Mystery surrounds the departure of whizz-kid Jake Riviera from Stiff Records, the company he, ahem, built from nothing into a significant independent label.
Since news last week of Riviera's split, Stiff have remained silent, professing that they are as much in the dark as anybody else.
It seems that Jake is leaving Stiff to concentrate on the careers of two of his proteges, Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe. Riviera, it is rumoured, plans to take Costello and Lowe away from Stiff and place them with another company.
Stiff, meanwhile, will be left in the hands of Riviera's former partner, Dave Robinson, who will continue to run the recording operation.
Riviera has remained tight-lipped about the move, saying he has "signed a piece of paper saying that I can't say anything about this. I am not allowed to make any comment. It was a totally amicable thing."
A source close to the company, however, told MM that Riviera had left because he was quickly, becoming disillusioned with the business end of affairs. "It was no fun for him anymore," we were told. Riviera's alternative now is to personally push the careers of Costello and Lowe.
Stiff Records was started by Riviera and Robinson with help from Dr Feelgood's Lee Brilleaux. Riviera had worked with the Feelgoods as tour manager, going on to manage Nick Lowe and American West Coast band, Clover. Robinson manages Graham Parker and the Rumour and was in America with that band last week when the split was revealed. The first record released on Stiff was Nick Lowe's now deleted single, "Heart Of The City," backed by "So It Goes."
Lowe and Costello release their final singles on Stiff this week. Costello's is "Watchin' The Detectives," backed by two live tracks, "Mystery Dance" and "Blame It On Cain." A version of the Billy Fury classic, "Halfway To Paradise" is the new Nick Lowe single.