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Fan Tribute


hbecstacy

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Hi all, I wanted to raise a new topic here. I've been involved in a few similiar things and they've been fun for all involved.

OK, here goes...

I suspect many of us Eric/Razz fans who participate in this forum are musicians, maybe not professionally but musically inclined, writing songs, playing instruments, doing home recordings, whatever...

What I'd like to propose is a NOT FOR PROFIT fan tribute CD along the lines of one I contributed a song to, helped coordinate, and designed (and had printed) the cover and tray card in tribute to the legendary Canadian band Klaatu a few years back.

Here's how it works:

Those of us interested in writing and recording an original song IN THE STYLE OF solo or Raspberries era Eric Carmen...or maybe a song not in the style of but influenced by...or maybe just a song that you'd like to contribute to be part of the fun and fellowship with other EC fans...those of us interested will make contact with the CD coordinator (I'll volunteer, I guess, howardbwhitman@yahoo.com) to supply a song...participants should be unsigned artists to avoid contractual issues, songs should be original for the same reason...and we all get recording. The coordinator sets a deadline for song submissions. Participating artists send in their contributions, preferably on a CDR, along with a blank CD-R on which to burn their final CD, along with an SASE so it can be mailed back. The coordinator will collect the tracks on his PC, ultimately assembling a cd's worth of toons and burning them to the CDs supplied by the artists and sending them out to participants AT NO COST...the only potential expense may be $1 or so to cover costs if we'd like to have a cover professionally printed.

Non-participants who'd like a copy of the CD could also get one by sending in a blank CD, SASE and possibly the printing cost (I work in publishing and would do my best to get free printing, we'll see...)

Ultimately, the result would be a fun final CD that we could be proud of and enjoy together, as well as a forum to expose our musical creations to like-minded listeners.

And if Bernie could arrange it, maybe we could get a copy or two to Eric and the other Razz members. We did get copies of our tribute to the members of Klaatu and they really appreciated it.

On the Klaatu CD, not all of the recordings were of professional quality...material was recorded on everything from four-track cassette machines to PCs...we were not going for pro quality, just a fun experience for all...a chance to share and hear some original songs in a style we all cherish...and a way to give thanks to the man (and his cohorts) who have influenced us so much.

I own the Raspberries tribute CD ("Preserved") of a few years back, and like it very much, but this is totally different...for the fans, by the fans, all original music, for fun not profit, a labor of love.

Let me know if you're interested, either as a participant or a listener, all are welcome. If there is sufficient interest and participation, we'll work out a plan and start those tapes rollin'.

One more thing...my idea for a title:

"We Wanna Be Like You: A Fan Tribute"

Let me know what you think! See you at the Keswick on the 24th...

Howard Whitman

howardbwhitman@yahoo.com

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I always like "Fresh" ideas. It sounds like a blast. Don't you think some of us could work in conjunction with each other on some tunes. What I mean is, some of us might be good at writing lyrics, while others are good at writing the music. Someone eles might have the voice to lend to the piece. So on and so on.

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Hey Craig,

That's absolutely a great idea, yes, definitely, collaborations are a wonderful element of this type of thing.

The other tribute CD I was involved in did yield such collaborations, even after it was done, contributors teamed up to do things. That would be wonderful if one fan wanted to write a lyric, another music, another to perform it.

This is by its nature a collaborative effort all the way...fans working together...and this forum is certainly a great place for fans to make connections such as "anyone out there want to write a lyric to my tune?", etc. There are no rules in terms of who writes or performs on a track, whether its one person or 20, it's all good.

Thanks for writing Craig!

Howard

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I love the idea but if you are in the publishing business you must be aware of the concerns of the writers and performers of this original material. For example the obvious (rights to the music). I'm sure most folks won't take the time or effort to copyright this material and therefore it will be out there (wherever there is) for the taking by anyone (whoever anyone is). Having had songs published before I know of the "pitfalls" and taking precautions against theft of material is always wise. Although I am a proponent of the idea and even have a song in the "can", I think you should honestly address this issue. Many people who have had what they thought were average ordinary songs were shocked to see that through production, arrangements and a pop stars spin, that simple song went places they never expected...actually went big...and they never reaped the rewards of that success. In addition, shady characters have dupped artists out of millions of dollars. Sorry to sound like the naysayer but one has to have an original idea stolen and that could be the heartbreak of a lifetime. I believe your motives are pure but when I read the post, a warning light went off...and if it doesn't "feel" right, it probably isn't. If it walks like a duck and all that jazz. Once again, I think 1 of my songs "Because Of You" would be a great contribution and I understand the risks but others may not. Just ask the Rightous Bros. and so many others who sold their songs for $100, lived to regret it. Bye the way, have you ever heard of Painted Cow Publishing? Just curious. Any way, if you resolve this issue to my satisfaction, I'd love to be a part of a tribute of sorts to one of the greatest composers of many decades...Eric. Thanks again and God Bless all...bye for now: Gary K.

