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Old 17-06-2008
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Warning - All Unsigned Bands Please Read

One of the most exciting things for an unsigned band after months of broken strings, blistered fingers and sweaty sessions in the rehearsal room is finding and clinching that all important record deal. Everyone knows with any contract, it’s always important to read the small print. But what happens when the blurb usually veiled amidst the small print isn’t there at all? All unsigned bands currently shopping for or on the brink of signing a record deal should read this story. I recently met a cracking bunch of lads from a West Midlands band called Crimson Joy and they alerted me to their story.

After a substantial period of time together, the band felt ready to step up and record their first album. In December 2007, a label known as UK Division Records approached the band with a view to persuading them to sign a recording deal with them. UK Division had previously courted the band and relentlessly pursued them but the band declined on several occasions prior to accepting their offer.

The band’s understanding of the label’s requisites was that they themselves would contribute towards production costs but these would not be payable until September 2008. The terms of the contract also stated that UK Division Records were to be awarded a 50% split of the royalties with the band. After studying the agreement, the band were satisfied with the terms and conditions and signed on the dotted line. They subsequently retreated to begin writing for the new album.

After almost twelve months spent writing, Crimson Joy were thrilled with the material they had produced and were all set to take their labour of love to the studio to be recorded.

The band had originally been told that recording would take place at Forears Sound Studios in Florence. They consequently booked flights to Pisa Airport. Two days before the band were due to fly they were alerted by email about a change from Forears studios in Florence to Real Sound Studios in Tuscany. With the flights already booked and insufficient notice to change them, the band flew to Pisa. After landing they endured a four hour drive to Tuscany. The band were then taken to a small apartment which served as their digs for the duration of the recording.

The first scheduled day of recording was Monday 26th May. Arriving bright and early, and armed with their equipment, Crimson Joy prepared to commence recording. They had been told to stay in contact with their A & R Manager, Carlos regularly to keep him updated on their progress throughout the recording process.

As the first day’s work drew to a close, the band got in touch with him to let him know how things were going. They later received a text from Carlos informing them that he would be paying the studio that Friday and he would need their share of the money beforehand. Understandably, the band members were disconcerted and when they questioned him about it, he responded by telling them that he had signed a contract stating that these were the terms of the deal to which he’d agreed.

Extremely unsettled at this point, the band went through the contract once more with a fine tooth comb, scanning the small print for anything that backed up what their A & R manager had told them. They found nothing. After contacting Carlos again to challenge him about it, he told them that they would have to cease recording and return home immediately.

The next day, Carlos arranged a driver for the band. Naturally disappointed at the way the recording had come to an abrupt end, Crimson Joy prepared themselves for the deflating journey back to the airport. There was still worse to come.

Understandably, the band assumed the driver would be driving them directly to the airport. The shock hit them like a hammer to the head when they were dropped off in Palma City and abandoned with their equipment and belongings surrounding them in a wide circle on the pavement. The driver swiftly drove off, leaving the band stranded in the middle of the unfamiliar city with virtually no money, no knowledge of the Italian language, and the added worry of how they would get back to the airport.

Deflated, tired and mentally and physically drained, the band embarked on an 8 hour train ride back to Pisa airport. With no guarantees that they would even get a flight back the same day, the band could only hope. Their worst fears were confirmed when Ryanair told them they could not offer them a flight home that evening. Unrelenting, the band contacted England and managed to secure a flight early the next morning, which provided at least a small consolation. With lack of money and another night ahead of them in the city, the band were faced with the harsh reality of sleeping rough. The airport seemed like the most appealing prospect, but this turned out to be a no go, as they were turfed out at midnight by security.

The band had no option but to gather up their gear and sleep in a nearby street. While the rest of the band nestled on newspaper, resourceful bassplayer Thom improvised and used his bass case as a bed. Hats have to go off to the band for their refusal to let this experience drag them down. Even at a time when they were trying coming to terms with the harsh reality of their fruitless ordeal, their strong friendships and sense of humour shone through and kept their spirits raised. They were still admirably able to laugh about the situation and even used a roll of film to take pictures of the each other stranded like it was a comical adventure.

Crimson Joy have since returned home safely and have now put the terrible experience behind them. They were keen to alert other bands of this incident, with the hope of preventing the same kind of exploitation happening to others like them.

They gave the following statement, “We’d like to urge more upcoming bands to stand their ground and take charge. There’s so much opportunity to make a go of it in a band without the help of money grabbing bastards in record companies”.

On a positive note, Crimson Joy are pleased to announce that they are in the process of recording their new EP, which is due for release this summer. They also have a busy schedule of gigs to look forward to including a headlining appearance at this year’s Brunswick Music Festival.

For more information on the band visit MySpace.com - Crimson Joy - Neverland, Midlands - Rock / Pop / Alternative - www.myspace.com/crimsonjoyrock
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Old 14-11-2010
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Thats cool mike39, but we only advocate LEGAL music downloads... if we didn't how would artists feed themselves?, but there are lots of free and legal downloads to be found and we will do our best to sniff them out for ALL of you guys!! yeah man!!
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Old 26-11-2010
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I saw a question some weeks ago ( and did not have time to reply ) about why we are playing so much British music on our radio stations..
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