It came from nowhere. It was a normal session with an unexceptional brief. A music track, a producer and a client.
All appeared to be going well except that the client decided he wanted a more hands on approach and started not only moving the goal posts, but choosing a new open playing field in which to place his product.
“Could we change this, add that, move this word to there? I’m not really sure about the voice over! What would it sound like in mono? Is the high hat pitched too high? What would it sound like after the fade”?
The producer at the time, the amazing and exceptionally talented Chris Sandford could take it no longer. He stood, threw the script across the control room floor and marched to the studio door; “I’ve had enough! I’m far too rich to be doing this. I’m going fishing!!” And he disappeared leaving client, composer and engineer to fend for themselves in picking up whatever pieces were left of the unfinished session. Hence was born: ‘The Far Too Rich’ club.
It was something I’d never heard before. Answering back to the client. Although Chris was probably not the first, I was amazed and amused that someone could do this. In my book, the client was always ‘right’; To be obeyed, never questioned. But in this world of advertising into which I’d been thrown there was a school of thought and practice that certainly put this into doubt suggesting that those who knew their craft, knew better. Who’d have thought?
From that point after creating the ‘Far Too Rich Club’ we decided that if we were brave enough to say this to an actual client, risking losing the entire job in hand, there would be a case of champagne offered as a prize. I personally came close and did manage to say it to a client but with little conviction. I managed to hang on to the commission and finish the job.
On one occasion at a live concert at the infamous Queen’s Head pub in Angel, London, Jem and I were playing our fingers and lungs out when the P.A. decided to stop working. Immediately, the sound guy standing to the side of the stage decided that rather than try to fix the problem he would use our on-stage monitors, the speakers we had to hear ourselves, and turned them around to face the audience. So, in theory they could hear us, but we couldn’t hear ourselves. The noise from the audience started to increase because no matter how hard he pushed them these smaller speakers just didn’t fill the room and the chatter became more of a background distraction as they really couldn’t hear us playing. At one point in one of the songs, Jem turned to me and mouthed: “What shall I do?”.
“Stop!!” I said probably a bit too forcefully.
We both stopped mid song and I grabbed her vocal microphone.
The noise in the room was increasing and it was like we weren’t actually there on stage. So, I thought I’d risk it.
“Hey listen”, I shouted. “I’m far too rich to be doing this so shut up!!”
There was a faint decrease in vocal level and a ripple of applause.
“I really don’t need to be doing this but Jem does so shut’ the front door’ up, behave and listen!!” The room fell silent especially after I’d actually pointed to a couple at the bar and told them forcefully to leave the room if they wanted to continue drinking and shouting at each other.
After we’d finished several people came up and apologised and we left the gig with a degree of respect and with whatever reputation we’d had intact. Sadly, no other members of the FTR. club were present so the case of champagne didn’t materialise.
To this day I still hold fast to the principal that there are definitely some things I do know more about and if it comes to it, I am far too rich to take the bull that is so often handed out mostly through ignorance and other people’s insecurity. Hold your ground. If you know and you feel strongly say so. Life is too short and it’s more likely that you are more qualified. If you’re convinced of the right path to take fight your corner. Don’t be afraid and try to be ‘Far Too Rich’.