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Hi Gary,

Thanks very much for your well thought out letter.

I very much respect your position in terms of publishing. I can only speak from my previous experience with the Klaatu tribute cd as well as the Bill Nelson/BeBop Deluxe tribute that I contributed a song to.

In both cases, there was no contract, no haggling over copyrights, no royalties. I am a full proponent of composers/creators retaining the full copyrights to their work. That would be the case if we do get together an informal EC/Razz tribute. Your song is, was and always will be yours. Contributors would be welcome to register copyrights on their own songs. There would be no implication of ownership by anyone other than the author. If your song's been published and you still want to contribute it to the tribute, you are more than welcome, provided it is done with the understanding that this is a not-for-profit project and therefore will yield no royalties.

In the case of the Klaatu tribute, a few of the artists actually wanted to do new interpretations of their favorite Klaatu songs. As we had a pipeline to the band members (namely, Jamie Vernon, prez of Bullseye Records of Canada, which is reissuing the original Klaatu albums on CD and was a supporter of our informal tribute effort), we got consent to include cover versions royalty-free, due to the nature of the project being by/for fans at no cost to anyone.

As far as protecting your own original work, well, that's a challenge that faces anyone creating original material and putting it out there. Every once and a while you hear about some unknown songwriter suing somebody for supposedly stealing their work...I believe there was an item in the news recently about a guy who claims Britney Spears stole a couple of his tunes (gee, I always thought she had exactly ONE song written and just keeps on repeating it). He'll probably lose the case. That type of lawsuit is very hard to prove, taking into account the volume of mail the artists receive and how difficult it must be to prove that the artist heard it and plagirized it.

Because, like the Klaatu CD, our little project would be produced by and for a limited audience (limited to the # of fans who request a copy), I question whether it would have the wide exposure that would put the music at risk of being stolen. I believe in an "honor system" with this kind of thing--that we're all fellow fans here, and therefore friends, and out of mutual respect and consideration, we would leave each other's music to each other. Personally, I would be flattered if one of you decided to cover a song of mine on tape or with a band. If I heard Britney Spears' recording of it on the radio, or saw it on someone else's for-sale CD, that might be another story...

I hope you'll reconsider your reservations and contribute your song. I'm sure we'd all enjoy hearing it. Thanks for opening up this dialogue and I look forward to your future posts.

Howard

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First let me say that all the Klaatu fans are probably thrilled that their material is being re-issued. It was always available up north in CT when I lived there so there's nothing new on that front. I appreciate your loyalty to the band. I know people who have been instrumental in parts of the design and concept work that they have used, like the infamous "Sun"...I get around too. I must also say that the idea of a tribute is very appealing to me in many ways but we are talking about the recording industry here. When I hear you say things like "we got consent through a pipeline to..." and words and phrases like "honor system" "mutual respect" and "friends", the hair on the back my neck would rise if I had any there. Is there a new order of trust and honor in the recording industry that I don't know about? Is the next producer of a gajillion seller going to be Lt. Worf? Pardon my sounding cocky but the "good ole boy" handshake doesn't fare well in this day and age of business is business. It is a shame but the recording industry does not work on the barter system. With all due respect you must realize that you are dealing with a small group of people here on this website who in large part are ignorant of the ins and outs of the biz. The only education is provided by those who have "real" insight to the ongoings behind those closed doors. Bernie has a wealth of information because he knows Eric and those who Eric shares information with can also reap the benefits from it. To throw blanket coverage on a project of this nature is to miss the forest for the trees. We can agree to honor Eric with a tribute CD or whatever but we cannot take the power out of the hands of the powers that be on a whim. I'm sure most people here would agree to "leave other people's music" alone. It's when I hear what sounds like trying to skirt some issues "like royalties" through a mutual admiration society, that I get nervous. I wonder what Ascap and BMI would think of that...after all, that is their job. I'm not worried about my music. I happen to share my own compositions around the world for free but that's my choice. I'm also not worried about wide distribution of any project that gets created. You must remember that some of the most famous artists in music today were discovered in "cheesy nowhere places". The project sounds like a great idea but it needs to be organized to a much higher degree than simply tossing some name dropping out there regarding groups that have seen their glory days come and go. Make certain that you know that I have a great deal of respect for your idea. I'd love nothing more than to be a part of an Eric tribute...what better way to give back to one who has given so much to all of us. But we live in a real world here. The last time I looked outside and saw snow, I wanted to think of it as sand, grass or the Bahamas but it was snow. If I want to live in a fantasy world I can but the birds come home to roost and they always have. If the project ever gets beyond the planning stages, I promise to be very passive and simply submit my song on a CDR, because I have a burning passion for music. Even though I have a lot of contempt for the music business, I have an equal amount respect for others rights. Let's approach this without "dangling the carrot" in front of those who don't know better. Whew...it's good to be back here again. LOL God Bless and take care. Bye for now: Gary K.

