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TUFF DIARIES #14 … New York City, Mixing the Record, Video Shoots, Sony Publishing, Cherry St. and Tigertailz


Tuff Diaries #14
New York City, Mixing the Record, Video Shoots, Sony Publishing, Cherry St. and Tigertailz

Steevi Jaimz, Sir Arthur Payson, Atlantic Records, Martha Quinn, William Hames & The Limelight in NYC
Dates: February, March, April, May & June 1991


—  Time to mix our first ever full-length record.

Seeing and hearing our major label debut get mixed was amazing.

A man named Sir Arthur Payson was hired to mix the record.

He had previously worked with many great artists including; Alice Cooper, Ratt, John Waite, Air Supply, Joan Jett and Cher to name a few

Arthur did the mixes at Aire L.A. Studios in Glendale California.

This place looked like NASA.

The main room had a 72 track mixing console. And it was like 30 feet long.

Just crazy amounts of gear.

Also, there were multiple 2 inch tape machines, all sync’d up with all of our individual tracks on them.

It was early February 1991 and Mr. Payson was mixing about a song a day.

I recall a few days into the process Howard Benson and Arthur invited us down to hear some mixes.

It sounded beyond incredible.


Everything was so crystal clear, balanced and the sound left (almost) nothing to be desired.

At least from my amateur ears.

Of course there was the typical “my guitar solo isn’t loud enough” and “the snare drum needs more crack” from the peanut gallery.

I say this giggling, as we as the band were definitely those guys.

They listened to our comments and after about 20 minutes we were politely issued the “Ok, well thanks for coming down guys” goodbye.

This process repeated for about a week

Every other day we’d go to Aire L.A. and get to hear a few tunes.

After a long full day, there was Arthur and Howard waiting.

They’d play us a few new mixes, ask our opinion, take a few notes and then we’d leave.

I have to say, hearing our songs come to life in that studio after 6 weeks of recording was mind blowing.

By this point many other things were taking place on a daily basis.

Like what would be the running order of the songs.

This was for the most part Howard choosing which songs would go 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on.

Howard Benson plugging TUFF DIARIES #13 on Facebook.

Of course he would consult with us (Michael), but in the end I feel the running order chosen was perfect.

Other details were being sorted as well.

Including; album artwork, photo shoots, choosing the official Atlantic Records publicity shot, the 1st single, a video concept and album credits.

The credits included a mile long Thank You list.

All of our Endorsements and who did what from Producer, to Engineer, to Background Singers.

We also started to rehearse again.

We had a few shows coming up and a full U.S. tour was being booked for summer.

Rehearsal was weird at first as we were now playing these songs after recording them.

While some songs we had played for a few years others were brand new.

In pre-production and during recording – all songs evolved and thensome.

We kind of had to relearn to play some of the material from scratch.

For example the song “Ruck-A-Pit Bridge” was never played live.

Matter of fact, it was never even rehearsed live the way we recorded it.

That song as I previously noted was a guitar riff (The Dokken idea) that Jorge and Todd pieced together.

The lyrics and melodies were written during pre-production and some of it literally just days before I sang it in the studio.

So now to try and play it for the first few times was a little tricky.

Same applies for “The All New Generation”.

That song was never played live until after it was recorded.

We did perform it live as “Boys Will Be Boys”, but now it was a whole new arrangement with all new lyrics.

Added to that list was “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” as that went through some arrangement changes, along with lyric and melody tweaks as well.

Wake Me Up” was also a new one that we only recorded in the studio.

In a nutshell, rehearsal required a little more attention to detail after these songs went up a few notches.

It was more than a few months since we had done actual rehearsals, so it was time to get to work.

The last time we rehearsed as a band was in early December and that was only a few times as pre-production ended in November.

Drummer Michael Lean on the phone doing business for Tuff – 1991

New York City, here we come

I recall our first trip to the Big Apple courtesy of our new record label.

Atlantic Records set us up for a week to do press related stuff and flew the whole band to New York City.

They put us up at the Novotel in Manhattan.

We were doubled up and the usual was Michael and I in a room, then Todd and Jorge in another.

Good vs: bad. Lol.

The business guys vs: the party guys.

Haha…this is funny, but it’s kind of how we looked at things for years.

The analogy for the Kiss fans is, Gene & Paul vs: Ace & Peter.

Todd and Jorge both smoked cigarettes, smoked pot and did cocaine

Todd also drank a fair amount but Jorge wasn’t really a drinker.

Come to think of it, Todd would really only smoke pot to party, but Jorge smoked pot to exist.

He was a wake n’ bake kind of guy.

Literally he would sit up in bed and hit the bong before he even stood up.

Michael chain smoked cigarettes and had the occasional drink, but was for the most part clean.

