Back to the Bride book
Absolutely NOT! Going into our agreement with Dez seemed
like the right thing to do. I was very excited, feeling it was the Lord's
Troy still had his reservations. Troy was still convinced that we did not need a label and that we possibly could be
making a mistake.
We had set up studio time, but Plinky was telling me that Dez had not confirmed too much with him. Plink had a lot of questions that were not being answered even before the first note was recorded. I found out later that Plink financed his
own trip down to Nashville to record our basic tracks.
Around the first of April we got our first shipment of Fist Full of Bees.
We were going through some giant spiritual steps and I wrote this to the fans…
"The Lord is doing great and marvelous things in our lives. Everyday we experience Him in us shinning forth. As He lives and moves in our being we are transformed ever more into His character. We are learning to experience God living
through our lives. We as His Holy Temple must realize that we are always on Holy ground for we carry the God of the universe in our hearts. We find ourselves depending upon Him each day from the moment we arise to the time we go to
bed at night. Our relationship has grown and blossomed in such a way that our conversations with Him and dwelling in His presence are becoming more common. We are maturing into complete Sons of God. He is perfect and as we think in
our hearts, so we are. We are living sin free, guilt free with no condemnation not because of our own abilities or strengths but because Christ has made us alive in Him. Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God without spot or blemish. The
closer we draw to God the nearer He comes to us thus swallowing up who we are and we in turn become what He is.
We do not fight the enemy. We are submitting ourselves to God and resisting the enemy. The same Jesus that resisted the temptations in the wilderness is the same Jesus who lives in us and is our shield of faith. All that we are we are
because of who Jesus is. Without Jesus as our pattern, our example, to lead us, guide us and point the way…we would still only have an earthly conscience. Now we are raised with Him, exalted and enthroned with Him and ALL things are
under us. We have not moved geographically but we have moved to a higher realm called the heavens. This is where we draw our will, our strength, our forgiveness, and the peace of mind and love for others. We were of the earth beneath but
now we have been quickened and sit with Christ Jesus in heavenly places.
In this simple statement, all of us in Bride would like to encourage all of you who have hungered and thirsted after righteousness. For those of you who have prayed prayers that you do not feel have been heard we want to assure you
that our Father that is in heaven has heard your prayers and seen your tears. Blessings are on the way. A greater day is shinning forth and in that day the darkness of this world will vanish as if it never existed and Christ shall appear. He is not coming from some far away planet in outer space, but He will appear from your heart. He is that close. You do not have to shout and raise your voice or even look into the sky but simply recognize Jesus in you. If you have failed to see Him
then it is time that you become aquatinted with the Savior of All men (1 Timothy 4:10). 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world."
Dez was committed to Pavilion and the continuation of its building process. As far as our CD at retail, there were quite a few accounts who Pamplin/Organic stuck with our last 2 CDs and they were not afraid to vent on Absolute. This CD while
being our best work to date according to most, would prove to need much damage control. The stores would not say anything to our face....but they said a lot about us to our new record company. Bride felt as though Absolute did not do
that great of a job in the promo department, and frustration with Absolute soon set in. Between conservative retailers and spoiled sales reps, our best CD to date was faced with some big challenges on the sales end. However no one informed
us that there was giant problems with retail. According to the reports from fans, the only thing that anyone expected out of Bride was a heavier CD and we gave it to them both barrels. Dez and his staff claimed to be working hard to get the
CD out, but we were not seeing any results from their effort.
July 5 2001
Bride again has had the good pleasure of playing the Cornerstone Festival in IL. Bride was an unscheduled band at the Encore 1 Stage. As we drove up the dusty lane toward the festival gates, we noticed a van parked outside the gate. There
was a group of people around the van. Something had been written upon the windows and sides on the vehicle in white.
It read "Cornerstone Welcomes Bride, Bride # 1." It was some of our good friends, who waited for us to arrive to surprise us with this warm greeting. This evening was a special night of reunions and vintage rock music. Bride was asked to play
only songs from their first three albums. The set was a blast from the past. The band did such numbers as "Thunder in the City" where Troy used His voice box effect. Another song was "Hell No" which had Michael enticing the crowd to sing
along with the beat of his kick drum. Then the band surprised everyone with a flavor of southern gospel right out of the sanctuary of Lawrence's church with "I saw the Light, and "There is power in the Blood." Dale ended the Bride set with a
message on reconciliation and bringing man back to God through the work of the cross. Other bands who played that evening were The Daniel Band, Sacred Warrior, Guardian, and Deliverance.
