Exclusive: The Mavericks Amicably Move On From Big Machine Label Group
The Mavericks will launch their own label after completing a two-album deal with The Valory Music Co., an imprint of Big Machine Label Group.
Paul Deakin, a founding member of the band, tells MusicRow that the parting with Big Machine was amicable on both sides. Big Machine President/CEO Scott Borchetta is a longtime advocate for the band. Deakin credits Borchetta with breaking “What a Crying Shame” at country radio in the 1990s while he was working in radio promotion for MCA.
“He was the one who allowed us to do everything that we’ve done and he championed us and put us out there in a much bigger way than otherwise we would have been,” Deakin said.
Deakin also gives credit to Borchetta for making the new chapter of The Mavericks more than just a reunion tour. In contrast, the band released two acclaimed projects for Valory Music Co.: 2013’s In Time and 2015’s Grammy-nominated Mono.
“I love those records. To me, the two records that we put out on Big Machine are right up there with my favorite things that we’ve ever done,” Deakin adds. “And that was Scott allowing us to be us. There was not any real agenda other than, ‘Hey, go be The Mavericks. Build it and they will come.’ And it’s worked.”
Since departing Big Machine, the award-winning band has aligned with Nashville’s Thirty Tigers to create the label Mono Mundo Recordings. They already have three albums planned through the end of 2017. The first, a concert album titled All Night Live, is expected this fall (once the vinyl is ready). Spring will bring a collection of new material with original songs. They’re also wrapping up a Christmas album expected in fall 2017.
David Macias, President of Thirty Tigers, says, “The Mavericks have been one of my favorite bands for some time, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. There is a cool classicism and off the charts craft to the music they make. We feel very grateful for their faith in us to go fight for the amazing new music they are making.“
In the meantime, The Mavericks are performing on CBS This Morning on Saturday (June 25), as a 60th birthday present for business journalist (and big fan) Anthony Mason. Look for a northeast Christmas tour this winter.
Deakin said that a former business manager who handled their finances nearly derailed the band in 2014, to the point where touring in 2015 didn’t seem feasible. After dissolving that deal, the group hired an accounting firm to sort things out. In no uncertain terms, the firm gave the band members some strict guidelines to get back in the black.
“And we did,” Deakin says. “And it was a great experience and also a lesson in ownership in your own business. When someone else is doing it, you tend to focus on other things, and it was empowering for us. Now we know why we’re going to do a certain gig. Now we know why we’re not taking hotel rooms if we have two buses.”
The more they became financially aware, the more they started to make their own career decisions. As a result they also parted ways with artist manager Ron Kitchener, who Deakin insists is “a great guy and a great manager.”
He continues, “We started meeting with our booking agents and planning everything out, and doing everything ourselves, and all of these things gave us empowerment. It really meant that on the hard days of touring, it reminded us we know why we’re doing this. We’re playing in a casino somewhere in North Dakota, which has nothing to do with our career but it pays really well, so we can play Tipitina’s instead of a corporate club, or something like that.”
Ultimately the touring decisions proved to be profitable, so much so that the band started recording a live album on their own dime. The only trouble was, the band included many of the songs from the Big Machine albums.
That means Borchetta could have busted them on a contractual clause that would have prevented re-recordings of those songs within such a short time frame. However, after a business conversation, the two sides worked out a deal.
“I just want to make sure that the love is known both ways, from us for Scott and his company and everybody there at Valory,” Deakin concludes. “We’re all still friends and we all still celebrate whatever successes we had together.”
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