by Bobby Bridger*
*Voting Member of the National Association of
Arts and Sciences since 2000 (AKA: NARAS & “The Grammy’s”)
In 1978, after eleven years of artistic success, fleeting
fame, frustration and turmoil in the recording industry, I retreated to
the “Big Bend” of the Rio Grande in the Texas/Mexico border regions of
the Chihuahuan Desert. There, in the badlands of Terlingua, Texas I contemplated
the next steps I would take in life. I certainly could not see myself continuing
in the “traditional” record business.
In spite of the many wonderful people
and talented artists I had met in the business, I had learned in Nashville,
LA, New York and Austin that the “industry” was basically corrupt from
top to bottom. Even those who aspired to create something new, or different
were by necessity locked into distribution relationships with the major
record labels if they intended to market their art to a global community.
And as a young man with a major label contract in Nashville I had also
watched the “big boy labels” and near-criminal record distributor’s either
gobble up or bully any upstart independent label into numbed submission
within “the system.”
By my mid-twenties I had watched my idealism slip
through the cracks with major record deals with Monument and
Nugget Records and two failed RCA albums, and, in doing so,
become increasingly jaded and cynical about even being able to create art
within the given structure of the recording industry. As the famous maverick
entertainment lawyer, Leonard M. Marks put it in an address to a 1990
South by Southwest conference of attorneys, “ no other aspect of
the entertainment industry is so well-designed for greedy, immoral old
men to take advantage of idealistic youthful artists than that of the recording
industry. Does the actor have to pay the studio to be in their film? Does
the novelist have to pay for the books printed by the publishing house?
Only in the record business is the artist held responsible for the cost
of creating and manufacturing his work.” I would suggest that
my friend Leonard should have included in his remarks that the record label
executives charge artists for the creation of their art while also dictating
how the artist creates while indenturing himself to the company.
To put it bluntly, I had been through the record industry wringer and fled
to the desert to lick my wounds. By 1980, however, I had decided to return
to making records on my own terms. During my retreat to the desert I had
written a veiled concept album I called Heal In The Wisdom. I decided
to return to Nashville to “heal” my relationship with master studio guitarist,
songwriter and record producer, Fred Carter, Jr. Fred and I have never
to this day, after a 36 year relationship ever had an argument; but after
a first brush with success in the country music business with Fred's guidence,
I had left Nashville for Austin in 1970. Fred had been my first mentor
in the record business; he had taught me the best things about the science
of making records. From the beginning of our relationship we had planned
for the day when I would produce my own records. When I fledged the nest
and flew to Hollywood and Texas, I felt I always knew that one day I would
return to co-produce a project with my teacher. I felt that the entire
purpose of Heal In The Wisdom should be to heal my relationships
with the earth, my family, friends and associates.
Upon returning to Nashville to record I had decided
that I would create an independent record label to release my own artistic
efforts in the recording studio. In meditation in the simplicity of the
Chichuachuan Desert I had become reacquainted with the idea that we live
in a state of abundance. I came to believe that miracles and blessings
as numerous as the stars surround us constantly waiting to empower us when
we can recognize them. In the desert I came to believe that we are
all the proverbial “golden egg”; essentially a genderless, infinitely powerful
vessel divinely impregnated to become whatever we can imagine. So with
hopes of hatching some miracles, I decided that I would name my record
label Golden Egg Records.
When creating the logo for the label I
remembered what Fred had taught me about having an independent record label.
He suggested to always have a little “color” in the actual record label
to prevent pirates from being able to cheaply copy and bootleg my records.
With Fred’s advice in mind, I put the colors of the rainbow spectrum in
the shape of futuristic, mythic wings on the side of a golden egg.
So I hope that in the future Golden Egg Records
will be able to grow into a truly independent label. I feel release of
a CD of Heal In The Wisdom in 1998 and the release of a four-disc
set of my epic trilogy, A Ballad of the West, on compact disc in
January, 2001 ushered in a new era for the record label. This is especially
true given the fact that our society has only recently experienced technology’s
“Big Bang” - the explosion of the Internet. Already, the way we create,
market, distribute and deliver entertainment has changed dramatically.
The introduction of MP3 technology has revolutionized the record
industry, for the first time in history allowing artists unfettered access
to the global market. As “devices” such as portable phones with connections
with the Internet impact culture, the technology’s impact on the entertainment
industry will only grow.
I have had a website now since 1998. In 2000 www.bbridger.com introduced electronic sales of products and started selling my CDs,
and books over the web. In just two years websales of product has surpassed
sales of product at personal appearances.
We are busy preparing Golden Egg Records and Tapes
to enter this new age of technology. We intend to be distributing my art
as well as the art of other creative people via the Internet in the very
near future. We have already joined with Kiva Records of Fort Collins,
Colorado to release Australian folklorist/storyteller Paul Taylor’s Walkabout.
We also intend to expand our scope and add the creation and distribution
of video projects to Golden Egg Records in the very near future.
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