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BACKSTAGE IN SACRAMENTO

Lawyers, Musicians and Lobbyists—Now That's What I Call Music
It's rock & roll all night and lobbying all day in Sacramento.

Rock stars and labor leaders joined California State Senator Kevin Murray at the Capitol on Wednesday (1/23) to lobby State Congressmen on Murray's proposed legislation to repeal the exemption for recording artists in California's seven-year statute. Murray, a former William Morris agent, chairs California's Select Committee on the Entertainment Industry. He has compared the exemption, which passed in 1987, to indentured servitude—and in the process has made friends with artists.

Among those in attendance were, Don Henley, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Beck, Carole King, Tom Morello, the Deftones and Dexter Holland. The musicians were joined by lawyers John Branca and Jay Cooper, manager Jim Guerinot and others. The group took questions from the press before meeting in a war room to plot the day's strategy and complain about the catering.

Even an unsexy issue such as the repeal of Labor Code Section 2855 Subsection (b) brings the pols out for a photo op when musicians come to town. The rest of the day saw the contingent pressing the flesh, signing autographs, kissing babies and having their pictures taken with politicos, in hopes that the legislation will get the attention of lawmakers and the media.

A PR firm hired by the RIAA was on hand lobbying for defeat of the repeal. A less-combative than usual Henley said: "There are issues that [artists and labels] agree upon, but the seven-year statute is fundamentally wrong."

The press in attendance wanted to talk more with the artists, but Sen. Murray was hogging the microphone. Typical politician.

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