Ouch! A Day To Remember Dude Eviscerates Victory Records Chief
Everybody hears that Victory Records head Tony Brummel is a crazy dude that rips off his acts and junk. But stud still has power, and so he continues to sign bands and run a business. It’s only after a band gets some distance that they each hint that his trick is to steal via contract shenanigans. Ugh.
As softies, we feel for the young, awful bands that sign to Victory — tho thanks for this, Tone man — and for his staff. True or not, Brummel’s rep must make their days a living hell. (We’ve all worked for a shady, moody phony, it is crushing.)
And lately, we’ve probably been pulling for awful A Day To Remember, who I saw a couple months ago rocking a huge crowd. They’ve been wrapped up in a tangle with Brummel about Common Courtesy, their new album. I figure he’s seen those massive, young crowds too, and wants to keep AD2R in a lucrative 360 deal. I would!
But since it has entered a legal setting, the dispute score is Band 1 – Label 0. A motion to enjoin ADTR from releasing the album was denied. (Common Courtesy came out Tuesday via the band’s site; no doubt the implications of a pending lawsuit made it risky for another label to get involved.)
Let’s turn to ADTR singer/hunk Jeremy McKinnon, who explains to Absolute Punk:
And really, man, I’m disappointed. Okay, we kinda knew getting in, when we signed the contract, that there was the possibility that this was going to happen one day, if we ever did sell a large amount of records. Because, well, that’s just what has happened to people who signed to Victory. But at the time, nobody cared. We were going through a hard time, we lost a drummer, we lost one of our main songwriters, Tom Denney, after he quit. And we were going to break up and go back to school and probably head down a different path in life.
And then Victory Records comes in and they were the only label that’s interested, and were actually going to fund us in a way that we thought was good enough. And we realized that if we were going to put a huge portion of our lives into something, we at least wanted the opportunity to sound how we wanted it to sound. And they were the only label that was going to do that, and when you look at it like that I’ll always be grateful to them for giving us that opportunity. But, at the same time … what you don’t see … from being in the band vs on the outside … is that there is just no possible way of working with him.
He’s just …
I don’t even know how to put it ..
Nice! McKinnon gives due thanks for the life preserver thrown by Victory Records. And he’s cool about the bad stuff. But how did this end up in court, according to McKinnon:
It’s a terrible thing. We have been trying to settle with this guy, literally, the entire time. We didn’t want this to happen. We don’t want to be in a huge legal case. We don’t want to have to pay lawyers this outrageous amount of money to do this. But there are times where I just straight up lose it because he can be so weird, and just lying, and it’s obvious that he’s making jokes about it … and it’s like, “Come on man, let’s just go into another room.”
And we did once. Just me, Josh [Woodard, bassist], and him. And we start talking to him and we’re like, ‘You know what? If you would just do what you said you would do, then this wouldn’t happen. If you just treat us the way you said you were going to in the first place, we would have stayed with you for our entire careers.’ And I told him that to his face. And look, if you look at what we’ve done over our career as a band, we are fiercely loyal band when it comes to the people that have helped us, you know? … And, we would have loved to just be with [Victory] the whole time, but you just … you can’t work with the guy. He’s a person that cannot be understood even if you try. And for years, he’s surprised us every single day.
Surprised them every day? Damn, is Brummel friends with Beetlejuice or what?
Just a few months ago, Josh and I were flying around Chicago [site of Victory offices] almost every weekend because we were trying to settle this and he would write us an email saying, “ok, let’s talk settlement” — so me and Josh would fly up there. Once on Josh’s birthday, we flew on his BIRTHDAY to sit in court, and then at the end of it, Tony just said, “nah, we’re not gonna talk, I’m going home.” And then Josh missed his flight. I know, I know, it’s just a day, whatever, but you know what I mean? There’s something sort of special about your birthday.
That is awful. We love our birthdays. That un-American bastard! Okay but what about this contract?
It’s just all over the place. I mean I’m sure other labels have done that too. But it’s not just that, he uses this contract as leverage. And that’s his whole game, the whole thing is that he makes people sign these ‘deal memos’ and the reason there aren’t any long form contracts is because it’s his way of pretty much being able to say, ‘I can do whatever I want and it’s encompassed in this legal document’ … and you’re scared. And we were scared. For years.
The time when we signed to the label, Atreyu was big, Hawthorne Heights was big, you heard about the Thursday thing, you heard about the Taking Back Sunday thing, but you didn’t really know what happened, right? You know, that was before Hawthorne got upset with them.
Yeah I can remember when the city of Chicago almost selected the following as its new tourism slogan: Welcome To Chicago. On Your Way Out Please Take Victory Records.
The only thing he was trying to do with this is try and ruin our careers. He would always say that over the years when he would call us up, and we didn’t want to do something … for instance … he made us put out Old Record. And, what he would do is say, ‘I’m going to give you guys this much money to do this,’ and then we’d come back with, ‘Well, we don’t really want to do that because we would have like two days at home to re-record this entire album’ — and he told us, ‘You have to do this or I will end your career.’ And us, being young kids, touring in a van with no money, we absolutely were terrified. And what would you do? I mean we can’t do anything about this right now. And we were forced to go into the studio, in two days, and record our entire first album again. And we butchered it. Because it was two days. And it’s something I absolutely am ashamed that we put out.
And see, that’s where it gets crazy — he tries to control people. And, well, I won’t name the band name, but there was a band that we have been on tour with multiple times, that was an older Victory band, and they were putting out their last album … and, well, we were told that he kind of shelved it. As a way of forcing them to re-sign with Victory. And they said, ‘We’re not gonna do that,’ so he did what he did and it definitely affected them.
An unnamed “older” Victory band? Hmm, that narrows it down not so much. Anyway you can see that bro is cool about this, despite his fatigue, his small victory (ugh), and his perilous footing. That means a lot. Plus, it’s a major scene solid to eat those surely horrifying legal costs; future bands will stop making money for Victory, and right or wrong, superstud will be over. Like a tree falling in the woods.