Stevie Rachelle explains why there are no bonus tracks on Tuff’s recently remastered debut album
Tuff frontman and Metal Sludge principal was recently interviewed by Sleaze Roxx‘s long-time contributor Ruben Mosqueda for KNAC. Rachelle was promoting Tuff‘s remastered debut album What Comes Around Goes Around, which was recently released via RLS Records. What Comes Around Goes Around was first released via Atlantic Records back on May 14, 1991.
In terms of the myth that master tapes get reverted back to the artists after 30 or 35 years, Rachelle commented (with slight edits): “As far as that number 30 years or 35 years, the tapes get reverted back to the owners… Honestly, I don’t even know how that works. I don’t know what level of ‘truth’ any of that holds. What I do know is that I have seen bands that are a little on the more ‘obscure’ side getting their albums reissued. I’ll give an example, the label Rock Candy [Records] have done a lot of reissues of not always big bands. They did some Dirty Looks records.”
When Mosqueda mentioned that Cats In Boots had one of their albums reissued in the past, Rachelle indicated: “Right! That’s one, but with respect, they were on the very bottom of the deep end. Cats In Boots isn’t a band that got a lot of press or got a lot of mileage. There have been a number of these ‘boutique’ labels that have reissued some of these records. In recent years, as we have seen them pop up on Blabbermouth and sites like that, I saw that KIX got the rights back to Blow My Fuse and remixed and remastered it and released a 30th anniversary edition. They called Re-Fused or Re-Lit and then they did that with Midnite Dynamite too.
They were also an Atlantic band, they also weren’t a band that sold millions of units. I reached out to [producer] Beau Hill first. We never worked with Beau, but I have met him over the years. I looked in my phone and I had his number! I called him and asked him how he got involved with that. He said that the band asked him, but the band did everything. So through some of my other contacts I got in touch with KIX. I found out that [bassist] Mark [Schenker], who is technically the ‘new guy’, he has been in the band for like 20 years now. I spoke with Mark on how they were able to get those master tapes for their Atlantic albums. So, Mark gave me some names and they were names that I had received from Steve Brown from Trixter. Steve and I were talking a while back about him trying to get back some of the Triter albums and I was aware that this process was a lot of piece work! [laughs] It was a lot of jumping through hoops! I would email this person from Rhino [Records], this person from WEA [Warner / Elektra / Atlantic], then this person from Warner Music, and this person from Atlantic.
I eventually got a reply and was directed to this person at the audio department and then this person in the catalog department. One email turned to two, then to ten, to twelve, then from two people, to eight people to a dozen people! Next thing you know we’ve been corresponding for two months, then four, then six and then eight! Eventually, I got it approved! I had to answer the questions, who are you, what do you want to do with the recording? I let them know that I was the singer in the band and that I’m still the singer in the band. I let them know that we are still active, I let them know that I have also released many albums independently on my imprint RLS Records. I wanted them to know that I had some experience in this. I was given some forms that I needed to fill out. I sent them and I waited. It’s not Atlantic Records though, it’s Rhino Entertainment and Warner Music Group. They control the Atlantic Records catalog. They’re not sitting around thinking about us. They’ll reissue something like Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry because it’s a platinum seller like they did with the Skid Row debut album. They remastered it and added bonus live tracks from their club days. They’re not waiting around to release Tuff music! So instead of just having stuff like us sitting around they worked out a way to have us license it. They came up with this formula, they let me know how it worked and the process that I had to follow. Then I got to work. The CDs are finished and in people’s hands, including yours! We have vinyl coming soon.”
In terms of possibly including some demos with Tuff‘s remastered debut album, Rachelle stated: “What made the record is all we had. There wasn’t anything more. As far as demos? It crossed my mind for a split second. We didn’t do that because RLS Records has released [Tuff] The Glam Years that not only includes demos with me but also Jim Gillette [Nitro]. We released the demos and we’ve done the obscure track here and there, live tracks, b-sides and stuff like that. We have dug everything up! There’s nothing left! This record as high quality as it is, it was on a major label budget with Howard Benson producing [Bang Tango, P.O.D., Papa Roach] and Sir Arthur Payson mixing the album… I didn’t want to throw on anything that didn’t have anything to do with this record. We went into this record, we did pre-production, we recorded ten songs and it was done. The demos that we had done previously for songs like “Good Guys Wear Black” and “Forever Yours” which made the record. Those demos were done well before that. They weren’t done as part of this process.
In order to add additional content, then that becomes another part of the contract for the licensing of the album. Part of the agreement with Rhino was that I would release the album and it would be within the terms that I would not change anything on the cover. I could add content to the booklet, but the cover would remain as is. If I wanted to add additional studio songs or b-sides, they’d have to approve all of it. I could have done that, but I would have had to wait for the approval process. With as many hoops that I had to jump through, obstacles, turns and talk to this person for this, then that person for that, that would be adding another passenger to this, another flight and another set of luggage. It was just better to keep it as is, but remastered and an expanded booklet. I’m proud of the decision, so far it appears to have been a ‘home run’ with the fans.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Stevie Rachelle by Ruben Mosqueda at KNAC‘s website.
Tuff‘s “The All New Generation” video (from What Comes Around Goes Around album):