Remember when that gal was gonna take on the industry?
A Letter from Lester Chambers
FROM: LESTER CHAMBERS
DATE: June 30, 2000
TO: Courtney Love
Dear Ms. Love,
Just read your article "Courtney Love Does the Math" and I would like to
make you aware of my plight as a recording artist. My brothers and I
recorded over 30 albums as THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS from 1960-1977.
In 1972, we were dropped from Columbia Records after recording 6 albums
with them and until 1994 did not receive a penny in royalties because
were still paying on our last album, "OH MY GOD," which showed on the
books as costing over $60,000 for 5 days in the recording studio in
1972. Did you ever read a book called "HIT MEN"? The first 125 pages
deals with Clive Davis' embezzlement of artists funds on Columbia. Need
I say more.
Not only did we not get royalties, even though our hit song "TIME HAS
COME TODAY" has been used in over 30 films (COMNG HOME, PLATOON,
CASUALTIES OF WAR, ETC.) and television shows (right now ABC is using
it as their promo for next season's shows), but Columbia never paid into
our pension fund with AFTRA. We joined AFTRA in 1965, when we were the
house band on "SHINDIG" and as of 1994 had only 1 year vested into our
pension. Of course, we didn't get any medical insurance, either.
In 1994, along with Sam Moore (SAM & DAVE), Jackie Wilson's estate,
Carl Gardner (COASTERS), Bill Pinkney (DRIFTERS), Curtis Mayfield, etc., we
are suing all of the major record companies for pension embezzlement.
It has been 6 years and these companies drag us along, stalling in
releasing any documents. At last count, my wife researched that
CHAMBERS BROTHERS product is on over 125 compilation albums that we have never
received any licensing fees from.
Besides the 6 albums we did on Columbia, we recorded 5 albums with Vault
(now owned and currently on the Internet from licensing agreements from
RHINO RECORDS), 5 with Vanguard (also on the net), 2 with Folkways
(also on the net) and 2 with Proverb and 2 with Avco Embassy, THAT WE NEVER
RECEIVED A PENNY IN ROYALTIES FROM ANY OF THESE COMPANIES!!!! We have
been getting screwed for over thirty years and now with our product on
the Internet, we are getting screwed again!!! Last month, Carl Gardner
(Coasters), Bill Pinkney (Drifters) who, by the way, will be celebrating
his 75th birthday in August, Tony Silvester (Main Ingredient) and myself
filed a lawsuit against MP3.com.
We would greatly appreciate any involvement from you regarding fighting
these pirates. By the way I noticed you used the word "sharecroppers"
several times in this article. Before escaping rural Mississippi in
1953, my father at 75, along with my 13 brothers and sisters were dirt,
poor sharecroppers on land owned by the head of the local KKK. We grew
up learning to sing gospel tunes, while picking cotton in the fields.
(Source: 2007 Punmaster's MusicWire