Wall Street’s Mofo CEO!
David Lee Beowülf
It’s been nearly ten years since the “decade of greed” has passed, and the children of the Reagan era, embracing Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is Good” mantra, are ready to move the music industry into the 21st century. Granted, the music industry today really began in 1993 or thereabouts, when “alternative” broke onto the pop music scene. As is well-documented, though, after the Great Recession of 1992-93, persons of consequence to pop music rediscovered greed and everything else necessary to “hit it big” with that huge record contract. Obviously the key to success is going for the gold. Climb that corporate rock ladder!
Judging from the pop charts and MTV, the magic formula to success in the world of music, really perfected in the late 1970s, is to sell out completely. Give the people what they want and continue doing just that. Hit after hit will come. Just don’t get creative, unless you’re ready to begin at the very bottom. Well, New York City’s Andrew Carnegie of punk-rap, Princess Superstar, did just that, and they’ve planned to gird their musical loins in the corporate manifesto of hard work, persistence, and stealing copies of Forbes off executives’ desks.
Avenue A wunderkind and insider Concetta Kirschner, the genius behind Princess Superstar, embraced the dog-eat-dog world of corporate music. After recording the band’s first album, Strictly Platinum, on a now-defunct label run by someone else, she decided to throw everything into the works and roll with the big numbers rather than allow some cut-throat Eaton-Hogg toadie run the show. She formed A Big Rich Major Label. Concetta, herself became CEO of A Big Rich Major Label and changed the name of her band to Princess Superstar, Inc.
According to Ms. Kirschner, while she is the majority stockholder in the Corporation, the ten-person company (which does, in fact, qualify as a small business under FAR 8(a)), appears to share equally in the profits, which I was able to ascertain from the pie-chart accompanying the liner notes to CEO.
“Our company’s Human Resource Department was able to locate some of the East Village’s finest talent,” says Kirschner. “For CEO, we added DJ Science Center, who is quite a mover and shaker. The remaining structure of the corporation is Ski Love Ski on bass, Mike Linn on drums, and a host of out-sourced local talent.”
I didn’t notice any particular animosity towards lawyers in the music, which I took to be necessary for A Big Rich Major Label, anyway… Speaking of that, I asked Ms. Kirschner what kind of extravagant items she purchased to flash her corporate success in everyone’s faces. Surprisingly, I discovered that Princess Superstar, Inc. is quite thrifty.
“Our Financial Management Plan, supported by three parts Visa and a little bit of American Express, requires that we keep the balance sheets pretty stable. Our main emphasis now is on growth through promoting the album and keeping a roof over my head.”
And certainly that razor-sharp business acumen and understanding of the complexities of Institutional constraints has led Ms. Kirschner to be an apostle of tight budgets and an keen eye for bargains.
“You see that suit I’m wearing on the cover of CEO?” she says. “I found that at Century 21 marked-down from $2,000 to $800! Of course, I returned it the day after the shoot! That’s a real Wall Street stock brokerage’s board room, too!”
If that doesn’t impress you, their musical portfolio will. Musically, Princess Superstar fuses rap and vintage funk with samples from such diverse artists as the Smiths, Jess Franco, all sorts of house and techno grooves, 1960’s psychedelic sounds (especially, a song on CEO, “I Got To Get Aloan With You, which has a lot of punk as well as psychedelic elements), and even some metal every now and then.
“It all comes from having the right boyfriends!” jokes Kirschner. “My boyfriends have all had great record collections. I love Black Sabbath and Iggy Pop, too. I can’t stand a lot of the music today that tries to mix hip-hop and metal, though. It just sounds terrible!
“I originally played guitar for the Gamma Rays [an all-girl NYC power psychedelic band]. Which was great, but I wanted to go in my own direction and play my songs the way I wanted to. I really enjoyed experimenting on my own, with a 4-track recorder accessible to us and sampling, remixing and experimenting was something I really got into.”
While it sounded as though she enjoyed her guitarist gig, her star potential, as well as songwriting talent, must have demanded moving into the frontperson position. This is alluded to throughout the songs on CEO, which even includes some phone messages from seriously big rich major labels letting her know that they’d love to sign her — just 1) tone it down and 2) get rid of the rap elements. I was curious, though, as to what kind of sub-agreements Princess Superstar, Inc. has with the myriad artists sampled.
“Our sub-agreements?” she asked with a bit of shock in her voice. “Our subagreement is that I hope we don’t get caught!”
Oookay… I changed this potentially embarrassing subject and mentioned that I was surprised that a corporate executive type like herself would even acknowledge worker-bees, referring to “Stuck in a 401 K-Hole,” which also includes the factual tales of a merger between Princess Superstar and Bryan Adams (it does! Buy the album and listen to track twelve!). Was she telling the world that she’s proud of working her way to the top, or is it something else, because she also celebrates the Darwin-worshipping early 1990s with “Supersize the Downsize.” I guess the bottom line was did Princess Superstar, Inc. have such a plan?
“World domination,” replied Ms. Kirschner, completely straight-faced. “We’ve toured the U.S.A. and played Canada a couple of times and we’re gearing up for a big tour this spring, which should include South By Southwest.”
(Darn! I forgot to ask if she was related to Don Kirschner!)
Princess Superstar, Inc.’s mailroom is always open to inquiries on their product line and may be reached through Conchetta Kirschner, 151 First Avenue, Suite 239, New York City, NY 10003. Electronic mail is accepted as well, at firstname.lastname@example.org.