Bride Diary (The following chronicles our brief stay with Absolute and what led up to our departure)
Absolute was late with our publishing advance on 3/2/01. I sent him the following email:
"Dez, In our last conversation you informed me that you have received the Master of the CD. According to our contract we
are to receive a $XXXXX Publishing Advance upon you receiving the Master. Also there is an additional $XXXXXX payment upon release. Please consider this note as of 3/2/00 as the day of our request concerning the advance."
We had chose a really metal looking CD cover that the band was in favor of. I was told by Dez that we would not be using that piece. This is after he had verbally committed to the artist and she had put many hours into the piece.
On 3/11/01 I received this -
"The graphic artist that we hired to layout the packaging submitted this idea for the cover that is much stronger than what we originally had. This cover has a more current and expensive look to it than the one that Christine (original artist) did.
I would strongly urge that we go with this one instead. He's trying to wrap this up for us as quickly as he can, so please get back to me at your soonest opportunity."
The artist (Christine) wrote on 4/3/01: "Dez, I hadn't received payment for the graphic services from Jan.14th, so before I e-mailed you I went out to Bride's Website and Woah!, my cover wasn't there. Could you let me know what's going on?
I'd like for you to have used the cover, regardless, you should pay me for the job I did for you. There was a lot of time involved. And all the work and negotiation was done in good faith. Please expedite the check for my graphic services, and I would appreciate knowing what's happening with my artwork.
On 3/15/01 we find out that the release date is pushed back. We were told by Absolute that a couple of national accounts (including Family, the biggest) have requested that we move the street date. "We're (Absolute speaking) going to
accommodate them by moving the date to April 3. We aren't doing any press releases this week. We'll be doing a radio press release as soon as the single enters the charts (which should be soon-several stations immediately put it in
rotation). You may want to mention something about the positive response at rock radio in yours."
M8 Distribution was about to release the Matrix CD independently. Dez expressed concerns over it and it worried me that he may push our release date back even further.
I wrote to Absolute on 3/16/01: "Concerning M8, I know very little. My deal with them is to receive so many copies for me to sale through email, Web Site, and shows. I am sure he will mention Bride. Our agreement with him has been long
standing. You will have to discuss things with them.
All of the CD's he has released with Bride has been verbal agreements, which to me is good enough because he pays on time and has been a source of lively hood for me. But if you wish to take issue with him concerning Matrix, you will have
to deal with him. Personally Matrix has no bearings and will not effect the sales of "Fist full of Bees" in anyway. Since our agreement with him was before we signed with Absolute and he is not selling "Bride" but a CD which was before
Bride I would rather not concentrate on it."
I also reminded him of the publishing advance: "Dez, On the 5th of March you wrote, "You'll be receiving the first $XXXXXX of the pub advance in the next week to 10 days." Do you anticipate any delay with this?
Also on 3/16/01 I received an email from Plinky who wrote: "I wonder if Dez is going to do anything at all. maybe he planning to sell his label or file chapter 11. I honestly don't have a clue on what's going on never did anyway. I think you
should hold Dez to that 4/3 date and if nothing happens you should reconsider this whole venture with him. Even if he releases it, then what? Will he promote it? Does he have decent distribution? I know this record can create some serious
buzz if it is put out there."
3/21/01 Dez responds to Bride: You'll be receiving the first $XXXXXX of the pub advance in the next week to 10 days. I would suggest that, in light of the quantity of product that you've ordered for drop shipment, we credit the product toward
the second half of your advance."
3/29/01 I write: "I see on the Absolute Web Site that you are offering the CD with a 24-hour delivery time. I assume the CD is ready for shipping? When can we expect a shipment? We are needing the 400 that we talked about earlier plus the
100 comps agreed upon in our contract. Please give me a delivery date so I can be expecting them. Also how will they be shipped?"
On 3/31/01 we received confirmation from Absolute that we were going to be receiving the final product. "The CDs will be coming from California. We had a very limited supply sent to us to meet the needs of retailers (before end of month).
The balance of the CDs are being drop shipped from the mfg plant in CA to you, us and our fulfillment center."
