Will Socolov bagged it up

As disco evolved into the many-headed dance stylings of the ’80s, Will Socolov and cosmic cellist Arthur Russell founded a label to match – the always influential Sleeping Bag Records. During the house era, Socolov brought us Freeze Records with long-term buddy Todd Terry. He also released Jay-Z’s first record, discovered Kurtis Mantronik and had a string of European hits with artists like Joyce Sims, Mantronix and Dhar Braxton. Here he tells the tale of one of New York’s most iconic labels and how it became mired in disagreements, bad decisions… and freebasing.

Interviewed 31.1.15, by Bill

How did you first meet Arthur Russell?
My father was a lawyer for David Mancuso who had a club called the Loft. Steve d’Acquisto and David had this on and off relationship and this time it was on. I went to the Loft and met Arthur one night. Maybe even Steve introduced us. Basically, they needed money to finish Loose Joints and I talked my father into giving them the money, so he gave Steve and Arthur money to finish it. I’m sure you’re familiar with the Loose Joints project. 

Is It All Over My Face’?
Right. What happened was it was a disaster apart from that song, but basically Larry Levan was mixing it when he had free time and the guy who ran the studio came in saw that Larry was working and it wasn’t on the clock, so he kicked him out. So they left with the mix they had done which was a very raw mix and they ended up putting it out, which happened to be a great thing because it created a new style in dance music at the time, a much rawer sound than the Salsoul Records that were coming out then. Basically, the thing fell apart, West End dropped them and Arthur and I had become friends. So I had been away, I’d been living in Hawaii, and I had an apartment on Thompson Street, in Soho, and I’m walking down West Broadway and Arthur is walking up. We ran into each other and started talking and after talking for about half an hour or an hour Arthur said, would you like to start a label? And I said sure. So Arthur and I then became good friends and collaborators on Sleeping Bag Records. 

Where did the name and logo come from?
The interesting thing was we were very…Arthur came from Iowa, I came from a middle class family were my mother was an editor and my father was a lawyer. My mother graduated magna cum laude and all this stuff. I think they aspired for us to become intellectuals. I don’t want to say snobbery, but there was a reaction to the disco look of Nehru collars and Jheri curls and there was a this whole smooth disco thing where you were…

The Studio 54 look?
Yeah. Arthur and I never fitted into that and never wanted to fit into that. We were like young kids who were into dancing. We hung out with friends who were very hippie-ish in their mentality. I wasn’t but i was a New Yorker I really enjoyed a lot of different things and different cultures and i wasn’t going to be stereotyped. So we made Sleeping Bag as a reaction to that whole Salsoul, disco Studio 54 thing, dressing sharp. We wore dungarees and sneakers. Arthur had a lot of artist friends and so did [Arthur’s boyfriend] Tom Lee. Tom at that time worked for a picture framer, who did a lot of work for artists. He came up with the idea of the koala bear. Basically, when we were kids there used to be a publication called Highlights and they’d always have a picture of the woods and it would have animals in it and they’d be camouflaged and you had to find them and circle them. I gave the idea to Arthur of having a campground scene. We’d just vibe with ideas and just laugh. The name was a riff on James Brown’s ‘Papa’s Gotta Brand New Bag’. I was listening to the radio while talking to Arthur and James Brown came on and I said to him, ‘James has got a brand new bag; I’ve got a sleeping bag’.
Arthur said, ‘That’s it, we’ll be Sleeping Bag Records.’ I was kind of like into it, too. We didn’t have the money or anything to promote the records like big established labels. For us the only way that labels like us could do it was to stick out and do things like that. 

Was your first big breakthrough record ‘Go Bang’? How did that come together?
What happened Arthur had already been working on 24/24. Matter of fact, the guys that played on Loose Joints, was the Ingram family from Philly. Arthur loved working with them – or some of them. I don’t know if you know who Butch Ingram was but he was more of an established R&B star and didn’t really get into Arthur, he thought he was a bit crazy and his music was a little bit, too… you know.

