Although it feels like an eternity since Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness was released, the band that wrote and performed Joe Exotic's songs is finally going to cash in. Vince Johnson, the surviving member of the group that performed "I See a Tiger" and "My First Love," has signed a new licensing deal to release the Clinton-Johnson Band songs on a new album. Johnson also plans to include a new song about Carole Baskin, Exotic's rival who now owns Exotic's zoo property thanks to a court ruling.
Johnson signed a worldwide licensing and distribution deal with BMG Rights Management and Create Music Group, reports Variety. The deal will allow the labels to release a compilation record with all the songs Johnson wrote with his late collaborator Daniel Clinton for Exotic. In addition to the songs included in Tiger King, the album will feature "Killer Carole," a song Johnson released on YouTube and streaming services. The song was produced in a similar vein to the Tiger King tracks and features lyrics about Exotic's conspiracy theory that Baskin killed her second husband Don Lewis and fed his remains to tigers.
In Tiger King, audiences learned that part of Exotic's online presence included outrageous music videos for songs about tigers and his personal life. Exotic passed the songs off as his own, but he did not even sing or perform on them. On March 29, Johnson told TMZ he and Clinton were behind the songs. He said the duo recorded about 20 songs for Exotic, who would only provide them with a subject for a song. As far as Johnson knew, Exotic never played an instrument professionally.
Johnson told TMZ he hoped to get a record deal out of Tiger King's success. The new licensing deal is not the same, but it means that cover versions of his Tiger King songs "will be lawful," according to a statement. "This is Johnson's first publishing agreement for these songs and others he’s written and is also the band’s first recording agreement," the statement added. Johnson said BMG "impressed me with their faith in my songwriting" and the Create team is "enthusiastic" about releasing the Tiger King music collection.
Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is now serving a 22-year prison sentence after he was convicted on federal charges related to hiring a hitman to kill Baskin and animal abuse. Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled that Baskin will take ownership of Exotic's former zoo property in Oklahoma. The judge said the property was fraudulently transferred to Exotic's mother as he tried to avoid paying Baskin a $1 million trademark judgment.