I guess I was what you might call, straight edge.

I absolutely hated all forms of chemicals, be it smoke, drugs or alcohol.

But I was the one having sex without a rubber 5 nights a week with different girls.

Todd would always say, “I am drug free, if the drugs are free, they’re for me.”

When I would say, “I don’t want any of that”, Todd’s reply was: “Great, more for me.”

Everyone had their vices.

So, we’re in New York City and upon flying in we are picked up by a car and taken to the hotel.

We get checked in and go to our rooms.

This was amazing.

We were signed to Atlantic Records and this was just the beginning.

The label hooked us up, room service tab included and there was a whole week planned.

Michael was on the phone and I was looking out the window.

We’re 30+ floors up and looking out at the city that never sleeps.

Oh, and did I mention, Michael was on the phone.

Not sure if I have blogged about this previously, but Michael was ALWAYS on the phone.

Todd use to say the receiver was attached to his head.

But then again, Michael was the business guy.

He was our Gene Simmons or our Nikki Sixx.

Todd would joke with Michael,Okay Nikki, great.

We all pretty much busted each other’s balls non-stop, it was more in fun than anything.

But of course, in time the personal digs did wear on all of us and it was a recipe for disaster.

So, we’re just relaxing in the room, and there is a big dinner planned for us tonight.

I decided to go and check on Todd and Jorge, as they were right next door.

We’re in our rooms for maybe an hour max, and as I am sitting with Todd shooting the shit, suddenly there is a knock on the door.

I look at him surprised; “Who is that?

Chase gets up and opens the door and there is a nicely dressed man, “Mr. Chaisson?

Yes sir, I am Mr. Chaisson” answers Todd.

Your order sir” as the man stands with a big cart.

You can wheel that right in here” replies Todd.

The guy lifts off the silver covers and reveals shrimp cock-tail, an array of hors d’oeuvres and a few buckets of Corona on ice.

Todd scribbles his name on the black leather check binder and hands it back to the man.

Thank you Mr. Chaisson” as the guy backs out of the doorway.

“What the fuck are you doing?” were my first words.

Having some shrimp cock-tail and a few beers before dinner” says Chase.

My reply; “We just got here.

I am suddenly thinking to myself, “The label is going to think we are taking advantage.”

Chase: “Dude, chill out. Let’s celebrate.

So like a fucking narc, I run to our room.

Michael, do you know what these guys are doing? Chase is ordering beer and shrimp cock-tail and charging it to room service.

Michael’s response: “Kick ass, I want some.

So we both go back into Todd and Jorge’s room, and there sits Chase drinking beer and eating shrimp while flipping channels with the remote.

Michael doesn’t seem to give a fuck, then says: “Let’s order some shit to our room!

I am now more relaxed that the boss approves, so we head back to our room and order as well.

Some staff from Atlantic took us out that night and treated us like kings.

Dinner, club hopping and all of it paid for courtesy our record label.

I remember going out to “The Limelight” one of the Big Apple‘s coolest clubs.

We’re walking through a crowd of people and getting a lot of attention.

I would fuck her” says some random guy as I walk past.

I  turn around and laugh in his face.

That’s a guy you dumb fuck” his friend informs him.

Lots of people recognized us but it was hard not to, as we all had on our colors (leather jackets) complete with Tuff logo on the back.

We’re in NYC for a few days now and we’ve been going non-stop.

Atlantic had us at the label headquarters most days, then dinner and out on the town at night.

Some days we did press at the their offices, and others we did photo shoots around the city and shopped at the cool stores for clothes and CDs.

I recall walking throughout the building and then someone would introduce us, “This is Tuff. They are from Hollywood California.

Then everyone would shake our hands, and tell us how great we were. Ha.

In all of the offices were huge posters of Atlantic bands and the halls were decorated with RIAA Platinum and Gold awards.

Foreigner, AC/DC, Genesis, Rush, Skid Row and many more.

Then after a full day of this they’d send a car to get us and take us to a restaurant.

It would usually be a town-car or 2, or a big SUV type vehicle.

A few days in and I am back in Todd and Jorge’s room, and Todd is messing with the T.V. remote.

I ask, “What are you doing?

Thinking about ordering a movie” as he scrolls the screen.

Then I see him hit a button and a screen pops up with their bill.

I look and see that it says something crazy, it’s almost $1,000.00.

What the fuck! Dude, what is that?” I blast him.

It’s our bill” replies Chase.

Huh! You guys have racked up almost a grand?

Now, I am freaking out again.

Again, like a tattle-tale, I run back to our room.

Hey, Todd and Jorge have spent almost a thousand dollars in their room!”

How do you know that?” asks Michael.

It’s on their T.V. menu.”

So Michael grabs the remote, opens up our bill, and starts scrolling.