But Jimmy and Timmy, they really got into it and just jammed. Arthur would just jam with them and that’s what Go Bang was, it was a jam. Arthur had gotten some money, some grants. He always seemed to able to pull some rabbit out of his hat. He did this 24/24 Music, which was a lot of jamming with the Ingrams and others. The Ingrams were the main players on that record. When he met me we decided to put it out and he thought that ‘Go Bang’ could be a big record but he thought his mix was too obscure. It was his idea: he said we need someone like François K to do it. He asked François, who was really into it. The rest is history and François turned in a great mix. When Arthur first heard the mix, it was standard Arthur. We were in the Loft and he said, ‘I can’t believe François is trying to destroy me’.
I said what are you talking about?’ 
He said, ‘Listen to the drums, they’re so muddy.’
‘Arthur, it’s part of the mix.’
Arthur was kind of like that. He would say very dramatic things but he would either realise or know what he had said or he had done it for effect. He started laughing and I started yelling at him, ‘You’re out of your fucking mind! Have you ever seen this place go as crazy?’ And every DJ that was there, they’d all come up and say, ‘Will, when can I get a copy?’

What was it like working with Arthur on a creative level? It’s been said he would struggle to finish things. 
Arthur was prolific in making music. How many records came out? Very few. That’s the thing about him. It’s all coming out now, because of Steve Knutson and Tom Lee. They’re putting it out post his death. He was prolific, he was making music all the time, but we released very little of it and that was one of the reasons our partnership broke up. That’s why I had all these fights with him. Even though he made records very inexpensively we never put anything out. I’d rather make records more expensively and release them! He’d say, ‘Well this isn’t ready’. Arthur had real issues getting stuff out. He was never satisfied. 

I ran into Arthur all the time, because I lived in Soho and he lived in the East Village. And he would always love to come over to the Westside. One because Arthur was gay and there was a gay community there, but the other thing is he loved the sunsets. I would meet up with him him and he’d be sitting crosslegged right near the Westside Highway just looking at the sunset. He would talk to me about the value of that. Arthur said something to me that was so profound and really affected me, he said, ‘I really believe that music can heal’. I think I agree with him. I think that a lot of his thoughts about music were correct in terms of music having a healing quality. That’s why we stopped being partners, because it was incredibly frustrating. He was filled with self-doubt. Arthur had pretty beautiful vocals. But he always shitted on his vocals. I remember when we heard Leroy Burgess singing on some song. He said, ‘Leroy Burgess can sing like a bird, he’s got a beautiful voice. I can’t do that’.
‘But Arthur, your voice is different. Leroy Burgess probably can’t sing like you.’ He was very difficult. 

It must have been a real battle to get things like the 24/24 album album.
That one, for some reason, he’d already finished it. It wasn’t that difficult, or as difficult as other things. I don’t remember exactly why, but it came out pretty quick and we got it out. We worked on the single. I don’t know why it was so easy to get that out compared to other albums.

How did [Class Action’s] ‘Weekend’ cover come about? 
Bob came up to me and knew I went to the Garage and was friends with Larry. He said, ‘Let’s do a cover of “Weekend”.’
I said, ‘That’s a great idea.’ 
I wasn’t really into the idea of doing the cover but the reason this was so appealing was because Atlantic Records fucked up the Phreek version. They didn’t do the right version and they just fucked up constantly. So we were like, let’s do this. Everyone wants the right version of ‘Weekend’ and they keep putting the wrong version out. I asked Larry about it, he flipped out, he was excited, that’s great! Nobody can get the right version. The funny thing is Atlantic re-released it when we put our version out and they fucked it up again! They put out the wrong version the 2nd time. The version that Larry wanted was the one with the piano at the end. They never put that version out. They shortened it and edited and never put the right version out. That’s what happened at big companies, there was a level of ineptitude there. So that’s why we did it. We did Jamaica Girls too, ‘Need Somebody New’, Arthur wasn’t against that. He knew it was a commercial record. My problem with Arthur was he didn’t make any records! We’d be going back and forth and I’d say, ‘Well what can you give me?’ 
‘I don’t have anything right now.’ 

