obligations by writing and recording the songs so I challenge Current Records and Lightswitch Music on the basis of purposeful and knowing nonperformance. I would like to see the contract again, because my belief is it would be found to be insufficient as a legal document. Therefore I do claim all rights to my songs "All Alone" and "Your Sweet Lovin" and my recorded performances of those 2 songs.
That is 4 singles in a row that I wrote and recorded for 3 different companies in a matter of months. In each case I was promised something which I never received. I was led to believe by each of those companies who signed me, that they had made a good faith promise to do the best job possible with each record.
This by no means was the case with any of those recordings I made in 1966. In each of the circumstances the record was recorded by me, using my songs, and then abandon to a scrap heap by those who held the power and purse strings. The records were basically shelved by those labels and their executives, while at the same time their publishing arm claimed the rights to my songs. It is because of this practice that I feel each of these agreements must be challenged at this time.
Back at Mira Records Phill Turetsky had been watching this absurdity unfold for months. He finally got me away from everyone and told me he wanted to get me something more legitimate than what he had witnessed from his vantage point ay Mira. I was surprised by this and welcomed Phil's involvement in my life, knowing he was Johnny River's business manager and was capable of accomplishing something more concrete.
The first thing Phil did was tell me about a new TV show being planned called "The Monkees." Turetsky said they were casting for the show and believed I had a real shot at it. I was completely overwhelmed by this news and told him I was very interested. He told me Burt Schneider and Bob Raphelson, at Columbia, had based their idea for "The Monkees" on "The Beatle's" movie "A Hard Days Night." On hearing that you know how excited I must have been about doing it.
A meeting was set up and I was scheduled to meet with the producers at Columbia. It seemed to me at the time, that Phil Turetsky had intervened, for whatever purpose, in the black comedy he'd watched over at Mira concerning the career of Bobby Jameson. I guess he thought he could do a better job than what he'd seen Randy Wood, Ken Handler, or Mike Goldberg do.
When I arrived at Columbia Studios, on Gower St. in Hollywood I was ushered in without trouble. That in itself was different from what I'd gotten used to. I met with Raphelson and Schneider right off the bat and then David Jones, who had already been chosen as the first "Monkee." They were extremely nice and very excited about meeting me. It was a positive experience. I asked if the show was really going to be as hip as "A Hard Days Night" and was assured it would be that hip. But from the very beginning I kind of got the feeling that it was going to be exactly the way it turned out, kind of lame.