Elvis Costello on price of new box set: 'Either a misprint or a satire'
What, you may be wondering, is Elvis Costello's advice to fans contemplating a purchase of his monstrous new limited-edition box set, "The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook," coming out Tuesday via record label Hip-O/Universal? On his website, he calls it a "beautifully designed compendium [that] contains all manner of whimsical scribblings, photographs and cartoons, together with some rock and roll music and vaudevillian ballads," so you might think he'd be promoting it as a holiday gift.
In a recent post entitled "Let's Make Things Sparkling Clear," the Imposter's team answers the question in no uncertain terms: "We at www.elviscostello.com find ourselves unable to recommend 'The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook' as the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire."
The multiformat package (DVD, CD, 10-inch vinyl, book, autograph, whatnot) documents his two-night stand this spring at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, where he delivered a raucous variety-show/concert in which fans were invited to the stage to pick a song by spinning a big game show-type wheel. The set has a list price of $339.98 (though Amazon's currently offering it for $202.66) and is limited to 1,500 copies worldwide.
But that's apparently too much, and Costello's team decided to speak out against Universal, the world's largest record label, by going public:
All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless so we are taking the following unusual step.
If you want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving, we suggest, “Ambassador Of Jazz” -- a cute little imitation suitcase containing ten re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived -- Louis Armstrong.
The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats.
Frankly the music is vastly superior.
The post adds that in 2012 the Spinning Wheel tour recordings will be issued separately -- but saves its deepest cut not for Universal but for file sharers who don't pay anything for music, which he describes as "pirates who [imagine] they are evangelists or that other people’s rights absolve their own thievery, in which case this is between you and your dim conscience."
Costello and the Imposters continue to tour with the spinning wheel, and will land in the Southeast this spring for a series of shows. For the price of the box, you might be able to grab a roundtrip ticket.
4/23 –- Melbourne, Fla., King Center
4/24 –- Clearwater, Fla, Ruth Eckerd Hall
4/25 –- Hollywood, Fla., Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
4/27 –- Jacksonville, Fla., Florida Theatre
4/29 –- Durham, N.C., Durham Performing Arts Center
-- Randall Roberts
Photo: Elvis Costello performs at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles in May. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times