Pretty Boy Floyd Scandal

Wild Angels or Rock  n ' Roll Outlaws?

Pretty Boy Floyd, the name bring every glamrocker to tears. It's been almost ten years since their phenomenal debutalbum "Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz", 10 tracks that captures all that glam stands for. I was convinced that this four-piece (Steve Summers, Vinnie Chas, Kari Kane and Kristy Majors) was heaven sent. Armed with Tommi guns, loaded with some of the catchiest and best songs ever written, Pretty Boy Floyd wasdestined for stardom. Now that didn't happened but they still get every glamrockers eyes to twinkle. They are generally considered as gods, I don't know any glamfan raised in the eighties who doesn't hold "Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz" as one of his/hers favourite all-time albums. As alternative became mainstream, Pretty Boy Floyd disappeared in the mess of flannels and goatbeards.

Now 1998, nine years after their latest and only album, they're back! A whole world of glamaddicts welcomed their comeback with open arms. The heroes had returned to take on the world and who could better lead the up- and coming glamrevival?

Pretty Boy Floyd has got a song, 'Saturday night', on a compilation album on Delinquent Records. It's the first song released on an official album (soundtracks excluded), as far as I knew, since their debut. I wrote in a review a couple of months ago "... 'Saturday Night' a great glamrock tune, they way it used to be. Pretty Boy Floyd hasn't changed, they still sing 'bout teenagers in love, romanticize in yesterday. This is a great song eventhough it's far from one of their best. You'll get chills down your spine just by hearing that they're actually back! ...Pretty Boy Floyd doesn't do bad stuff. They've got the Midas touch, everything they touch becomes gold... The World hasn't been the same the last couple of years but that will change with this remarkable reunion. Hey, I'm ready to grow young again!" Could it be better?

Well, things aren't always as good as they seem. Stratosphere (70's glam psychedelic band from LA) guitarist Aeriel Stiles recently contacted me, offering some information that may change the current view of Pretty Boy Floyd.

He said "I consider myself an important, if almost unknown and unpublicized member of the glam community. I've kept very quiet, in my basement writing song after song without much fanfare. It is time for me to speak up, since PBF are once again stealing credit and dollars for my work." Aeriel Stiles was no new acquaintance to me, I knew that he had written material for some glambands, Pretty Boy Floyd, Rattlin' Bones and Doll. I didn't know though that he had also penned songs for Tryx, Stars from Mars and a couple of other well-known glam/sleaze acts.

Stiles continues "Briefly, my history. I was a member of Kerry Doll, later called Doll. That split into Salty Dog
and Pretty Boy Floyd. Most of PBF's first album had been played and recorded by Doll. For the record, I formed PBF with Steve,talked to Kim Fowley who suggested the name to me. A month or two into PBF, I felt it wasn't coming together, and quit. They continued to do my material without my knowledge. Kristy wrote one song "Rock 'n' roll." Ironic that you had the Tryx article (last issue of Glam & Glitzine, Ed), because during my time out of PBF(before I re-joined Jan 1991), I co-wrote some songs with Jessie Star, two of which were on their second demo. He used a title I suggested for a third, and a fourth song we demo'd never was used."

What can I say? I Thought Aeriel just had co-written some songs with Pretty Boy Floyd but he says "The fact is this, I have never written anything with any member of PBF, ever. Not because I didn't want to, but because no one else bothered to try. Nobody realizes, PBF is nothing but an 'Aeriel Stiles cover band'. Seeing them live recently, there were only two songs played that were not mine (one was off the 1st record). These were songs written from 1991-1993. There were at least 35 songs demo'd during that time. No one in that group ever brought a song to the table. I have never seen nor heard any lyrics or music written by Steve or Kari Kane, and the one song on the first album 'Rock n' roll is gonna set the night on fire', Kristy Majors told me he wrote it completely and I'm sure that's true.

Every song that was ever performed by the group, was done by me giving the band a tape with the complete recording, me playing every instrument (I programmed detailed drum tracks) and my vocals. Then the band would essentially copy it note for note. Most of the time on demos, Steve just re-sang the lead vocal track, and we kept my instrumental tracks and backing vocals. I am their musical style and sound, you would think that they would treat me better!
"

Is Pretty Boy Floyd another great rock n' roll swindle? No but this doesn't smell good. Now Aeriel Stiles revealed what could be a true scandal. He said "I found out today that PBF has infringed my copyright on a compilation recording due for release this week. (the pink and the black /goth 'n' glam 98.[delinquent records]) PBF put my song "Saturday Night" (which I co-wrote with a Warner-Chappel staff writer "Todd Meahger") on the recording.

Ironically, Steve signed a contract with me last spring for the right to re-demo any songs the group might want to perform. This was for my whole catalog of PBF-type material. The contract acknowledging that he: (a) is not the author (b) has no right to put any songs of mine on a record, has only the right to make demos, and must license any songs with me in writing, to be included on a recording that is for sale.

But that didn't stop him. Today Delinquent faxed me the contract and informed me that Steve signed his name to collect the royalties and collected a "lump sum" advance. Delinquent records is very upset because the Check has been paid and cashed. Now, I have to reach an agreement with them on how we can remedy the situation since by releasing it, they are participating in infringement. And I still need to talk to them about the credits that appear on the C.D.

