‘Pact With the Devil’ : Milli Vanilli Duo Say They Were Seduced by Money
The Milli Vanilli duo said today they made a “pact with the devil” when they pretended they sang on a hit album, and they contended it was all with the knowledge of their record company.
“We were scared. People threatened us,” said Milli Vanilli member Rob Pilatus at a Hollywood news conference today. “We’re happy that it’s over.”
Pilatus declined to say who threatened him and partner Fabrice Morvan. But he said Arista Records President Clive Davis knew about the deception that has rocked the pop music industry. Arista has denied the allegation.
“Arista Records and their executives did not know that Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan did not sing on the Milli Vanilli album, and any assertions to the contrary are false and libelous,” the company said in a statement today.
Milli Vanilli was stripped of its Grammy on Monday, the first time an act has been forced to return an award.
Pilatus said the album gave them fame and fortune, but it came at a high cost. He said they were seduced by the money and success because they were poor and living in a Munich housing project.
“You get something, for that you make a pact with the devil,” Pilatus said.
Goaded by the media to prove they could sing, Pilatus cursed and said, “I’ll do it.” The two then burst into a few lines from the song “Girl, You Know It’s True” from their best-selling album by the same name.
The duo admitted last week that they did not sing a note on the album. They also lip-synced at concerts and on the Grammy awards show in February. The album sold about 7 million copies.
Pilatus, 25, from Germany, and Morvan, also 25 and a native of the Caribbean island of Guadaloupe, were stripped of their Grammy for best new artist after revelations that other singers substituted for the pop duo on the album “Girl, You Know It’s True.”
“This is the first time this has ever happened” in the Grammys’ 33-year history, academy President Michael Greene said. “I do think it’s an isolated incident. We are as upset about it as the public has the right to be.”
Greene said academy trustees voted overwhelmingly to take back the award. A decision on what to do with it will be made by an academy subcommittee Dec. 5.
Greene said the duo’s wish that it be given to the singers who actually sang was “not a possibility.”
The academy recognizes that “packaging” groups is part of the music industry, Greene said. But misleading record labels are unacceptable, he said. The album label attributed vocals to “Rob and Fab.”
“That was just absolutely false,” Greene said.
Milli Vanilli’s German producer, Frank Farian, who disclosed the deception, said in a statement that by returning the Grammy, “Rob and Fab can put this episode behind them and mark the beginning of a new career for themselves.”
Vocalists Johnny Davis, Charles Shaw and Brad Howell reportedly were the real singers.
“I’m very pleased that it’s coming out. . . . I’m pleased that they are taking action in America,” Shaw said on Monday’s “Entertainment Tonight.”
Shaw said he earlier tried to persuade people he was one of the singers, but getting anyone to believe him “was like running my head into a brick wall.”
Earlier story, A1
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