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Hello again Gary, and thanks for sharing your thoughts...WOW...you've clearly given a lot of thought to this topic and I very much respect what you have to say. I've been around "da biz" a bit myself and have seen friends totally destroyed by it, financially and spiritually.

This type of fan tribute is, one would hope, operating "out of the business". That's the whole idea. Call me an old hippie. I apologize for "name dropping" some bands or harping on my own experiences again and again. I just was trying to say that I've been a part of a project like this and it worked out nicely for all concerned in just the way I described. If there are concerns about the business end of this, I'll

step aside and let a "business type" take over or just run it into the ground. I'm no record company mogul--just a guy who has been a huge fan of a band for over 25 years and likes to record songs in his basement.

That's not to say that this kind of thing is without benefit to its participants. Certainly it affords contributing artists some nice exposure, among fans around the world and possibly even the artists being saluted. I would hope that the finished product would elicit response and dialogue on this message board, and the hopefully positive feedback would be encouraging to those who contributed. And being on an internationally distributed CD never looks bad on anyone's resume, no matter how humble its origins.

And I'm not saying there's even going to be a cd. At present, we have two tracks promised for it--from you and me. We'll need more to even warrant moving ahead. Hopefully more people will read about this topic and sign up! It would be nice, if we're going to do this, to complete and release it in the year of the 30th anniversary of Go All the Way--also a banner year for a national tour featuring Eric Carmen.

Once again, Gary, I really appreciate your insights, and thanks for signing on...for all the right reasons.

Happy Dad's Day, all!

Howard

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Thanks Howard for your patience regarding my posts...dialogue can only spawn a tighter insight to "the project". At very least, if I have scared a few away, you and I will have to step up the writing of music a bit. One benefit that I can see is pleasing Eric by all contributions. I'm sure your experience will also benefit the effort. My obstacles have not always been this coarse, but I think "once burned twice shy" is surfacing over and over in my head. As you know, trust comes with time and experience. It's difficult to regain that trust overnite especially with the record industry. Hopefully that "good ole boy" handshake is still worth it's weight in gold...at least in this forum. I say, lets' go all the way and do it up right. Thanks again. Bye for now: Gary K.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi folks...Howard here to let you know the proposed Raspberries/EC original tribute project is still underway, and now has a home on the Web as a Yahoo group, accessible at the following address:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Raspberriestribute/

Already posted are tribute lyrics and a proposed cover design is coming soon! If you'd like to take part in the discussion and planning, or just view the files, join the group by emailing me at

howardbwhitman@yahoo.com

and I'll reply with an Invitation to join the group. As a member, you'll be able to see all the goodies. And hopefully hear...I'm hoping to post mp3s of completed tracks down the road.

Hope to hear from my fellow fans!

Howard

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  • 1 year later...

Marvin--I'm posting a reply to the 'tribute' post that Howard initially started in hopes that it will show up in the current batch. I think the idea here was for people to come up with original songs, which is obviously a lot harder. Surely you remember the midnight madness lyrics I sent in for this project, right? Kirk.

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Hi Marvin and comarades in Carmendom,

Thank you, THANK YOU, for raising this topic once again. The tribute CD idea isn't dead, let's just say it was resting for a bit.

It hasn't been off my mind, but I guess real life has just crept in. I've spent recent months in all kinds of life transitions--new job, new relationship, etc, etc, etc. Hasn't left a lot of time for recording. And a few months back, frustrated with the state of my four-track cassette-based setup, I ceased my home recording until I could upgrade my gear.

Thanks to the miracle that is ebay, I've gotten a "new" eight-track digital machine and have been learning how to use it. After a few false starts, it's going well.

So now I have no excuse. I hope to start my Raspberries tribute song, a horny little slice of power pop I call "Tomorrow," this week.

I'm also going to address the Yahoo group, set a new deadline for submissions, get updates on everyone's status, and move this project forward.

As far as recording covers, I'm open to it. One of the previous tributes I was involved in had both originals and covers of the original artists and it wasn't a problem copyright-wise. We're not to make a profit here--it's about fun, gratitude and a nice addition to one's musical resume.

As for the post asking about instrumental versions--Why not? It's all good. No submission would be turned away.

Thanks to Marvin for contacting me and alerting me to the new activity on this topic here on the EC site.

If you're interested in joining the Yahoo group, please email me at howardbwhitman@yahoo.com, and I'll reply with an invitation.

Stay tuned for furtner news. Thanks again,

Howard

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