What a guy, Steve is, huh? After I help them. It was one thing for me to forgive them the first time when this happened on the first record, and I even rejoined the group. Now it's over a lot less dollars, it's about principle and taking money and credit for someone else's work. I've been a nice guy too long... I can easily publish or fax three signed contracts from last year(although I'd better ask my lawyer about that first) where Steve has acknowledged his limited rights concerning my songs, which states
(a) he did not write anything. (b) has no rights to distribute any recordings without my written consent. You can't give consent to something that was done behind your back!

I also have a copy of the "Delinquent Records" contract where he has certified himself as the owner of the song "SaturdayNight," which of course is owned completely by myself and a staff writer named "Todd Meagher" from Warner-Chappel publishing. I spoke with their legal dept. today, and the song is listed on their computer under mine and Todd's names, so again more proof.

... I have never done nor said anything to harm PBF, I've only tried to help them, both in and out of the band. It is quite shocking to me to see this kind of action by them. I left the band on good terms, both times.
"

I mailed Vinnie Chas (former bassist of Pretty Boy Floyd) and asked him to confirm the story. He told me "... it's true. Now you understand why I left the band.". He also called Pretty Boy Floyd "an Aerial Stiles cover band". Stiles promised me to send copies of the contracts which will probably be the ultimate proof if this is true or not. Pretty Boy Floyd is a marvelous band and no one could ever criticize their performance, Steve Summers is an out-of-the-ordinary vocalist who sings with 110% conviction. Much of the power of Pretty Boy Floyd lied within their songs though, which doesn't even seems to be theirs! It's immoral and illegal to take credit where credit isn't due. It's also plain stupid to try this not once but twice! It's nothing wrong with using outside songwriters, The Sweet did it successfully in the seventies, but it's very unethical to not mention it and go on pretending that the material is yours.

I contacted Pretty Boy Floyd's manager Andrew Scott to get a comment on this because I believe it's always two sides to every story. He said "I don't know where you've received the false data about a 'scandal' with Ariel Stiles. Ariel is a good friend of the band, and always will be. He was a member before they got signed, after they got dropped, and who knows, may be a member one day again. He is a brother to the band and has written many songs with the boys, and Steve and Kari are the first to say so. We have no problems with Ariel and always invite him backstage at our shows.

So you tell whoever is trying to stir up the pot, they'll need to take that stick out of their ass in order to do so. We will allow nothing, especially snickering little jealous gossipers, to ever effect our relationship (both personal and professional) with our friend and brother in rock Ariel Stiles.
"

Then I told Andrew Scott that Aeriel Stiles had contacted me personally and I also quoted what he (Aeriel) had said. Scott replied "As far as I know, they are on agreeable terms and there is no disagreement with them. I do know that Ariel is a songwriter (not the Artist in this case) and that Steve (and PBF) are an Artistic entity. The Delinquent contract waives ANY future royalties.There are no royalties forthcoming for that song. I can speak no further on this matter as it seems there's some false data floating around out there somewhere. The only thing I can say is that Aeriel should be speaking to the Artist instead of a fanzine of some sort. Steve writes the LYRICS to nearly all his songs, and has written many songs with Aeriel and other writers."

Obviously there are disagreement on some terms between these parts. It's words versus words and their versions doesn't agree. I mailed Delinquent Records to get another party's view of this case. They replied that they will not comment on this before they've got all the details. That statement strengthen that this isn't just some gossip of jealousy but that there actually is some sort of dispute considering the copyright. One can't draw more conclusions out of this but Vinnie Chas' and Delinquent Records' statements put more valid in Stiles story. As I said earlier, the contracts will be the ultimate truth, I'll update this section as soon as I receive them. Time will tell if Pretty Boy Floyd is the Toast of the town or just Rock n' roll outlaws.

Stop-press!

I just got the contracts from Aeriel Stiles. It now seems clear that Pretty Boy Floyd are guilty of infringement of Aeriel Stiles copyright. Steve Summers has signed the contract and thereby acknowledged that all Pretty Boy Floyd material mentioned (of which "Saturday Night" is one) are Aeriel Stiles' products. The Contracts stipulate that Aeriel Stiles owns the songs and that Steve Summers only can use it in demorecordings which is not the case of the "Pink and Black" compilation on Delinquent Records. There are no money involved so why would Summers sign if it isn't correct?

Stiles says "He signed this in my good faith that if I let him have access to my tapes, he would do the right thing and request a mechanical license if and when the time came for them to record a song to be released commercially. The contract is a straight forward agreement to allow him to demo my songs and nothing more. The proper method if one wishes to record and distribute a song that another party wrote is to request a "mechanical license". This is all PBF had to do. However, they decided they would rather be greedy and take all the money and credit for the song and not pay for its use to the rightful owners."

This is scandalous at the lowest level. How Pretty Boy Floyd can break laws, copyrights and not least, friendship for a couple of dollars is a mystery to me. All unreleased Pretty Boy Floyd songs that I've got in my collection (about 15) is mentioned on the contracts and are therefore written by- and property of Aeriel Stiles. One can't help but wonder what will happen to the hyped reunion of Pretty Boy Floyd if Aeriel Stiles decides to not let them use his songs. Pretty Boy Floyd obviously aren't capable of- or interested in writing own songs. After all this Pretty Boy Floyd are no more The Wild Angels to me, rather fallen ones. They have once again shocked the world but not in a positive sentence this time.

One should however remember that Pretty Boy Floyd and Steve Summers haven't expressed their view yet but I think it's pretty clear anyway. I've also heard some off-the-record inside information that put even more strength in this scandal. Glitzine will follow-up on this so keep coming back and don't forget where you read it first.

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