When you were promoting records, I guess you’d be going from one club to another, which clubs did you go to and which DJs’ relationships did you cultivate?
I was friendly with David, but I became less friendly as time went on. I became very close with Larry. The truth of the matter was there were a lot of DJs I was friendly with. For example, Jellybean loved ‘Go Bang’. You have to remember back then the Funhouse, where Jellybean was the resident, had a huge Italian and Hispanic crowd who bought records. The Garage was the most important because they influenced everybody. Everybody would come and hang out there at night. If you played at a club and you finished at 4am and didn’t want to go home you’d go and hang out at either the Loft or the Garage and most people went to the Garage. It was more social, it had a ton of industry people and Larry always used to have all the industry people over, so everybody would be hanging out in the booth or downstairs in front of the booth. I used to see Jellybean, Bruce Forest, Timmy Regisford, Larry Paterson, Tee Scott, all the influential DJs. Shep Pettibone would come by, François would come by. I used to go to the Funhouse, The Garage, and a lot of time at Danceteria. I gravitated towards Danceteria the most. The problem with the Garage was that there was no alcohol but if you go to a place like Danceteria you could get beer and talk to friends. There’d be a lot of industry people there, too. Mark Kamins before he got crazy, was DJing there, and Freddy Bastone. It’s also where I became friendly with Kurtis Mantronik. There was also the Buttermilk Bottom, with Nicky Siano. The Mudd Club with Justin Strauss, I don’t know if Ivan was playing there. Area, I was very friendly with Johnny Dynell, I’d go a lot because Johnny would always put me on the list and it was near my house. 

Was there a hierarchy for distribution of test pressings and acetates?
I think the hierarchy would depend on the record. The hierarchy was all based on putting out good records. And if you put out good records, people were into you. There were labels like 99 Records, run by Ed Bahlman, he didn’t socialise with many of those guys, but man if he put out a new record they were eating it up. People were hungry for good music. 

It was also a very open time, wasn’t it? After the crash of disco it seemed like there wasn’t just the Salsoul sound, there were lots of other things happening. Sleeping Bag represented that in a lot of ways.
Exactly. There were a lot of good imports coming in. I remember a lot of labels like Emergency Records, I remember when Larry first played ‘Din Da Da’ [by George Kranz]. Someone had sent him a copy of the record. Everybody was trying to find out who put that record out in Europe so they could license it. When that record was being played, Bobby Shaw and everybody was listening to it and the crowd’s going crazy. Everybody was freaking and Larry played it like five times that night.

How did you meet Juggy Gayles?
I was using Freddie Taylor to distribute my records when we first started. She wanted to be a distributor, but she was really a one-stop. What happened was she said, ‘I’m friendly with Juggy and I think you should talk to him about your label.’ Frankie Crocker plays ‘Go Bang’, she had gotten it played on WBLS and literally the next day we had sales. So Juggy started getting some airplay and the record sold. Not huge amounts but it sold. Charlie at Vinyl Mania said, ‘When Crocker plays the record, people come and ask for it. They don’t even know the name, but the one that goes Baaaang!’

So I met up with Juggy a couple of times and paid him. He really liked me and we ended up starting to talk a lot and then ‘Weekend’ was the next release and he really knew how to rub my ego up. He said, ‘You’re gonna be great kid, you got great ears, you really understand it.’ So I got involved with him. One thing I knew about the business was that neither myself nor Arthur really liked the record promotion side. I was very ignorant about it. I thought it was the really seedy side of the business, but the truth is it’s not that seedy. It’s almost the same as I did going to DJs, I just didn’t realise it was the same but on a maybe more professional level. It was mistake I made, I believe. Juggy wasn’t terrible but his son was a fuckin’ loser.

We’ll come on to him….Did you know about Juggy and his history, because he was such an amazing character wasn’t he?
I knew a little about him, but got to know more and more about him. I became friendly with him and I became friendly with Frankie Crocker. That was the reason why I was into doing something with Juggy because he had such a good relationship with Frankie that I figured I’ll be good. Truth is I don’t think we took advantage of that relationship as much as we could or should have. Frankie took care of Juggy and Juggy took care of him. I think Juggy looked out for him. It was an interesting relationship. 

Was he a good people person, because they’re often the best promotions people?
I don’t know. Juggy was interesting. He really fought with a lot of people. He really had a cantankerous side to him and he really had screaming fights with people. Juggy was a mixed bag. A lot of people like Juggy and a lot of people didn’t like Juggy. He could rub people the wrong way pretty quick. For kids like me, he had so much history and knowledge about the record business that he’d tell you stories about Atlantic Records when they first started and you’d be mesmerised by him. So from that point of view it was great. And the truth is Crocker loved him for some of those reasons, too. Juggy knew all this kind of stuff. Chris Blackwell hired Juggy and really liked him. He had a lot of history, a lot of interesting stuff. 