After our photo shoot earlier on for Fist Full of Bees, we were told that we would receive several different shots to use. As a matter of fact, Troy even picked them out when Rebecca and Dez stopped at his home on the way to Nashville. We
ended up receiving one black and white 8X10 pic of the band. This pic had a flaw.
On 4/2/01 I wrote to Absolute "There is a big white spot on my head and lines which runs through Lawrence's face. The photographer needs to send another. Looks like lint on the negatives. Also we would like a few more pictures also. Did
you ever have the chance to check out the others we marked? I have not seen the final CD yet but I am getting good reports from fans."
(The fans already had the CD and was telling me how good it was and I never even got to proof the lyrics or credits nor did I have any idea what the packaging looked like!)
Absolute's suggestion was "Unfortunately, the only thing I can suggest is for you to have someone who knows photoshop take care of the "flaws" you're concerned about. I believe it's Troy's hair that is in Lawrence's face. These are things that
don't show up until the print is blown up to 8x10. Making another print will not correct what you are seeing (they will be there again). And by the time you pay $25 for another print, you could have paid someone to fix the problem with the
print you have." (I was not convinced that it was Troy's hair at all but that is neither here nor there.)
4/5/01 we had a letter drafted up to send to Absolute; it read as follows: Dez, This letter is being sent to address several issues. The first is that we have still not received the $XXXXXX publishing advance, which you were informed of on 2
March in a written notice via email. You replied to that notice on 5 March and indicated that we should receive the advance within a week to 10 days. After 11 days, on 16 March, we sent another notice via email to remind you and asked
if you anticipated any delays. Again on 21 March we notified you once again via email, but received no response. Now that the album is released, we are due another $XXXXXX, which we want to take in cash instead of product. We had
indicated to you on 21 March that we would accept product in exchange for the 2nd half of the advance, but in light of our growing concern about non-compliance with the contract, we have decided not to swap product for the advance. At
this point we consider you to be in breach of the contract. Another issue that we feel has not been accomplished in good faith is your verbal confirmation that Absolute would have an in-house booking agent. We have been in conversation
with you on this issue several times and still have made no progress.
We had our photo shoot almost three months ago and still have not received a satisfactory photo for duplication. This type of delay costs Bride, not just in terms of money, but also in morale. Concert promoters want current pictures of the
band and our new band members want to see themselves in Bride photos. It was very disappointing to hear that fans received a copies of the new CD before the band did. If you had copies to sell, you should have at least sent a courtesy
copy to those who actually wrote and performed the music. This type of disenfranchisement makes us feel as though we are not even a part of this project. We did not even get to proof the final insert for errors or content. The reputation of the band has been diminished since our affiliation. If we had not had such good rapport with Plinky, the album would not have been completed. He continued to work on our project without promised payment simply because he liked us. We
were also very disappointed to hear that the girl doing the artwork for the album had not been informed regarding her work. That is the type of business practice that will continue to soil the band's reputation as well as your own. The
album would have also not been completed without further delays had we not fronted you the money to send ourselves to New Jersey for overdubs. Dale even used his frequent flyer miles to attend the mix. All of these issues result from the
failure to communicate. Had you been more up-front with us about your financial situation and the fact you were about to lose your distribution, we would have been able to put things into better perspective. It is time to start answering the
concerns of the band without the usual record company delays. We thought since your company was small, there could be more interaction and communication between us - that has proven not to be true."
4/7/01 I received a question from Plinky: "I wanted to know if you received your advance and also if the CD will be reviewed in any publications you might know of. I haven't even seen the CD yet and I'm a little disappointed that Dez
hasn't sent me one. I emailed Dez for an update about payment and said it probably wouldn't be until he was paid for the first shipment. I guess that raises me to investor status."
4/9/01 we sent this email to Absolute: "Dez, We have had several concerns regarding our business relationship and have expressed those concerns via email for the most part. We want to give you a heads up that we have put our concerns in a letter that we sent today that you should receive through certified mail on Wednesday. Please read this letter with an open mind looking at it from an artist perspective. We wanted to sign with you initially because you had been/still are an
artist and not just a record company guy. We feel that it is in our best interest to officially document the things we have been troubled with. It may be time for a face-to-face meeting where we all air our concerns."
Here are several letters between our lawyer and Troy.
