Pennies From Hell
Here's one guy who is not done with the penny. Back in March, finance minister Jim Flaherty announced that Canada would stop minting the penny because it cost 1.6 cents to produce, and it was simply “a currency without currency”.
Meet Dave Gunning, a working Halifax folk musician with a Juno nomination and a couple of Folk Music Awards to his credit, in this country hardly enough for a mansion, limo and entourage.
Dave's new album is called No More Pennies, and it contains 12 songs that may be about the passage of time, vanishing Canadian heritage, and other key message that folk singers like to write and sing about.
And you could never guess in a million years. The Royal Canadian Mint has contacted the 39 year old musician and told him that because there are images of pennies on the CD cover, Dave must pay royalties of $1200 on the first 2000 copies sold. Dave's manager told us that on a 2000 run CD, Dave could do a Bob Dylan song for a fee of $160, but apparently our Canadian one cent, not even worth the effort to mint, is worth 8 times anything Bob Dylan has ever written.
The artwork was done by Juno Award winning artist Michael Wrycraft who has done CD packages for Stompin' Tom and Bruce Cockburn among others. Apparently a Gunning fan who works at the Mint inadvertently blew the whistle. It is unclear what Dave is going to do about the artwork or money owed, but he is urging fans to bring pennies to his fall concerts as a message to the mean Mint, and he will donate to a Halifax children's hospital.
It appears the folks behind the common cent have no common sense. I wish someone who had some would step in and waive the royalties. Somehow I hope this crazy publicity at least helps Dave sell more CD's and sell out more concerts. Meanwhile the Royal Mint is a royal pain. LEAVE COMMENTS.
(**NOTE: The Mint heard our voices...as of Sept 13/12 he got a reprieve. HEAR my interview with Dave by clicking here.)
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Here's a Dave Gunning live performance.