He was already quite old when he started working at Sleeping Bag wasn’t he?
He was already in his late 60s when we first started working together. Juggy smoked a lot of weed and that’s what ingratiated him with a lot of kids. That’s why he did really well. He could relate to kids pretty well. I saw him in the elevator once at Sony. I don’t remember who it was that got in, but it was somebody big. He said to him: ‘You got a hit record’. 
‘What record Juggy? Tell me.’ Juggy knew, cos the kids would tell him. 
‘Ah not gonna tell you yet, I’ll tell you later, but you got another hit record.’ That’s over now, cos there’s Facebook and a lot of different ways of communicating and sending out information that somebody like Juggy took advantage. They don’t need a Juggy now. 

How come Ron Resnick came to work at the label?
Ron was Juggy’s son and Ron was living in California and doing a lot of freebasing and getting high a lot. Basically Juggy had set him up out there with people he knew, because Juggy was close with a couple of people. But Ron still fucked up. He brought Ron back, basically to save his life. That’s what he would tell people: ‘I’m bringing him back to save his life’. My joke would be: and yeah, to ruin my fuckin’ life! He was a real fuckin’ asshole. He’s dead now and whatever but he was a really bad guy. It was a fucked up relationship. They had a love/hate relationship. We’d be having meetings and they’d get into screaming fights. It would be so embarrassing for me to be in a meeting and they’d be completely oblivious to the fact we’re sitting with other people and how embarrassing this is. 

Was he still having issues with drugs when he moved back to NY?
Not as much, but Mantronix tells a story that they went over to do Top Of The Pops or something. Kurtis calls me up freaking out. He told me that he knocked on Ron’s door, Ron didn’t open up, he pushed the door open, Ron’s sitting on the floor naked with some girl and they’re freebasing. They’re doing crack. Kurtis was a straight kid, then, and he was very young. He called up and said, ‘I’m coming home now, I don’t wanna be with this guy, I don’t want him representing me.’ Juggy got on the phone and was screaming at him. Then Juggy would say that’s it, I’ve had it with my son, I’m firing him.

When you were going out in the evening would you be going out with Juggy in a posse?
No very rarely, if it was a company party or something. I didn’t socialise with him much. My brothers couldn’t stand Ron. At one point I fired Ron, but that created all kinds of issues with Juggy and me and I hired him back. We didn’t socialise and he was getting older and also Crocker eventually wasn’t on the radio. He had a couple of periods where he had troubles and he was off the radio. Juggy then became very big with  the pop radio stations. When Crocker was gone, Juggy didn’t retire, he ended up being friendly with Scott Shannon on Z100. These were not guys in the dance world. He kept working in the pop field. He could always work pop and club. He had the Crocker connections, the pop station connections. Also when hip hop came in, Hot 97 was selling records. The major labels, there’s a lot of research done, they know where to go to make thing happen. 

When did you first meet Mantronix?
One night we were going to the Blank Tapes studio. Bob Blank was no longer the engineer. Matter of fact he had already gone he got bought out by some brothers, forgot their name. I was with Freddy Bastone and Mark Kamins. He’s talking to Freddy and he says, ‘Oh we’re going to the studio.’ 
He goes, ‘Please Freddy can I come?’ 
Freddy’s looking to me to make the decision. I turned to him and said, ‘What’s your name?’
‘I’m called Kurtis but they call me Mantronix.’ 
He told me he had a demo he was working on, it was just an instrumental, and he said, ’It’s really hot and people love it. I said, ’Is that true Freddy?’ 
He said, ‘I’m telling you the truth everytime I play it in the club people go crazy.’ 
That’s all I needed to hear. I said, ‘Next weekend I’m gonna come to Danceteria, play me that demo.’ Freddy put on the track, an instrumental of ‘Fresh Is The Word’ and the place went crazy. I turned to Kurtis and said, ‘How soon do you wanna do the record?’ And that was it. We went in the studio and started recording. 

That was completely a different vibe from the early releases with Arthur and so on?
Yeah well it’s funny because I introduced Arthur to Kurtis and I introduced Arthur to Dana Vlcek who was in Konk and Arthur wanted to work with them. I think Arthur was too uptight about his weaknesses or what he perceived them to be. Get me with someone who’s young and hip. That’s why he worked a lot with Walter Gibbons because I think he liked Walter’s ear and Walter DJed and whatever. So Arthur had met Mantronix, they didn’t work together at all well. Kurtis was a kid and he couldn’t get into Arthur’s vibe, he was too esoteric. 

How old was he when the first record came out?
He was over 18 but just barely. 

