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Tony Cartmill

Bi Bi Clive, Bye Bye Happiness?

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Sid   

Yes, the music business is like the Wrestling business...fixed! Labour had better do what management wants or you don't work.

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Funny how this thread started (as only Tony could)...but how great it is to hear from you, Eric. Your stories are so interesting .. but make it so clear how disturbing the politics of the music business really is. Although Bernie's fabulous "Marathon Man" is a great read, I bet your own memoirs would be fascinating! (all the stories that beg to be told but likely best to keep private..).

Thank you for sharing some of your stories with us.

Jean

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Thanks again Eric for your gut-wrenching insight. It makes me so angry that these powerful people could be so petty and forget what their jobs were: To get the quality songs a fair shot to be heard based on their quality, not the egos of the executives involved. Sheesh!

Did you think of calling Jimmy to smooth things over with Don during the "Tonight..." era? Or were things still "against the current" with Jimmy at that time?

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You know I was thinking about understanding where Clive was coming from in trying to keep Eric and Manilow as his 1-2 "Monster Hit Pop-Ballad Boys"...but then I remembered:

1. Did Clive not listen or appreciate where Eric had just come from, Raspberries, where Eric had shown he could write and perform rock and pop at such a high level?

2. As Clive and crew were dissing Eric's albums, Shawn Cassidy was scoring 2 hit records with Eric's "upbeat" rock and pop compositions.

So there must have been some bad blood/ personalities/ egos getting in the way of common sense!

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You know I was thinking about understanding where Clive was coming from in trying to keep Eric and Manilow as his 1-2 "Monster Hit Pop-Ballad Boys"...but then I remembered:

1. Did Clive not listen or appreciate where Eric had just come from, Raspberries, where Eric had shown he could write and perform rock and pop at such a high level?

Good point Tony...however, the lack of Raspberries abilities to sell records is what probably stuck in his thoughts (likely not interested in their label's lack of support; he probably thought more sales would have brought more support not vice versa...) His yardstick seemed to be sales...period. If quality didn't walk hand and hand with sales, its almost as if the quality did not exist in his mind.

Jean

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As Clive and crew were dissing Eric's albums, Shawn Cassidy was scoring 2 hit records with Eric's "upbeat" rock and pop compositions.

Good observation, Tony!

Bernie

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elle4ec   

Kirk,

I could tell you stories...............

Could you tell me a story, Eric?

A bedtime story LuvLoveblush would be fine...

Seriously, your stories are equally as enthralling as your song lyrics. I could listen to both all day!

...And all night winkheartpump

Thanks so much for gracing us with your presence, Eric!

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darlene   

Elle, great post! I'm sure Eric and Kelly could exchange quite a few stories about good old Clive. As usual, he wanted to "dampen" her song. Sound familiar? Clive seems to think he knows best. And it seems he was often wrong.

:)--D

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Originally Posted By: Eric Carmen
Kirk,

I could tell you stories...............

Could you tell me a story, Eric?

A bedtime story LuvLoveblush would be fine...

Elle, you never disappoint! wink

I've enjoyed reading this thread. "Fascinating," to quote the exceptional Mr. Spock.

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All of your posts are great, kids, but ( and I've had many years to think about this )

it really comes down to a couple of things.

Thing One: Clive likes to be INVOLVED!! If you understand that Clive readily admits to being a "shameless self-promoter", and loves being the biggest star on the label, the worst thing you can do is not ask for his input. You're going to get it, whether you ask or not, and Clive isn't a shrinking violet who's going to let some snot-nosed rookie tell HIM that HE'S wrong! He is going to let you know who the boss is, and in a way that you will never forget it, and never make that mistake again. I think Clive left me alone on my first album because he felt that he had "discovered" me. He got on a plane, flew to Cleveland and sat in my living room while I played him probably 2/3 of my first album on the piano. And God bless him for it! He came out of the ivory tower that most CEO's live in and flew to Cleveland for goodness sake! As a result, his "involvement" in that first album didn't need to be so much on the "creative" side as on the "discovery" side. But there's no denying that he did indeed fly to Cleveland, listened to me perform the songs in my living room, and signed me to his new label within a week. Involved he was.

