So besides the our obvious big hits there have been three other significant money making events in Cracker career. The last two were especially important cause they carried us through some dry periods.
1. The inclusion of “Shake Some Action” in the film Clueless. And it’s subsequent appearance on the soundtrack album. We were at the peak of our career (sales wise) when this song was licensed. Bryan McPherson our attorney at the time demanded and received top dollar for the rights. Well actually half the rights. The song was written by The Flaming Groovies. So the Publishing half went to them. The other half was credited to our virgin account which at the time was recouped. And not only was the price dictated by Cracker’s stature at the time. We were also in the secondary phase of the great Alternative/Grunge asset bubble. There are three phases to every asset bubble, the three “I”s : The Innovators, The Imitators and finally the Idiots. I make no judgement upon the band Creed. But i did meet Scott Stap around 1996 and he was an arrogant idiot. This was before they were really famous. So by my own set of empirical data Creed marks the beginning of the Idiot phase of the Alternative/Grunge bubble. When we sold “Shake Some Action” it was about a year or two before the Grunge asset bubble peaked, but the price of all alternative rock songs were artificial inflated. The record companies were flush with primarily their Hootie/Counting Crows and second their Nirvana/ Songe Temple Pilots cash. There was too much money chasing too few bands/songs. The result to things like this is always an asset bubble. Similar bubbles have appeared throughout the history of the record industry. But that’s another post.
Auntie Led Zeppelin
2. A careless miscalculation by another major record label (not ours) involving the trademark Cracker™ cost this record label dearly. The holy grail for trademark infringement litigators is a clear and demonstrable case of ”confusion in the marketplace”. We had that.
Quite a few people warned me that we were making a catastrophic career mistake by suing this large major label and artist. That they their associated managers and agents would never do business with us again. That they would blackball us from the industry. That all doors would be closed to us forever. These were serious respectable people giving us this advice. And apparently they felt they were receiving this information from credible sources.
The problem with this is that all the doors to the music business have always been closed for me and my bands. Except for a brief period in the early to mid 1990s. And they were certainly closed for us in 2004. I have spent much of my career prying the doors open or sneaking in through the mailroom. Plus your typical music business executive agent, manager will gladly sell his/her soul if there is a buck to be made. So if we have something that others think will sell they will always do business with us. Logically it was always an empty threat. But it’s amazing how often I hear managers advise artists to not rock the boat.
It is always better to be respected in the music business than it is to be liked. Get the distinction? Anybody that tells you otherwise is setting you up to be ripped off.
A legal settlement does not allow me to discuss this any further.
3. The Gillette company decided to use the Song The World Is Mine in a commercial. The commercial is positively dismal and unimaginative but the great thing is that we re-recorded the song for the commercial. So we didn’t have to pay anything to Virgin records. Second the commercial hasTiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry so it was shown practically non-stop worldwide. Also worldwide is very key. Unlike the US and Canada in much of the industrialized world significant airplay royalties apply to commercials. Finally because we re-sang the lyrics to match a new structure for the commercial we were considered voice talent so all kinds of AFTRA/SAG (actor) fees began to apply. So yes Gillette has been berry berry good to Cracker.
But this also illustrates one of the finer points about my career as an artist and every artist’s career. All of an artists success is wildly unpredictable. When you make an album you never really know what songs will be hits. It’s only clear in retrospect. It always seems logical but this is because we are the victims of something called The Narrative Fallacy. In retrospect we re-arrange our actions, emphasizing some discounting others to make it seem that we logically and methodically acted as if we were certain the hit song was a hit song all along. But even stranger is that a song does not have to be a “hit” to generate significant revenues. The world is mine was not a hit. The obscure CVB demo “guardian angels” was not a hit, but somehow some advertising executive plucked it from obscurity and put it in a Citibank Commercial. Finally the most bizarre and unpredictable bit of success involves the CVB track Opening Theme.
01 Opening Theme CVB Version.
Giorgos Margaritis is one of the best known Greek singers. I don’t know much about his career except that he was considered a bit of an old fogey when he made a sort of edgy comeback album: Ola tha ta diagrapso (I Reject Everything). The record was quite successful in that part of the world (Greece and the Levant). The “cover” of Opening theme was apparently the idea of producerThodoris Manikas. He purportedly found the track in a pile of discarded CDs. This bit of CVB success was freakishly unpredictable.
Finally this is my last public 300 songs post for the near future. I will most likely resume in January 2011. It has been a great experience but I must continue doing things like writing and recording music, things that actually pay the bills. I appreciate everyone who has contributed donations. I am using those funds to hire an editor to make this into a book. I promised to turn this into a book and I will. I will resume writing this when I get those details worked out. probably sometime later this fall or winter. thanks so much.
THE WORLD IS MINE
Well we went to the station
They were looking for Vegas
But I was stuck in my beat phase
Like it was 1959
They say the girls wanna hip-shake
They say the boys wanna ball-break
But we couldn’t be bothered
Cuz we’re hipper than y’all
And everyday I resolve to say
The world is mine
So will you bring me salvation
Or a standing ovation
Cuz I really deserve it
And so much more
The big kid in the magazines
You and me, we went to make the scene
?Better get your? name, man
And tomorrow you’ll be gone
So everyday I resolve to say
The world is mine