Lawyer: "Troy, I have read Dez's letter to Bride. I have not reviewed the contract regarding his points, but here is what comes to my mind as a first reaction. In the first paragraph Dez says he did not "lose" his distribution. Rather, he has one
distributor that went out of business and the replacement "walked" out on the deal. Does that not still leave him without a distributor or am I missing something?"
Troy: Basically what he has done is started his own distribution from the ground up. Therefore, he is reinventing the wheel and our latest recording is nowhere to be found in stores. In the second paragraph, he seems to dodge the issue. It was Absolute's lack of funding and commitment that delayed recording.
Laywer: I believe you told me that Bride "pulled it out of the fire" so to speak by your good relations with Plinky. Is he saying that you should have not worked it out with Plinky to get the finished product? Would that not leave things at a
standstill with possibly no product?"
Troy - It was our good will with Plinky and our financing that allowed the record to be completed as quickly as it was. We saw Plinky in Nashville a couple of weeks ago and he has still not been paid. Dez has indicated that is not our affair,
but it truly was and still is in my opinion.
Lawyer: I have not gone back to the contract to look at the issue of booking. Why is he saying he is frustrated at Bride's lack of cooperation? Have you refused to perform when he has offered forums and dates for live performance?
Troy - We are suppose to make an effort to perform shows, etc. I do not recall us ever having turned down a paying gig. We could play for free every day of the year if we could afford to. We do have a booking agent, but the fact of the matter
is, this is our first album in 2 years and people want to hear the new material before booking us.
Lawyer Photos. Again, I need to review the contract about this, but it starts to raise the big question of what in the world is Absolute doing to Bride. It seems all one way. Bride does everything and Absolute just makes money on Bride's
efforts. (If that is the case, then let me be your record producer.)
Troy - Contractually, there is no mention of the record company providing photos. However, we went to Nashville at our expense and did a photo shoot for which Dez paid. It was our understanding that we would get a couple of publicity
photos out of this. He even came to my house and showed Dale and I the proofs and let us pick out our top 3 photos. Then, he only sent us one photo that was damaged and told us we needed to get it touched up. We informed him that
we would like to see the other photos and was even willing to pay the cost, but that has not happened.
Lawyer: Regarding the sale on the Internet, my bet is Dez "suckered" you guys. If he gave you oral permission, it is harder to prove than a written modification of the contract. An oral modification is valid unless the written contract
prohibits it. Again, I have not reviewed the contract to see if it contains such a clause.
Troy: Our contract allows us to sell directly to our mailing list (which I assume also means email mailing list), but does not allow us to sell on the "so-called Internet". I am not sure what that means exactly. Months after we had signed the
contract, he told us at our photo shoot that we could advertise and sell our new release on our Web site. He has now retracted that. In my opinion, that should not preclude us from taking orders via email using our mailing list.
Lawyer: Finally, Dez attempts to say that he still "loves" you guys and has been successful in getting others to love you again in a return to "former glory." And, between paragraph 1 and the next to last paragraph, he has launched a new
distribution company. The question I have is, "What has he done to promote Bride and return Bride to former glory?"
Troy: This is a real kick in the butt kind of statement. We wrote the songs and performed them, but he is taking the credit. As far as I know, he has done little if anything to help promote us. We played a free showcase for him in Nashville and
we have done some interviews. The interviews would have happened with or without him.
Lawyer: So, this leaves the situation with Absolute finally paying the first $XXXXXX advance, but not the second (or are the 400 CD's considered payment by product instead of payment in cash?)
Troy - In the letter I sent, I indicated that we wanted all cash and that product would not be taken in exchange for the advance. So his statement that he has fulfilled his obligation by paying us $XXXXX is not correct. He still owes us
Lawyer: I was hoping Dez would just forget to respond. It would have made things much easier. At this point, I believe he is still in breach because he owes us $XXXXX. Do you have any other suggestions at this point?
On 5/8/01 we had our lawyer draft up the letter of termination:
"This letter is to regretfully inform you that Bride is terminating the contract with Absolute Records for failure to perform your respective obligation. On April 9, 2001, a letter was sent to Absolute outlining the points of the contract that was in
breach. The letter was received via certified mail on April 12, 2001. According to the contract in item 8f, Bride was to receive $XXXXX upon delivery of the masters and an additional $XXXXX upon release of the album. According to item
14 of the contact, we have given you the required 30 days notice to cure the breach. Also included is a check for product in the amount of $2674.35. According to the contract in item 19, we have 30 days from the date of invoice to pay for
product. We received the invoice for this product via US mail on April 16, 2001.