Thing Two: When you are dealing with someone as iconic and opinionated as Mr Davis, you must learn to put yourself and your career in perspective. This is a very hard lesson for most artists, myself included, because while you are focused 110% on YOUR career, your career is but one of DOZENS to Clive. If you listen to Clive's commentary that accompanies the CD that comes with his new book, you begin to realize that what Clive relishes, perhaps more than anything else, is his ability to "personalize" the story behind each and every song and artist that was chosen for that CD. He says he wasn't really that big a fan of "pop" music, and then tells you his story of going to Monterey Pop and being mesmerized by Janis Joplin, and how that experience opened up a whole new world to him. The story becomes not so much about Janis and more about Clive's EXPERIENCE of Janis. It's Janis Joplin from Clive's perspective, as she helps tell HIS STORY, and not the other way around. In this way, Clive takes each of the artists he's worked with and turns them into stepping stones in the ultimate story of Clive Davis, and, after all, that's what his book is about.

Ultimately, what I was getting at is that although your career is all that you are concerned about, you are but one of many to Clive. You may be up to your ears in writing, producing, arranging and singing on YOUR album, but Clive is listening to, and participating in, the careers of, perhaps sixteen other artists who are all writing and producing and in the studio and doing rough mixes and final mixes at the same time. And every one of those records is going to have "The Clive Davis Stamp Of Approval" or the artist is going to write more songs, do more mixes, add more reverb, record more background vocals, turn the snare drum up more, or down more, until it sounds and feels just right to Mr Davis. And the MOST difficult part of this exercise is that every time Clive wants a change, the artist is paying for it out of his or her own future royalties. Every remix, every hour of studio time, every new reel of tape, every dollar spent recording and paying for new background singers and the engineer who will put them on tape, the tambourine that needs to be louder, and the cowbell that needs to be quieter, are ALL being charged to the artist.

I recall, during the recording of the "Boats' album, someone asking Clive if he was concerned about the amount of money that was being spent in the studio. His reply was "Not at all. It's HIS money, not mine."

And, when all is said and done, it is Clive who will decide what "priority" (read: promotional dollars) to spend on each and every record. And if he doesn't love it, and believe it's going to be a smash, he will simply allocate fewer dollars to promote it, thus insuring that it will NOT be a hit. And if he decides he doesn't care for it al all (read: "Tonight You're Mine") he can just bury it, and you have wasted two years of your life and , perhaps, $300,000 that you are now "un-recouped",

which means your NEXT record will have to be so successful it not only pays for itself, but for the last record as well, before the artist will ever see a dime. And if Clive doesn't care for your next record, he can simply put you "on suspension" indefinitely, until you come up with something he likes.

If you were lucky enough to have an attorney who so thoroughly knew the industry inside and out negotiate your deal, or a manager powerful enough to command Clive's respect, he might make an exception or let you negotiate your way OFF the label ( by promising to pay him $100,000 when and if you get another record deal somewhere else ) but, for the most part, the artist is just screwed.

Having said that, Clive is a charming, brilliant man. Great fun to have dinner with, and knows the business as well or better than anyone who ever lived.

He doesn't do these things maliciously. This is simply how the game is played.

It has been my honor to work with him over these many years, and it's also an honor for him to have chosen "All By Myself" as one of the twelve songs that he included on the CD of music that has defined his life. I'm in pretty heady company, and I will be forever grateful for the chance to have made that record and for his participation in making it a hit.

It's also nice to know, in a strange kind of way, that if I called him tomorrow, he would take my call.

He is the last of the great icons that controlled the music that became the soundtrack of our lives for the past six decades. Just as we will never see another group like "The Beatles" again, so we will not see the likes of another Clive Davis.

And so it goes.

e

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JCraft   

Wow---I've been away for a while, but this was a great string. It will be interesting to see what happens with Kelly Clarkson. A year or so ago she stood up to Mr.Davis, also.

