Confidential facts (Jo-Jo) (20.3)

Confidential facts (Jo-Jo) (20.3)


Jo-Jo (John Parsons) is a long-standing member of the band Persimmon for Gaia (P4G). He has been the guitarist for the band and their main songwriter and creative force for twenty-three of the twenty-five years that the band has been performing. Jo-Jo joined the band when it was playing in pubs in his home town of Taunton and found them an agent who launched them into global superstardom. He considers that the band’s great success is largely due to his entrepreneurial spirit and his talented song-writing. The band has enjoyed moderate success since their heyday but this has had an enormous upsurge in recent years thanks to the growth of festivals showcasing the music of the 1980s. The band have never been more in demand and this has included requests for the band members to take part in television shows. Jo-Jo loves the celebrity lifestyle and realizes that it is due, to a great extent, to their reputation as the ‘nice boys’ of 1980s pop. The high point of his career was being invited to join the X Factor judging panel for a £1 million fee.

This is all now in jeopardy thanks to the erratic behaviour of Jonny (John Grey), the self-styled founder member of the band. P4G were booked to appear at Nostalgia festival in Somerset. This was a new 1980s festival and the fee on offer was small but the band wanted to perform due to their local connections—all excellent publicity. But Jonny got involved in an argument with one of the other acts—a singer called Omnoo—that was played out on social media and attracted a lot of attention in the press. This escalated to the point that Jonny—purporting to speak on behalf of the band—has refused to play at the festival if Omnoo performs. Jo-Jo was furious about this and the negative publicity that has ensued as it was made clear to him that X Factor did not want any more controversy surrounding their judges as it distracts from the focus on the contestants. Jo-Jo has assured the producers that there will be no further negative publicity.

Jo-Jo feels that it would be preferable if Jonny left the band so that they can distance themselves from his behaviour. He is aware that Jonny thinks that he ‘owns’ the band because he founded it but this is just ridiculous as far as Jo-Jo is concerned. The band has been in existence for nearly twenty-five years and the four of them have been members for twenty-three of those years. More than this, back in their early days, Jo-Jo decided that the band ought to produce merchandising so he registered the names Persimmon for Gaia and P4G as trade marks. So if the band ‘belongs’ to anyone, it belongs to Jo-Jo as he and he alone has the right to use the band’s name.

The situation has led Jo-Jo to raise an issue that has been troubling him for some time. He is the writer of the majority of the band’s songs, both music and lyrics, and yet the royalties and fees that they receive from their performances are always split equally between the four band members. Jo-Jo feels that this is an opportunity to revisit this situation to create a more equitable split based upon creative input. He would like at least 50 per cent of the band’s royalties on all songs that he has written: this would double his royalties and half that of each of the other band members. Ideally, he would like more than 50 per cent but he is prepared to be generous as the four men are long-standing friends and he accepts that they did make some contribution when the songs were being written by suggesting lyrics and playing music he had written so that he could hear how it sounded. Provided he can get agreement on this point, he will not seek to alter the four-way split of their fees for live performances or on other income such as merchandising.

Jo-Jo has instructed you to negotiate an agreement with Jonny on his behalf that achieves these objectives wherever possible. However, his overriding concern is that there is no negative publicity: his role in X Factor cannot be jeopardized at any cost.

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