Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Mick Jones, Carbon/Silicon, BAD and cetera.
Chairman Ralph
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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by Chairman Ralph »

I don't know if anyone saw the Adam Curtis 'Can't Get You out of My Head' series on the BBC, but one of the episodes was called 'What If the People Are Stupid?'

A lot (most) of the best music isn't commercially successful. But then BAD had the backing of a major label and were fronted by a 'name'? Maybe that actually worked against them, as some have already noted.

I liked BAD being a cult thing. The gigs in London were nearly always sold out.
I didn't have a problem with BAD being a cult thing, either -- hell, I'm not exactly a huge seller, myself, so it's not like I don't sympathize with the concept! :mrgreen: Believe me, it's fine. But I'm simply offering my answer in the spirit of the above hypothetical ("Why didn't they?").

My other point was (and is) that being a name with a track record can work against you, in that a) it's harder to stir up the same kind of excitement on a second go-round, and b) the expectations are less forgiving, from a corporate standpoint -- you either generate a certain amount of sales, or you're out of there, unless you happen to be the pet project of somebody who's already in power. That's basically all I'm saying.

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by Kory »

Chairman Ralph wrote:
03 May 2021, 4:44pm
I don't know if anyone saw the Adam Curtis 'Can't Get You out of My Head' series on the BBC, but one of the episodes was called 'What If the People Are Stupid?'

A lot (most) of the best music isn't commercially successful. But then BAD had the backing of a major label and were fronted by a 'name'? Maybe that actually worked against them, as some have already noted.

I liked BAD being a cult thing. The gigs in London were nearly always sold out.
I didn't have a problem with BAD being a cult thing, either -- hell, I'm not exactly a huge seller, myself, so it's not like I don't sympathize with the concept! :mrgreen: Believe me, it's fine. But I'm simply offering my answer in the spirit of the above hypothetical ("Why didn't they?").

My other point was (and is) that being a name with a track record can work against you, in that a) it's harder to stir up the same kind of excitement on a second go-round, and b) the expectations are less forgiving, from a corporate standpoint -- you either generate a certain amount of sales, or you're out of there, unless you happen to be the pet project of somebody who's already in power. That's basically all I'm saying.
This rings true.
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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by TeddyB Not Logged In »

Well…. BAD went through a load of US label vs.UK label issues, being a UK band signed directly to the US label. The UK label was always understandably holding out for a Clash reunion, as they owned that contract directly . They were misled by someone involved (not telling who) to blame Mick for negging this. Then, after Gary Kurfirst renegotiated Joe’s solo deal with Sony, the US company was hoping for a reunion. That’s why they kept Joe’s contract. At that point the deal read that anything Joe and Mick did together would be considered “The Clash” and Sony would own it. Columbia US did a lot of promotion for BAD II and The Globe, but there were underlying issues after. Mick preferred to tour rather than get right back in to record another LP. The Clash turned down Lollapalooza 1995. Sony dropped Joe. BAD was negotiating to jump to Sire. Columbia didn't love Higher Power but did love the “Punk” demos. They proposed a campaign making Higher Power an EP as a set up for the follow-up, but the contract negotiation went south, mainly because a couple of folks at Sony (who shall also go nameless) screwed it up, and after Seymour sold off Sire, killing that deal, Kurfirst figured he could maneuver Mick to Radioactive. All of this took too long, Mick rethought F-Punk, put out an uncommercial product at the wrong time, leading to the whole Entering A New Ride business fiasco, due again in part to MCA UK, which preferred the EDM direction, and Radioactive, which didn’t. Or that’s how I remember it all.
Last edited by TeddyB Not Logged In on 05 May 2021, 3:22am, edited 3 times in total.

Chairman Ralph
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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by Chairman Ralph »

Well…. BAD went through a load of US label vs.UK label issues, being a UK band signed directly to the US label. The UK label was always holding out for a Clash reunion, as they owned that contract directly . They were misled by someone involved (mot telling who) to blame Mick for this. Then, after Gary Kurfirst renegotiated Joe’s solo deal with Sony, the US company was hoping for a reunion. That’s why they kept Joe’s contract. At that point the deal read that anything Joe and Mick did together would be considered “The Clash” and Sony would own it. Columbia US did a lot of promotion for BAD II and The Globe, but there were underlying issues after. Mick preferred to tour rather than get right back in to record another LP. The Clash turned down Lollapalooza 1995. Sony dropped Joe. BAD was negotiating to jump to Sire. Columbia didn't love Higher Power but did love the “Punk” demos. They proposed a campaign making Higher Power an EP as a set up for the follow-up, but the contract negotiation went south, mainly because a couple of folks at Sony (who shall also go nameless) screwed it up, and after Seymour sold off Sire, killing that deal, Kurfirst figured he could maneuver Mick to Radioactive. All of this took too long, Mick rethought F-Punk, out out an uncommercial product at the wrong time, leading to the whole Entering A New Ride business fiasco, due again in part to MCA UK, which preferred the EDM direction, and Radioactive, which didn’t. Or that’s how I remember it all.
Wow, Teddy, a lot to digest there, but the reunion aspect also goes to what I was saying earlier, as well -- Mick's past seemed to pop up at inconvenient times, at least from a purely commercial perspective. I can see how some of the scenarios that you describe would hinder your progress, to put it mildly.

I encountered some of those same yearnings for a second act for the Clash, though at a much lower level, like the record store owner that I tried to turn onto Tighten Up, only to be fobbed off with a gesture similar to the cross being used to ward off the vampire, and the comment, "When is Mick just gonna forget all this worldbeat BS, and reform the Clash?" The sad thing, to me, was this was a guy I'd considered a progressive thinker. But not after that episode.
Last edited by Chairman Ralph on 06 May 2021, 12:32am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by TeddyB Not Logged In »

Yeah, Ralph, I agree. None of what I said negates the issues you’ve brought up. Occasionally it does heighten them. There’s also all the financial issues, with the original band all being partners, but the second album costing a small fortune, and Mick’s subsequent illness causing cancellation of a world tour. Mick used a lot of his Clash-earned money to float the group. The second group, which was paid a salary plus royalty bonuses, rebelled against the financial setup, as did the first group. None of that helped either, plus the band members of both lineups always figured they were one phone call away from hearing about the Clash reunion that never came.

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