He gets to the bottom and I see our bill is actually higher than Todd and Jorge’s is.

By this time Todd walks in and sees our bill is more than theirs, and I am getting all worked up for nothing.

He just shakes his head and laughs.

I was now a bit embarrassed, and I do admit… I was a little overly controlling at times.

We had ordered some room-service too, but I am pretty sure our bill was more Michael making phone calls.

Just a peek into the world of Tuff as we made our way through the years.

This was trivial stuff, but there was definitely an on-going rift between our two sides.

It was like Team Michael and Stevie, against Team Todd and Jorge.

Collectively, we were a solid unit.

We really were, but there was also some divide.

And the strain between myself and Todd had been festering for years.

Our week in New York City was amazing, and it was just the start.

Tuff album cover shoot for “What Comes Around Goes Around”
Photo By: William Hames Santa Monica Calif. – March 1991
Copyright: RLS Entertainment


It’s now March 1991 and we’re shooting our album cover.

The merry-go-round concept and title What Comes Around Goes Around was Michael’s idea.

We shot it at the Santa Monica Pier’s carousel in Santa Monica California.

This cover art and photo shoot is a whole separate piece of the puzzle.

In other words, the initial $75k record contract was to record our album with.

But part of that contract also includes the label’s support, to do the art-work, advertising, along with hopeful video shoots and tour support too.

In short this means, going forward, Atlantic has to pay for everything related.

Well, they don’t have to… but if they want to support us or believe in us, then they will.

Famous Japanese photographer William Hames was hired to shoot our album cover.

We have shot with William more than any other photographer over the years and we had a great relationship with him.

I never knew this number, but my guess is the budget for the album shoot was in the 5-7k range.

I could be wrong, but I know when a pro photographer of his caliber, does a major label album cover – they were not doing it for cheap.

William shot the padded room album pics for Motley Crue’sDr. Feelgood” along with countless others including covers for Aerosmith and Poison to name a few.

The fact that Atlantic went in on a pretty expensive cover shoot also showed us some of their belief in us.

They could have simply had their art department slap our logo on a blank cover, so we were thankful.

They did something similar, a logo on black n’ white cover with the band D’Molls.

A great Chicago based group who kind of got shafted (to say the least) by Atlantic.

Editor’s Note: Speaking of this awesome band, if you want to read a GREAT book, I suggest Beat Me ‘Til I’m Famous by Billy “Dior” McCarthy / D’Molls drummer.

We did this shoot at night after the merry-go-round was closed.

And I remember it was raining and a bit windy but nothing else stands out.

By this point in our career we had done dozens of professional photo shoots and like shows, they are just part of doing business.

We also did additional shots back at William’s studio after finishing in Santa Monica.

As noted in previous diaries, William’s studio was at the same location where Amoeba Records now sits on Sunset Boulevard.

At the bottom of this blog are some photos from this shoot.

Fun Fact: Robert Cripps did our hair and makeup for the album shoot, he is the twin brother of classic era L.A. Guns guitarist Mick Cripps.

Fun fact #2: I now own all of our photos that we ever shot with William Hames. Including the 1991 cover shoot for “What Comes Around Goes Around”, the archive contains thousands of images.

Want a 1-of a kind image, framed and signed? Inquire to me direct!

I tried to help us recoup, by buying “What Comes Around Goes Around”
At The Wherehouse Music, on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
Bought the Cassette for $10.15 on May 14th 1991.

Bank of Atlantic

Atlantic Records is now essentially a bank for Tuff.

They are paying for the album, the cover photo shoot, videos, all related promotions and tour support.

Each of these things costs Atlantic a good chunk of money.

But in reality, it’s our money.

Money that they would have to recoup, from them selling our record before we would see anything in the way of profits.

We’re only 1 rock band on their label and likely in near last place as far as a priority is concerned.

The label only has so much money per quarter, or per year to spend on their artists.

This includes advance budgets to pay for recording albums, then the promotional stuff to get it out there, and the radio and video budgets along with touring costs.

Just spit balling here, but my guess is that Atlantic was easily a few hundred grand in on our record.

Add in the proposed advertising, cover shoot and next up was a video budget (or two) and more.

Easily pushing a quarter million dollars… and we’re small beans if you think about it.

How much do you think they spent on AC/DC, Foreigner, Rush or Skid Row?

And that is only a handful of their rock acts.

Let’s add Mr. Big, Kix, Saigon Kick, Badlands, Winger, Tattoo Rodeo and others.

We are competing with all of these groups to get the attention of the label and its staff.

There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many people in an office.

Pretty much every one of those bands I just listed released a record in 1991.

For the label to prioritize your band, in anyway… well it’s a big deal.

Especially when you have a dozen other bands all jockeying for position to get the label to support, back and feed their machine (band) with money.

