One of the more popular panel discussions at last week’s Los Angeles ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo was the “Who Is He (And What Is He To You)” master class session featuring Aloe Blacc and Bill Withers. The two singer/songwriters spoke for an hour and a half covering myriad topics.
Withers, a recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and a Grammy winner, offered smalls gems about his career. He named the 1962 Jack Lemmon movie “Days of Wine and Roses” as a creative spark for his hit “Ain’t No Sunshine.” He also shared that the song “Lovely Day” was what he heard “when late songwriter Skip Scarborough played it on the piano.” Many of 76-year-old Withers’s responses were crowd-pleasers.
Withers was blunt when Blacc inquired about the holder of his song copyrights.
None of your business… Everything isn’t the public’s business. Unless you’re a Kardashian. If you can get paid [like them], then you get a pass.
He gave his take on the “Blurred Lines” legal dispute.
Well, my wife thinks it was copyright infringement. I have difficulty with that. [Marvin Gaye] was a dear friend. But if we have to start copyrighting grooves, then the whole of rock ‘n’ roll is going to owe Chuck Berry. It’s a touchy thing.
He also explained his reasoning behind destroying his masters for an album during a dispute with a former label.
My thoughts were, ‘Now, sell this’ … I will erase a master tape and a master’s ass.