I used more than a little life experience for inspiration when I wrote Twenty-Seven.
MILD SPOILERS AHOY!
There is one part in which the sleazy narrator signs a “management contract” with a music manager. He’s so wasted he can’t read it, so just pretends he’s cool with the contents of it. FYI: The contents turn out to be pretty sinister.
When I first signed a recording contact (way back in 2004, I think), I was wrecked. My band and I were summoned to the record label’s office to sign this thing. Of course, being the disorganised crack heads they were, they weren’t ready for us when we arrived and said, ‘Come back in a few hours, once we’ve worked out how to use the printer.’
So we dragged our bony asses to the nearest cheap pub – The Masque Haunt on Old Street. I wonder if it’s still there. I wonder if it was ever there? Did I imagine it? Is it in some alternate dimension …?
So there we were, sitting in The Masque Haunt (I wrote a very bleak song of the same name a few years later). Nobody had any money, however I had about £75 left until I maxed out my Egg credit card, which was more than enough for three of us to get hammered on.
We came back a few hours later, drunk as anything, and there they were – three contracts, sitting on the label head’s messy desk, next to a pile of demo CDs. I took one of the contracts and flicked through it, nodding and grunting at regular intervals. But I could barely focus on the fucking thing, and besides, it was full of legal jargon that didn’t mean much to me.
The label head said, ‘You sure you don’t want a lawyer to look at this before you sign it?’
A lawyer?! Fuck, I had, by then, about £8 left on the Egg card and I was the richest man in the room. So the three of us shook our heads in unison and said, ‘Nah, everything seems legit.’
Now, you read stories about bands signing record deals and then the label brings out the vintage Moet and the caviar and the strippers. We had none of that.
I just skulked off home, an afternoon hangover creeping in and a feeling of dread swelling in the pit of my stomach.
But may have been a little naive, but we were young idiots – we knew no better.
So my advice to you – and I’m sure you lot a far more savvy than I ever was (or still am) – is don’t sign a fucking thing until you are sure.
Don’t sign a fucking thing.