FEAR FACTORY Frontman Burton C. Bell Calls ROADRUNNER RECORDS Founder "Danish Devil" Over Initial Contract Offering
Fear Factory were one of the 90s success stories of Roadrunner Records, as the label was transitioning from the classic era bands like King Diamond, Sepultura and Type-O Negative, to the mid to late 90s nu-metal explosion which included Slipknot, Soulfly and Fear Factory.
In a new interview with Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, Fear Factory frontman Burton C. Bell did a little recollecting of signing with Roadrunner and he wasn't exactly singing the praises of founder Cees Wessels:
“I still get royalties. It comes in, but it depends how much we work, how much we tour. If we tour a lot I see better royalties, if we don’t then I don’t. I have no idea when we’ll get the rights back [to our catalog], because that Roadrunner contract is bullshit. I literally signed a deal with a Dutch devil. But when you’re young, you don’t care. You’re 23 years-old and ‘we’re going to give you an advance to make your first record, we’re gonna put you on tour, sell your shirts in all the stores. You are gonna to be famous!’’Alright, make it happen!’ My fucking lawyer too … he gets paid to be a fucking asshole, and I know his name. Fuck him. He’s still around to [sic], but I want to kick him in his nuts.”
He later sympathized with newer bands trying to make it in the music business today and revealed an anecdote about their final days on Roadrunner:
“Man, I can’t even imagine being a brand-new band starting off these days. I’m very fortunate in that respect. We have a resume, and we started when there was a music industry. It was right before the decline of the industry, we were there. They were still putting money in records, they were still putting money into videos, tours. We were right there before the end. And we saw that decline. We asked Roadrunner ‘what’s going on?’‘You’re not selling any records.’ ‘That’s not my fault, that’s your fault.’ ‘How is that my fault?’ ‘You didn’t put out the right record.’ ‘Did everybody not put out the right record?’ It was so easy for the label to blame the artist, when it really was the label’s fault. It was every label. I just say Roadrunner because that was what label we were on.”
While I certainly understand Bell's frustration with his initial contract, nobody forced him to sign it. While he certainly could be getting better royalties, it could also be argued that without the marketing push of the Roadrunner machine, Fear Factory wouldn't be able to have made a lifelong career out of the gig. Granted, their talent has a lot to do with it, but the label marketing definitely helped.
As for new Fear Factory, it's coming! Bell said:
“We have started writing a new record. I’d like to have it out by August and start touring in September. You have to tour right when the record comes out so people know that it is out. So put out a new record and start touring again… let the cycle begin.”