Archive for December, 2009

A Brand New Too Much Joy Song. Free. Because It’s Christmas.

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

We tried to have this ready for Chanukah. But art takes time. So we are compensating for our tardiness by offering not one free download, but four – one from Too Much Joy, and one from each of the three side-projects that have sprouted like mutant limbs from TMJ’s trunk. Just click the button below to snag your tunes (you can also push the play button in the widget beneath to hear all four songs in their entirety — feel free to share with friends).

Free Downloads! (Merry Everything)

The TMJ tune is called “Mystery Limousine.” It was written in the early-‘90s, but never got recorded. Until now. In keeping with our holiday theme of family, love and forgiveness, the song features both original member Sandy Smallens (on bass and vocals) AND producer/replacement bassist William Wittman (on too many guitars), and was mixed by old friend and Son of Sam I Am producer Michael James (who may have added some guitars, too, but you can still hear Jay cutting through them all). The lyric, if you care, was written when the band was riding around in limos, and trying to process the disappointed faces of onlookers who were expecting someone more famous to emerge from said limos when they pulled up at hotels.

The Wonderlick tune is called “Easy,” and should be self-explanatory. It is one of several songs Wonderlick recorded recently with a live band – it’s a rough mix, which will evolve over time, and the first salvo in their third LP, which they hope to have finished by springtime. Besides Tim and Jay, the band features Ken Flagg on keyboards, Chris Brague on drums, Daniel Fabricant on bass, and the awe-inspiring Jean Cook on violin. Ken and Jean and a guy named Justin from the studio all shout along at the end there. More free rough mixes will be forthcoming before Christmas Eve are now available on www.wonderlick.com.

The Surface Wound song is a selection from their brand-spanking-new LP, The Kids Are All Gone (Acquired Taste). It’s called “Pretty French,” and features Sandy and Tommy from TMJ plus guitarist Steve Hamilton.  The horns come courtesy of ska band Edna’s Goldfish brass section (Gary Henderson on trumpet and Thomas Comerford on trombone).  NYC-area gigs are being slated for the new year.  You can stream and buy the album (for only $6!) and learn more about the band at www.surfacewound.com.

The Its song is called “You Are All That I Need.” That one’s basically Bill, Jay and Tommy from TMJ singing a lyric by Tim. It was originally written as a stalker anthem, but in this more festive context perhaps we should hear it as a cry of love from each Joyboy to the other. (12/19 update: turns out we had a mis-named file in the original package, so if you downloaded before 5pm on Friday, 12/18, the Its song you got was actually “Don’t Say a Word.” The problem is fixed, so just hit download again if you want a free copy of “You Are All That I Need.”)

Fah-hoo-doh-ray.

(The songs are yours for the taking, but if you have any desire to throw some digital coins in our metaphorical hat, you are welcome to do so — just click the button below):


My Hilarious Warner Bros. Royalty Statement

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

warner stmt detail

I got something in the mail last week I’d been wanting for years: a Too Much Joy royalty statement from Warner Brothers that finally included our digital earnings. Though our catalog has been out of print physically since the late-1990s, the three albums we released on Giant/WB have been available digitally for about five years. Yet the royalty statements I received every six months kept insisting we had zero income, and our unrecouped balance ($395,277.18!)* stubbornly remained the same.

Now, I don’t ever expect that unrecouped balance to turn into a positive number, but since the band had been seeing thousands of dollars in digital royalties each year from IODA for the four indie albums we control ourselves, I figured five years’ worth of digital income from our far more popular major label albums would at least make a small dent in the figure. Our IODA royalties during that time had totaled about $12,000 – not a princely sum, but enough to suggest that the total haul over the same period from our major label material should be at least that much, if not two to five times more. Even with the band receiving only a percentage of the major label take, getting our unrecouped balance below $375,000 seemed reasonable, and knocking it closer to -$350,000 wasn’t out of the question.

So I was naively excited when I opened the envelope. And my answer was right there on the first page. In five years, our three albums earned us a grand total of…

$62.47

What the fuck?

I mean, we all know that major labels are supposed to be venal masters of hiding money from artists, but they’re also supposed to be good at it, right? This figure wasn’t insulting because it was so small, it was insulting because it was so stupid.

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