An April story in the Microsoft Music Central on-line magazine claimed that EC's 10-year run with Warner Bros was at an end. Headlined "Elvis Costello Exits Warner Bros", a breathless piece in the Totally Live News column for April 11-13 ran thus: "We don't know how she does it, and we don't want to say that Rhoda Penmark has bugged some of the offices of the record execs around town, but she must have had a fly planted firmly on the wall of Warner Bros president Stephen Baker recently. How else would she have known that Elvis Costello stormed into Bakers office and 'quit'? Okay, maybe there wasn't a fly - since Elvis and Baker were discussing his future at such high decibels it was hard not to hear. We understand that Baker tried to persuade the artiste to stay, but Costello was having none of it. A source close to Costello told TLN that Elvis was packing his bags and will exit the label as soon as his contract has been fulfilled and will head to different pastures at Richard Branson's v2 - where, ironically, Costello's former longtime manager, Jake Riviera, has an imprint. Look for one final album from Costello on Warner Bros - predictably a greatest-hits package with a few new tracks."
BB is given to understand that there are a few inaccuracies in this account (for one a V2 signing seems unlikely), but, considering the events of the past year, EC's departure from the Warners roster hardly comes as a surprise.
Warners Bill Bentley told the Dallas Morning News: "I don't think he's unhappy with (Warners). I just think he's done all he could do with us, and he's looking to start over and find some new blood." (ATUB has sold a mere 97,000 copies in the US.) Bill also confirmed to BB that a greatest hits package is planned as EC's swan song for the label.
According to Costello's office, the coming year may also prove to be a quiet one for his fans. EC has made a conscious effort to focus on his writing and some family commitments. As a result, no live work is planned other than perhaps an occasional "one-off" appearance. As for "one-offs", EC rejected an offer for him and Steve Nieve to appear July 27th at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan as support to Oasis. There is however talk of some Terror + Magnificence dates in the USA (see page 20), As to song writing, during his February visit to the US, EC spent time with Burt Bacharach in LA. and the pair are reportedly collaborating and "kicking ideas around".