POINTS TO CONSIDER FOR REMEDY
1. We do not want to be obligated to make any more recordings for Absolute (Items 1-4 of the contract)
2. We want the Artist Royalty rates to remain in tact as outlined in item 6 of the contract.
3. We still want our accounting statements sent to us and reserve the right to audit his accounts of us (Item 7 in the
4. We want item 8 of the contract to stand in regards to our publishing. Since he has paid us $XXXXX of the advance, we would like to have the other XXXXX.
5. We also want to be able to continue to purchase our product as
outlined in item 19. Also in item 19, it talks about us selling over the Internet. In all reality, we ADVERTISE on the Internet and actually sell our material through the mail. We do not allow fans to download music for a price. But just to clarify,
we would like to have the right to sell and advertise our product using the Internet.
6. Item 24 of the contract states that we get complimentary product. As of now, we have still not received the 50 cassettes. 7. We want to make sure there is no time limit on when we can release another recording and also make sure
that Absolute is not entitled to any of the new material.
June 1st Troy wrote to our lawyer: "Dez replied to the letter you sent. We will fax it to your office today. He alleges that we are in breach because we sold our product over the Internet. However, he did give us verbal permission at our photo
shoot to sell it. We did remove it from our Web site over 30 days ago after he made it an issue. And as you pointed out in your letter to him, it is our position that we never sold it over the Internet, just advertised it. We received the letter
today, but in it he set a deadline of yesterday to comply - pretty strange logic."
Our lawyer advises Bride: "I would suggest that I send a letter to Dez stating that despite his permission for Bride to advertise the album for sale on your website, that Bride has interpreted his May 1,2001 letter as revoking that permission.
Bride stopped advertising the album for sale and has not advertised it for sale on the website since that time. Therefore, there was no breach by Bride. Bride will interpret Absolute's intention to halt promotions for "Fist Full of Bees" as a
further material breach by Absolute. Regarding the advance, let there be no misunderstanding that Absolute was delinquent in payment of the first $XXXXXX
and continues to be delinquent in payment of the second $XXXXXX. Bride has paid Absolute for the product shipped to Bride. Absolute continues to owe Bride $XXXXX, which Absolute acknowledged in a letter dated May 24, 2001.
Bride continues to assert that Absolute is in breach of the material terms of the agreement and would like to discuss an amicable termination of the agreement. Bride has offered a fair and just settlement of this dispute. If an arrangement
cannot be worked out, then it will be up to a court to decide. I do not want to force Dez to dig in his heels, but do want to make it clear that you are not backing down regarding your position. I also might mention that you are willing to perform at Lifest in July, but are not waiving any of your claims by doing so.
You are just fulfilling your part of the agreement. Let me know your thoughts."
June 26th we receive this letter from our lawyer: "With regards to Dez's position that Bride has no right to terminate, he is somewhat correct. We have discussed this point. The contract does not specifically give you an absolute right to
terminate, but it is a remedy of contract law that the agreement may be terminated if the other party is on breech and continues to breech the contract. The only termination language specifically in the agreement is Absolute's right to
terminate if Bride violate the "morals" clause.
The best and fastest way to terminate is by agreement between the parties. But, if Dez will not negotiate, then we need to file an action in court.
By the way, which county do you live in, Jefferson or Meade? We can file the action here in Kentucky, but the court would have to interpret it under Tennessee law as written in the agreement.
