Musician Gary Lawyer on the music scene in India
Gary Lawyer, a name synonymous with old-school rock believes that in India, the system to support musicians and artists is still not in place. He feels that Freddie Mercury would never have been who he was if he had stayed in India- he would have remained Farrokh Balsara- not a rock star. If he had stayed in a country like India, he would never have had the opportunity to utilize his talent as a singer/ songwriter and a performer. It was only in a different country like the UK could he find a system that supported and encouraged his talents.
Though he doesn’t know how the issue of copyrights and plagiarism can be handled in the context of India, it does need a practical approach. If the infrastructure is there, the copyright fees should be paid. But you need to control it (copyrights infringement and plagiarism). There are copyright laws that must be adhered to by artists and labels, when they cover works of other artists, but India’s lax and confused laws and regulations, often makes it difficult to shift through the legalities. Even if an artist is ready to pay for covering a song, the infrastructure is not in place.
In India, it’s only Bollywood that has things under control- only because the industry is controlled by 10-15 people.
Freddie Mercury (Queen) is his favorite. He also admires the old R&B and Soul artist like Otis Redding. Among the newer breed of artists he likes Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Jon Bon Jovi (Bon Jovi) and Billy Joel.
For him every artists was a product of his time, be it Sinatra or Michael Bubble. The audience and society were different with different influences, styles and trends. There are generational differences in what is considered apt and ‘good’ music. But he believes that the new acts have the advantage of having the distribution infrastructure in place. They have producers, studios and songwriters to help them. He believes that (pop) stars are usually a result of public demand created by the media.