A news story today about the great actor Anthony Hopkins has triggered an interesting memory from my musical past that I'd like to share.
The story leads with this provocative headline -
Anthony Hopkins doesn’t know and doesn’t care if he’s a grandfather
The journalist goes on to detail how Anthony Hopkins is estranged from his daughter Abigail, a musician and actress.
I was interested to read that they are estranged because many moons ago, when I lived in London, I found myself 'auditioning' to be Abigail Hopkins' guitarist!
If memory serves correctly I responded to an online ad from a songwriter looking for a guitarist. The songwriter was called Abigail Hopkins. Given her surname I naturally wondered whether she might be related to Anthony Hopkins. The chance of meeting Mr. Hopkins through her wasn't my motivation for replying to the ad though. I was just looking for work as a guitarist. So I contacted her and she responded and asked to meet me. The name 'Anthony' didn't enter our emails.
A day or two later she visited my Finsbury Park apartment to audition me. As she entered the apartment I was taken aback at her resemblance to Anthony Hopkins. She looked like a young Anthony Hopkins playing a red-haired, goth drag queen. Yet still I had no confirmation she was his daughter, or perhaps niece. I kept quiet on the matter and decided it best not to mention him. After all, I was only really interested in getting work as a guitarist.
So Abigail sat down and chatted with me for a while. Very soon into the conversation, without any prompting, she confirmed her father's identity.
'In case you didn't know I should tell you Anthony Hopkins is my father' she said, 'I'm trying to make my way without using his name though.'
'Oh really that's very interesting, I didn't know!' said I in the higher than necessary pitch of a pubescent teenager.
It was clear that she didn't really want to talk about him, so I left it at that and suggested we try jamming on one of her songs.
Even though I was technically the one auditioning I sensed she was a bit nervous as she took out her pristine nylon string guitar. She made a modest comment about her limited guitar skills and then launched into a strange, atonal song.
It'd be fair to say Abigail's singing talents don't match her father's acting talents. She sang with a tormented wail, the kind that quite a lot of people seem to like for reasons I'll never understand. I remember thinking early on that her style really wasn't something I was into. The feeling was probably mutual.
We jammed away to a few songs and had a pleasant conversation but within an hour or two Abigail Hopkins was gone. I never saw her again or heard about her music again.
The Silence of the Jams.....
Afterwards I must admit my only regret was that I never got to meet Anthony Hopkins.
News reports would suggest however that even if I had ended up being Abigail Hopkins' guitarist, I still wouldn't have met Sir Anthony Hopkins!
The end of streaming is nigh
Recently I instigated a process that will remove all my albums from streaming services. This includes Spotify, iTunes, youtube, Amazon etc. Within the next month or so my music will disappear from these platforms (with the exception of some youtube videos).
My reason for doing this is simple, all these companies are ripping artists off. Music streaming, though good for record company pockets and major label artists, is not good for independent artists. The CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek is worth nearly $3 billion, yet he claims that Spotify couldn't operate if they paid more to artists.
What's really happening here is the huge income being generated through streaming is going into the pockets of executives, not artists. Record companies have cut deals with Spotify and other services that only benefit them and their major acts.
The record profits in the music industry aren't going back to artists, especially not independent artists. So if you'd like independent artists to be able to continue making records then please support us directly.
If you've enjoyed streaming my music on Spotify, iTunes etc. and would like to keep listening to it please buy it directly from me at a show or through my website
It's only the price of a couple of coffees or beers!
I'm still using CDBaby and Bandcamp to sell mp3's directly because they are independent, their sales seem to be transparent and go straight to artists.
CDs are only available directly from me at a show or my website. If you order directly from me I'll send you a signed copy too!
Without this kind of direct support from you I can't continue to make records. It's not about making profit, it's about being able to continue to make art in an aggressively anti-art digital age.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and for supporting the work of independent artists.
p.s. This isn't a publicity stunt a la Taylor Swift, the Spotify devil ain't gonna negotiate a better deal with me!!!