I don’t mean to be turning negative with this blog o’ mine, but this business of music is pretty damned negative. Read Nikki Sixx’s Heroine Diaries. I’ve been especially negative towards hip-hop and R&B as evidenced by my Kanye rants. Anyway, on with the negativity.
This afternoon I was listening to one of my favorite radio stations, Triple J, from Australia, when Push It, from the album Desire, by Pharoahe Monch came on. Normally I get pretty pumped when a song I played bass on comes on the radio, but today I got pissed off. Really pissed off.
When I wrote about recording bass on that song from the album I left out a small detail. Mainly because I was trying to be the better man, but now, screw it. I’m tired of being nice. Here’s the real deal – the reason I’m pissed off.
That day I got a call from James (from Atomic Brother) sometime after 5pm saying that he got a call from Pharoahe’s manager Angie asking if I was available to record bass as soon as possible. He called me right away, and lucky for them I was in the neighborhood and available, but didn’t have my bass. I told him to ring her up and have her call me with the details, he’d already told her my rate.
She rang me right away saying that Pharoahe needed me right away, that they had a bass in the studio and that they could pay my fee. After a a little while on the phone I got to the studio just before 6pm. I met Angie and she showed me around the place and I asked what was going on. She told me that Pharoahe was recording some backing vocal tracks and it would be a few minutes and she led me into the studio to meet the man.
I met Pharoahe right away and he was wondering why I was there, they weren’t ready for me. They’d need an hour at least. I figured that wasn’t a big deal, I’d sit around and watch them record. So after about an hour I was getting antsy, and they weren’t getting anywhere with vocals. They all just kept smoking and drinking and adding more and more layers of vocals I forget the one guy’s name (I actually forgot all their names), but he just kept taking hits and saying that he was a genius and needed to record more. He wouldn’t stop.
So, I asked when they were going to get to me. If they were going to keep this up I’d rather leave. My fee wasn’t high enough to deal with this. So anyway, Pharoahe decided he’d rather have me record the part than leave. You can read how that went here.
So, after I finished recording they were all excited and in love with the part, Pharoahe told me to go see Angie to get paid. I went out to the lobby to meet Angie and she asked how it went and if things were OK. She said she had to see Pharoahe about paying me and she’d be right back. After seeing the boss she said that they could pay me for the session, that I could have 20 bucks for a cab. Bullshit! I told her how much my cab to back to my place in Jersey would cost (much more than my fee) and she offered me cab fare to the train or bus station (which was 4-5 blocks walk away) instead.
Explaining that wasn’t the deal, that they owed me my fee, she said it was Eminem’s fault because he hasn’t paid them the advance for the recording yet, and they were paying SO much for the studio, they couldn’t afford me. Eminem’s fault and the studio cost too much. She had to be kidding right? If they couldn’t afford me, why the hell would she call me agreeing to my fee? They had no intention of paying me. To top it all off, after I filled out all the paperwork, making sure that I would get credit on the recording, I finally got my hands on a copy and I didn’t get credited for playing bass on the track. Turns out nobody got credit except all the singers getting drunk and stoned that day.
Needless to say, I never got paid and James has one less “friend.” What makes it worse is that this asshole is selling records all over the world and getting radio play all over the world and I can’t get performer royalties through SoundExchange because they didn’t credit me! I could sue, but it would cost more money than I’d get out of it. So he kicks back and collects royalties and he couldn’t pay me my tiny little fee. I chalk it up to yet another hip-hip session gone bad – and there have been many sessions gone bad. And people wonder why I refuse to play on R&B and hip-hop records anymore!