Concert in court
The Province - November 12, 1998
Jack Keating, Staff Reporter The Province
Sarah McLachlan's music will grace the hallowed halls of B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver this morning.
Courtroom 44 will sound like a basement rec room when the superstar's songs are played on a ghetto blaster in musician Darryl Neudorf's civil suit against her. He is seeking damages, claiming McLachlan took credit for work he did.
McLachlan's lawyer Jennifer Conkie will play the songs Vox, Steaming, Sad Clown and Strange World from tapes entitled Sarah Project Demos (also known as Touch Demo), Sarah's Stuff Feb. 25, 1988 and the final CD release of Touch.
"It'll be a little bit more interesting than (Tuesday's) testimony," said Conkie.
Today's show will be a prelude to live musical demonstrations by McLachlan, Bill Henderson and Mark Jowett when Conkie presents McLachlan's case next week.
"A lot of people will be playing bits of music," said Conkie.
Said a sheriff, noting the amount of equipment in court: "We could have a jam session in here."
The plaintiff's expert witness Gerald Eskelin began the musical interludes Tuesday.
He snapped his fingers, sang and on a keyboard performed bits of Schubert (The Theme from the Unfinished Symphony), ZZ Top (La Grange), Yankee Doodle Dandy, My Bonnie (lies over the ocean) and On Top of Old Smoky.
He was demonstrating instrumental hooks, continuity and contrast as well as the chords, melodies and harmonies that go into making a song.
The defence scored a victory Tuesday when Justice Bruce Cohen ruled that 14 pages of a 30-page report by Eskelin, including a section entitled "The McLachlan/Neudorf collaboration," are not admissible.
Eskelin, a musicologist and Grammy-award nominee with the L.A. Jazz Choir, has testified as an expert witness for Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, John Fogerty and the Spin Doctors in plagiarism suits in the U.S.
Conkie argued that Eskelin was a "highly partisan advocate" for the plaintiff who made sweeping generalizations about McLachlan.
"I'm not going to worry about it," said Neudorf's lawyer Jonathan Simkin. "To me the key to this case is what Darryl (Neudorf) says and what Sarah (McLachlan) says."
"(Neudorf) will make or break his own case. Darryl's testimony is the most important part of our case. We feel we've built a nice foundation with all our witnesses so far."
THE STORY SO FAR
Darryl Neudorf, 34, a former drummer with the band 54-40 and now a Vancouver record producer, is suing singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan, 30, Mark Jowett and other partners of Vancouver-based Nettwerk Productions Ltd. for copyright infringement and a share of royalties.
Neudorf's suit contends he co-produced and co-wrote four songs on Touch, McLachlan's debut 1988 album which eventually sold 600,000 copies.
Neudorf claims he deserves more credit and money for the four songs.
Neudorf is thanked for "inspiration" and given credit for pre-production, co-ordination and production assistance.
McLachlan, then 19, is credited with writing all but two songs on Touch.
McLachlan is one of the world's top female pop stars.
Jowett played in the band MOEV before forming Nettwerk Productions.
Bill Henderson, one of Canada's foremost singer/songwriter/producers, including 12 record albums with the band Chilliwack, is an expert witness for McLachlan.