I said it before, getting a record deal is not easy. And few get to accomplish that.

Now we did that, but are also faced with being great.

Or as great as we can be.

All in hopes of getting a chance, to be noticed by not just our record label, but also the fine folks at MTV and radio stations around the globe.

Add to that, sales managers at music stores like Sam Goody, Musicland and all the Mom & Pop’s shops too.

Even getting noticed by these people is just a chance… the chance that they might play our video, or song or display our poster on the wall in that store.

Then we have to get the fan, the buyer, those watching or listening – to be inspired enough to walk into that store and make a decision.

That decision is to buy our tape (or CD) over the others.

They might be a teenager and only have enough money for 1 tape or CD that week.

And what have we done, or what can we do, to make that kid buy Tuff “What Comes Around Goes Around” instead of Metallica, Poison, Ratt, Bon Jovi or Sleeze Beez.

Now our competition has expanded beyond our Atlantic Records label mates.

Because the MTV’s of the world, the radio stations and record stores are the meeting place for all bands, of all musical styles from all labels.

We now have been thrown into the full size pool.

We’re competing with all the other labels and their rock bands as well.

Bands on Columbia, Geffen, A&M, MCA, Warner Brothers and the list goes on.

Now think about that for a minute…

Truth is…we defied the odds.

The chances of us 4 coming together in Van Nuys California, like we did on July 11th 1987 and calling ourselves Tuff… it’s slim to none we make it to this point.

But we did.

I could not be more proud.

But…. and I say, but… there is no time to waste, or celebrate.

This record is done, but it isn’t even released yet.

There are more hills to climb, more gigs to play, more girls to fuck and more arguments to have in the band bus.

This is a bit mind boggling looking back, but you can see, there is a lot going on here.

Stevie Rachelle with English Glam Legend Steevi Jaimz (Tigertailz)
On the “IHKYG” Video Set / Burbank, California June 11th 1991

Steevi gives a salute to the video crew asking questions.

Crazee Tailz

I recall one day listening to our Tuff Hotline voice-mail and hearing a message from Steevi Jaimz.

Steevi was the original singer for the U.K. glam band Tigertailz.

I first met him in the fall of 1987 at The Rainbow Bar & Grill.

Steevi was visiting Hollywood with English journalist and Glam Rock aficionado Kelv Hellrazer.

Kelv had covered Tuff over the years in various European magazines like Metal Forces and Kerrang!.

Adding this here sucks… but as some of you may know, Kelv recently passed away on March 13th 2020. 

Kelv was a good dude, always and forever.


Steevi left me a voice mail explaining he was down in Orange County and auditioning for the band Cherry St..

I returned his call and he seemed a little puzzled, or concerned and wasn’t sure what to do.

He also stated that the Cherry St. guys had told him how huge they were on the scene, selling out shows, close to getting signed and so on.

The truth is Cherry St. was never a big name and I guess I kind of spoiled their plans by telling Steevi my thoughts.

Had he been all in on Cherry St., he would have never called and picked my brain to begin with.

I like to think, that I just reinforced what he was thinking on his own.

A few days later Steevi was at my apartment door in North Hollywood.

This was during the spring of 1991.

I recall he felt a bit bad for bailing on the Cherry St. guys but I also got the notion that they kind of over sold him on how great their group truly was.

He had been staying with them, rehearsing and I guess they were planning for Steevi Jaimz to be their new singer.

Until he got on the phone with me that is. Lol.

We always got along with Tom Mathers (guitarist) and the guys from Cherry St. but I was just being straight with Steevi about who they were as a band.

They had been on the scene a few years, their singer (Roxy Van Dahl) had recently left and it just wasn’t going to be a great fit for Steevi, so I told him my honest thoughts.

I also got along great with Steevi so I (we) welcomed him into our already full apartment.

Steevi was a gentleman, very polite and always respectful.

That is, until he had a few too many alcoholic beverages.

We’d go out to a club and he was such a pleasure to be around, and then like a Demon from Hell he would be ready to fight.

It’s all a bit funny looking back, but after a few incidents I was starting to realize what I had heard about him from his U.K. club days, might be true.

From my knowledge, it was the alcohol that induced his crazy behavior and fighting, and it was part of the reason he was kicked out of Tigertailz.

I never really knew the guys in that band, but I had met Pepsi Tate once at the Foundations Forum in Los Angeles.

Michael Lean and I actually ended up in an elevator with Pepsi.

I believe he was with one of his band mates – it was either Kim Hooker or Jay Pepper.

All real nice guys, but our meet n’ greet was riding from one floor to the next.

We said hello and goodbye all in a matter of 30 seconds. RIP Pepsi Tate.

Back to Demon Boy.

