In response to Leviathan's Jef Whitehead calling for a boycott on Back on Black and Moribund Records for repressing his records without his consent or knowledge, Label Manager Odin Thompson has posted a statement along with two screenshot of emails Whitehead sent to Plastic Head, which can be viewed here.
BoB's removal of all five Leviathan reissues from its catalogue aside, Thompson statement not only exonerates him of wrongdoing on his part, but accuses Whitehead of telling slanderous lies about their business practices.
The self-described "really, really bad deal" Whitehead signed with Moribund back when he was getting started in the late '90s and early 2000s, while certainly not the smartest thing for him to have signed, does indeed put Thompson within his rights to do with Leviathan's first five records what they please.
Whitehead's allegation toward Moribund for supposedly selling the rights to BoB is also false, considering the distinction Thompson has made between selling and silencing. Thompson's statement also directly contradicts the musician's claim of receiving no royalties for the continued success of his first five albums, even stating that royalty checks would have been sent to him for the reissues in question.
From an technical perspective, these reissues cannot be "bootlegs" by virtue of the contract Whitehead signed with Moribund effectively making them the sound recording owner of those five records. Whitehead expresses his awareness as such in his email to Plastic, which is means his claims can't be substantiated outside of his anger at being left out of the loop—except for the inexplicable inclusion of The Blind Wound, which is outside of Thompson's sphere of influence.
An argument can certainly be made for Whitehead's desire to at least remain aware of what happens to his art, but Thompson states that they tried to contact him several times without getting an answer. This could just be him covering his bases, but it's clear that Whitehead's diatribe has ended up unfounded regardless of whether he (or his fans, for that matter) personally likes what Moribund and Back on Black are doing.
If anything can be learned from this, it would be that young musicians should not sign contracts they're not fully committed to... as the whole situation could have all been avoided if Whitehead had thought clearly about what the Moribund contract would mean for him an his art.
"I would like to apologize to all staff at PHD, Back on Black and associated companies for Mr. Whitehead’s unprofessional and disgraceful behavior," Thompson said to close out his statement.
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