Monday, February 01, 2010

How does a one man band break up and reform?
A lot of the news coverage of the death of Pauly Feuemana in the last 24 hours has repeated the claim that OMC broke up in 2000 and reformed in 2007 (see ODT, NZPA and here). If you watched the 20/20 story I posted yesterday, it seems that Pauly got sick of touring in 2000 and came home and put his feet up. And what is the source of this break up/reformed tale? The OMC entry on Wikipedia, which has got a fair few mistakes in it.  It makes no mention of the original incarnation of the group, before the other members left and Pauly kept the name, heading in a more pop direction.

Here's TV3s reporting last night, and TVNZs. TV3 talks to Tony Fuemana and onscreen labels him as John Fuemana.

Russell Baillie wrote a good piece on Fuemena in today's NZ Herald but he (or one of the Herald's subeditors) got the name of Pauly's wife wrong, unfortunately.

The Dominion Post's Paul Easton (with Michael Fox, wrote a story, "Pauly Fulemana mourned" that also repeats the claim that OMC broke up in 2000 and reformed in 2007, and then takes a few more leaps of the imagination. Easton gets some quotes from the local hiphop community, such as this:

"Rest in peace, the one and only Pauly Fuemana," wrote rapper P-Money on his Twitter page."

P-Money is NOT a rapper. Easton also grabbed two other quotes off Twitter without mentioning it as his source, or asking permission.


"Kirk Harding, of hip-hop label MTC, said Fuemana would never be forgotten. "Pauly put South Auckland on the global stage." Porirua-based musician Ben Aitogi said he "made the impossible possible". 

I asked Ben (@USOuljah ) and Kirk (@KirkMTC) via Twitter what they thought of their comments on Twitter being used without permission, and Kirk noted that they could've at least asked permission tho. Both told me that if they'd been asked a quote, they would've sent the journalist to someone who was close to Pauly, like Ermehn or his family. And Easton rewrote Harding's original tweet.

The Dom Post article also mentions his parentage, and mispells Niuean (in reference to his father).

The story continues with...

"How Bizarre made him at least $1.5 million. However, a natural generosity and the cost of a rock'n'roll lifestyle saw the cash slip through his fingers. He was declared bankrupt four years ago.
"I bought my brother Phil a Range Rover and my sister a BMW ... because they were at the bottom of their glass, they were struggling," he said in a 2006 interview. "I said, `Here, have some money."' 

The 20/20 interview  I posted yesterday includes Pauly stating that How Bizarre earned about $11 million, of which he says he got about $5 million, NOT $1.5 million.

It appears Easton sourced some of his information from a Sunday Star Times article in late 2006 - it's no longer online but I posted to my blog at the time, here. Pauly talks about his bankruptcy, returning to the studio with Alan, being hit by his record company for 50% of touring expenses, and studio zombies... "I went to these studios and there were like three guys in there doing the same job that Alan (Jansson) does. Fifty thousand American dollars later I'm like, `what does he do?' `What's he doing?' I call them studio zombies."

I'm sure there will be several thoughtful, well-written tributes in the media to Pauly Fuemana soon enough, but this is not one of them.

ADDED: This thoughtful piece is from Campbell Live, and talks with Pauly's family and friends (Ermehn, Brotha D), as they bring Pauly's casket home late this afternoon. Campbell Live reports that Pauly died from pneumonia.

As John Campbell says in the story, even tho we live in an age of Scribe, Savage, Tiki Taane, Nesian Mystik and so on, its not that long ago that being brown meant never being played on the radio, and How Bizarre was a breakthru song not only for Pauly, but for a generation of young Polynesian musicians who realised they could do it too.

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