So one night we come back from a club and Steevi is particularly hammered.

I am in my room and suddenly I hear all this commotion.

I run down the hallway and see one of our roadies, Kendog and Steevi in a full brawl.

Kendog was about 250 pounds at the time, and Steevi was probably a buck twenty tops.

Steevi pushes Kendog who falls into our glass dining room table.

Chairs are tipping over, and lamps falling off end-tables, it’s a full fight scene.

We finally get the two separated and of course there was yelling and cursing.

Kendog is now hyperventilating and telling me what happened.

In short, saying: “This guy is fucking crazy!

Steevi is in the kitchen and overhears the conversation.

Next thing I know someone shouts: “He’s got a knife!

I turn around and Steevi is coming full speed with a steak knife raised in the air: “You motherfucker” in his English accent.

We all lunge to grab his wrist and arms to de-escalate the already chaotic brawl.

Finally we get the knife away from Steevi, and convince Kendog to leave our apartment and go home.

It was 3:00AM when we finally got everyone calmed down.

The next morning I walk into the living room and Steevi is sitting on the couch.

Hey mate, I’m really sorry about last night” says Steevi.

I looked at him, then at the broken dining room table and smashed lamp shade.

I just shook my head and told him: “It’s okay, we all act out and get a bit nutty once in a while.”

I then made him French Toast for breakfast like I had done several times before.

He really was embarrassed and I could tell he felt sorry for what had taken place.

Truth is, we’ve all lost it at some point in our lives.

But my guess, this was not the first nor last time Steevi would lose it.

I’m just glad we got the steak knife away from him.

Over the years I have remained friends with Steevi Jaimz.

He is the real deal and a very talented guy with a heart of gold.

Kendog survived the assault and continued to roadie for Tuff for years.

Over time, Kendog found his way into the Soul Fly camp and has been with them for over 2 decades now touring the world.

Kenny “Kendog” Carruth is one of the original crew members for our group and we couldn’t have done it without him.

Tuff video shoot for “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” Burbank, CA June 1991
Photo By: William Hames / Copyright: RLS Entertainment

Video Shoots

Friday May 17th 1991, Tuff was appearing at “Spring Fest” in Phoenix Arizona.

This was a big 3-day event sponsored by the local rock station KUPD.

We played the first night, the lineup was Great White, Bang Tango, SouthGang, Tuff and Eyes which featured Jeff Scott Soto.

This was our first festival show since being signed and oddly, our record was released earlier in the week on May 14th.

We were super pumped for so many reasons.

This (Phoenix) was essentially Tuff home base for the other guys.

And add to that we had a film crew following us around all day shooting footage for our debut video “The All New Generation.”

This weekend was amazing and we hung out on Saturday as well.

We watched our friends in KingOfTheHill, Todd’s brother’s band Badlands and L.A. Guns headlined.

Funny looking back, on Sunday was more of a Metal Day and Pantera was on 3rd supporting local Phoenix bands Sacred Reich and headliner Flotsam And Jetsam.

Tickets were only $8.00 in advance or $ 10.00 at the gate.

Like so many previous shows in Arizona, the weekend was awesome and on Monday we headed back to Los Angeles.

Promo for 98KUPD SpringFest in Arizona May 1991
Stevie Rachelle (Tuff) and Jack Russell (Great White)
Hanging out at “SpringFest” May 17th 1991

Not more than a week or two passed and we got a surprise call, Atlantic wants to change the video last minute.

Huh? What?” was pretty much all of our reactions.

Our manager called and told us that our ballad “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” was blowing up and the label wanted to jump on it.

Our song was in heavy rotation and getting top phone requests on multiple radio stations.

This included; Chicago’s The Blaze, KBER in Salt Lake City and others on the East Coast like WAAF in Boston too.

So from May 17th to the first week of June all hell broke loose.

Video Shoot #2

It was now Tuesday June 11th and today is the date of our next video shoot.

Well, it was actually going to be the 2nd part of filming for “The All New Generation” but at the last minute, it was switched to the ballad.

Atlantic has officially scrapped our first single “The All New Generation” before it even got off the ground.

That’s correct.

We actually shot that footage for “The All New Generation” in Phoenix but it’s no longer of any use.


We were not happy as we didn’t want to start off with a ballad, but the truth is at this point, at our level, we really don’t have any say.

Oh well…

The facts are, the live footage from Phoenix was going to be the B-roll footage to another day where we’d have a big shoot for “The All New Generation.”

So imagine that big video set for “I Hate Kissing You Goobye” – only we were to be playing to “The All New Genration”.

But since the ballad was charting in some markets, the label chose to switch it.

Crazy to think, the label had already manufactured cassettes as well, known as cassingles that were set to be shipped to record stores.

