|Last Man Standing: The Young Immortals’ Jacob Ray goes it alone, for now.|
[PSEUDO-BRIT POP] After last summer’s cross-country tour and the subsequent release of bristling guitar-rock debut When History Meets Fiction, the Young Immortals’ future seemed, well, endless. Reviews were sparkling, Starbucks employed standout track “The Fever” as the de facto soundtrack for its in-store iTunes kiosks, and labels had started to call. Now the band’s MySpace lists its members as follows: “Jacob Ray-vocals and guitar, bass and drummer needed.” Singer-songwriter/founding member Ray shares what went wrong.
WW: So what happened? Is the band officially broken up?
Ray: One indie label giving [us] attention suggested we [draw up] an agreement so we all understand who’s who in the band. I went to a lawyer, tried to keep it as fair as possible, presented that to Michael [Phillips, bass] and Scotty [Gervais, drums], and told them to talk to people in the music business, so it’s not like you’re just talking to your dad [about it]. Mike brought back a typed-out letter of a big “fuck you” about how he felt I was trying to draw him in as an employee. They took great offense to the “work-for-hire” line, which was just so they wouldn’t be paid a salary. Between that and the songwriting rights belonging to the songwriter—which would be me—they...didn’t understand. There were so many pies they were going to get a third of, there was only this one they wouldn’t. The label went bye-bye. Mike’s been pissed ever since.
I’m moving to Hawaii [where I’ll] work on licensing, shop the record to labels, write the next album. [I plan to] pad the songs with a little more melody, a few more hooks—it’ll still be upbeat, high-energy rock, but I wanna grow in the lyrics department. It’s just for a few months; I’ll be back. Summers in Portland are priceless, man. This is just a little bit of a...cheat. Get a suntan, come back, hit the ground running and find some new members who are willing to play...and obviously willing to [agree to] the band agreement.
Will the band still be the Young Immortals when you return?
...Maybe we’ll be the Old Immortals now.