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Page history last edited by MrTundraMan 13 years, 4 months ago

Chuck Fromm and Maranatha! Music



Biography of Chuck Fromm



History of Maranatha! Music


Maranatha! Records was started in 1971 as an extension of the praise and worship music of the Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa. This became a multimillion dollar company.


In 1975, Chuck Smith's nephew (son of Chuck's sister, Virginia), Chuck Fromm was "asked" to lead Maranatha! Music Company, an outreach of the Calvary Chapel, and spent the next 25 years as its President.


Around 1988 Chuck Smith decided to sell Maranatha! Music to his nephew Chuck Fromm and a group of investors called "The Corinthian Group". Details of the sale are unknown. What is known is that this was as clear an example of an insider deal as can be imagined. Individuals involved were Chuck Fromm, Tom Vegh, Tommy Coomes and Mike Dodack.


Universal Music Publishing Acquires Maranatha! Music Catalog


Vegh and Fromm and the Corinthian Group



The Corinthian Group Executives


Title Name & Bio
Chb Chuck Fromm
Pres-ceo Thomas Vegh
Cfo Karen Coffee


205 Avenida Fabricante Phone: (949) 940-7000
San Clemente, CA  
United States


Modern Reformation on Fromm


I do not believe that Chuck Fromm is devious. He is doing what good business does, namely, make a profit. If his enterprise were under the close and vetoing scrutiny of ecclesiastical authorities, the product might be different (and would probably not turn such a handsome profit). Read article


Insider story


From http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/buckeyedan/vpost?id=438803&trail=40


Anyway.. first there was Maranatha Music, formed as a ministry of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and located on the grounds there too. This was before my time. Maranatha owned a studio just up the street from Calvary called Whitefield. It is the stuff of legend, as a glimpse through any of those early landmark Maranatha albums (and some later ones too, including the Broken releases) will show. It is the first 24-track studio I was ever in, invited to tag along with John Wimber one night, who was doing a recording there. That night I knew it was my calling and that I must learn everything I could about production.


Maranatha's then-president, Chuck Fromm had decided to form a Maranatha Music offshoot more focused on ministry and on those minstrels who wanted a vehicle to allow them to fulfill their calling without having to pursue a record deal with Maranatha or any other label. This was called the Ministry Resource Center, or MRC. There were many resources made available, training, study, prayer, materials, networking, showcases. It was a kind of lower-budget, grass roots farm label too. There were only a handful of groups working with MRC that I remember and the only one that really comes to mind now is a group called Tamarack which had Rob Watson on keyboards (he has appeared on too many records to list, including Broken Christmas, and of course he is also one of the Swirling Eddies) and John Patitucci, the renowned bass player. They were kind of a jazz/fusion thing. I honestly don't remember who else was working with MRC at that time.


There was also another label Maranatha had started called Asaph & Sons, or A&S records. This was formed for artists with more edge than would have been allowable on a Maranatha release. The one artist I remember of course, is Leslie Phillips (later to go by Sam Phillips, wife of T-Bone Burnett). They also had some compilations called Back to the Rock, and I think we appeared on one of those, or we were at least supposed to have. But I get ahead of myself...


About a year later, I got another call from Chuck asking Gene and I to go down to talk, and he told us that because of some technicality with Maranatha's agreement with Calvary (Calvary had also spun Maranatha off to Chuck Fromm), that they could not complete the sale of Broken to us while they still owed Calvary money. We said that was fine, and we just gave them back everything (the original Broken masters, but not those produced under Brainstorm, logo and other stuff). Chuck was nice and generous enough to set us up with Word directly, even though we had to prove ourselves at a sales conference in Texas, which we did with flying colors. We then just started releasing everything under the Brainstorm name and logo, which was our corporation name from the very beginning. From there, Jimmy Kempner made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Broken from Maranatha, and formed Broken Songs instead, the publishing company for Frontline. Many people got confused because of this, but Broken Records never had anything to do with Frontline. Most of the original Broken and MRC bands ended up there, and we were asked to, but decided to stick with Brainstorm. Glad I did too. I still own all my own masters and copyrights.


Another version from http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/Jesus_Music/message/14901:


M!M was started with a several thousand dollar loan by Chuck Smith since the
want for recorded material of what was being played at the fledgling Calvary
Chapel was so great. With that money, I believe it was Chuck Girard (Love Song)
and Pete Jacobs (The Children of the Day)... the only guys that had any
recording experience... produced two albums; Everlasting Livin' Jesus Music
Concert and Come to the Waters by The Children of the Day. Combined, those
albums sold 25,000 copies... a whopping amount for those days.

Buoyed by that success, they set up an infrastructure to do it again and record
some other projects. A number of people helped manage the start-up company
(which was really kind of an ad hoc development of the church, which was the
main gig) including Mike MacIntosh who went on to curry Horizon Fellowship in
San Diego, one of CCs flagship churches.

In 1975, Chuck Smith brought in his nephew, Chuck Fromm, to oversee the
administration of M!M. Fromm had been a city planner in Yuba City, and had also
been involved in helping organize some of the routes that the M!M bands were
travelling between churches and venues in the more Northern California regions.

The musicians will give you various stories, vacillating in between "we were
naive kids that were just in it to minister and who didn't really know what
we're doing" to "the people who were in charge are either the devil or a close
relative." Management, on the other hand, suggests that the musicians were
naive, that they didn't really know what was going on, and they were a bunch of

With this tension going on behind the scene, somewhere in the late 1970s, after
a concert called Hosanna USA where the company came very close to bankruptcy, it
was decided that management would divest themselves of the cadre of musicians...
and move from a company that had a number of high profile musicians who were
difficult to please and who were intent on making artistic statements of musical
faith to a bunch of nameless and faceless musicians who would concentrate on
making music for church folks to sing in their congregation (i.e. worship

This suited management nicely because, well, for one thing, it sounded great;
we're serving the church and not trying to be some Christian version of A&M
records. Too, it was a lot easier to manage. And three, it stood to make a whole
lot more money. Thus was born the Praise Album, the Praise Series, Kids Praise
series, Colors, etc., and a whole bunch of things whose intent was to serve the
church with resources.

If you are in to the artistic statements, though, Maranatha! Music was a total
flop. They had some of the most excellent Christian musicians, and didn't really
know what to do with them. Didn't have the mindset to bring Daniel Amos or Sweet
Comfort Band or some of the other excellent bands they had to a place where art
and commerce could have melded.

So, it depends who you talk to. If you dug worship tunes, this was a God
encounter. If you thought the rock stuff was your bag, your were out of luck.

In either the late 1980s or the early 1990s, the "non-profit" was turned into a
"for profit" when the four principle owners of M!M - Chuck Fromm, Tom Vegh,
Tommy Coomes (ex-Love Song) and Mike Dodack - paid off Calvary Chapel and turned
the thing into a regular business.

By the late 1990s, only Fromm and Vegh were left... and most recently, Vegh
bought Fromm out... and M!M is the sole ownership of a fellow named Tom Vegh.

I am sure there are some mistakes in there... and Kevin Thomson could enlighten
you far more than I can... but that is the Reader's Digest (and very tame)

Hope that helps,





Fromm...who then really botched it...and got screwed himself by one of his partners who sold for $50 million after getting Fromm to sell his shares out to him for less than a million. So the guy that profited the most from the company...a business savvy suit who saw potential...and maneuvered everyone off the property before he curried foreign investors to pay an exorbitant price for something that is basically worthless. The musicians...all seething that something that started so organically and under the direction of the spirit was handed over to such bunglers.


John Todd and Chuck Fromm


Statement from CRI on John Todd.


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