So we do this big production video shoot at the Burbank Water & Power Plant in Burbank California.

We arrive on set, to see that they have painted the entire back side of this industrial building purple.

Yes, you read that right, they painted the Burbank Water & Power Plant purple.

They also built a full size, 40 foot wide, 20 foot deep by 4 feet high stage for us to perform on.

Then they dressed the stage in a wall of amps, all with our purple Tuff logo on each cabinet.

Also, Michael’s drum riser, with his custom purple Sonor Drum kit.

There was a full video crew, dressing room trailers, lighting rigs, directors, stage hands and more.

Oh and catering too, the full deal.

During the shoot, which started just before sundown, we had select guests who stopped by to visit us.

Our friend MTV Veejay Martha Quinn, my buddy Steevi Jaimz of Tigertailz and of course our manager Brian Kushner flew out from Philadelphia.

MTV Veejay Martha Quinn chats with Todd Chase between takes.
On the set of the “IHKYG” Video Shoot, Burbank, California June 11th 1991

Producer Howard Benson was also on set along with select Atlantic staff, and our own road crew, Dennis, Kendog, Timmy and George.

Michael had his 5 year old son Stephen there, and of course all of us had our significant others as well.

At this point, all of us had a girlfriend.

I was with a girl named Annie whom I had met in early 1990 in Texas, Michael was with Christine (Stephen’s Mother), Todd with Stacey and Jorge was with Donna.

This video shoot went all night, and I mean all night.

Jorge was still cutting guitar solo shots as the sun was rising over the mountains to the East of Los Angeles.

I don’t know what this video cost, but my guess is it was easily $50,000.00.

Maybe more, and if that’s the case, equivalent to what we spent on the entire record.

Check out more still photos from my William Hames archives from the video set at the bottom of this blog.

My share of our $100,000.00 Sony Publishing Deal
This after paying our Manager & Lawyers and some band bills.
$7,069.00 paid to me on June 13th 1991

Show us the Money!

So to go along with our record deal Tuff signed a publishing deal and we received a six-figure advance.

This was huge news and it was for more money than our record deal.

We signed with Sony Music and received a $100,000.00 advance in early June.

This sounds like a lot, but…let me break a few things down for you.

Going back to the fall of 1990, when we signed our deal with Atlantic/Titanium… it was for $75,000.00.

This was the budget allotted, for the band to record the record.

But, in having a manager (Power Star / Brian Kushner) and a lawyer (Schindler & Associates), they are entitled to their cut for helping secure and negotiate that deal.

A manager gets 20%.

And the law firm gets 10%.

These are pretty standard fees for their respective positions.

They are entitled to their money, from our 75k record deal.

They also collect from the gross dollar amounts given to us for these deals.

In other words, their money comes off the top.

That’s $15,000.00 to management and $7,500.00 to the lawyer.

A grand total of $22,500.00.

But, we never paid them out of the initial recording budget.

The recording budget not only used up the full 75k, but we actually went over budget by about 15 grand.

In the end, “What Comes Around Goes Around” cost $90,000.00 to record.

Now, as noted, the manager and lawyer, did not take their cut of our record deal and if they had, the initial ($75k) money would have been down to $52,500.00.

Howard’s cut to produce the record was $22,000.00.

As you can see, if Howard, management and the lawyer all took their cuts. we’d be left with about 30k to record with.

This budget, also included some money, ($600.00 per guy, per month) we were given during pre-production and recording (November, December and January) to pay our rent.

Over 3 months, that is $7,200.00 to the band.

Remove that from the 30k, and now the record budget would have only been $22,800.00.

You think that’s crazy?

Check out how fast our $100,000.00 publishing check got spent.

Okay, so back to management (20%) and lawyer (10%).

These 2 get their cut, of all of our deals that they help secure.

So, that means they get this % from our publishing deal with Sony as well.

That deal was 100k, so management would get 20k, and the lawyers 10k.

But remember, they never took their cuts of the record deal, as they opted to leave the money in the pot to make a great record, and they would collect later.

Well, now it’s later as the band just received 100 grand.

Refreshing here, the management cut from record deal ($15k) and publishing deal ($20k).

Lawyer’s cut from record deal ($7.5k) and publishing deal ($10k).

Management is owed $35,000.00 and legal is owed $22,500.00.

Total due our manager and lawyer, is $57,500.00.

Remove that from our 100k and now our account has $42,500.00 left.

There are 4 guys in our band, and we’re all equal partners in Tuff.

But we also have some band bills, like monthly rehearsal space, etc..

We’re going to be rehearsing the new record, getting ready for tour, buying some new road cases and we need that lock-out space to store our gear at, as well as rehearse.

Michael figures some other related band bills and we all agreed to put $7,500.00 in the band account.

