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?

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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?

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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.
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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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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?

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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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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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Heston wrote:
26 Apr 2021, 6:52am
I think they often chose the wrong singles. V13 should have been the first release from 10 Upping St before the album was released. By the time it came out and just missed the top 40 everybody had bought the album. I think a second big hit could have gave them a bit more traction with the general public.
As well as wrong single choice this was an all too frequent memory for me and if i was part of the BAD camp i would want the promotion and distribution team to be sacked.

The amount of times i would read about the new BAD single/ Album that was coming out next week and seeing all the advertising in the NME and radio promotion for the single to be released next week. With my excitement and enthusiasm at its highest i would be in "our price" on the Monday looking for the single and then having to ask where the single was. The shop would tell me that it was meant to come in but it didn't show but was told that Monday is the day for the new releases so try next week. This would go on for about 6 - 10 weeks then when all the promotion had died out and all the enthusiasm for the majority fans would have dwained making the fans stop looking. The single would eventually limp in to the charts unannounced without promotion around the 75 position and then would be lucky to eventually get to position 40 after a spread out sale that spans across a few weeks. Everyone knows to get a high position in those days you need a huge fan base to get the song high in the charts at the beginning and then the general public would experience frequent air plays and give the song a better position from exposure and hearing daily radio plays.

another bad decisions - who in there right mind brings out BAD live at ally pally and think to make this album just like a bootleg we will make it seem like a genuine bootleg by making the sound really shit. I mean who does that ? its beyond me i was at that gig and couldn't wait to hear it only to be so disappointed by the pathetic sound. TeddyB version was just brilliant of that same recording so we can at least thank Teddy for that version that should have been heard

So many poor decisions but at least the studio albums hold up very well today and something we can still all enjoy even though they didn't enjoy the success that the band could have. I always thought the albums / singles could have been produced differently to get a bigger fatter sound as well

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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NoMoreHugh wrote:
08 May 2021, 11:30am
another bad decisions - who in there right mind brings out BAD live at ally pally and think to make this album just like a bootleg we will make it seem like a genuine bootleg by making the sound really shit. I mean who does that ? its beyond me i was at that gig and couldn't wait to hear it only to be so disappointed by the pathetic sound. TeddyB version was just brilliant of that same recording so we can at least thank Teddy for that version that should have been heard
I have always been disappointed with Ally Pally and didn't know there was a TeddyB version around. Can it still be found? I'd love to hear an improved sound.

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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dave202 wrote:
08 May 2021, 12:08pm
NoMoreHugh wrote:
08 May 2021, 11:30am
another bad decisions - who in there right mind brings out BAD live at ally pally and think to make this album just like a bootleg we will make it seem like a genuine bootleg by making the sound really shit. I mean who does that ? its beyond me i was at that gig and couldn't wait to hear it only to be so disappointed by the pathetic sound. TeddyB version was just brilliant of that same recording so we can at least thank Teddy for that version that should have been heard
I have always been disappointed with Ally Pally and didn't know there was a TeddyB version around. Can it still be found? I'd love to hear an improved sound.
Hi Dave its not a remaster its the original soundboard recording before the band got there hands on it and ruined it. I will have a look and dig it out for you, you wont be disappointed it sounds great and whats better i was there as well. If my memory serves me correctly TeddyB uploaded the ally pally and the paradiso soundboards untouched. Ill post both if no one beats me to it

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by TeddyB Not Logged In »

Ally Pally Paradiso was meant to be a bootleg. They took songs from Alexandra Palace and the Paradiso SBDs, did some edits and sent it off undercover to the pressing plant with a friend. The plant got in touch with Sony when it was finished to ask what to do with the records, and the beans were spilled. Sony decided to make it an official bootleg, first as a promo, then in Australia.