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Kirk   

Eric, if you never write another song, I hope you will consider writing a book. Your perspective is fair, accurate, gracious and insightful. Exquisite reading. A captivating chapter in search of a book! Bravo!! Oh, and THANKS smile

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Eric, you are a class act...no doubt about it.

Despite all the headaches and heartaches, you still hold Mr Davis in high regard.

I have read almost every post you have written, and you have said nice things about everyone.

No matter who's name was mentioned, you would say how great they are, or how much you appreciate them for whatever.

That shows me that you are head and shoulders above the rest.

Just like the song...better than all the rest. smile

I wonder, at the end of the day, through the highs and lows, ups and downs, would you say...I would do it all again?

I hope so, because we would miss out on all the wonderful music you have given us.

I for one am greatful for it all.

Pj

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Eric,

I did read Clive's book. Well, the part where he talks about you, at least. smile And he talks with great pride about his "discovery" of you and "All By Myself." Something he also did when I interviewed him for Eric Carmen: Marathon Man. And even though he does rehash his theory that "once a rock star goes pop, he can't go back," he does continue to say really nice things about you: "Unfortunately, you can't have long-standing productive relationships with every artist you sign, even ones whom you respect as I do Eric."

The night I interviewed him (at his suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel), he was to appear as a mentor on "American Idol." After we spoke about you for the book, he told me that a contestant was set to perform "All By Myself" on the show. I told him that every season someone sings that song, but the thing that irritates me is when the attribution is to Celine Dion instead of you. Clive responded, "That's a very good point, and I will make sure I mention Eric's name on the program tonight."

And you know what? He did.

Bernie

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Art   

Eric:

It is great to read your posts. Thanks for sharing some of your history with us. I have wondered for years why certain releases didn't do as well as all of us thought they should, and now the truth is revealed. You must have suffered through some very frustrating times. Anyway....glad you are back!

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elle4ec   

(I started writing this last night and stopped. Looks like PJ smile and I, are on the same wavelength:)

Eric, you are such a class-act! Even after all of the heartache, disagreement, and expense associated with your and Clive's business relationship at the time, you're still able to come away from the experience a true diplomat. In the end, Eric, I deduce what you are saying is, that while maybe time doesn't heal all wounds, time does have a way of removing our blinders, eventually enabling us to see a situation from a broader spectrum, softening the edges, somehow helping us to understand the possible reasoning behind the drive, motives, and point of view of others, doesn't it?

Even with an enigma like Clive Davis.

While everyone's natural tendency is to look out for our own best interests, it appears Clive had the tenacity and genius to become a master of making a career of looking out for number one, all the while operating under the carefully, calculated guise of leading others to Superstardom.

No one could blame you Eric, if you held bitterness and resentment to this day over some of the decisions that Clive (among others) made on your behalf, some ultimately costing you (literally frown ) promotional exposure, chart success, and artistic freedom in your career. Yet, you've chosen to take the high road, Eric, and for that you deserve the utmost respect.

There's no argument here that Clive Davis will go down as one of the major icons of the entertainment industry of our time. I, for one, am grateful for all of the fantastic musical talent he has nurtured, promoted, and presented to us, for our listening pleasure for many, many years.

Still, I can't help but wonder that while Clive was on the throne, making his "Executive" decisions, how many other artists, some who might not have even had half the talent in their little finger as an artist like Eric Carmen possesses, did he eventually let slip through his strong, narcissistic grasp?

How many other artists did he simply miss the "boat" wink on, even though he held in his hand a first class ticket that enabled him to possibly change the course of the destination for so many?

I know in one instance, I'm so fortunate to have climbed on board for the journey. All I can say is, "Clive, you missed one beautiful ride" heartpump ...

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elle4ec   

BTW: I'm in total agreement with Kirk.

Eric, you need to write a book! You have such an amazing grasp of the English language, and have the unique ability to draw an audience in...All in such a way most others could only dream of! It's no wonder so many of your song lyrics are pure poetry...You're a natural!

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Guest Fresh   
Guest Fresh

When Eric writes his book, he had better do a book-signing tour!!

I need another photo-op with him. I've aged alot since my picture with him at Bernie's in 2007! My kids don't even believe it's me in the picture anymore!!!

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