Help The Wrens Get Their Albums Released!
After making three attempts to license and one to purchase outright The Wrens'
first two (long out-of-print) albums from the record company responsible for
Creed, Absolutely Kosher Records head (and major Wrens fan) Cory Brown is going
public with his frustration.
Brown wants Wrens fans to put pressure on Wind-Up Records to either re-release
the albums or sell them to his label. "It's just criminal," Brown said during
a phone interview. "Wrens fans are so enthusiastic, and for Wind-Up to sit on
these records is really, really irresponsible."
The two records in question 1994's Silver and 1996's Secaucus were originally released by Grass Records. Grass was purchased by businessman Allen Meltzer, who revamped the label and renamed it Wind-Up not long after The Wrens, a New Jersey quartet, opted not to re-sign with Grass; the band reportedly turned down a million-dollar deal. The two albums have been out of print since the Grass logo was retired in the late '90s.
Brown had hoped to license or buy the out-of-print albums so that Absolutely
Kosher, The Wrens' current label, could reissue them, making them available
to the public at a reasonable price for the first time in nearly a decade. Brown
said he recently offered Wind-Up $100,000 for rights to the two albums.
"Their interest is in not appearing foolish," Brown theorized, regarding Wind-Up's decision to decline his $100,000 offer. Wind-Up did not return a call from this reporter, and could not be reached for comment.
"If The Wrens were to skyrocket, or in case they signed to a major, which is not going to happen, [Wind-Up] want to be able to capitalize on that," Brown continued.
In 2003, The Meadowlands, an album The Wrens spent five years working on in their home studio, was released by Absolutely Kosher, an indie label consisting of Brown, two others and an army of interns operating
out of his garage. The album was an indie-rock sensation, receiving numerous rave reviews. That year Neumu editor Michael Goldberg said The Meadowlands "just may be the best album of 2003."
"But as exciting as it is to all of us to have this grassroots explosion," Brown said, "for a company like Wind-Up (home to Creed, Drowning Pool and Evanescence), it's still small potatoes.
"A lot has been made in the press that (The Wrens) were screwed and they really weren't," Brown added. "It was just a different path they wanted to go
Brown first attempted to license the albums about two and a half years ago. In
response, Wind-Up "insisted" that Absolutely Kosher repay the $15,000 advance
Wind-Up had given The Wrens for Secaucus. "Are you kidding me?" laughed
Brown. "You're talking about a decade-old advance. You really wanna dig up the
past with this band, when all they want is to see the records in print so people
don't have to pay $100 on eBay for Secaucus?"
Brown said Wind-Up label executives advised him to check back in six months to see if his offer might be reconsidered; that's advice he said he's already taken three times before. "It's not a priority for them," Brown said. "When I initially approached them, I said, if they [Wind-Up] reissued the albums, I'd leave them alone; that was my strategy and they had no interest in it. They're still squandering the opportunity."
Meanwhile, The Wrens will soon begin recording their fourth, as yet untitled, album. "The Wrens are indeed about to start work on a new record which they intend to knock out before the end of the year for a spring release," Brown wrote in an email. Jenny Tatone [Wednesday, August 3, 2005]