HANGIN ON THE BUS WITH FRED
Two guys I know from town, Cliff Audritch of SONY and Stephen Goldman, a video director, had preceded me on to the bus, and were apparently old friends of Fred's. Time was running out before the show, so I barged in and they let me grab some time, and Cliff said to take it easy on him.
Fred's telling me the story right off about how Cliff "made him" in this town. How he came here and was living off hot dogs, how he played songs for everybody. Cliff said, "I can't help you, but I think I know who can," and sent him over to Brownlee Ferguson at Bluewater Music (also the publisher of Kim Richey and Jim Lauderdale, we sure like them) and the rest is history.
Fred Eaglesmith: It was at the Pub of Love.
Puremusic: Really, the Pub of Love? It's still there.
FE: He brought Brownlee to the Pub of Love.
PM: Still one of the good depraved spots in this town.
FE: Is that right?
FE: And Brownlee did this cool thing. He said, "I wanna sign you, but before I do, I want you to know every other publisher in town."
PM: What? This is good stuff.
FE: And I went to every other publisher in town, and got offered a whole bunch of deals. And Brownlee's was the cheapest. And I took it.
PM: You're killin me.
FE: I just trusted him. We talked and hung out, and became friends. It wasn't the best deal in town, but it seemed to have integrity.
PM: Did he want all your publishing, or half your publishing?
FE: He bought some songs. I was broke. So he bought some songs, and then made me a writer's deal.
PM: What songs did he buy outright?
FE: I couldn't even tell you. I think he bought seventeen songs off the top. Looking back, he didn't pay me bad money for them, either. It was enough to get my mortgage caught up, which was a year behind. I went home with that and a writing deal, a bottle of brandy and the pen I signed with. No, wait a minute. We didn't do the deal before my dad died. When he died, Brownlee called me, sent me some money, and said, "Why don't you come down in January?" And I did. And some months later, we formalized the deal.
PM: And now they just administer your publishing, right? [A partial publishing deal where a company takes care of all the paperwork involved for a percentage.]
FE: Right. I was a staff writer there for a bunch of years first.
PM: And did you ever write stuff that was cut mainstream Country?
FE: No. I've had Reba take my entire catalog, and Garth, too, go through it and say, "Uh...well, what am I supposed to do with this crap?" [laughter] "I was wrong, he sucks!" continue