“TeddyB version” lol, NMH! I agree that Sony UK did a miserable job of selling BAD after the second album. Again, it’s my take that this had to do with their strategizing to effect a Clash reunion, after Mick and Joe started to write together again, and their unhappiness that this didn’t happen.
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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
05 May 2021, 3:29am
plus the band members of both lineups always figured they were one phone call away from hearing about the Clash reunion that never came.
How prominent a tension was this (if you know)? Was it an unspoken thing or did the others actively or openly suspect that BAD was a temporary thing for Mick before inevitably reactivating the Clash?
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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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Dr. Medulla wrote:
08 May 2021, 3:42pm
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
05 May 2021, 3:29am
plus the band members of both lineups always figured they were one phone call away from hearing about the Clash reunion that never came.
How prominent a tension was this (if you know)? Was it an unspoken thing or did the others actively or openly suspect that BAD was a temporary thing for Mick before inevitably reactivating the Clash?
I don’t know how tense it was. It was mostly unspoken but I do know at least some of the others felt it could always happen. There was an undercurrent within the record company and business people as well. A couple of times there were open offers on the table. Later, with the Lollapalooza ‘95 headline offer, neither Mick nor Joe wanted to be the one who took the responsibility for nixing it, but eventually said no together. The promotor then offered the Clash their own tour, and they said no again.

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
08 May 2021, 3:53pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
08 May 2021, 3:42pm
TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
05 May 2021, 3:29am
plus the band members of both lineups always figured they were one phone call away from hearing about the Clash reunion that never came.
How prominent a tension was this (if you know)? Was it an unspoken thing or did the others actively or openly suspect that BAD was a temporary thing for Mick before inevitably reactivating the Clash?
I don’t know how tense it was. It was mostly unspoken but I do know at least some of the others felt it could always happen. There was an undercurrent within the record company and business people as well. A couple of times there were open offers on the table. Later, with the Lollapalooza ‘95 headline offer, neither Mick nor Joe wanted to be the one who took the responsibility for nixing it, but eventually said no together. The promotor then offered the Clash their own tour, and they said no again.
Thanks. Funny, it's never crossed my mind that members of the various incarnations of BAD would have had that in the back of their mind, but once you mentioned it it seems such an obvious concern, especially after Mick and Joe reconciled.
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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

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dave202 wrote:
08 May 2021, 12:08pm
NoMoreHugh wrote:
08 May 2021, 11:30am
another bad decisions - who in there right mind brings out BAD live at ally pally and think to make this album just like a bootleg we will make it seem like a genuine bootleg by making the sound really shit. I mean who does that ? its beyond me i was at that gig and couldn't wait to hear it only to be so disappointed by the pathetic sound. TeddyB version was just brilliant of that same recording so we can at least thank Teddy for that version that should have been heard
I have always been disappointed with Ally Pally and didn't know there was a TeddyB version around. Can it still be found? I'd love to hear an improved sound.
Here are the two gigs Amsterdam and Alexanda the original files that TeddyB kindly shared to us.
I think there is another one that Marky Dread did from these recordings with artwork

This file is quite large as its in lossless wavs both are the full soundboards

https://easyupload.io/m/i84te3

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by NoMoreHugh »

TeddyB Not Logged In wrote:
08 May 2021, 3:31pm
“TeddyB version” lol, NMH!
I didnt mean to make it sound like you got the acoustic guitar out and recorded yourself singing the songs for us lol im still laughing now at that one

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Re: Why were BAD not commercially successful?

Post by dave202 »

NoMoreHugh wrote:
10 May 2021, 4:37am
dave202 wrote:
08 May 2021, 12:08pm
NoMoreHugh wrote:
08 May 2021, 11:30am
another bad decisions - who in there right mind brings out BAD live at ally pally and think to make this album just like a bootleg we will make it seem like a genuine bootleg by making the sound really shit. I mean who does that ? its beyond me i was at that gig and couldn't wait to hear it only to be so disappointed by the pathetic sound. TeddyB version was just brilliant of that same recording so we can at least thank Teddy for that version that should have been heard
I have always been disappointed with Ally Pally and didn't know there was a TeddyB version around. Can it still be found? I'd love to hear an improved sound.
Here are the two gigs Amsterdam and Alexanda the original files that TeddyB kindly shared to us.
I think there is another one that Marky Dread did from these recordings with artwork

This file is quite large as its in lossless wavs both are the full soundboards

https://easyupload.io/m/i84te3
Thanks for these.

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