While I was totally disillusioned with the music "business", scraps of musical inspiration continued to creep into my head, whether I wanted them or not. My way of dealing with this was to record the idea on cassette (just in case), shove it in a drawer and then ignore it.
Martha meanwhile, inspired by our daughter, had been slowly writing and recording a collection of original children's songs which we eventually released on our own Muffin Music label as "Songs From The Tree House" in 1995. "Tree House" received positive reviews and won the Juno Award, (Canada's equivalent to the Grammy) for Best Children's Album the following year. After being invited to join the roster of Prologue To The Performing Arts, an arts organization that brings children's performers into schools, festivals and other public venues, Martha has performed for thousands of children across Ontario and beyond.
In late 1996, Martha and I negotiated the sub-licensing rights with BMG Music Canada president Paul Alofs for the albums in the BMG back catalogue. After approaching EMI Music Canada president Deane Cameron for help in obtaining sub-licensing rights to the Virgin-owned albums, Deane offered to release our proposed MatM/M+M compilation. With the additional commitment of EMI's Shan Kelley and Warren Stewart, "Then Again - A Retrospective" was released by EMI Canada and Muffin Music in 1998, ending the ten year struggle to release a comprehensive overview of the seven studio albums to date on C.D. The resulting email from fans around the world, the rise of e-commerce on the Internet, the inspiring websites of other bands, (many of them also neglected or ignored by the major labels), helped convince me that there was value in continuing to make music for an audience we thought had disappeared.
Since the release of "Then Again", the number of requests for the reissuing of "This Is The Ice Age" and "Danseparc" among others has increased, as well as the demand for new material. While there is no interest from our former labels in reissuing past albums, Martha and I have the right to exploit our back catalogues - at our own expense of course. We are continuing to explore ways of making this financially viable.
Over the last few years, Martha and I have been pulling all those cassettes of ignored musical fragments out of the drawer. From those tapes have come ten or more new songs. As songwriters, the best thing for both of us has always been that moment when a song starts coming together. It's great to be writing again and we hope to be able to share these new songs with our listeners soon.
Mark will be updating the continuing MatM story soon...