Thursday, March 10, 2011
(part 237) ASCAP AND A BROKEN HEART
There was no interest at all in what I had done in the past, or was doing in 1985. My endless frustration at continuing to try, was now reaching lethal proportions. In a final gesture to accomplish something of consequence, I gathered up as many records of mine as I could find, and set out for the offices of ASCAP.
They were located on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, where I'd been before when I'd signed with them in the early 70's, so I knew exactly where to go. I got off the elevator and made my way inside where I told someone who I was and why I was there.
Within a short time, I was talking to various persons and showing them my identification, to prove I was who I said I was, and showing them a pile of records with my name on them. My point was that I had made all these records, but had never been paid a single penny for any of them.
I told them I knew there had to be some money, because some of the records had sold fairly well, and I was there to find out how much, and then to get paid whatever the amount might be. They all looked at each other in a confused way, as if I were the first person in history to have ever shown up in their office to make such a request.
Soon, another individual was put on the case and began looking through a computer for information about me, and sure enough there I was. He acknowledged that there was indeed money, but said he could not tell me how much. Confused, I pushed back and asked, "Well, it's my money so I have a right to know how much it is."
Again he refused to give me an amount, but said it was substantial. "Substantial...what does that mean? If you have money that belongs to me, I want it, I'm broke, I earned that money."
Once again he said he could not tell me how much it was, or give it to me. "Why not?" I asked, "it's mine."
"It shows that payments were made to the co-writer," he said.
"There is no co-writer," I said, I wrote that stuff by myself."
"Well that's not what it shows here," he said, "It shows payments being made to the co-writer."
"Well who's the co-writer, then, what's their name," I asked.
"Sorry," he said, "I can't tell you that either."
By this time, I was getting pissed off at the explanation I was getting from him. "You know," I said angrily, "I have fuckin had it with this bullshit! If you have money of mine, I ought to be able to get it right now."
"I'm sorry my friend," he said, "that's not how it works here."
"Well, how does it work here, man," I yelled, "How does it work? Seems to me it doesn't work at all. I tell you who I am, you say I got money, but you won't give it to me. You say there is a co-writer, which there isn't, but you won't tell me what their name is. Sounds like nothing fucking works, if you ask me."
"OK! Ok now! You can't come in here and start acting this way. This is a business office and we are here to insure that things get done fairly and accurately, so if you have a dispute, you need to get a lawyer and deal with this issue properly," he said.
"Properly!" I yelled, "No one has ever dealt with me properly in my life. All I do is get fucked around, over and over again. That's properly according to you and the rest of this Goddamned music business. You got my money and you won't give it to me and you tell me to get a lawyer, but I don't have the Goddamned money to get a lawyer, man, I am fucking broke!"
This guy's eyes were getting bigger and bigger, and the whole place was now aware of who I was and what was going on. Another person came out of an office to intervene, saying, "Mr. Jameson, the police have been called, so unless you want to be arrested, I suggest that you leave the premises now."
I looked at her face, wondering how in the hell I always ended- up at the ass-end of every single problem I encountered in this God-awful industry for all these years. I didn't know whether to scream at her or punch her out. I looked around at the faces staring at me like I was nothing more than a wild animal...Inside, my heart broke for the thousandth time, I hesitated for a moment, and then turned and walked out the door.