2021 has been an eventful year for A Guy Called Gerald – real name Gerald Simpson – in more than one way. It’s been the year he revealed to the world he’s never been paid a penny for the success of 1988 single “Voodoo Ray”, or anything else which he put out on Liverpool’s Rham! Records in the early 90s.
At the same time, he made allegations that a man called Barry Lancaster Smith was illegally making money out of his productions – this case is currently in the hands of solicitors. Weirdly, the new Rham! Records couldn’t get hold of him to pay royalties due, but had no issue knowing where to send a legal threat due to “harassment”.
Since then, a question often aimed at Simpson is whether he’s going to release some new music. After all, he frequently posts footage from his studio where he’s creating new material, but none of it ever appears in the stores. Why not?
Simpson has replied in a Facebook post, saying he feels he can’t. Elaborating, he says “over 30 years of commercial exploitation… has left me feeling empty”. He also cites he doesn’t think he needs the validation from anyone. But one comment has me both simultaneously scratching my head and wanting to shake his hand.
And it’s where he says “There are a few titles on Bandcamp but only if you want to support the strangest profession to exist under the sun”. Whilst I couldn’t agree more with the music business being a strange one – one that provides me with no end of material to write about – it suggests we might never see another A Guy Called Gerald release again.
Congratulations are a due to Gerald Simpson, otherwise known as A Guy Called Gerald. Back on June 21st, I wrote about a fundraiser for a legal action that the man himself launched – having confirmed some weeks earlier that he never made any money out of the original release of “Voodoo Ray” and his Hot Lemonade EP.
The target of £20,000 has now been reached and solicitors have been given their instructions. It could be a while before anything further happens, but I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, the fundraiser appears to be still accepting donations – and I imagine Simpson is particularly pleased by the anonymous donation of £4287 on July 18th.
Now that he’s taken the sensible decision to get lawyers involved in the matter, perhaps he could apply for some sage thinking to other areas of his life too. One of those could be his stance on the Covid-19 vaccine. Whilst not quite up at Danny Rampling levels of delusion, some of the views being expressed are pretty odd. For example, there was this…
Who’s stopping him from speaking out? This is a common narrative Simpson uses on posts – for example, when someone asked him recently about the numerous allegations facing Derrick May, he simply responded saying he’d been told to stick to talking about music. Once again, the source of whoever or whatever was telling him to keep his trap shut wasn’t disclosed.
A source over in Manchester tells me Simpson’s health has not been great in the past few years and his refusal to get the vaccine is a matter of some bafflement. And so is his truly weird claim that governments around the world are somehow using the Covid vaccine as a way of creating some kind of human blockchain.
You’re well on the way to becoming Danny Rampling’s sidekick there, Gerald. Not a good route to go down…
Back on May 21st, I wrote about A Guy Called Gerald’s revelation that he’d never been paid a single penny for “Voodoo Ray” or anything else he’d put out on Rham! Records in the 1980s. I came back to the subject on May 31st detailing a legal threat that he subsequently received.
Things have developed somewhat since. A Guy Called Gerald, real name Gerald Simpson, was asked a few times by different fans whether he would pursue legal action against the label – which isn’t actually the same label, as the original Rham! Records went bankrupt in 1992. He was a bit non-committal, from what I could tell.
But he seems to have changed his mind. He wants to raise £20,000 to fund his legal battle. At the time of writing, there’s £1900 already in the pot – not bad seeing it only launched this morning!
I’ve sent Barry Lancaster Smith – the owner of the new Rham! Records, who knows how to send legal threats to Simpson yet also proclaims he doesn’t know how to send him money – to see if he wants to comment. I’ll let you know if he does…
Late on the evening of Friday May 21st, I published this story after A Guy Called Gerald revealed on his Facebook page that he had never made a single penny from royalties of “Voodoo Ray” and another release on Rham! Records.
Since then, Rham! Records published a statement along the lines of “oh, we weren’t able to get hold of him, here’s where we are if he wants his money”. This statement conveniently left out a vital detail – the Rham! Records of now could only pay him money from 2019 onwards.
This is because the company has only existed from that date. The original company ceased trading in 1992 and as far as I can establish, the new label does not own the catalogue of the old one. Which makes you ponder whether they own the rights to the likes of “Voodoo Ray” now…
Rham! Records also claim they haven’t been able to get hold of him. Really? In less than five minutes, I was able to find the A Guy Called Gerald Facebook page, his own website, a Twitter page and Instagram profile? This does not seem like a man who’s hard to track down to me.
However, they could contact him to send him a threat. Courtesy of Barry Lancaster Smith, who runs it now…
Please be advised that all references to me you are making on social media are being regarded as defamatory and targeted online harassment and will be noted and screenshotted for any future potential legal action. You would be well advised to remove these posts immediately.”
That’s an incredibly long winded way of asking where to send the money he’s owed…
The more I read about the early days of house music, the more utterly depressing it gets. Paris Brightledge was conned out of the rightful credit for “It’s Alright”. Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body” was actually a group effort. Adonis was never paid a penny by Trax Records. The list goes on…
And guess what? It wasn’t solely an American problem. There were British record labels who were just as dodgy as well – with the latest to reveal the truth being A Guy Called Gerald, real name Gerald Simpson.
In quite a lengthy Facebook post, he reveals that he’s never made a single penny out of tracks like “Voodoo Ray” and the Hot Lemonade EP. Both came out on Merseyside based Rham! Records, which went bankrupt in 1992 following the collapse of Red Rhino Distribution Limited.
Rham! Records was actually relaunched in 2019. It appears to be run by a guy called Barry John Lancaster Smith and has yet to file any account statements – whilst the label continues to trade on its history whilst disingenuously leaving out the fact they never paid at least one of their biggest artists at the time.
I always wondered about a song came out in 1996 called “The Curse Of Voodoo Ray”. Now I understand why…