Now there is 35k left, and we agree to split it 4 ways.

Each of us 4 band members got a check for about 8 grand.

Mine was exactly $7,069.00.

I had a few random bills, borrowed monies that I owed management a few bucks.

So after signing the 2 big deals, nearly 200 grand – I got $7,000.00 and change.

And let’s not forget we were getting $600.00 a month while recording.

How does that sound?

Signed to Atlantic Records, and pulling in a whopping $150.00 per week.

Still wanna be a rock star? Lol.

I am guessing to some these numbers can be shocking.

But to us, we were pretty well versed and knew the drill.

The fantasy of being millionaires, buying mansions or sports cars was never really a part of my thought process.

Like it was for Benny Rhynedance of WildSide.

Benny boasted about their Capitol Records deal in his “The History Of WildSide 5-Part Series on Metal Sludge” and seemed bummed when it all didn’t go as planned.

He talked about smelling the new leather of his soon to be purchased Lamborghini.

Cue crowd laughter here… ha-ha Benny.

Even we knew this was dreaming.

But seriously, these thoughts of stacks of money like 50 Cent has on Instagram never truly entered my mind.

Honestly, it didn’t, not once.

I can’t speak for the others, but I’d bet they were in line with my train of thought.

We never…and I mean NEVER sat and talked about being rich. Or famous.

Money was not important.

I mean, it was, but in the big picture it wasn’t.

As noted in earlier Tuff Diaries, we’d get paid $ 1-2,000.00 a night, and play 2-3 gigs a week.

But we never, and I mean never took pay or salary.

Granted, our apartment in the early days was paid for by the band income as was our rehearsal space.

Michael oversaw all of this.

But whatever we made, usually went right back into the band.

Getting a 10 foot by 20 foot backdrop airbrushed with our logo, was not cheap.

Early on we were doing professiobal photo shoots and mass producing promotional materials like a National Recording Artist.

Aside from flyers, making a full-color wall poster was a few thousand dollars.

This is what separated us from 99% of the local bands.

And buying heavy duty cases for the guys’ heads, cabinets or axes.

For all shows, Tuff always had a full crew.

Roadies, soundman, a lighting guy, and even a pyro tech here and there.

We use to blow off flashpots at the Troubadour regularly.

And for shows out of town, we almost always had a tour bus.

So the fact that we now signed these deals, and no one got rich, well it was no surprise.

Now it’s time to take Tuff on the road, across all of America and beyond.

Stay tuned for Tuff Diaries # 15, which is all about our first official full length U.S. Tour, being on DIAL MTV, our trip to England and road stories from hell – which include us having our equipment truck stolen.

Thank you for reading…

Stevie Rachelle / Tuff

Message from the author.

People have said to me for years, “You should write a book, I’ll buy it.”

That’s not likely going to happen… not anytime soon at least. But if you are down with my blogs, my band or my various projects – I say thank you. 

I have self-released roughly 50 projects on CD. Cassette, VHS, DVD and Vinyl since 1994. All on my own. Without any label support. None. 

I have also kept Metal Sludge alive, afloat and online since 1998. For Free. You cannot imagine the workload a website of this magnitude can be.

No Kickstarters, no Go-Fund Me, and no Pay Me now and I’ll make a CD in a year and send it to you later. 

I am also self-managed, self-booked (most of the time) and 100% self reliant. A 1-man gang. 

If you want to support in anyway, buy a CD or Vinyl record from me, or a T-shirt. Or send me something direct via Pay Pal.

I am not begging. I am not sick and no hospital bill. Nope, just continuing my service to the fans that support my Rock N’ Roll. 

My direct Pay Pal email is – send a dollar, send ten or send fifty. Send whatever you like, or nothing at all. 

Many independent websites have Donate buttons, Metal Sludge has NOW added one, Top Right of this page.

No pressure, but hey, it’s an option if you care to do so. 

Thank you for all your loyal support of my projects.

Thank you again and all of your support is greatly appreciated. 

Stevie Rachelle

Read my previous blogs linked below, numbered and dated.
Entry #1  How I Made My Way To California, 31 Years Ago Today  (June 25th 2018) 

