Stevie Rachelle shares how he got about $7,000 from Tuff’s $175,000 deals with Atlantic Records and Sony

Stevie Rachelle shares how he got about $7,000 from Tuff’s $175,000 deals with Atlantic Records and Sony

Tuff lead vocalist Stevie Rachelle recently released the 14th instalment of his Tuff Diaries via Metal Sludge which details the band’s deals with Atlantic Records and Sony as well as recording their debut video. Rachelle reveals the stark realities of how much band members would often actually pocket when signing their “big” deals with record labels and publishing companies back in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

The following is an excerpt from the 14th instalment of the Tuff Diaries from the Metal Sludge website (with slight edits):

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.


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.”