WHAT IS THIS COMPANY?
Supermegabot produces & sells limited edition music products. Owned by the family of Thomas Enright and Jeff Rougvie
WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
Jeff Rougvie has worked with some of the most important and influential artists of the rock era, including Badfinger, Jay Bennett (ex-Wilco), Big Star/Chris Bell, Andrew Bird, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Carbon / Silicon (Mick Jones of the Clash with Tony James of Generation X), Alex Chilton, Bootsy Collins, Elvis Costello, Devo, Dream Syndicate, Roky Erikson, Alejandro Escovedo, Galaxie 500, Jimi Hendrix (Estate), Bill Hicks (the genius comedian, not the grumpy bluegrasss artist), The Jayhawks, Jack Kerouac, Laura Marling, Meat Puppets, Ministry, The Misfits, Mission Of Burma, Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, Morphine, Nine Inch Nails, Yoko Ono, The Posies, The Raspberries, The Replacements, The Residents, Robyn Hitchcock & The Soft Boys, Soul Asylum, Ringo Starr, Starz, Stiff Little Fingers, Sugar & Bob Mould, Throwing Muses, Pete Townshend, The Undertones, and Frank Zappa.
After dropping out of Art School, he moved to Minneapolis, arriving just as Prince, Husker Du and the Replacements were exploding. There he launched the ESD label (Bruce Cockburn, The Residents, They Might Be Giants, and more).
In the mid-80's Rougvie was hired by Rykodisc and helped them secure the rights to David Bowie’s classic 1969-1980 catalog. Working closely with Bowie, he produced the multi-media career-overview “Sound + Vision” box set, earning Ryko their first Grammy Award, selling over 500,000 copies.
In addition to signing new and heritage artists, Rougvie produced all of the Bowie re-releases (19 in all). A version of “The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” was the first deluxe edition of any single album.
In 1998, Chris Blackwell’s Palm Pictures purchased Rykodisc and Rougvie segued to DVD development. After proposing a number DVD of projects Blackwell and his team did not understand, Rougvie left.
By 2002 it was clear the Ryko/Palm merger wasn’t working and Ryko was spun off from Palm. Rougvie was re-hired and his first signing, horror-rock band the Misfits, was the first Billboard Top 200 charting release of the century.
In 2006, the Ryko label and distribution company was sold to Warner Music Group for about $67 million (the Publishing company was sold earlier for approximately $16 million). Rougvie departed shortly thereafter to EMI, where he re-launched the EMI-owned Caroline Records imprint.
While at EMI, Rougvie launched the innovative Caroline World Service program, releasing thousands of EMI-owned recordings in the US for the first time (both digitally and physically). This extremely profitable venture combined new technology with inexpensive alternative marketing.
Jeff enjoys pop garbage, traveling with his family and driving his beloved Mazdaspeed6 up scenic Route 1A to seaside destinations.
Thomas Enright spent more than 30 years working at or with both major and independent music labels. He started out at the Music Stock Market, promoting Geffen Records and Profile rap artists to retail and radio outlets across the country. During his time at downtown San Francisco’s Rainbow Records, he was the jazz and classical buyer. Thomas spent several years at Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, famous for its premier audiophile LP and CD reissues, where he was directly responsible for a groundbreaking series of gospel and blues releases. He then joined Rykodisc, one of the most respected independent labels of its time, as National Director of Sales & Marketing in 1996. Under his supervision, Rykodisc was named NARM Label of the Year 7 times in 9 years, including several years when it was part of Chris Blackwell’s innovative Palm Pictures company. As a VP of Label Services at EMI Label Services/Caroline Distribution, Thomas earned several gold records with artists as diverse as Raekwon (former Wu-Tang Clan member) and the metal band Five Finger Death Punch.
In his time away from music, Thomas enjoys fighting Zombie-like infectious diseases at Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Mass., and is an enthusiastic member of the New England Wildflower Society.