The reason I asked where you live is because that is where I would want to file the lawsuit. The agreement does state in section 25 (e)that a lawsuit should be brought in Nashville. But, I think we might push a claim of "fraud in the
inducement" of the agreement to have the whole thing declared void. Fraud in the inducement is a claim that basically says Dez is represented every material aspect of the agreement and that you guys relied on these misrepresentations in
deciding to enter into the agreement. It does seem that Dez has not come through on anything: No booking agent, not able to pay recording costs, no distribution for product (other than his internet page), very late on first advance payment
(after you declared him in default), no payment of second advance, and has not supplied you with the complimentary cassette tapes called for in the agreement. This list is just what I remember off the top of my head. Are there more
things? You summed it up nicely when you say "Absolute has completely ignored their obligations in regards to the contract and are making little or no effort to correct them." If the judge agrees, we win. You asked our chances in court. I can not say with any certainty. Dez has failed to perform his end of the bargain, and I
think he knew he could not perform when he signed Bride. I think Judge Waller in Bullitt County is kind of unpredictable, but would tend to give more recognition to "home town" people over the company out of Tennessee. I do not know what
would happen if Absolute is able to transfer the case to Nashville. I think any judge would find Dez in default, but I do not know if Nashville judges are on the side of the recording industry or the artists, or neutral as they should be. The
other option would be for Absolute to get the case transfered out of Bullitt County and into Federal Court. I do not think this is likely because the amount of money involved might not meet the federal court limits."
7/3/01 the letter is sent: Re: Termination of Recording Agreement with Bride
Dear Mr. Dickerson:
This letter is to respond to your letter dated May 21, 2001. It appears you received my letter dated May 17, 2001. It also appears you responded directly to Bride in addressing the points I raised in that letter. Bride would like to respond to the
points you have now raised as well as repeat some of the points Bride raised earlier.
In your letter you indicate that you consider Bride to be in breach of the agreement by "selling product direct via the Internet." Bride takes the position that this is not a breach. First, you gave Bride oral permission during the photo shoot
to "sell" copies of "Fist Full of Bees" over the Internet. Second, Bride was not "selling" over the Internet, but was "advertising" the album for sale over the Internet. Bride has interpreted your May 1, 2001 letter as revoking the
permission given at the time of the photo shoot. Thus, Bride stopped all activity including advertising the album for sale and has not advertised it for sale on their website since that time. There was no breach by Bride. Bride immediately
ceased advertising the album on their website upon the revocation of the permission given by Absolute. However, Bride will consider Absolute's halting of promotions for "Fist Full of Bees" as a further material breach by Absolute.
Bride would like to address their attendance at Lifest and any other performance or duty they perform. Under the agreement, Bride has a duty to pursue their performing and recording career and has been actively doing so. Bride plans
to attend Lifest on July 14, 2001. However, such appearance and any other activity by Bride in accordance with the agreement is not a waiver by Bride of any of the claims of breach asserted against Absolute.
Absolute also continues to be delinquent in payment of the second $XXXXXX advance called for under the agreement. Bride has paid Absolute for the product shipped to Bride. Absolute continues to owe Bride $XXXXXX, which Absolute
acknowledged in a letter dated May 24, 2001.
In paragraph three of your letter you mention that the agreement does not afford Bride unilateral rights to terminate the agreement. This is true, but only to a point. To date Absolute has breached its duty by having no booking agent, not
paying recording costs, having no distribution for product (other than your internet page), being very late on the payment of the signing bonus, being very late in payment of the first advance payment, making no payment of the second
advance, and having not supplied Bride with the complimentary cassette tapes called for in the agreement. In short, Absolute has not acted timely or in good faith in fulfilling even one material aspect of its duties under the agreement.
Thus Bride has declared Absolute in breach of the agreement and seeks an agreed termination of the agreement.
In my letter of May 17, 2001, I outline Bride's proposal for an agreed termination. Bride has offered a fair and just settlement proposal for this dispute as follows:
1. The agreement would allow Absolute to maintain its rights only to the
current album "First Full of Bees." The current album will be the only album under the agreement with the agreement terminating all rights, obligations, responsibilities and future option periods by both parties regarding any future songs, publications and albums. Bride will not be obligated to write any further songs, publish any material, or make any further recordings for Absolute. Bride will be free to write, record and release any future albums, and be free to perform
at any time without obligation or payment to Absolute. Absolute will have no ownership interest, marketing interest, or other interest is any new songs or material written or recorded by Bride.
2. In keeping with Absolute's ownership and marketing rights to the current
album, the Artist Royalty rates for the current album will remain in full force as outlined in Item 6 of the agreement with
such payments made to Bride.
3. Bride's accounting statements will still be sent and Bride will reserve
the right to audit Absolute's accounts regarding Bride as outlined in Item 7 in the agreement.
4. Item 8 of the agreement will stand regards to Bride's publishing. One
(1) advance payment of $XXXXXXX has been made, and the second advance of XXXXXXX will be paid.