When you started Fresh Records was that as direct result of meeting Kurtis?
No not at all. Fresh Records had to do with our distributors. We were trying to get money out of our distributor because I had these projects I wanted to do and money wasn’t moving fast. A company came up to me and said, ‘If you give us some records, we’ll give you money’. When they said that I went up to our distributor and said, ‘We got all these projects we wanna do, but we need some money’. And the guy basically said we don’t do that. 

So I said let’s open up another label and give these guys some records. We were all in favour of doing of that so that’s what we did. Nothing to do with Kurtis until further down the line. Hanson & Davis’ ‘Hungry For Your Love’, he had done, but he had a huge fight with Aaron Hanson and wouldn’t work with them anymore. But it didn’t matter, he’d made that into a huge hit. Kurtis did Just Ice early on but really his first song that he brought to the label was LaToya.

Looking back at the labels now, it looks like Fresh was tapping much more into the growing hip hop/freestyle market. 
It absolutely was. Yes. It was much more of a freestyle label. And I guess Kurtis was a part of that in a sense that we got into that world. The world of hip hop, but again it’s going back to music. I like hip hop. I like house music. I like all kinds of music. 

But Kurtis did produce quite a lot of stuff on the label, was he hanging out in the office a lot?
He lived upstairs. We ended up in this weird building and we got the floor upstairs and Kurtis moved in. So Kurtis was there all the time. That was the relationship. It was a very relaxed place and Kurtis was there all the time. 

How did you come across guys like EPMD?
They walked in the door. They had gone to a couple of labels before us. We weren’t the first choice. i think they went to Def Jam and Profile first. One of my guys listened to it and said, ‘Will you gotta listen to this. These guys are really good.’ I listened to it and said OK. The difference with us was that if we liked something, we signed you on the spot: I just said fine, ‘Let’s do the contract and do a deal’. Kurtis heard things, too. Kurtis heard ‘All & All’ [by Joyce Sims]. We were gonna sign that but this guy Robbie Watson who brought it in. I said, ‘Robbie this record has a lot of potential. It’s good but it’s not good enough it’s not capturing it’. Kurtis begged me to do it. He said, ‘Give it to me and I’ll make it hit’. We’d signed her already. Robbie had two goes and then ended up paying for it himself but it wasn’t happening. So Kurtis went in and made it a massive hit, he changed the record and produced it. That was a fast learning experience for me. Joyce wrote and Robbie produced the demo but it wasn’t really happening. Joyce was signed to us through Robbie so he was in control and that was a fucked up situation. So we ended up not making that much on the record because I had pay Robbie a producer’s fee and royalty and Kurtis a producer’s royalty and he was flipping because Robbie was earning more than him when he was the one that made the record. 

So by the time she did ‘Come Into My Life’ there’s no credit to Robbie. What happened?
Robbie got bought out. He took money and left. Joyce didn’t want to work with Robbie, she wanted to work with Kurtis. So instead we paid him a sum of money and he was gone. 

Can you tell me a little about meeting some of the artists… like Just Ice?
Just Ice came up to the office. He was hysterically funny. We just started goofing around. He was knowledgeable about music. A lot of reggae. I’m going to tell you something very bizarre about him: he liked soft rock. He would listen to Lite FM. He would listen to things like Yellow Tree. He had this bizarre taste in music, but he definitely had a Jamaican sensibility. I had this guy named Michael Scott working for me. He had an incredible knowledge, he was like an encyclopaedia. Him and Just Ice were like. I remember the first few days he started coming up, he’d talk all kinds of shit about music and that was it. 

He played us ‘LaToya’, I loved it and we signed him and DMX. Again: a lot of people came up to the office. Todd Terry came back to my office and again I had loaned him $400 to buy a keyboard, he brought us Giggles. We put it out and started putting out his stuff. Robert Clivilles used to work with me. Little Louie Vega, I bought him equipment. I don’t know if he would ever give me credit. But I gave him $5000 when he was DJing at the Funhouse. He’s another person who, if Ron had not been around, I would’ve had a much stronger relationship with. Ron didn’t like him. Robert Clivilles worked with us packing records and his first record he ever did was Dhar Braxton’s ‘Jump Back’. And he’s the guy that really made that a hit. It wasn’t Jhon Fair. I think it even said the record Drum Programming but he was furious because he said he mixed the record. But again it was one of those situations where I couldn’t give him credit, because it was John Fair’s record.

