Thursday night, 70°F Listening to The Rolling Stones, Let It Loose
Or how I got copyright permission on lyrics from Pearl Jam
How many times have you been told that you can’t put lyrics in your novel? That it’s impossible (or at least prohibitively expensive) to obtain copyright permission on lyrics? If it’s important to your novel, then it’s worth the effort to try. I did, and it wasn’t nearly as difficult as people claim. I’m so glad I didn’t let their negativity discourage me.
First things first: you absolutely must get copyright permission on lyrics before you publish them in your manuscript. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the law.
On August 17, 2016, I made a post explaining why the words of Saint Wozniak’s Whipping tattoo were left out of my novel, State of Love & Trust. In short, his tattoo is the first stanza of the Pearl Jam song, Whipping, and therefore protected by copyright. At the time I wrote that post, I was well into the process of attempting to obtain permission from music publisher Hal Leonard. Based on everything I’d read while researching copyright issues, I fully expected it to be too expensive. But I had to at least ask. Those lyrics fit Saint’s reckless, hard headed character too perfectly for me to not at least try to get them included. Continue reading
Ellie Rafferty’s story in State of Love & Trust was predicated in part on the question, What would happen if a character took Pearl Jam as seriously as a religion? I thought aPearl Jam religion was a fun concept. What does it look like? What are the tenants? How would a worshipper of Pearl Jam practice her faith?
A Pearl Jam religion is even something Eddie Vedder once joked about. Continue reading
[UPDATE: When I wrote this post on using copyrighted lyrics, I was doubtful that I’d be able to obtain the proper permissions. Happily, Pearl Jam and music publisher Hal Leonard came through, granting me permission to include these lyrics in my novel. Lesson: If you want something, it’s worth asking for.]
In the first chapter of my novelState of Love & Trust, the character Saint Wozniak peels up his Mother Love Bone tank shirt to reveal the entire first stanza of Whipping inked in a neat typewriter font on his shoulder blade. Those lyrics, which he says are his favorite, matter to the novel. Yet they are not included anywhere in the text, and for good reason. Continue reading
Thursday night, 88°F Listening to Nice as Fuck, Angel
My love for Pearl Jam led me to write a novel that’s unapologetically not for everyone. The first time I saw the Eddie Vedder swinging from the rafters (3:41) in the Even Flow video on MTV was the moment I became sold on this band. I’d spent the entire ’80s retreating into Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and The Who because I just couldn’t get with the whole hair metal/Spandex vibe. My reaction to this video was “that sounds like … real rock ‘n’ roll. They’ve brought it back from the dead.”
From that moment on, I was hooked on Pearl Jam. I’ve seen them live multiple times and their shows are incredible. I have a Ten Club membership, a Yield vanity plate, some framed show posters, all of their studio albums (except Riot Act, oops), too many bootlegs to count, and I don’t know how many T-shirts or pairs of Docs. Which means, as Pearl Jam fans go, I’m a total lightweight. (I’ve even shamelessly posted a popular video just now instead trying to polish my creds with something stunning, like Wash.) Gosh you guys, I don’t even have a Pearl Jam tattoo like Saint Wozniak or Ellie. Continue reading