5. Bride will be able to continue to purchase the current album at the
prices and under the conditions outlined in Item 19. However, Item 19 of the agreement will be modified to allow Bride to market the current album over the Internet by advertising the album for sale and taking orders for the album over the
Internet. This does not mean selling the album in a digital format streamed over the internet (such as MPPP format), but does mean taking orders for shipment of the album in a physical media such as CD, cassette tape, tape, LP, DVD, or other
6. Bride acknowledges that it has received One Hundred (100) CDs under Item
24 of the agreement and will still receive the Fifty (50) cassettes mentioned in this Item.
We would appreciate your careful consideration of this request by Bride. I would ask that you respond to me within fourteen (14) days regarding this matter.
On 8/9/01 with no responses from Dez our lawyer continues to advise us: If we were to file the lawsuit now, you would not have to be in court for several months. Let me outline how litigation would proceed. We file a Complaint asking to declare the contract void. Absolute has 20 days to file an Answer.
We then start "discovery." This is where each side gets to find out what the other side knows. It is like playing cards and being able to ask the other player what cards they are holding. This consists mainly of 1) written questions called
"Interrogatories" and written requests for production of document; and 2) "Depositions" where the witness is placed under oath by an court reporter and asked questions with the reporter taking down the sworn testimony in writing.
Discovery often takes several month to complete. Then we would end up in court for a trial. The trial date is set by the court taking into consideration the availability of both attorneys.
I still have not heard from Dez. I have no idea why. If he is facing hard times now, I would advise filing suit now while he may not be able to defend the suit.
Let me know your thoughts and how you want to proceed.
I personally called Dez spoke to him and on 8/27/01 we sought a peaceful resolve. I wrote:
Thank you for taking the time the other day to take my phone call. Troy and I have prayed about and considered all things that have passed between you and us. We both feel that there is too much distance between Absolute and Bride to
bridge the gap. We are requesting an immediate release from our recording contract.
It seems as though Absolute and Bride have different business and ministry practices, which do not mesh together to create the synergy that is needed to be successful. We are afraid that the future will only breed conflict between us and
this is something we would like to avoid. Bride wants only to serve the Lord in peace without conflict. We do not feel that this can be accomplished under our current agreement and situation.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter,
Dale and Troy Thompson"
8/29/01 after repeated letters from our lawyer Dez responded: "Thanks for your email. I agree that we need to "seek peace and pursue it" in whatever solution we identify. While we also desire harmonious relations with all our artists, the
business reality is that, once we have money invested, we need to get it back. We
never simply release an artist from their contract until provision has been made for the recovery of our investment. This can be accomplished in one of several ways (we've utilized these in times past): 1) A mutual release, in which we release
the artist from their future exclusive recording obligations in exchange for Absolute being released from the obligation to pay any future royalties of any kind, 2) Obligation, on the part of the artist, to deliver another project, with all expenses
(production, marketing, manufacturing, etc.) to be 100% recoupable, or, 3) A cash-out, with the artist buying back the remainder of their contract. These are the options for releasing Bride from their commitment that are acceptable for us. Let me know which one works for you."
This final message from Dez allowed us to get out of our recording contract based on option 1 of the above paragraph.
It is hard to describe the frustration that a band feels when they are having difficulties with a record company and the band simply wants to play music.
Additional information is written below.
After the release of the CD I was getting boat loads of good reviews yet I was also getting complaints that the CD was hard to find. Absolute was indebted to Plinky and had not paid him anything up to this point.
On 6/29/01 EDT, Plink wrote: "I am still trying to get paid from Dez. Do you have any idea as to how much product he has sold at this point? I doubt if you've received any statements on that info but if you had to guess, what would that guess be? And how many have you sold? If you could shed any light on this I would appreciate it. You know we've been beyond patient with Dez but at this point I feel that there may have been money withheld from us from the record sales and possibly used elsewhere. I cannot prove any of this but feel that it's possible. Let me know if you can help me out with this. Plink
Fans were writing. On 6/4/01 -0400, a twelve year old named Justin from MA.
