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Hungry Eyes


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If that first video ever sees the light of day I might just move to Argentina and change my name. That's how much I hate it.

Well, seeing as how we're all looking forward to the Severance Hall concert in Cleveland next year we wouldn't want you to move to Argentina, now would we? The videos I'll be posting will be the official ones that were released to MTV and VH1 back in the day :-)

Bernie

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Pee Wee Herman impersonating Freddy Mercury ! Poor Billy. This is the stuff of nightmares. Mine wasn't quite that bad, but it was close. The late Michael Peters, who choreographed "Beat It" directed the first "IWHIFYL" video and essentially tried to turn me into one of the dancing Jackson clan. I was allowed no input and everything I did ask for was summarily dismissed. It was a horrible experience and the resulting video was a mess. I told David Geffen it would ruin my career and, thank God, he agreed with me and agreed to shoot another one. ec

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Wow, that must have been hell.

This is all too common that an artist has to put up with someone else's superimposed vision of how their image and music should be presented.

Which is ridiculous most of the time.

AND it winds up being the mental image that song is stuck with in most people's heads!

Good thing Geffen could see that.

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Seems like every time Eric spends a few minutes composing a post, the Message Board won't let him save it. Here's what he wanted to say.

- - - -

I knew I was in trouble when I found myself sitting in Michael Peters' loft with about 13 or 14 people who were going to be involved in the video in various capacities, and they began discussing every aspect from wardrobe to set design to lighting to cinematography, and continually referred to me in the third person as if I were somehow not sitting right there with them.

That's exactly how they treated me, as a complete non-entity. What I thought was of absolutely no importance to any of them. When I would try to interject something, they would glance away and sigh in utter boredom and disgust that they somehow had to tolerate having me in the room. Then Michael asked me to "try on" some clothes he had, to see how they would look on me and then refused to leave the room while I pulled on a pair of his pants. It was so tacky I couldn't believe it but he I figured if he really wanted to ogle my bottom that badly, whatever.

Realizing this was not going to be anything like what I had in mind, I asked Michael to provide me with a bass guitar, a mic and mike stand and to please turn the air conditioning up in the studio as it gets very, very hot under the extremely bright lighting used to film these things.

When I arrived for the shoot there was no bass, no mic, no mic stand and the room was about 80 degrees. Then they turned on four 10k lights aimed at the back of my head and I thought I was having a stroke. They then proceeded to pump the room fool of burning mineral oil (that's how they make the steamy atmosphere) and continually spray me with water so I'd look all sweaty, which, apparently to my gay director Mr. Peters, made me look really good.

Sixteen hours and $100,000 dollars (recoupable against artist royaltes) later, we wrapped. When I saw the video I begged David Geffen not to ever let it see daylight. He shelved it, and let me shoot a new one with a different director. That's another story.

ec

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I was wrong... that wasn't "must have been like

hell"... That >was< hell!

A hundred grand for someone else's self-love..

That's not service he's providing there.

He's not seeing you as a customer to be satisfied at the end of the day, but a cardboard prop for his ego to hang mirrors on so he can look at himself instead of you. Something is really wrong when it's going in the that direction. How can you be removed from the decision making process when the money is coming from you?

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This came as kind of a shock to me when I finally figured it out, but there are a LOT of people in the industry that have nothing but contempt for the artists. I've met A&R guys, video directors, label heads, managers, agents and many, many others who could barely disguise their disgust when they spoke about their artists. Of course they rarely do this to the artist's face. It's always when they've left the room and they turn to each and sneer "Pain in the ass." I once heard the head of promotion for a very big label complain to me about a certain female artist who was, at that time, the biggest artist on his label and an international superstar, because she didn't want to perform outdoors in high humidity because, in his words, "She's got that schvartze hair." Unfortunately, a lot of these folks think THEY make the artist, and so they treat the artist accordingly. Scumbags. arrgh ec

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Well, I was told that the late Michael Peters said I was the most difficult artist he had ever worked with. I'll wear that as a badge of honor forever. The whole experience (and that was my introduction to doing videos) ranks right up there with "Boats" as one of the most horrible and degrading experiences of my entire life. ec

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I suspected I had a REAL problem when the director said he'd like to see me in and "Ike" Eisenhower style jacket in lime green. Maybe he thought i was El DeBarge. I would have gladly called in the cavalry to help me, but my A&R guy, John Kalodner, happened to be in England at the time and I'd never actually met David Geffen who was in LA. I was stuck in a hotel in New York with that witch from Geffen's LA office who couldn't have cared less what I thought about anything. I frankly think she enjoyed humiliating me. That's the kind of "person" she is. ec

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Oh, and by the way, the way the finances work at record labels is that I would have been responsible for recouping the $100,000 for the first video AND the additional $100,000 for the second video. That would be in addition to having to recoup the entire budget of my record before ever receiving a penny. In plain English, that means I would have had to have sold about $450,000 of records before I get paid. This is why you see artists have gold records and then file for bankruptcy. ec

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I just read an article about Tony Bennett in Mojo and there was a section in it that describes how he was forced by his record company to record an album called "Tony Bennett sings the greqatest hits of today" which was a bunch of rock songs because they thought it would be a better idea than him following his own music... he said that he hated some of the songs so much he became physically ill before the first recording sessions... he also said

"When the uncreative tell the creative what to do it stops being art and becomes marketing, like toothpaste or coca cola"

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