DESPITE TWO multiplatinum albums that spawned the Top 40 hits “Songbird” and “Silhouette,” saxophonist Kenny G faces the same old problem when his new Arista release, “Breathless,” hits stores tomorrow: Will radio support the record?
“The way radio is now, it’s going to be tough for them to get behind an instrumental,” said the sax man, whose real surname of Gorelick has been dropped for professional reasons. “But since I’ve already delivered the goods, hopefully they’ll put it out there and give it a chance to do what it can do. Listeners may be ready for a change from the power pop stuff.”
“Breathless” took two years to finish, most of the work done at the artist’s home studio, allowing him to continuously tweak the work. The first single, “Forever in Love,” has already been shipped to radio.
“Each song has a nice theme to it, a good melodic sense,” he said. “I wanted to make an album that flows, one that people can listen to from the first song to the last without having to skip over anything because they didn’t like it. I think I’ve done that with ‘Breathless.’ ”
Plans to support the album include the usual tour dates (including a five-night stand at the Universal Amphitheatre next month, topped by a New Year’s Eve appearance) and upcoming appearances on late night talkshows.
BACK CATALOG is a veritable gold mine for record labels, accounting for more than 60% of profits in some locations.
But what about the marginal cult records of the past, those whose reissue is more a labor of love than money?
Warner Bros. has one such passion-vs.-profits dilemma in its “Plundering the Vaults” series, which includes reissues of Sire Records’ rich punk past. Although the public’s response has been ecstatic, it hasn’t been very profitable.
Responding to rumors that Warner chairman Mo Ostin plans to pull the plug on the series, Sire general manager Howie Klein says it simply ain’t so.
“We’re continuing as planned, and although some of the reissues aren’t doing as well as we’d like, some–like ‘Just Say Yesterday,’ (a compilation of pre-postmodern semi-hits)–will eventually sell over 100,000 units.”
Those not faring as well include the Dead Boys’ “Young, Loud and Snotty,” Johnny Thunders’ “So Alone” and Richard Hell’s “Blank Generation.” But Klein defends his choices. “As a huge fan of all of this music, I feel that it’s imperative that it be available in the CD era. Not to have the Dead Boys out on CD would be criminal.”
Per Klein, a “Plundering” release would have to sell at least 10,000 units to be worth the trouble. “The Dead Boys and Johnny Thunders are up over 8,000 each now, and eventually will break even and someday be profitable.”
New projects that are being considered are Aztec Camera’s first two records, the Rezillos, the Ramones’ fifth and sixth albums, and a slew of others.
FOLLOWING IN THE footsteps of its West Coast cousins, Sony Music in New York is loading up the truck, moving from the fabled “Black Rock” to new corporate headquarters as of today. Sony Music Entertainment is now housed at 550 Madison Avenue, telephone (212) 833-8000.
The announcement of the move, which referred to a corporate headquarters “with a whole new attitude,” may indicate the company’s lack of sentiment about leaving Black Rock, a building whose laissez faire maintenance has been an issue with Sony personnel for a number of years.
HEY, KIDS, can you spell inevitable?
You know things are getting mighty desperate in the excitement department when the big hype talk turns to band reunions. No, not Led Zeppelin, but the punk pioneering Sex Pistols, who are being touted in the British rock press as the comeback kids.
The New Musical Express took up the cause recently, proclaiming that there would be a reunion gig on the Thames River on the anniversary of the band’s signing 15 years ago to A&M Records (a contract dropped by that label one week later because of the bandmembers’ behavior). There have also been rumors that the Sex Pistols would like to do a one-shot concert at Wembley Stadium and simulcast it worldwide via pay-per-view.
Warner Bros. senior VP of publicity Bob Merlis said a reunion of the real thing “seems unlikely, but it is definitely in the best interest of my company. And with (the Sex Pistols), anything is possible.”
Warner Bros. Records and Warner/Reprise Video does have a bit of Pistols product on the way. The company is releasing “The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle” on compact disc and video in the next few weeks, hosting a gala party tomorrow at the Vagabond Theatre to celebrate.
ONE OF THE BEST books ever written about rock ‘n’ roll was Pamela Des Barres’ “I’m With the Band,” a completely upfront story about the life of Hollywood’s most famous groupie.
The second volume of Des Barres’ story is now available. “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart” is just one of a million stories from survivors of the peace ‘n’ love era coping with the hard realities of life after the orgies are over. Detailed chapters on the deaths of Des Barres’ father and her best friend Michelle Myer, the unraveling of her marriage to singer/actor Michael Des Barres , and the problems of raising a gifted problem child make up the bulk of this book, written in the Hollywoodese-laden prose that she favors.
Although the new book has its share of dirt, mostly in the opening chapter (which features an account of sex with Jim Morrison) it’s a hard-bitten tale of a relatively minor celebrity’s struggles, not the stuff that the tabloid addicts of the world scarf up. Too bad, because as a symbol of a truly liberated woman, Pamela Des Barres comes across as likable and real, unlike so many who would take up that banner.