The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to have a hit song and not know it.

In 2007, a song I co-wrote, “I Still Burn” was recorded as the debut single of the winner of the German version of “Pop Idol”. It was a smash hit through out Europe, charting in many countries that I have yet to set foot in.

The problem is, I didn’t write that song; someone else named Pete Wright did. When I say I did, it isn’t like claiming responsibility for the achievements of my namesakes, otherwise I could say I played bass for the band Crass and was a former British secret service agent turned author. The difference is that two very important organizations seem to think I did.

First, I’ll start with the IRS, who recently sent me a two thousand dollar tax bill. Although I haven’t seen the bill myself, they said I didn’t claim $16,000 in royalties that I had made in 2007. I made $16,000 in 2007? I sure could have used it; I spent most of that year eating tuna and ramen as I finished my book and spent a few months as a kept man in Texas. I would have loved to take my wonderful then-girlfriend to Outback a couple of times to show my appreciation.

Then there’s ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Arrangers, and Publishers. This esteemed organization has been vigilantly protecting the rights and royalties of artists such as myself since 1917. Obviously they were much more zealous about my rights than necessary, since I was getting someone else’s money. Since I’m my own record company and get no radio airplay to speak of, I didn’t feel the need to burden ASCAP with the details of my travels over the last few years, so I didn’t give them a change of address. So to my old apartment, fat royalty checks were arriving completely unknown to me.

But between the night I found out about the royalty tax bill and the next day when I was able to investigate the matter, my mind swam with possibilities. To get that much money, the song in question would have to had some substantial sales and airplay. In this country, I’m almost completely obscure, I haven’t sold a physical CD in over 3 years and can’t get a arrested in this town. To think that there was some place on Earth where people were feeling the magic of Your Pal was a thrilling proposition. This hope was dashed quickly by a visit to the real Pete’s myspace page.

Hopefully some one at the IRS reads my blog.