Entry #2  My First Meeting With Tuff, “Is That All Your Real Hair?”   (June 29th 2018)
Entry #3  Tuff audition, Jim Gillette screams, a near fist fight & our debut show  (July 5th 2018)
Entry #4  The Metal Years, Famous People, Cocaine, Kiss & Sex with a Miss Gazzarri’s Dancer  (July 14th 2018)
Entry #5  Guns N’ Roses, Del James, 1988, Sound City, Strippers, Crabs & You’re Fired!  (July 30th 2018)
Entry #6  Summer on Sunset, Vinnie’s Invasion, Tracii’s Glue Gun, Vain & Sex by a Dumpster (August 11th 2018)
Entry #7  MTV’s NYE Big Bash, Riki & Taime’s Cathouse & My Girlfriend was a Poster at Spencer’s (August 20th 2018)
Entry #8  Jon Bon Jovi, Sebastian Bach, Rick Rubin, Howie Hubberman, BulletBoys & Gazzarri’s (Sept. 16th 2018)
Entry #9  Summer Tour ’89, Andy McCoy, Def Leftovers, Max the Model, Z-Rock, Tommi Gunn & Lit (Oct. 10th 2018)
Entry #10 Goodbye 1989, Jessica Hahn, Skid Row, Martha Quinn, Young Gunns, Flyer War & Cock-Rings (Nov. 9th 2018)
Entry #11 Hello 1990, Texas, Britny Fox Tour, Strippers, Hells Angels and Atlantic Records signs Tuff (March 24th 2019)
Entry #12 Ready to Record, Howard Benson, FM Station, Jani Lane, Court hearing & my 1st Playmate  (June 2nd 2019)
Entry #13 Recording our Atlantic debut, Bret Michaels, Kane Roberts & Sex is fine, but no sleepovers (Aug. 27th 2019)
Entry #14 New York City, Mixing our Record, Publishing Deal, Video Shoot , Cherry St. & Tigertailz (March 25th 2020)
Entry #15 Hello MTV, The Nelsons, Jason Newsted, U.S. Summer Tour, London & our Stolen Ryder Truck (May 19th 2020)

Entry #16 Lita Ford, Jason Flom, 75+ Shows, Cocaine, a Lawsuit, Sweet F.A. & the Freeway Fight (July 29th 2020)
Entry #17 Hello 1992, Gene Simmons, More Money, Mike Starr, a New Bassist & Jason Flom II (March 20th 2021)
Entry #18 WildSide, Dee Snider, Tour Drama, Baywatch, New Label Search and Living in Reseda (Aug. 21 2021)
Entry #19 Michael Resigns, River Phoenix, Thirsty Whale, He’s Got a Gun, Stolen Van & Danny Quits (Jan. 16th 2022)
Entry #20 1994, Northridge Earthquake, Kurt Cobain, RLS Records, releasing “Fist First” (May 2022)

Tuff @ Facebook –  eBay – Amazon– iTunes – Instagram – Twitter – Store – Discogs – YouTube 

Stevie Rachelle @ Twitter – Facebook – Facebook 2 – Intsagram –  Reverbnation – Metal Sludge – Donate –

Tuff album cover shoot for “What Comes Around Goes Around”
Photo By: William Hames Santa Monica Calif. – March 1991
Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Stevie Rachelle / Lead Vocals
Tuff album cover shoot for “What Comes Around Goes Around”
Photo By: William Hames Santa Monica Calif. – March 1991
Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Jorge DeSaint / Guitars
Tuff album cover shoot for “What Comes Around Goes Around”
Photo By: William Hames Santa Monica Calif. – March 1991
Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Todd Chaisson / Bass
Tuff album cover shoot for “What Comes Around Goes Around”
Photo By: William Hames Santa Monica Calif. – March 1991
Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Michael Lean / Drums
Tuff album cover shoot for “What Comes Around Goes Around”
Photo By: William Hames Santa Monica Calif. – March 1991
Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Tuff video shoot for “I Hate Kissing You Goodbye” Burbank, CA June 11th 1991
Photo By: William Hames / Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Stevie Rachelle – Vocals on the set of our “IHKYG” video shoot.
Photo By: William Hames Burbank, Calif. – June 11th 1991

Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Jorge DeSaint – Guitars on the set of our “IHKYG” video shoot.
Photo By: William Hames Burbank, Calif. – June 11th 1991

Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Producer Howard Benson on the set of “IHKYG”
Burbank, California June 11th 1991
Michael Lean – Drums on the set of our “IHKYG” video shoot.
Photo By: William Hames Burbank, Calif. – June 11th 1991

Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Todd “Chase” Chaisson – Bass on the set of our “IHKYG” video shoot.
Photo By: William Hames Burbank, Calif. – June 11th 1991

Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Michael, Dennis Dudek (drum tech) Todd & Kenny “Kendog” Carruth (bass tech).
Photo By: William Hames for our “WCAGA” album cover photo shoot.
Sunset Blvd. studios in Hollywood, Calif. March 1991

Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Dennis “Rat” Dudek drum tech for Michael Lean at our “WCAGA” photo session.
Photo By: William Hames Sunset Blvd. Hollywood California March 1991

Copyright: RLS Entertainment
Michael Lean with his son Stephen on the set of our video for “IHKYG”
Photo By: William Hames, Burbank California June 1991

Copyright: RLS Entertainment


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