Delbert McClinton

A Conversation with Delbert McClinton (continued)

DM: After that--of course that was really disappointing, but it was a turning point, in that I promised myself I would never, ever make a record again that I didn't own. And that I would not do it on a major label.

PM: Really? So the last two records, you own the masters.

DM: Yes. And I leased them.

PM: Oh, yeah, that is the way to go.

DM: It is. So, having the opportunity of being in total control, with a solid fan base out there, we went in and made Nothing Personal without any kind of record deal. I knew I could get some kind of record deal. That's not a problem. I mean, there's always somebody wanting to sign you and tell you a bunch of stuff, and then not do anything.

PM: And then screw it up.

DM: So we made Nothing Personal. My wife and I had been looking at different ways to put it out, you know, with all the new avenues, with the internet and this and that. And we were exploring that and trying to find out what would really be the best thing to do. And in doing so, we found out that we're really in no position to start a record company, because you've got to have too many contacts. You've got to have distribution. You've got to have this, this, this, and this.

And Cameron Strang of New West Records started making really non-intrusive inquiries, letting us know that he would like to put the record out, and without even having heard it. Stephen Bruton, a good friend of mine, is on that label.

PM: He's a great artist.

DM: Oh, Stephen is fantastic. You talk about somebody that just keeps getting better and better, it's unbelievable. Anyway, I talked to Stephen about Cameron, and he just couldn't praise him enough. And so we arranged a meeting with Cameron. He came to town here in Nashville, and my wife and I went and had lunch with him. And we talked. Then we said, "Well, let us talk this over." So she and I talked it over a while, and we said, "Well, let's tell him what we want." And so we arranged another meeting.

And what we wanted was certainly within reason. We simply wanted a piece of this one. You know, I never really had a piece of a record. It was always that old mumbo jumbo jive, like, "Well, you get this much. And out of this, you got to pay back the record company everything that everybody does, every new car they buy, every whatever."

PM: Yeah. "You get a dollar, and you owe us a hundred grand."

DM: Well, two or three hundred grand. And every day, it adds on. And if one of their guys goes to New York and mentions your name, they charge the whole damn thing to you.

PM: [laughs]

DM: You know what I'm talking about?

PM: Ain't it the truth.

DM: Well, it is the truth. And so we had a second meeting with Cameron, and we told him, "We want to get this and this and this and this, and this. And we'll do this and this and this." And he said, "Okay."

PM: Wow.

DM: And they have done everything they said they would do. Now, how often does that happen?

PM: Yeah. And every record I see out of New West Records, you know, they're cutting good stuff consistently.

DM: They're not only cutting good stuff, they're genuine people. They're artist friendly. And I could tell you stories you wouldn't believe about some of the things that I know of that they've done for artist support, things that nobody does.

PM: Really?

DM: Yeah. But that's another story.

PM: Okay.

DM: So we made a deal with them, and leased them the record, and won a Grammy with it.  continue

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