I am always thrilled by the mail that we get at Seven Days, particularly when it’s a music related letter.
Loyal readers may recall a piece we published in our recent Music Issue that took bands to task for their "lame" presskits. "Selling the Fizzle" was written by one Andy Smetanka, a former Music Editor for an alt-newsweekly in Montana. Smetanka is something of a legend in his neck of the woods, having played in numerous bands. He also recently made a video for lit-rock superstars The Decemberists.
The idea for the piece was mine, but we figured that given his history, he would have plenty of tales to tell.
Anyway, there have been a handful of Letters to the Editor about the article, some full of praise for "telling it like it is," others upset about Smetanka’s percieved insolence.
I would like to re-iterate that the piece was intended to be humorous.
That having been said, if bands would actually heed some of the "tips" in the article, their chances for press exposure would greatly improve.
This week’s letter, from Larry Dolan of Morrisonville, advises bands not to "waste their energy trying to gain the attention of insipid rock critics — they usually are writing about music because they couldn’t hack it as a performer."
While this may indeed be the case for SOME jaded critics, others, like myself, have had a pretty good run performing. And recording. And producing. And now, writing.
Bottom line: Some music sucks. Some music sucks and is promoted poorly.
Mediocrity seems to be a cultural norm these days. That doesn’t mean we have to condone it, even if it comes from our own backyard.