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Industry 'duty of care'

Suspending troubled musicians won't work cries Wolfmother singer

  • 21/10/2009
  • Georgie Rogers
Wolfmother Andrew Stockdale in the 6 Music Hub

Earlier this week, it was announced that a coalition of label bosses want to implement a legal clause allowing them to stop paying artists who become addicted to drugs.

Wading into the debate, Wolfmother frontman Andrew Stockdale thinks the plans won't work.

He claims some of the best music has come from musicians "breaking down their inhibitions" and that sometimes being dysfunctional leads to great art.

"You wouldn’t have Purple Haze [Jimi Hendrix] and Dazed and Confused [Led Zeppelin]. Keith Richards wouldn’t have written all the riffs and stuff," he told 6 Music.

In a campaign being led by Marc Marot, CEO of Sports Entertainment Group UK Ltd and former head of Island Records, industry bosses want new guidelines which encourage a ‘duty of care’ in the music business.

This would mean artists whose health is damaged by substance abuse or self harm, rendering them unable to perform, could face suspension from their label.

Marot claims the music industry should learn from big sports contracts, where athletes will sign a document promising to stay in good health and keep control of their behaviour.

"Everyone has their own right to live how they want to live."

Andrew Stockdale

"There is sometimes a vested interest in people misbehaving and it’s not that I or my colleagues want to take the 'rock 'n' roll' out of rock 'n' roll.

"We don’t, but what we want to do is provide a safety net for those people that are too damaged to be able to recognise within themselves, how to get out of it," he told 6 Music.

But Stockdale thinks the record companies should not be putting such high demands on musicians in the first place.

"They want a soundtrack to evoke emotions, to feel something and then they want the artist to be 9 to 5 cookie cutter, turn up on time, do this, do that and be morally virtuous," he explained. "That’s too much to ask of a human."

In recent years, troubled talents Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty have missed shows or received poor reviews, which many people have put down to their choice of lifestyle.

The Wolfmother singer reckons it’s the risk labels take when they sign artists which are more volatile.

"Everyone has their own right to live how they want to live," said Stockdale. "As for selling units and doing business with a person like that, that’s the choice the label has to take when they enter into that agreement."

The Australian quintet performed in the 6 Music hub yesterday, playing songs from their second album, Cosmic Egg, which is out on Friday 23 October.

Check out the pictures by clicking here.

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