Benet revisits past for Japanese fans


Well, here’s something unexpected. An American R&B star is cutting an album that may be released only in Japan.

Eric Benet, who sings tonight at Boulder Station, was asked by Warner Music Japan to make an album of cover songs.

So Benet is recording such classics as the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes” and Paul Young’s “Everytime You Go Away.”

Benet says he agreed to do this because he thought it might be fun to relive “soft rock, middle of the road, late ’70s, early ’80s songs.”

“It’s feeling good,” Benet, 46, says. “All of them are part of the soundtrack of my youth. So it’s an incredibly nostalgic high, going into the studio.”

He expects the album to sell in Japan by fall. If Benet can release part or all of the album in America, that wouldn’t happen until 2014. (Keep up with Benet’s progress at Instagram.com/ericbenet.)

I reminded Benet if the album gets sold only in Japan, Americans will just download it for free off the Internet.

“I know. It’s a crazy world, man,” Benet says.

It’s a bad time for musicians to get paid for songs. In fact, other musicians have recently criticized the online jukeboxes Pandora and Spotify for streaming their songs without paying them much in royalties.

In June, Cracker guitarist David Lowery posted Pandora documents online, under the incredible headline:

“My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89, Less Than What I Make From a Single T-Shirt Sale!”

Benet is frustrated, too.

“It would be nice if the artist actually got paid again,” Benet says.

But he points out Americans are insulted when they’re asked to pay for music.

“I don’t know any other art form where it’s like: If you like a painter or a sculptor, you say, ‘I’m just going to take it.’

“It’s a whole generation now where people think they don’t have to pay for music. It’s very weird.”

Most musicians make their money by touring. You can support Benet by paying to see him tonight. He offers you a bonus: “If you happen to see me gambling, why don’t you come on up and have some fun with me? Because I’m sure I’ll be at a blackjack table somewhere.”

‘BEHIND CLOSED DOORS’

If you are single and looking for a lot of men in one place: The “Star Trek” convention is at the Rio.

If you’re a swinging couple: The Vegas Exchange “lifestyle” convention is at the Palms.

And if you are looking for women en masse: The Golden Nugget today hosts the Romance Novel Convention book fair (10 a.m.-2 p.m.; free to the public ).

“The women definitely outnumber the men here quite a bit — probably 50 or 60 to one,” romance novelist Sherri Hayes observed when she checked in the other day.

Hayes is a choir singer-turned-romance novelist. She writes a variety of styles — from “medium steam level” (along the lines of Harlequin), up to BDSM erotic-romance.

But she says her BDSM isn’t as steamy as other writers’ full-on erotica.

“BDSM is such a blah term. It’s bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism,” Hayes explains.

“When someone says BDSM, someone could be talking about all of those things, or just one or two of those things.”

Oh. I see?

Anyway, Hayes (SherriHayesAuthor.com) — author of “Behind Closed Doors,” “Red Zone” and “Slave” — says you will find romance authors to be humble and personable.

“We’re not the glitz and glam, fame and fortune, type. We’re more down to earth. We’re just normal people.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.