Wrote: I CAN'T FIND THE FIST FULL OF BEES CD ANY WERE DO YOU KNOW WERE I CAN GET IT IT SOUNDS LIKE IT'S COOL AND I LOVED THE JESUS EXPERIENCE CD IT ROCK'S
On 5/14/01 -0400, I received this email Why can't I find your new CD "Fist Full of Bees" anywhere. I don't even see it offered on your site. (Bride was told during the promo photo shoot for Fist Full of Bees by Dez that we could sell FFOB's
on our Site. Later after we served him with letters from our lawyer stating that he was in breach of contract he demanded that we stop advertising our CD and claimed we were in breach of contract.
On 5/10/01 we received this email from a fan in TX I have been trying to buy Fist Full of Bees at local Chistian Book Stores in Dallas. (Lifeway etc.), and have also checked at local music stores including Tower Records. No one seems to have heard of it or have it in their new release files. I'd love to buy a copy, but you don't have it listed on your website merchandise list either. What's up? How do I get a copy?
There are many more documented cases of fans not able to find the CD anywhere well after its release.
In Absolutes defense Rebecca-Dez's wife wrote "Some stores are a little slow in ordering because of less than favorable response of the last couple of records. We are trying to overcome this with sharing radio airplay data and getting them a free demo. It may take people asking for the product to sway some buyers."
I wrote to Absolute to try and find out why the new CD could not be found because I had no answers for the fans.
Absolute wrote back: "The record is in every major one stop system (Spring Arbor, New Day,Riverside, etc.) as well as every major chain (including Family). It's also in the Resound instore listening system (500 top stores). Either this guy is visiting mom and pop stores or he's in a non-Top 500 market, or the stores computer only lists their own inventory and not that of Spring Arbor, etc."
Absolute really didn't have any good or positive news for us. Once is a while they would send us an email with a brief of news. Such as this example: May 14, 2001 "FYI: White House rec'd "highest gainer" status on CCM Update Rock Chart this week. Up from #20 to #13 with a bullet."
It wasn't long that Absolute would not extend us any credit and on Aug 9th 2001 we received this response to our request for product: "We're more than happy to sell you the product you are requesting, however, we will have to do it on a cash basis at this time. Upon receipt of these funds, we will ship product."
Aug 14th after sending Dez several letters to release us from our contract, we set up a phone meeting Aug 20th. I phoned Dez without Troy and we spoke in length. He admitted that he was a bit angry because we didn't call him when things
were going sour between Bride and Absolute. He felt that getting a lawyer involved brought in bitterness.
I remember playing GMA for Absolute and just feeling out of place the entire night.
Another fan who could not find the CD writes:Hey guys, when will the new music be at local Christian book stores, I live in Thomasville NC and I check with Lifeway book stores in Greensboro NC every week and they say they have no information on it. Can you tell me when it will be released and what is the recording lable you're on. In Christ, Jimmy Grainger
3/26/01 a fan writes: Hi Dale, Thank you for your response! Your music has been a good outreach tool and Bride is a blessing to many! You mean the album was already out on 3/4? But it is not sold in stores or on the internet? Where can
I buy your album? Ed
6/19/01 -0700, a fan writes: To whom it may concern, I've been looking for the "Fist Full of Bees" Cd for a couple of weeks now at my local Christian book stores, department stores, and online, and I've been unable to locate a copy to purchase.
Can you please help me to secure a copy? Thanks for your help. Sincerely, John Williams
5/10/01 -0400, a fan writes: James from MN writes: I am trying to locate cd title - Fist Full of Bees, unable to locate at music stores in my town, any suggestions on where to purchase a copy? Thanks
Jim from OK writes: I AM HAVING A REALLY HARD TIME FINDING THE ALBUM, I HAVE CONTACTED SEVERAL SECULAR AND CHRISTIAN STORES IN AN ATTEMPT TO ORDER IT BUT NO LUCK. I AM TOLD THAT THE ALBUM IS NOT LISTED IN
Then the folks from overseas begin to write Jul 18 Dale, Why isn't the new CD found in The Netherlands or Europe in store?? Don't you have any label here??
Dave Everson in IL. writes: I can't find the Fist Full of Bees album available on your site or anywhere else on the net for that matter. Does it have a limited release and where can it be purchased? Out of curiosity, why is this album so hard to find? The quality demands better distribution/marketing. If I hadn't seen you guys at Cornerstone this year I wouldn't have known "Bees" even existed.
This was just a few examples of the hundreds of emails we received. It is embarrassing not to have the answers when the fans write.
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