Wow. The last few sentences are so powerful.
Nice to hear it from his perspective. There is an admiration and genuine respect for the band in his tone. Clearly he has no inclination to hang onto baggage all these years later.
But what in the world did they spend 200,000 pounds on (and wasn't recovered from record sales) ?
He doesn't fully convince me, "he would say that wouldn't he" is the cliche that crops up for me, " lead singer with an operatic voice",-really? , I don't think so, not in 1971, as roger said not to long ago, " a bleating sheep" ,(or something like that), Fred's developed his voice in subsequent years, so it was jusst playing safe and populist with that one.
killer queen a no 1 single?, try no. 2 mate.
It'd be touching if it wasn't such a lazy bit of fiction on his part. Attributing "I want it all!" to 70's Freddie smacks of a serious lack of research on his part. If you're going to make stuff up, do try to make sure there isn't already an origin story there.
I can imagine that in decades previous, Norman Sheffield might've found a career as one of those serial pests you'd meet in dockside bars - a grizzled old sailor type who'd insist he'd survived the sinking of both the Titanic AND the Lusitania, while being singularly unable to really tell you anything about the sinkings (except for saying that he was the last man to see the Mummy in the cargo hold, probably).
It's hilarious that people will give Hutton or Freestone shit for writing books about Freddie - having known him longer and been closer to him - and still find time to listen to this old fossil, let alone trust anything he says.
The Real Wizard wrote:
But what in the world did they spend 200,000 pounds on?
Studio time, tape, tour funding, instruments and pa no doubt, wages....?! If the Sheffield brothers hadn't invested their time and money into the band it seems unlikely at best that they'd have amounted to anything.
Record labels are clever/shameless enough to sign their acts, give them loads of dosh on advance and then have the acts owe them a fortune by making them pay for all the recording, marketing, etc., not to mention that the royalties earned by the performers and songwriters are often offensively low.
Look at 30 Seconds to Mars: hugely successful records + tours (way more successful than Queen's first three albums + singles + tours), yet they're still in debt with their label - they owe them about a million dollars!
Record companies are like banks and if bands don't like that, don't sign with them. It's easy for bands and their fans to moan about record labels, but it is those companies that make a band popular. Without the marketing and the latest or hippest record producers working on those records, they wouldn't be popular. Why would you expect a company to loan bands/artist money and not expect it back!?!
It's a valid POV.
So is this: loads of record labels (and banks) deserve to be called all sorts of names for the immoral actions loads (not all) of them are involved with, and whoever doesn't like them can simply refrain from listening those songs or reading those posts.
It's easy for people to moan about whatever is said about record labels, but if it weren't for the shameless way loads (not all) of them treat their acts a lot of said acts (+ their fans) wouldn't be calling them all sorts of names.
In all honesty, some record companies took risks and spent money on bands they beloved in, but most did it 'risk free' - ie they put their money up front for gear, touring, recording etc but got their money back many tones over if the act was successful, but if they weren't they would generally bill the artist and recoup a lot of it anyway. Even if they didn't, the amount lost on unsuccessful bands was far outweighed by the amount made on the ones that were successful. It was an accepted fact in the music biz that the few bands that went 'mega' basically funded the lesser known acts that didn't return a profit.
Lots of record companies give artists an advance. Unfortunately a lot of bands mistake this advance for payment/salary/royalties and blow it all without actually doing that much work then turn on the record company when the record company ask for their advance back.... its happened in music since the year dot.
Great posts here.
In most cases I'd side with the band by default. They are new to the business compared to the record company guys, and so they know how to take advantage of the bands wherever possible.
If there's a shred of truth to Roger Taylor's claim that management was complaining about broken drumsticks yet were showing up to meetings in a Rolls Royce, then Sheffield's book may have a lot of revisionist history in it.
Isn't it also normal human behavior to subconsciously make past issues seem larger than they actually were, as time goes by? Especially if certain elements were not directly recorded in any form as evidence.
Either side could be guilty of that :-)