Sadly, Thomas passed in 2018 after a short battle with cancer. Read more here:
I’m very sad to report that Thomas Enright, co-founder of Supermegabot Music Concern, has passed after a year-long battle with cancer.
Thomas was a music-lover and my business partner, but most-importantly, my friend, a constant source of inspiration and encouragement. There are very few people who are truly close friends; comrades, if you will. There are fewer still who make you better by their example. Thomas was all of these things.
Thomas turned a passion for music into his work, with thoughtful companies like Mobile Fidelity and Rykodisc, where we met in the mid-90’s. He was funny, smart, hard-working, pragmatic, and loyal, mentoring many in their first music business jobs, preparing them for careers they still thrive in.
We had a great time at Rykodisc until 2006, when it was sold to Warners (sorry, WMG). We stayed a team, moving to New York to take new jobs at EMI with Bill Hein, our former boss at Ryko.
Every week we commuted to New York/ Every week Thomas seemed to have a dog-eared copy of a different Willie Mays book than he had the week before. It’s well within the realm of possibility Thomas read every word ever written about Willie Mays.
We shared an austerely-furnished apartment in Astoria and many long drives between Boston and NYC. They were filled with marvelous conversation and uproarious laughter, underlined by his clean and pure wisdom. The man’s bullshit detector was second to none and he was practical to a fault (hence our furniture, a folding card table and two folding chairs).
After our adventures in New York mercifully ended, Thomas suggested we start a new label together and I eagerly agreed. If nothing else, we could get some great music back into the marketplace, but most importantly, we would spend more time together, planning and plotting.
We originally agreed the label should be a re-release only affair. We proceeded to chase down rights to a handful of great titles (and compile a long list of potential follow-ups).
I made Thomas promise to punch me in the face if I ever suggested signing a new artist. As a testament to Thomas’ excellent taste, he did not thrash me when I suggested releasing Jeff Whalen’s new album. He loved the record, embraced the idea, and we got into the new artist business, too.
In fall of 2017, Supermegabot released our first CDs - Human Sexual Response’s two albums. They band was playing a rare reunion show at which our first CDs would debut. Thomas had just gotten the all-clear after a brush with lung cancer and it felt like he’d dodged a bullet. Despite his still-recent surgery, nothing could keep him from seeing our first releases meet the public.
It turned out to be a magic, effortless night - one of those amazing evenings where everything works out effortlessly. Joey Molland’s Badfinger was playing across the river in Arlington, and I knew Joe from Ryko, so we dropped in to their soundcheck to give Joey an early copy of Jeff Whalen’s album. Joey invited us to dinner, during which he recounted amazing stories of his career.Thomas and Joe were going back and forth, just talking music like they’d known each other for years. It could’ve kept going all night, but Joey had a show to do and we needed to get back to the Humans gig.
HSR put on an amazing show that blew us away, but true to his business instincts, he kept one eye on the stage and another on the merch table, tracking how our CDs were selling. Driving home, we were elated with the pure joy of music and music people.
Thomas started this company because he believed great music should be heard (and presented) well; it would not exist without him and he wanted it to continue without him. We have a lot to live up to, but our work will continue, and whenever we’re struggling with a decision, we’ll rely on our new motto“WWTD?”
Music was very important to Thomas, as I’m sure it is to you. At this sad time, please remember: music is great, it binds us together despite our differences. It speaks in many languages at once, and it stirs our souls in many ways, reminding us we are alive.
I don’t think either of us cared for Frank Zappa that much, but we agreed he had a great quote; “music is the best.”
Damn right it is; music led me to cross paths with Thomas Enright.
This is a terribly insufficient tribute to one hell of a guy; a loving husband and father, terrific friend, enthusiastic partner, and so, so much more.
Rock on, Thomas. You truly are the Man.
Donations may be made to Music & Youth Initiative via www.musicandyouth.org or 398 Columbus Avenue, PMB 307, Boston, MA 02116.
PS: Fuck cancer.