Thursday, October 19, 2006

Yoko Ono: Peace, Love and 'Show Me the Money'

There are countless Beatles fans who dislike Yoko Ono. And countless rock fans who love U2. So what do the two have in common?

Yoko Ono is a phony, a hitchhiker on the road to undeserved riches. All the way back to the 1960s, she has pretended her goal is to support and champion peace in the world, help deliver understanding for everyone else. Earth to Ono, "Start in your own Backyard."

It's not just the way she treated John Lennon's oldest son, Julian Lennon, keeping musical keepsakes from him that ultimately led to a well-publicized dispute a few years ago. Now, today comes word that Yoko has sued music company EMI Group PLC and a subsidiary for $10 million, claiming she was cheated out of royalties due from the sale of music by John Lennon.

I'm not a defender of the record industry. But the latest move from Yoko Ono, as well as recent news about Bono and the rest of U2 moving their music publishing company to the Netherlands to reduce their taxes can turn anyone into a cynic. According to a report published in Bloomberg on Oct. 16, at the same time the wealthy Bono is asking the Irish government to contribute more to Africa, he and the other members of U2 are effectively avoiding paying full taxes on the $110 million they earned in 2005. "Do as I say, not as I do" is an adage that works well here.

The Bloomberg story went on to note that guitarist David Evans (okay, okay, The Edge) has gone on the defensive, appearing on a radio station Newstalk on Oct. 2, stating "Our business is a very complex business...Of couse we're trying to be tax-efficient. Who doesn't want to be tax efficient."

I guess I wouldn't be so sarcastic if I didn't see so many people I know, specifically a number of struggling musicians, who live in small apartments or rented rooms in the decaying metropolis known as Southern California, while the members of U2 live in great big houses in wonderful neighborhoods while taking first-class vacations all around the globe. And Bono wants us to spend all of America's tax dollars too. I know a few people here at home who could use the dime.

I understand the music business is just that, a business. I just think these musicians want it both ways. They love to get up in front of a cheering crowd or at a press conference and talk about how evil big corporations and governments are. But at the end of the day, they really only care about themselves. Rock on.

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