Cohen - 1999
of Manifesto Records
follows is an email interview that I had with Evan Cohen just
prior to the release of "Works In Progress". For
those of you unfamiliar with Evan's company, he is the President
of Manifesto Records and the distributor of five of Tim Buckley's
is responsible for the sale and distribution of "Dream
Letter", "Live At The Troubadour", "Sefronia",
"Look At The Fool", and the live "Honey Man"
is also the nephew of Herb Cohen, who signed and managed Tim
for his whole career. I wanted to ask Evan some questions
about the business part of the industry. He was very cooperative
and helpful in my search for contacts and information about
Tim's associates. For that I am indebted. Evan also turned
me on to The Wedding Present, an exciting group that record
on the Manifesto label. I've been listening to their "Sea
Monsters" CD of late, and I find it to be quite adventurous.
Manifesto has an interesting catalogue of artists. You can
check it out yourself at manifesto.com.
Evan...Let me start by asking if you knew Tim at all?
A...I didn't know Tim (I was a bit young to know anyone!),
but I remember meeting him in 1969, when I was nine years
old. It was for a party for the opening of our offices in
a new building at the corner of Cahuenga and Sunset, in Hollywood.
I remember him as young guy with big bushy hair, and he was
coming out of an elevator.
some girl actually fainted when she saw Tim, and I remember
thinking, "He must be a rock star!" I also remember
my father taking me to the Troubadour to see Tim play, in
about 1967 or 1968. I also remember the "Goodbye and
Hello" billboard on Sunset Blvd., which was a big deal
for the time. That's about it. I don't remember Tim from the
early 1970s at all.
Q...As a label executive,
how much interest have you been seeing in the sale of the Buckley
CDs that you distribute?
A...I have a lot of interest. It's my job to make sure that
the CDs are effectively distributed and readily available. There
are some good things going on now, especially with Internet
distribution. Anyone who wants one of our CDs can find them
on many different sites, just click a mouse, and they arrive
at your house.
a huge improvement over the way it used to be, when the only
non-retail distribution was through a record club. You don't
have to depend on anything being in a record store ever again.
And the prices are better on-line, obviously. On the other
hand, there are some problems with retail; i.e., declining
shelf space, higher prices, etc.
interest in Tim's music rising or declining?
A...That's hard to say. I think it's holding steady.
think that the quality of the "Dream Letter", the
"Live At The Troubadour", and the "Honeyman"
CDs is terrific. Did you have anything to do with putting
these CDs on the market?
A...Yes, I did, especially with regard to the latter two.
The "Dream Letter" album was put together when we
were distributed by Enigma, with the help of David Baker,
who is now at Rhino. They did a great job, that is, Lee Hammond
on graphics and Bill Inglot on the mastering.
same people worked on "Troubadour," which was supposed
to have come out on Enigma also, but they went out of business.
It finally was finished in 1992 when we were distributed by
Rhino. "Honey Man" was done the same way, with the
same attention to quality.
you have anything of Tim's left in the vault that you might
release in the future?
A...Well, we don't, but Rhino does. As I said, David Baker
is at Rhino, running an imprint called Handmade Records, I
think. They plan on doing Internet-only releases, which I
believe is sort of strange, but it's their call. He is a huge
Buckley fan and a very talented and thoughtful compiler. He
is working on a CD right now of unreleased studio recordings
from 1968. Rhino is, of course, a WEA company now, so they
have access to all of the tape vaults of Elektra from the
1960s, and they find stuff. I'm sure there will be more in
it comes to your uncle Herb, can you tell me how he feels
about Tim after all these years?
A...You'll have to ask Herb that question.
you think that Tim was self-destructive?
A...I don't know that he was self-destructive, in the common
sense of that term. I didn't know him personally. However,
it's important to keep his career in perspective -- he had
a huge artistic output -- nine albums released by the age
of 28? Sure, the record industry was different then (now it
seems that people wait three years between albums), but that's
still a lot of work.
you think that Herb would consider doing an interview for
our discussion forum?
A...You might want to ask him yourself. It's just easier that
way. He is not online, to my knowledge, but you can call him
at (XXX) XXX-XXXX. That's his office number.
about you Evan...Who do you listen to for relaxation and enjoyment?
A...A lot of British Indies music (like The Wedding Present,
etc.), some old things, but I like hearing new bands, like
Belle & Sebastian, Looper, Mojave 3, Stereolab, Cornershop,
Gene, that sort of thing.
you a musician or a technical engineer?
A...Not right now. I used to play bass years ago.
you ever wanted to be in the recording end of the business?
A...No, although with all of the new technology, I suppose
anyone can record now, at home on their computer.
you make many trips to N.Y.C.?
A...Not really. Sometimes I make it to CMJ, but that's about
so, then what do you think of the New York life-style?
A...Love it! I love shopping, food, bars, music, and it's
much more intense there than in L.A.
you had a chance to visit Greenwich Village (in particular
the Bleecker and MacDougal Street area)?
so, how would you compare it with the L.A. club scene?
A...I'm not sure that it can be compared.
kind of changes have you witnessed in the L.A. music scene
through the years?
A...I'm really out of it with regard to the L.A. club scene.
There's a tendency of older people to say that "it was
better in my day," that is, the 40 year-olds criticize
the scene of the 20s crowd. When I was 20, the older crowd
couldn't understand punk rock, and didn't like our scene.
I think the club scene was better in 1980, but who am I to
the clubs in Los Angeles, like The Whiskey and The Troubadour
still the places to look for new bands and solo artists?
A...There's a whole bunch of active clubs right now, most
much smaller than the Whiskey and the Troubadour. If I were
looking for talent, I probably wouldn't do it in L.A! The
scene appears to me to be either jaded or contrived, or both.
you keep in touch with Judy or Taylor Buckley?
A...Only to send Judy royalty checks.
they still involved in any way with Tim's music?
A...Well, yes. Pursuant to the U.S. copyright laws, and because
of Tim's untimely death, the U.S. copyrights to all of Tim's
songs are reverting to his heirs. Judy has an administrator
who takes care of those rights. I don't know what happened
to Jeff's share.
are they up to these days?
A...I don't know.
an artist wanted to do a cover version of one of Tim's songs,
should they contact Rhino?
A...Rhino doesn't own anything. They just license the right
to use songs from either Tim Buckley Music or Third Story
Music, Inc. The masters are owned by Elektra, Warner Bros.,
nice to know that in the music business, there are some friendly
human beings out there, like yourself. I'd like to thank you
Evan for your cooperation and participation in our forum.
Good luck with Manifesto and thanks again for keeping Tim's
music alive and well and on the marketplace for all to share
1999 Jack Brolly/Room 109