Friday, April 10, 2009

(Part 40) No Contract On Chris Lucey Album


The Chris Lucey album is what it is. The people who worked on it worked hard. As I remember, everybody got wrapped up in this odd little album and gave it their all. It was a strange time and Chris Lucey seemed to capture that in a way. Music was in a state of massive change and not everyone was sure about what that meant. Even Marshall Lieb finally admitted that the record had it's own unusual charm and said it came out better than he'd expected. Randy Wood was a happy man and made no attempt to downplay his enthusiasm.

Pam Burns was hailed as a genius by Randy and there was a sense of relief at Mira/Surrey over the completion of the project that had had them so hung up. I was getting a lot of pats on the back for coming through and was accepted as having done a good job under pressure. Marshall Lieb and Randy seemed to have squared their differences, what ever they were with the completion of the Chris Lucey album. I never saw Marshall much after that and always wondered what happened to him. Pam reminded Randy that he'd said that if I got the Chris Lucey record done on time and that Randy approved of it he'd let me make a record of anything I wanted and he'd release it on Mira Records as a single under my real name.

Randy said, "Damn, you ought to be this guy's manager." "Just making sure you remembered," said Pam. She was always looking out for me. From the moment I met her she was on my side. I have the fondest memories of her she was a true friend, probably better than I deserved. There were still things to be done to the album like final mixing, a couple of overdubs, like the harmonica part I played on "That's The Way The World Has Got To Be", and then mastering. But for all intents and purposes the album was done and I was glad. It was hard writing songs to someone else's titles and I swore I'd never do it again.

I was now Chris Lucey, in an odd kind of a way, even though Chris Lucey did not really exist. He was a figment of the imagination of some weird destiny. No one, with the exception of Mira Records and the players, knew who Chris Lucey was or cared. They certainly didn't know I was him nor did anyone else ever know it for years to come. Chris Lucey was released in other parts of the world as "Too Many Mornings" by Bobby Jameson sometime after it was released as Chris Lucey "Songs Of Protest And Anti Protest." It wasn't until 5 yeas ago that I even knew anyone cared about the album or knew that Bobby Jameson and Chris Lucey were and are the same person. I spent 40 years trying to forget that I ever made the album, because so many people had put it down as a worthless piece of junk.

At some point after most of the work on Chris Lucey was drawing to a close Randy and Abe Somer corralled me in Randy's office one evening saying they wanted to talk to me about my plans for the future, or something to that effect. I went in and Randy closed the door which he almost never did and started smiling at me and telling me what a good writer and singer I was in his opinion. I eye-balled Abe Somer, who was just standing there with a thick stack of papers in his hand grinning like a cheshire cat. I immediately felt uncomfortable, because this scenario was completely out of the ordinary. I was used to being treated like the odd man out most of the time so I sensed that something was up.

Randy went on and on about how surprised he was with my ability and that because of it he was prepared to offer me a contract as an artist and writer. I asked him if that included Chris Lucey? He said it did. I asked him about what the contract said and how long it was for. He told me seven years and that he would be willing to publish all and anything I wrote from then on. There was no talk of anything for me just what he and Mira would get from me. The feeling in that room was like a kid being ganged up on by two bigger kids.

I told Randy that this was totally unexpected and that I didn't know if I wanted to be tied up with somebody for seven years. Randy's expression changed immediately from that point on. "Whatta ya mean for that long, that's standard," he said, "for an artists contract." "It might be Randy, but I don't know if that's what I want to do or not I'd have to think about it for a while." I replied. "Think about it," he yelled, "I just gave you a chance to cut a whole goddamn album you ungrateful little prick what's there to think about?" I stood there looking back and forth between Abe and Randy trying to gather my wits as this whole thing seemed to be going out of control.

"Did Abe write the contract?" I asked, "You know he did. What's that got to do with it?" yelled Randy. "That's why I'm not going to sign it," I said. Randy moved in on me like a street fighter and grabbed the collar of my shirt with both hands and threw me up against the office wall with a thud. "Listen you little son of a bitch, I..." He trailed off realizing what he had just done. I stood there motionless until he released me from his grip. I looked over at Abe, who had not moved one inch since the whole thing began. Not because he was afraid, but because he was a steely little prick who was unaffected by Wood's occasional outbursts.

Randy kind of mellowed out as fast as he went off. He was like that. He'd change back and forth in a matter of minutes. "Go ahead, get outta here." He said. I pulled myself off the wall and headed for the door not saying a word. I remember thinking, "no one will ever do that to me again, no one, ever." I never signed a contract with Mira/Surrey for writing the songs for "Songs Of Protest And Anti Protest" or performing as the artist Chris Lucey. To this day from that it remains the case. No one owns the Rights to those songs except me and I never gave them away, knowingly or unknowingly. I created them and until someone can come up with a contract with my signature on it, stating a legal difference, I own the rights to my songs on the Chris Lucey album.

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