Adam’s Unauthorized Albums

This post is to try to separate the facts from the conjecture from the wishful thinking. I don’t know if it will work, but I’ll do my best.

FACTS

Adam has said that there was a point when, to pay the rent and eat, he took a gig as a session singer. This rather thankless job had him singing demos. These songs would be sent out to labels and singers in hopes that someone would buy them and put them on an album and maybe even on the radio. It’s work for hire – they get paid to sing, and sing as they are told, and that’s that. The same goes for any musician hired by a studio. Most of the music in a major label album is produced by session musicians as work for hire. None of them have rights in the music beyond getting their paycheck.

Monte said that HE got Adam that job, as a foot in the door and to get Adam experience in a recording booth. Since the two stories do not contradict each other, I’ll say they’re true. Monte also said they got paid “generously”. That’s a pretty empty term – does that mean they got paid above what session musicians normally get? Does that mean they got actual generous pay? Does that mean they got something else instead, such as studio time to record their own music? I have no idea – these are complete guesses.

Be that as it may, they worked for Wiltshire Studios, recording those demos. They also recorded other songs – their songs. Monte formed a band called The Citizen Vein, and hired Adam as the lead singer. Well, as much as “hired” means given that they never had a gig that paid more than tequila. He and Adam wrote a number of rock songs together, and recorded them, too. Adam also wrote some electropop tunes, and recorded them.

Yeah, the songwriter thing? Not new and not just for this album.

CV broke up, Adam went to Wicked and then onto American Idol, where he finally got noticed. So the studio, seeing money, decided to make some. They had the demos and the CV recordings, and they had some sort of control over them, so they decided to put an album together, using the CV songs and some demos as filler. They called “On With the Show”, and it popped up on Amazon one day, and no one trusted it.

Then it disappeared and in its place appeared “Take One”, which was the demos. And only the demos. The CV songs were blocked. Adam was also publicly unhappy about it, but he couldn’t do anything about the demos, and people still bought them (I think a radio station even added one) and even gave them to him to sign. Which he hated, but being Adam, signed anyway.

Then Adam’s real album debuted in a storm of controversy.

A year later, a second “bastard” album appeared – Take Two. This one was all CV songs. And almost as soon as it appeared, it…went away. Adam completed his world tour, got a Grammy nomination, began work on his second REAL album, and made a change in his personal life.

And right now, as I write, there are three albums out there – Take Two has resurfaced, The Paramount Sessions, which is half Adam’s demos and half demos by a guy named Steve Cooke for that same writer, and which feature Adam and Monte in the ad text and then there is Beg for Mercy, which is billing itself as Adam’s sophomore album, and which is apparently remastered CV songs. The cover art features Adam’s name, and only Adam’s name.

Adam is on record, at least for the Paramount Sessions, which he may have confused with Beg for Mercy, as saying (well, tweeting) that he was unaware of them, that he did not know Steve Cooke, that they were Take One all over again, that the real mastermind was Welsford, and that he minded because these songs do not reflect who he is right now. And that everyone is out to make a buck.

That does not sound happy to me. It sounds, to me, like he was blindsided by something he thought he’d buried or at least survived in the past.

He thought BFM was actually Take One, which shows he knew nothing about that project, but he and/or his label has managed to block the CV songs in the past twice, which sounds like he doesn’t want CV songs out there.

And he’s been silent on the issue since. This is also a fact.

Monte and Cooke have both posted explanations. Both site the fact that they (and Adam) have no control over these songs – any of these songs. And Monte maintains that, despite that, he and Adam still have songwriting credit and get money for that.

The rest are excuses that don’t have any bearing on the situation.

Now is the time for speculation. And I’m going to say this. I’m NOT objective. I’m an Adam fan. I’m not a Monte fan (or a Tommy fan or a Cam fan, or Isaac or LP. Or Lisa the keyboardist (remember her?)) I’m not even really a fan of Sauli or Eber or Neil. These people are merely Adam-adjacent to me. I may LIKE some members of the touring band and be more indifferent to others, I may think his brother and father are fun to read, and I may think his boyfriend is adorable. But I’m not their fan. If they went away, I’d be concerned as to how Adam felt, and I might miss one or two, but that’s about it.

That means that my focus will always be Adam. He’s not perfect, but he’s open and not a liar (he may evade, obfuscate, or misdirect, but he doesn’t out and out lie to us) and I believe what he says directly. And if there are sides, I will take his. Most of the time. This is one of those times.

So the theories in fandom are rife – Adam and Monte were both blindsided. Adam and Monte both want the profit from this album, but Adam can’t say because RCA won’t let him. Monte has betrayed Adam for money. Monte has been on the outs with Adam since the time his wife had that rant about Adam, and this is one of the reasons. Adam shut Monte out of his album. Adam has fired Monte. (Well, in effect – not going to use Monte as part of his promo or touring band). Adam owes Monte this for taking him away from his family for so long last year. Monte helped start Adam’s career, too.

