Lick My Label

Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell Calls Roadrunner Records Founder Cees Wessels “a Dutch Devil,” Claims “that Roadrunner Contract [was] Bullsh*t”

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burton c bell vs Cees WesselsFear Factory haven’t released an album on Roadrunner in thirteen years — but clearly, the issues the band had with the label aren’t yet just water under the bridge. In a new interview with Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, vocalist Burton C. Bell had the following to say about the label:

“I still get royalties. It comes in, but it depends how much we work, how much we tour. If we tour a lot I see better royalties, if we don’t then I don’t. I have no idea when we’ll get the rights back [to our catalog], because that Roadrunner contract is bullshit. I literally signed a deal with a Dutch devil. But when you’re young, you don’t care. You’re 23 years-old and ‘we’re going to give you an advance to make your first record, we’re gonna put you on tour, sell your shirts in all the stores. You are gonna to be famous!’’Alright, make it happen!’ My fucking lawyer too … he gets paid to be a fucking asshole, and I know his name. Fuck him. He’s still around to [sic], but I want to kick him in his nuts.”

Bell later added:

“Man, I can’t even imagine being a brand-new band starting off these days. I’m very fortunate in that respect. We have a resume, and we started when there was a music industry. It was right before the decline of the industry, we were there. They were still putting money in records, they were still putting money into videos, tours. We were right there before the end. And we saw that decline. We asked Roadrunner ‘what’s going on?’‘You’re not selling any records.’ ‘That’s not my fault, that’s your fault.’ ‘How is that my fault?’ ‘You didn’t put out the right record.’ ‘Did everybody not put out the right record?’ It was so easy for the label to blame the artist, when it really was the label’s fault. It was every label. I just say Roadrunner because that was what label we were on.”

It’s not hard to imagine that Fear Factory’s contract with Roadrunner was, as Bell puts it, “bullshit,” because like he says, they were basically kids at the time and they had no idea what they were doing. That’s a story we’ve heard time and again from artists across the spectrum of genres and labels — it is by no means a Roadrunner-specific complaint.

Insofar as Bell blaming the label for the poor sales of some of their later albums, though… well, that’s a much more complicated issue. Sometimes a label is to blame for an album’s poor sales, and sometimes a band is to blame for an album’s poor sales, and often, both parties should really share the blame. This all would have occurred circa the turn of the century, when the music business was just at the beginning of its long descent to the seventh level of Hell, and, honestly, I don’t think anyone knew quite what the fuck was going on or how to handle it.

So maybe Bell has the right to be pissed about the situation with the band’s back catalog. But blaming the label because no one bought Digimortal? That’s probably not entirely fair.

You can read the entire interview here.

[via The PRP]

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