John Wesley Harding Investigated by Feds?



He’s no record biz
puppet, but rumors of contractual issues and internet fraud still swirl around beloved


By Fred Mills


Back in February we had in in-depth interview with
singer/songwriter/author/prankster/raconteur John Wesley Harding about his new
album Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead and about the ups and downs of establishing his own label, Popover Corps, to
release the album as well as records by such cult artists as songwriter Tucker
Crowe, avant-skronk legends The Suave Loins of Darkness and first-generation
punks Zeroville. At the time, Harding explained his rationale in going the
grassroots route thusly:


“My own case is like everyone else’s: I might have meant that “being on
major labels was impossible” because none of them would sign me. As for
indies, you ended up wondering just why you were giving them ownership of your
music when you could do it all yourself – but I was too lazy to do it myself
and was, in fact, the perfect artist for the old school paradigm. And that was
the spark for Popover: I was going to release Who was Changed and Who was
on Popover and I thought it would be lonely without some label mates,
plus people like labels to have an identity. And it all rolled from there.”


More recently, at SXSW in Austin last month, Harding participated in a
well-attended panel titled “Make a 360 Deal With Yourself” in which he and
several others, including BLURT fave Amanda Palmer, discussed the ramifications
of artists taking greater control of their careers in the current music
industry climate; in his case, not only working for himself but operating as a
label boss as well. Indeed, since rolling out his label, Harding’s received a
substantial amount of interest in his operations – possibly too much, in fact.


Sources informed BLURT today, April 1, that Harding (real name: Wesley Stace) is currently under
scrutiny by both the U.S. Postal Service and the FBI for possible fraud related
to his Popover Corps
. Details are sketchy, but apparently there have been
allegations from both visitors to his website (regarding as yet unfilled mail
orders for Popover Corps product being advertised at the site) and some of the
artists on his roster (for unauthorized sales of their albums stemming from
contractual disputes).


Harding, currently on the road with his funnyman pal Eugene Mirman with
their critically acclaimed “Wes and Eugene’s
Cabinet of Wonders” (tour dates HERE), could not be reached for comment, and
repeated emails to the Popover Corps site were not answered. More details as
they emerge, but suffice to say we’re big JWH fans here at BLURT and we hope
that none of these allegations turn out to be true, or that at least the
matters are resolved to everyone’s satisfaction without having to involve the




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