How did you come across T La Rock?
Kurtis developed a relationship. Kurtis wanted his LL Cool J. Kurtis loved LL Cool J. And there were only a couple of people that were on LL’s level. And the truth of the matter…. LL became a huge star. T La Rock, unfortunately, was a one note rapper. He’s not bad, he’s great but.… Kurtis worked with Just Ice and T La Rock and T La Rock was definitely courted by Kurtis and he wanted me to sign him which I did. And I’m happy I did. But T La Rock’s records, the thing about LL or any good rapper is you evolve but T stayed the same style. Today he does records and they’re the same. People shopped Big Daddy Kane to me and it was the same shit. 

There were a lot of people you worked with early in their careers like Craig Mack. 
Yeah. I loved Craig. He was great. I worked with him again. Unfortunately, i worked with him with that Wooden Horse but i worked with him with Scutchie Robinson who was involved, too. Craig did a record [‘Wooden Horse’] with a Frank Sinatra sample: ‘High Hopes’. That record could’ve been huge but Craig was loyally involved with Scutchie. He’s one of the sons of Sylvia Robinson. 

When you started releasing this stuff, were you hanging out in more outer borough clubs?
No the Roxy was the big hip hop club. I’d still do the same clubs. 

The one Kool Lady Blue did with Bambaataa?
Blue was great. I loved Blue. There’s another person who was in on it in the early years. I’d go to the Roxy, the Loft, The Garage, Danceteria. Stopped going to the Funhouse. And yeah I always used to go to clubs in Queens or wherever but usually because we had a reason to go there, or three people with from three different labels were going out to see someone in Brooklyn and we’d all go together. I also went to the Latin Quarter in Times Square, there were some other uptown clubs I went to, but i can’t remember now. Used to go to Payday when Patrick Moxey did those parties. 

Why do you think the label eventually collapsed?
I know why it collapsed. I stopped working there. I couldn’t get Juggy to buy me out. I couldn’t buy Juggy out. I asked him to buy me out. 

When was this 91 or 92?
Something like that yeah. I asked him for $400,000 for my half. He knew I ran the label. We couldn’t make money. When we were very successful in Europe. Ron would talk his father into stuff then Juggy would start busting my balls. So it was like two against one. We bought a building in Fulham. We hired staff like Mervyn Lyn. It was a ridiculous amount of money. $1m or $2m in Europe. None of my other friends had opened up a company there. It wasn’t worth it. We were licensing our records and people were putting them out. We were making a lot of money. We dealt with London and Virgin. But Ron said we were going to have our own label but we didn’t have the infrastructure. We didn’t need it and we didn’t have it. We had all these labels we worked with who loved us. Joyce had been a huge star. London had done very well. Ron had a very nasty relationship with Roger Ames. Roger couldn’t stand him. 

Anyway, I asked Juggy to buy me out for $400,000 and he said no so I offered him the same and he said, ‘Fuck you’. He said this company is worth £20m. Give me $20m. for my half. I said, ‘Juggy, you’re crazy’. I went down to $200,000 and he said no. He tried to get people to back him but nobody did because they knew I ran everything. They fucked everything up. I said to Juggy look I’m gonna stay home. I’ll come in and sign the cheques but I’m going let the company go. I stopped working and that’s what happened. They put out whatever we had. They put out the latest Joyce Sims album, but Kurtis wasn’t involved. The album was terrible. I said, ‘Let’s just forget about it’. He said no and got this huge advertising campaign but when the orders came in they were terrible. There was no hype on it. Ron freaked out and started screaming at his father, ‘We’re gonna ship 50,000 copies!’ 
I said, ‘No we’re not, we don’t have any orders’. 
His father went back and did these deals, they took tons of product and they returned it all. We lost a fortune. on that. All of a sudden the European operation was eating up money like crazy so we had to shut that down. From being a thing that was supposed to produce money, it became a disaster. Believe me a record company can fall apart quickly, especially when the main person is just not involved anymore. 

When did Kurtis move to Capitol?
That was when the ship began to list. We still had EPMD and that brought in a lot of money, but the shit started to hit the fan. It fucked up my relationship with Kurtis because he said get rid of Ron, get control of the company and you run the label and I’ll make the records. We were very close. We still are.

So you said it fucked up your relationship with him, were there law suits involved?
It happened afterwards. I didn’t want to do it. You know what happened with the law suits? We ended up winning. We spent about $100,000 and we won about $20,000. That’s how we won on that law suit. It was a mistake but Ron kept pushing it. Kurtis and I had been friends. In the end, he left because he couldn’t stand Ron. 
Bill Brewster