of the best songs from two import albums (the Fabulous Poodles' Mirror Star or a combination of album cuts and singles (The Clash).

Major labels sneer at import sales figures: only one of 50 import singles sells more than 500 copies and a good-selling import album does about 2500, compared to the 100,000-plus sales needed for a Big 6 group just to stay afloat, just to earn the chance to make another album.

But import sales can sometimes exert a marked influence on major labels. Warner Bros. was forced to rush-release Dire Straits' Communique, fearful that imports would cut heavily into domestic sales figures. Both Deep Purple's Live in Japan and Bob Marley & the Wailers Live earned domestic release as a result of their enormous import popularity. Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan was Jem's fastest-selling import earlier this year. Epic took heed, rushing a domestic release that finally established the band's long-predicted stardom.

"We sold 25-30,000 of At Budokan in 26 months and that was selling for $12-$15 in stores," reports Say. "Epic wasn't planning to put it out here but it got so huge they had no alternative."

The chief obstacle remaining for new music in America is radio. In its early days, FM was an important outlet for artists who didn't fit into the context of Top 30 AM programming. Now FM is mostly computerized formats staffed by "air personalities" more concerned with getting their egos stroked, buying that new Porsche 914 GT and making their condominium payments than exposing the music of the young performers who will set the standards in the Eighties.


"American radio has gotten to a tremendously stagnant situation because they're afraid to take a chance," Miles Copeland complains. "I person ally can't listen to any station in this country for more than five minutes without tearing my hair out.

"We want to help those stations that will play new stuff and that's college radio because they're not caught up in the commercial necessity of playing the hits. We hope college radio can do to radio today what FM did ten years ago.

"I think it's time the world buries the likes of Foreigner, Aerosmith and Boston. It's time they begin to see real bands again, get back in the clubs and see the new generation because that's where the real excitement is. I think kids ought to wake up and stop listening to forty-year-olds and their clones.

"Sitting back and crying about it and saying you're bored isn't going to do anybody any good. In ten years we'll expect a new generation to come along and move us out, just like that."

Recommended Articles