Ex-STUCK MOJO Guitarist Addresses Label Situation, Politics In Music Business

Former STUCK MOJO and current SICK SPEED guitarist Rich Ward appears to be no closer today to landing a suitable record deal with his new outfit than he was a couple of years ago when the project was first launched. In a recent interview with NCScene.com, Ward addressed the group's label situation and provided an overview of the band's business philosophy based on his past experience as a Century Media Records recording artist (as a member of STUCK MOJO):

"We've had plenty of offers [from labels with SICK SPEED], but the people who've contacted us are either not able to look me in the eye and tell me they really like what I'm doing, or they aren't ready to play ball at the level that we're ready to start on," Ward stated. "You know, I consider STUCK MOJO a great learning experience for me because the label we were on [Century Media], although they were great guys, didn't have the political muscle we needed to advance to that next level. We did no major touring except for maybe opening for PANTERA in Europe, which is something that we got because the band liked us and asked us to do it. Other than that, we did open for TYPE O NEGATIVE, but in the states they were only playing to about 800 people a night, and MOJO, on our own, could do between 500 and 1,000 people. In the bigger markets, we could do as many as 2,000. This wasn't anything that we couldn't do on our own. We had already maximized our draw, and what it was gonna take to go to that next level was either radio play, and a lot of it, or getting booked on the Ozzfest. Both of those things take a tremendous amount of money and major political muscle. We had sold a lot more records than most of the bands on the second stage at Ozzfest, but that didn't matter. The second stage was just favors, that's all it was. Favors for management, favors for other record companies…you know what I mean, when SLAYER's label or management books them on the main stage, it's like, 'Hey, I've got these two new bands, I want them on the second stage,' and that's how the music business works. Century Media just did not have the muscle to make any of that stuff happen for us, and I'm not going to go through that stuff again. When you have a record deal, you're partners with them, and when you're partners, that means that someone owns a piece of you. Century Media, to this day, owns 50% of my [STUCK MOJO] songs, they own the rights to the recordings, and so if I'm gonna be partners with someone, then they'd better be able to bring to the table what I can bring. If I'm working my ass off and giving 100% of my life to this, which means I have no social life…literally, I could count on both hands the number of friends I've had in the past ten years because I have no life outside of my music, so that being said, when I do finally have SICK SPEED signed to a record deal, I want to know that they are going to put everything into it and match everything that I'm putting into it, as well. They also have to understand what I'm trying to do and not try to change it. With music, there's always a trend to change bands to match the current flavor of the week that's popular at the time. I think what we do is great and I want to keep it the way it is. That's why I'm still unsigned with SICK SPEED. I did release my demos in Europe on a small label, but I only did that so I could go over there and do a tour, get some press, and let some people in Europe see the band."

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