Voodoo Ray Producer in Legal Battle for Music Rights
Anyone that experienced the Acid House phenomena of the late eighties will remember Voodoo Ray. The enigmatic chant sits comfortably with other sacred chants such as ‘Aciiid’ or ‘Get right on one matey’. Voodoo Ray is etched into the smiley faced fabric we call Acid House.
Every DJ worth their salt played the track in their set regardless of how many DJs played it throughout the night. Guaranteed to raise the energy and excitement in the club, warehouse, studio or room.
Unlike most Acid House tracks of the period imported from Chicago, A Guy Called Gerald was homegrown talent with Northern blood gushing through his veins. Having produced Voodoo Ray and debut album Hot Lemonade on a shoestring budget whilst struggling to survive. The recording artiste welcomed interest from Rham! Records, a ‘verbal agreement’ was struck, no papers were signed, no money changed hands.
Huge demand for the track saw it racing up commercial pop charts to number twelve. Finally, the recognition that most desire when embarking on creative endeavours. Especially when living in a squat and working in McDonalds. You heard correctly, on the very day Voodoo Ray reached N012 in the national charts, A Guy Called Gerald was working shifts at a fast food chain and sleeping rough. Interviews were flooding in and with no fixed abode the artiste was forced to conduct them from public telephone boxes.
A Guy Called Gerald states ‘the guys running the label, selling my music, never paid me a single penny for my part in the label’s success’, ‘Acid House’s Summer of Love was in full swing and all I could think about was survival, while these guys spent the next four years exploiting my music’
Flash-forward to 1992 Rham! Records allegedly collapses and is ditched by its owners. If the artiste didn’t sign any paperwork or receive any royalties, surely the verbal agreement ends right there in 1992.
Two decades came and went, A Guy Called Gerald continued to release music and showcase his unique sound. Earning a place in the Electronic Dance Music Hall of Fame. Voodoo Ray is what got him through the gate.
The Legal Fight
‘Everything went quiet until 2019, then another nightmare began. The former assistant to the original owner registered a new company called ‘Rham Records’, but there is no agreement between me and this company, verbal or otherwise. The dance music scene is huge now, and there are royalties and Spotify fees and all manner of digital rights fees to be made, again from my art, my work. If cashing in on my music once wasn’t enough, this guy is callously making deals with music distribution companies, collecting my royalties, and using my name and likeness without my permission’ A Guy Called Gerald
Rham Records posted a Facebook message to A Guy Called Gerald.
How can you get involved?
Rham Records did write that message in May but sources close to the artiste say lawyers were allegedly in touch with the label and have yet to receive any replies. A Guy Called Gerald is intending to mount a legal challenge against Rham Records and stop them from profiting from his work, likeness or art. A crowd funding campaign has been started to help him pay the legal fees. Lawyers estimated the costs around £20,000, so far nearly £15,000 has been raised but there’s still nine days to make a donation.