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May 18, 2007

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Phil Madeira

Dave, You need to start dressing in motocross again.

Wesley

While I emailed David directly with a response I thought it proper to also respond via comment since readers might be interested in my perspective.

First and most importantly, I certainly did NOT sign Gardian as a defensive move. I can't even imagine who said or thought that. 1) I would never do it. 2) We didn't have the money to spend on non-productive uses like that; and most importantly 3) I loved their demo. I was a big progressive rock fan and still listen to old German prog rock space music. Netkar was one of my all time favorite bands. When I heard that first track on the original Gardian demo it was something I hadn't heard an American band sound like in a very long time and I was convinced it could stand out. I didn't care about the uniforms and figured you knew your audience better than me. I had forgotten about the name issue but must have figured that your original name of "Fusion" might give people the impression you were a jazz band. I knew from experience how lazy record store clerks could be and a mis-filed album is a returned album 90 days later.

That's why I signed Gardian and not any other reason. As David knows, being the successful A&R person he was, there are 100's of reasons to not sign a band but only one to sign one. We made a lot of mistakes over the years but I can tell you at some point during every signing we were convinced the band we were signing would sell enough to justify the signing.

David Bach

Wesley,

Thanks for your comment. It's what I've always believed. A lot of my blogging comes from recollection in the hopes that I can offer good advice to aspiring bands/artists. Without rehashing the past too much, Guardian's relationship with Enigma was almost textbook of many artist/label relationships that I witnessed in my label days. It's what I call "Middle Management Purgatory". In Guardian's case, you, the president, had signed us—we entered the system "top-down". Where things got interesting is when we actually exited "development" and entered official "roster-dom" and thus upon the desks of the hard-working label staff. One could almost sense a parting of the waters as to which of those on the staff “bought in” to our band and those who did not. Those were interesting days. Christian rock was decidedly uncool and I think we were always hypersensitive to being accepted due to faith issues. A mistake we may have made was getting too chummy with some of the label staff that liked us and shunning those who seemed not to. The takeaway lesson for me was something I experienced countless times during my years with EMI and BMG: Mid-level management buy-in can never be mandated. Top-down priorities can be pushed through but if the artist (or product rep) takes the time to develop relationships with those sometimes deemed "less-important"—the resultant buy-in and in-house evangelism can be huge. In retrospect in my artist career, I wish I had had reached out more to those who were not yet believers in us rather than focusing on those already "converted”.

Jon Hiller

Hey, I still have a DX7ii..... haha. I'm still laughing at Phil Madeira's comment as well! Man, Dave, it's cool to find your blog, I haven't talked to you in a long time, probably since bringing Guardian into Marion, IL, or maybe the NAMM show you guys played at the CGM speaker booth.... hope you're doing well!

Ryan

Great article. I used to be in a Christian hard rock band back in the nineties and I was convinced that the "Christian" music industry was different than the secular music industry. It didn't take long to find out there was no difference. They both existed to make money. Sigh.

Anyway, I loved to hear your perspective. I still have my copy of Bottle Rocket stowed away in a CD holder somewhere. I played that album to death.

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