OCTOBER 17 1998

LARRY LEBLANC – BILLBOARD MAGAZINE

TORONTO-Despite being a major artist in Canada for 18 years and having significant stateside success previously, Tom Cochrane still lacks a commitment to release his new album, “XRay Sierra,” in the U.S.

“Getting a U.S. label for Tom is not going to be a problem,” insists Deane Cameron, president of EMI Music Canada, which has been shopping the album in the U.S. “[In time] we’re going to have our pick of labels.”

“I do have an America deal, I just don’t know who with,” says Cochrane. “It’s easy for [a U.S.-based label] to say, `EMI Music Canada paid for it; let’s release it because we’ve got nothing to lose.’ That doesn’t mean anything. I want real commitment.”

Cochrane’s band, Red Rider, was signed directly to Capitol U.S. in 1980. After being dropped by that label in 1985, Cochrane signed with EMI Music Canada. Subsequent albums, with the exception of “Victory Day” on RCA U.S. in 1988 and “Songs Of A Circling Spirit” on EMIaffiliated Guardian, had been licensed to Capitol U.S.

Cochrane has a decade-long, albeit uneven, track record at U.S. album rock radio with Red Rider. The band’s albums on Capitol and RCA have averaged 60,000-70,000 units each in the U.S. The 1992 Capitol U.S. release “Mad Mad World” has racked up stateside sales of 549,000 units, according to SoundScan.

The album peaked at No. 46 on The Billboard 200. Its key single, “Life Is A Highway,” reached No. 6 on both Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart and its Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. A follow-up single, “No Regrets,” reached No. 7 on Mainstream Rock Tracks.

However, Cochrane’s subsequent albums failed to appear on Billboard charts. “Ragged Ass Road” (1995) on Capitol U.S. sold 15,000 units, according to SoundScan, and “Songs Of A Circling Spirit” (1997) sold a dismal 2,900 units, according to SoundScan.

“Americans know `Life Is A Highway,’ but you’d have to go through at least 10 people before finding someone who knows my name as the artist of the song,” says Cochrane.

But Ron Stone, president of Gold Mountain Entertainment, which manages Cochrane, argues that the timing could be suitable for the singer/songwriter to make inroads in the U.S. as a seasoned artist.

“I see Tom in the same category as Bonnie Raitt and Tracy Chapman, whom I also represent,” Stone says. “He needs to get attention for the quality of what he does, not to be competing in the rock world.”