Yeah, well. There’s actually no way of knowing most of this. I can argue against some of it – while the session work might have been intended, in part, to help Adam, Adam achieved his current level of fame himself, by going on American Idol and working hard ever since. Nothing that happened before Idol has any effect. Adam *PAID* Monte to go on that tour and if Monte didn’t want to go, Adam could have found another guitarist. Since Monte financed his second album largely from the generosity of Adam’s fans, and Adam employed him for over a year, I’d say Adam owes Monte nothing. I don’t think, btw, that Monte owes Adam anything, either. Monte was shut out of Adam2, but we don’t know how that decision was reached. We also don’t know the fall out of Lisa’s rant. There are rumors of arguments, but those are RUMORS.

That leave what did they know, when did they know it and what could they do about it, and again, this is purest speculation.
Monte maintains that he has no control over the songs, and couldn’t stop this publication EVEN IF HE WANTED TO, although he still thinks the songs are great. Steve Cooke also says that they signed over control. And Adam is not happy, but he seems unable to do anything, either. Of course, we have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes.

We have no idea about a number of things.

But I have a guess. A complete and total guess, but it fits the facts that we know. So, I’d call it a theory. One that could be disproved, I think, with more facts. But these are what we have.

Our heroes walk into the studio, looking for work – or maybe had the contacts to get the work. And maybe they wanted studio time as well the money for rent and food. And they worked a deal. There were the demos, and those are just demos. Nothing special about that. But there were the CV songs, to ship to labels and maybe make a record out of, and while they could have recorded them in a home studio, real studios are better. And, seriously, Adam’s voice is worth better equipment. And the songs would certainly sell better that way. If they sold. So, they made a deal. They’d get studio time, in lieu of some of the pay (not all, cause, you know. Rent and food) but also they’d let the studio share in the songs. Maybe, they’d even give the studio, which was attached to an indie label, control of the songs so that they could maybe sell them. Wasn’t like the band was earning money, you know?

It might well have been, at that time, worth the risk.

And the studio can’t take away writing credit, which would mean they would have to pay Adam and Monte for the songs.

Adam and/or RCA was able to do something in 2009 and again in 2010 to stop these songs from being released. Not sure what they did – threat of lawsuit? The fact that Adam did have writing credit? Maybe Monte also helped? I have no idea. None at all. But whatever it was, it’s not working now. Take Two is also out there now. We have two albums of CV songs. Whee.

So, maybe Monte is right. There IS nothing they can do. BUT. It’s Adam’s name on that album, in big, ugly letters. Not Citizen Vein. Not Adam Lambert and Monte Pittman. Adam Lambert. And it’s an Adam Lambert album at a point when people are plotzing for a new Adam album. An album that was supposed to be released in a month, but now won’t be out until February or March. Darn it.

Adam isn’t saying anything right now. He simply not want to. He may feel he’s said all he needs to say. He may not want to say anything negative about a friend. Or he may be waiting for lawyers and so on to do their job. He may even have been told to be silent by his label or those lawyers until its over. We have NO idea. But Adam had a long twitter party last Sunday and said not one thing. The only thing we do know is that he’s not happy.

Monte, on the other hand, doesn’t seem all that upset. He’d rather make money off his current album, but he does need money – neither Madonna nor Adam are going to be touring before next summer at the earliest, and promo work is limited at best – and this album will give him money. Money that probably doesn’t matter to Adam, who is doing well financially and doesn’t want to weaken his brand, but might make a difference to Monte. So even if he was also blindsided, even if he had no say in the matter, he’s okay with this. Can’t blame him, totally, but from Adam’s point of view, it’s…sketchy. He doesn’t want his name (part of his brand, after all) used to make money for Welsford without his permission, and he doesn’t want these songs, which really aren’t him, out there right now.

Will this hurt Adam professionally? I doubt it. I think that Adam2 will sink or swim on its own merits and this will have little or no bearing on that. But it has to be annoying, like an insect buzzing near your ear. And it will definitely NOT help Adam at all to have inferior product under his brand name.

But will this hurt him personally? If a friend betrays him, pushes something that he does not want and uses his name, of course that will hurt. And if Adam is, as Monte himself said, very loyal – the thing about loyal people is that they don’t forgive betrayal easily. It may take them awhile to accept it, but once they do, you will never be trusted again. And I don’t want to see Adam hurt. Not now at this delicate time, not ever. So, I want to believe that Monte was also blindsided and just needs the money too badly to condemn it.

I really do.

I just can’t. Because he seems happy about it. He doesn’t seem to care that Adam doesn’t like it – he may well feel hurt that his friend is unhappy, but I’m an Adam fan, so I’m taking Adam’s side.

(And maybe Monte knew more than Adam did, and maybe he had more control over the songs than Adam did, and maybe he wasn’t even blindsided at all, but didn’t tell Adam because he knew very well how Adam would react, as Adam reacted in 2009 and 2010. And maybe this friendship is over, which would be very sad. And maybe they can reach an accommodation and stay friends. Maybe even keep Monte in the touring/promo band until/unless Madonna calls. Which no one could call betrayal because Madonna does take precedence over Adam. Maybe. So many maybes.)

We know what happened in the past, more or less. What we don’t know is what’s happening now, and we can’t know what’s in the future. I just want Adam to be happy and productive and give us the best album he can, and not have to deal with any of this at all.

As for buying it – I have no intentions of doing so. And that’s all I can say.

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About mamadeb

I'm a devoted fan of Adam Lambert, but also of cooking, knitting, science fiction and pretty anything pop culture. I'm @_mamadeb on Twitter.
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