In founding independent labels Epitaph and Anti-, Brett Gurewitz has established a defiantly artist-first model which continues to thrive in today’s ever changing musical landscape. A lifelong technophile, he has continually embraced emerging technologies to innovate new and better methods of music marketing and artist development.
As much as any figure in music, Gurewitz has helped guide the ethos of punk rock out of the underground and into the forefront of modern culture. A founding member and songwriter for the influential band Bad Religion, Gurewitz has penned well over a hundred songs including the hits “Sorrow”, “21st Century (Digital Boy)” and “Infected.”
As an engineer/producer/mixer with more than ten thousand hours behind the recording console, Gurewitz founded West Beach Recorders in the late 80s; the studio provided an affordable haven for a long list of emerging artists including Rancid, NOFX, L7, Rocket From Crypt, Sublime, The Melvins, Blink 182 and others.
The first breakthrough album on Gurewitz’s Epitaph Records was Bad Religion’s 1988 classic Suffer. He subsequently introduced a a number of young underground bands to a worldwide audience. The Offspring’s album “Smash” would go on to sell over eleven million copies, while Rancid’s “And Out Come The Wolves” would go platinum and records by Pennywise and NOFX would be certified gold.
In 1998, Gurewitz signed the iconic artist Tom Waits and subsequently formed Anti -Records, dedicated to serving a more eclectic roster. In recent years, both Epitaph and Anti have continued to flourish, nurturing and developing new artists while releasing Grammy winning works by Mavis Staples, Tinariwen, Tom Waits and others.
Lionel Conway is a preeminent figure in the music publishing world. A native of London, he has consistently helped shape the musical landscape running successful, independent publishing companies for over 30 years and personally signing such iconic artists as Tom Waits, U2, Lucinda Williams, The Decemberists, and more.
Conway began his career at Dick James Music in London where he was assigned the enviable task of placing Beatles songs with other British acts. Soon after he persuaded James to sign a then-unknown writer/artist named Reginald Dwight (aka Elton John) to a record contract, and subsequently served as John’s manager.
Shortly thereafter, Conway formed and ran Chris Blackwell’s Island Publishing Company where he personally signed some of the most renowned songwriters in popular music including Cat Stevens, Tom Waits, Mick Jones (Foreigner), Paul Rogers (Bad Company), Trevor Horn, U2 and more.
Conway eventually moved to North America where he started Island’s U.S. office in Los Angeles. He remained at the post until Island was purchased by PolyGram, whereupon he joined Madonna’s company Maverick as president of publishing, overseeing their family of writers until 2001. In subsequent positions at Mosaic Media Group, Stage Three Music and BMG Chrysalis, Conway acquired the entire ZZ Top catalogue, over 40 #1 Country hits as well as songs by Aerosmith, Lucinda Williams, Vertical Horizon, Brett James, the Decemberists and more.
Throughout an extraordinary career as a consummate record man, Conway has both shaped popular music and devoted himself to protecting songs and their writers. He served for five years on NMPA, the governing body dedicated to protecting the rights of songwriters and publishers throughout the world.
Hein van der Ree
Growing up in the Netherlands in the late sixties and seventies meant being introduced to music from the UK and the USA and falling in love with Free, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd, Ten Years After, The Kinks, and many more. In his early twenties, Hein moved to the UK and landed a job at Chappell International in London. It was there and in his subsequent job at Intersong that he learned the ins and outs of music publishing and started signing contracts to represent writers and music publishers in various parts of the world. Seeing an amazing Joe Jackson perform lead to a deal with his publisher, Albion Music. Many others followed such as Peter Green, The Cure, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, and Trevor Horn’s Perfect Songs. Intersong also represented Island Music in parts of the world and so the connection was made with Island Music’s President Lionel Conway, who hired Hein to become MD of Island Music UK. The next phase lead to Hein becoming managing director of Phonogram Records in a very successful era, working with artists such as Dire Straits, Def Leppard, INXS, Metallica and Elton John.
Then, in 1993, a meeting was set up with Brett Gurewitz to discuss the possible representation of Bad Religion in Europe through a new venture, IRC. That deal was never made but Brett and Hein stayed in touch which lead to Hein’s appointment as MD of Epitaph Europe, located in Amsterdam, between 1995 and 2010. During that period Hein was also a board member of Impala and a founder and director of Merlin.
In 2009 Hein was approached by Buma/Stemra and was appointed CEO in 2010. In 2013 followed his appointment as Chairman of FastTrack, the technology provider for CISAC, based in Paris. “ As CEO of Buma/Stemra I was proud to represent and protect the interests of a great number of composers. Now, as partner in Mothership I am committed to that same mission, to support and defend the rights of all our songwriters”.