Wednesday, August 1, 2012

dealing with idols

Tom Rockwell is a software engineer who lives in New Jersey with his wife and three kids. To fans of the Dr. Demento Show and those of nerdcore, he is known as Devo Spice formerly of the group called Sudden Death. He describes his act as if Weird Al Yankovic was red headed with a beard and does rap.

I first met him at the first sci-fi convention I attended in February, 2002. He was there with Dr Demento and the great Luke Ski. I found his act ok but was most impressed by his duet with Luke Ski of the song Peter Parker which ended up being the #1 song on the Dr. Demento show for 2002.

I saw him later that year performing at a Weird Al convention to the backs of most of the heads in the audience as they were in line to get an autograph and picture with Weird Al and his wife whom he married the previous year and in Indiana in September 2003 and was not impressed.

I became of fan of his music after an amazing performance at a con in April 2004 and have enjoyed his work since. He also had the number one song of the year on the Dr. Demento show in 2005 and in 2007 where he had the number 1,2 and 4 songs of the year while participating in #5 while Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" finished #6.

Three years ago, he saw a Tweet by @UncleLouie who is the representative of @TheFatboys, a hip hop group famous in the 80s and 90s whom Devo Spice (and the great Luke Ski) credit with helping inspire them to create music. Uncle Louie offered the musical services of the 2 remaining members of the group for money. Devo Spice inquired about the cost and found the $500 fee within reason and reserved 16 lines for use in a future song and paid in advance for it. He ended up releasing a video explaining what happened. In it, he made these 5 points:

1. In 2010 I paid Uncle Louie $500 to get Prince Markie Dee of The Fat Boys on a song.
2. Despite repeated promises Mark never sent me the verse.
3. Louie refused to refund me the money.
4. In July of 2012 I sued and won.
5. Instead of paying me Louie threatened me and called me a racist.

 What I saw in the video was how painful this situation has been to Devo Spice. This was done by a group that inspired him and in spite of his Dr Demento success, he was ignored and shunned by them.

I could see someone adding to the suit demanding extra money for the time spent, loss of sales by not having the song on the CD, libel, or even interest. Devo Spice decided to not seek that. When Googling "Devo Spice Fat Boys", the first 8 entries are 6 articles about this situation most including screenshots of the agreement, emails and the racist tweet, the video linked above, and the Fat Boys song Devo Spice and Luke Ski parodied as a tribute to their music.

When this info became public a few days ago, people were asked to tweet to @UncleLouie and @Thefatboys asking them to refund the money.. If you have the time, please do so.

Note: A week after posting this, Uncle Louis sent him an apology along with the $522 from the judgement.

No comments: