Ernie B Tells His Side

Ernie B's ReggaeErnie B posted to the Blood and Fire message board with more from his side of things.

Burning Spear and his wife have gone through some unbelievably difficult times. Our sympathy is with them. I don’t know how or why they would think we would sell or manufacture illegal (“bootlegs”). They used to sell to us directly and then one day they stopped, claiming that “our bootlegging” is the reason that their CD sales dropped so much (CD sales have dropped dramatically for everyone, of course).

At first I laughed off their claims because I didn’t realize they were actually trying to be serious. After months of frequent discussions, and around the time that they claimed they never sold us one CD (and that the invoices and signed checks I supplied were “fake documents”), I stopped answering their Emails and voice-mails. Then the attacks began, in the form of harassing Emails and voice-mails (over 1,000 so far). Recently, the tone of the harassment took a terrible and very serious turn for the worse, so much so that we had no choice but to involve law enforcement.

We are not their only targets. They have been attacking many other innocent people for quite some time.

We’re not into “bootlegs” of any kind and never have been. Obviously, in this day and age, if we were then we would have been out of business years ago. We simply buy and sell finished products; we don’t manufacture. Almost every item we purchase comes straight from the artist or producer or label.

We are 100% “right” and they are “100% “wrong”, however we have no ill-feelings toward them. As I said, they went through some very, very bad times and I hope they can forget these silly bootlegging claims that they have against us (and everyone else) and simply get back to doing regular business. While their label was running they were putting out excellent product with sensational packaging. We (and the fans) miss it!

We’re on the same team and Burning Spear as far as piracy goes, and the general love for the music (that’s what brought me into the business in the first place). It’s a recurring theme with artists: when sales go down, it must be because someone is bootlegging. Obviously 99% of the people can easily see the truth so it’s a waste to go into further details. I am sure you’d all like to hear what’s happening behind the scenes but the details would only hurt Burning Spear’s position and I don’t see any benefit in dragging them down. The best approach, in my opinion, is to help prop them up so they can get the label going again.

After people understand the truth I sincerely hope that they do not direct any negativity toward them for the terrible mistakes they are making now.

This episode has disheartened us, not because we are being attacked, but because of the pity we feel for these two people who have given so much to the reggae world. I hope this settles down and we get back to selling their records (we stopped selling Burning Spear music because they asked us to not buy any from anywhere).

I hope they can see the light soon before more damage is done. Please keep all input positive; we have enough negativity in the world already, right? We still feel that we are on the same team and want to work together and move forward in a positive way, as we were before these bootlegging claims came out of nowhere.

So what do you think about all this business?

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.