‘This is the pop culture legacy business’: JAM Inc manages artists after demise

Jeffrey Jampol has become the go-to guy for managing boulder estates, avoiding the kind of legal chaos that has paralysed many legends fortunes

No one here gets out alive, as rock legend Jim Morrison once sang. But sadly for many of the boulder greats it has become almost a cliche that successful musicians and groups are more valued in the grave than in life.

Few people understand that better than Jeffrey Jampol, an L-Abased specialist whose JAM Inc manages the stone estates of Otis Redding, Kurt Cobain, the Doorways, Rick James, Ramones and Muddy Waters among others, as well as advising the co-executors of Michael Jacksons estate.

With the roll call of possibilities names Jampol could add to his stable increasing as the grim reaper goes about his harvest in rocknroll dorm of notoriety, Jampol tells the heirs to these estates face two key challenges: how to prevent the kind of legal chaos that has paralysed many legends lucks, like the mess that took over James Browns estate following his death in 2006, and how to protect and manage that legacy once freed of warring heirs and cliques.

Jampol, who at one time helped manage New Order in the US, has become the go-to guy for this type of management. Getting it right can generate a fortune.

Michael Jacksons estate is far wealthier now by virtue of the fact that the vocalist is not around to expend the proceeds or set a wrench in managements plans. The King of Pop has earned more than$ 1bn before taxes since his death, according to Forbes,enough to pay off his personal debts and then some.

The same is true of the Ramones. The bands lucks suffered from a long war of attrition between Joey, the vocalist, and Johnny, the guitarist, that was carried on by their heirs long after their demises. Jampol helped to settle grievances so that the current Ramones show at the Queens Museum in New York could take place.

This is not the music business. This is the pop culture legacy business. I tell clients, if you think its about the music, youve already failed, Jampol told the Guardian. By that logic, youd suppose the magic of James Dean was his acting. It wasnt.

Merely re-issuing an artists work is not enough. Even in the case of Prince, who died intestate( without a will ), the mysterious vault said to contain hundreds of unreleased tracks might be no more than a curiosity to collectors that does little to connect Prince to a new generation of fans the lifeblood of any legacy act as established fans are lost to natural attrition.

Prince: died intestate with no clear plans for the future of his legacy and $300 m luck Photograph: REX/ Shutterstock

Its not sufficient, to quote The Smiths Paint a Vulgar Picture, to: Re-issue, re-package, re-package/ Re-evaluate the sungs/ Double-pack with a photograph/ Extra track and a tacky badge. Families often push for this short-term tactic but it can quickly drain a legacy, leaving little behind, told Jampol. Simply putting out best of compilations can end up decreasing an estates value. You can go into the vault and make a bunch of albums but then its done, he said.

Listed foremost on Jam Incs Hippocratic Oath of Rock: Do no damage. Too often, the stewards of great legacy artists, in music and other artistic media, chase perceived opportunities without considering their impact upon the legacy theyre is expected to be looking after. Great performers works and images are priceless in the eyes of their fans, and every care must be taken to keep that connection intact.

What is needed, tells Jampol, in a not uncommon moment of management-marketing speak, is to situate the artists essence. Figure out what the magical is. Theres something that are linked James Dean or Jim Morrison or Kurt Cobain or the Ramones to a 12 -year-old whether thats in 1957 or 2017. It could be a group of facets and then you have to find a way to be set that back into the pop culture in such a way that believable to a teenager, he said.

It may sound like gauzy marketing speak Jampol also lectures as an adjunct prof in music business at UCLA still, he has a point. Punk is 40years old, but questioning authority, being an foreigner , not caring about the social order are absolutely not dead.

The Sexuality Pistols: Punk may be 40 but questioning authority never gets old Photo: Jorgen Angel/ Redferns via

Janis Joplin is a case in point. Jampol says he went to the family ahead of the documentary Little Girl Blue and the successful touring musical Janis and told them he wanted to stance her as an icon of hope. But the tale he wanted to tell, of being a bi-sexual heroin user might operate counter to how they want her tale narrated.

Janis wore her heart on her sleeve. She made no bones about wanting to be loved. She wasnt beautiful. She didnt come from privilege, he told. She never compromised her vision to succeed. Yet she shattered the glass ceiling without ever compromising her values.

The same was true of Jim Morrison. I have a simple job to talk about everything. Janiss fans. Jim Morrisons alcoholism. I dont have to manipulate the truth, I simply have to reveal it. But you have to understand the context.

Jampol learnt from Danny Sugerman( The Door one time administrator) how to negotiate the complex interpersonal relationships of a band. That prays the question, why does the rock and roll dream often aim so acrimoniously?

Artists are very passionate about what they do, he told. But neither bands nor musicians have a great route to process issues, and issues come up over 20 or 30 years. If you dont have a route to process that, and you add in a few zeros of wealth and a dusting of celebrity that everybody wants Its a prescription for chaos and management headaches long into the future.

At the same time new sources of cash are reinvigorating dead artists fortunes. Revenue streams now include musicals, museum proves and documentaries. The Jackson documentary This Is It took $261 m at the US box office and as much as $400 m worldwide. Soon, we could see legacy acts appearing as holograms; the Beatles Vegas show brought in millions; Bob Marleys highly-dysfunctional family puts his name to dozens of products including boomboxes. Like Willie Nelson, the Marley clan has added marijuana to its scope of products.

It seems the boulder legacy business is only getting larger. This week, the California promoter Goldenvoice announced a massive, pre-mortality rocknroll mega concert in October featuring Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones, Neil Young, The Who, Paul McCartney and Roger Waters. With tickets for the three-day celebration pegged at a basic $1,599, the acts are expected to take home around$ 7m a piece.

Jeff Jampol, speaking at a Billboard MECCA Conference in Los Angeles Photograph: M. Phillips/ WireImage

And now Jampol is about to get started on Otis Redding with a new biography and documentary. In September, there will be an evening of respect at the Big O ranch outside Memphis where Reddings widow and sons still live.

But clearly, there are still big undertakings to be done. James Browns estate remains tied up in litigation; Jimi Hendrixs estate is notorious for saying no to every request. Jampol says the one thing you cannot do, is try to imagine what the artists would have guessed. Its not the issue and its an impossible question to answer.

Estates are not run for artist, or to imagine their wants, but to protect and advance their legacy, Jampol believes. But getting to that stage is seldom easy.

With asserts from alleged illegitimate child already surfacing, Prince estate could turn into a moras of litigation. Princes merely full sibling, Tyka Nelson, has requested management of his affairs be placed with a special administrator, Bremer Trust, until a representative is appointed – or a will is situated. That could still happen. Six days after Michael Jackson died in 2009, his longtime lawyer John Branca filed a will, aiming attempts by Jacksons mother to become his estates executor.

When a starring dies, those left behind often think first of the cash they are losing. They need to think more about posterity, said Jampol. Can we make any fund is the latest question you want to ask. I like to animate and lift up the body. Once the artist is back in the cultural conversation, non-respendable revenues follows.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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