[Dixielandjazz] The $13 million dollar (so far) CD

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 6 06:32:19 PST 2005

Article below is a drastic snip and paste job from a 5 page NY Times story

If $$$$ rule the music industry, OKOM is quite insignificant? :-) VBG.

As Axl Rose might say (read the last paragraph) "The best revenge is living
well." :-) VBG

Hey Wiggins, let's send Guido and Dr. Phil after Axl and produce this album
ourselves.  We'll make him an offer he can't refuse, fix his head and add a
banjo and a washboard to the group. ;-) VBG

Steve Barbone

PS. Write me off list if you would like to see the entire VERY LONG article.

March 6, 2005 NY TIMES - By JEFF LEEDS

The Most Expensive Album Never Made

IN the faint red light of the Rainbow Bar and Grill, Tom Zutaut sips at his
drink and spills a bit of regret. It's been 19 years since he signed the
then-unknown rock band Guns N' Roses to a contract with Geffen Records,
where they turned into multiplatinum superstars. Back in those days, the
Rainbow was their hangout of choice. . . . . .

Mr. Rose began work on the album in 1994, . . . . . The cost to date is over
13 million dollars with no end in sight.

It's a story that applies to the creation of almost every major album. But
in the case of "Chinese Democracy," it has a stark ending: the singer who
cast himself as a master of predatory Hollywood in the hit song "Welcome to
the Jungle" has come to be known instead as the keeper of the industry's
most notorious white elephant. . . . .

"They had enough money that they didn't have to do anything," said a
longtime observer of the band, one of the 30 people involved with the album
who spoke for this article. He spoke on the condition of anonymity, as did
many others who had signed a confidentiality agreement while working with
Mr. Rose. "You couldn't get everyone in the room at the same time." . . . .

With the band's return, Mr. Rose's machinery cranked up again. One internal
cost analysis from the period pegs the operation's monthly tab at a
staggering $244,000. It included more than $50,000 in studio time at the
Village, a more modern studio where Mr. Baker had moved the band. It also
included a combined payroll for seven band members that exceeded $62,000,
with the star players earning roughly $11,000 each. Guitar technicians
earned about $6,000 per month, while the album's main engineer was paid
$14,000 per month and a recording software engineer was paid $25,000 a
month, the document stated. (NOT A GIG BUT A PRIZE? :-) VBG)

"HAVING EXCEEDED ALL budgeted and approved recording costs by millions of
dollars," the label wrote in a letter dated Feb. 2 , 2004, "it is Mr. Rose's
obligation to fund and complete the album, not Geffen's." The tab at Village
studio was closed out, and Mr. Rose tried a brief stint recording at the
label's in-house studio before that too was ended. The band's computer gear,
guitars and keyboards were packed away. Over a legal challenge by Mr. Rose,
the label issued a greatest-hits compilation, in search of even a modest
return on their eight-figure investment.

Released in March of 2004, it turned out to be a surprisingly strong seller,
racking up sales of more than 1.8 million copies even without any new music
or promotional efforts by the original band. The original band's debut,
"Appetite for Destruction," which has sold 15 million copies, remains
popular and racked up sales of another 192,000 copies last year, according
to Nielsen SoundScan. It is a sign that Mr. Rose's audience still waits.

Mr. Rose is reportedly working on the album even now in a San Fernando
Valley studio. "The 'Chinese Democracy' album is very close to being
completed," Merck Mercuriadis, the chief executive officer of Sanctuary
Group, which manages Mr. Rose, wrote in a recent statement.  But of course,
rumors of the album's imminent release have circulated since almost the very
beginning of the tale, more than a decade ago.

And at the center of that tale, now as then, is the confounding figure of
Axl Rose himself. A magnetic talent, a moody unpredictable artist, a man of
enormous ideas and confused follow-through, he has proven himself to be an
uncontrollable variable in any business plan.

Interscope has taken "Chinese Democracy" off its schedule. Mr. Rose hasn't
been seen there since last year, when he was spotted leaving the parking
area beneath Interscope's offices, where witnesses reported that a small
traffic jam had congealed when attendants halted other cars to clear a path
for his silver Ferrari. Mr. Rose punched the gas and cruised into the day.

More information about the Dixielandjazz mailing list