In March 2012, Lester Chambers (of The Chamber Brothers fame, a 1960s soul group) posted the following image to his official Facebook page:
That hit song? “Time Has Come Today”.
In fighting for an open Internet (especially in the face of threats such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, and so on), entrepreneurs such as Alexis Ohanian — who once upon a time co-founded reddit and created Breadpig in 2008, an organization he describes as “an uncorporation that deals in delightful geeky wares and helps people helping the world” — have decided to flex their proverbial muscle and do something about such injustices. Upon seeing Lester’s story, Ohanian asserts that individuals around the world have an incredible opportunity to help support artists in the digital realm.
The two men met in April 2012, with Lester participating in a reddit Ask Me Anything around this time to tell his story and shed light on the corruption and tyranny of the record industry as he understood it. Lester’s story served as a catalyst to get him back in the studio to record another album.
With Breadpig, profits are disseminated to individuals and corporations that “make the world less sucky”, and the “uncorporation” spends its time “discovering and promoting fascinating technology, hacks, and ideas from all over the world” that are inspirational and impressive. Lester is now writing a new record, entitled Lester’s Time Has Come in an effort to not only rekindle his faith and trust in others’ vested interest in his work, but also to stand up for and support artists’ rights.
Donations and funds accrued for Lester’s project will go to Lester by way of Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance “to career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems”. Sweet Relief Musicians Fund will be helping Lester produce the record.
Of course, there is a significant cost to such a project, which Lester has outlined below:
Rehearsal costs: $3,800
Musicians (Band): $8,000
Five Weeks Studio Time: $10,000
Musician fees (including Tower of Power Horns, Lenny Williams, Zakiya Hooker, Ant Dog, & Marin City Choir): $6,200
To help facilitate this record coming to fruition, Lester and Ohanian have collaborated with a Kickstarter campaign. At press time, over $15,000 has been raised in support of this project, and their goal of $39,000 must be attained by January 9th, 2013. The Kickstarter also offers different rewards to encourage pledges; for instance, donating $50 earns you a limited edition LP, autographed by Lester, along with the digital copy, T-shirt designed by Lester’s son (Dylan Evans), your name in the album liner notes, as well as downloads of two new Christmas arrangements: “Jingle Bells” and “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.
Earlier today, Alexis published the following video — an effective recap of what the project is all about:
Stay tuned for the rest of the staff’s 2012 year-end lists, but for those interested, here is a link to the Kickstarter.
Disclosure: all images courtesy of the aforementioned Kickstarter campaign as well as Lester Chambers’ official Facebook page.