Hereís a little message I received.
Hi there, my name's Stu and i play in band-Grand Central, on Sunday the 25th April we played a gig at Upstairs from the Garage bands playing on the night we're, Kneejerk, Grand Central, Sunfactor and Spy versus Spy all this for a fiver. I say the best bill of the year, (well, for british bands at least!). It seems you're mag doesn't seem to cover up and coming bands-who deserve the credit and instead you go for the dross that is NYHC and the easy pull of an ABC metal band. I'm all one for getting a fair go and all that, but come on, there are some great bands around at the moment, and it's time that magazines like yours woke up and smelt the coffee and perhaps went to see some of these bands.
And hereís my little reflection on it.
Ah, sometime things just really get you up. And sometimes they just drag you right back down.
I did actually reply to this personally, offering to discuss it. I said I donít bear grudges, which I think is true, but who knows. But as they didnít bother to reply in spite of my passing on the gig review and informing them of the cd, Iíve decided to write some stuff.
I was kinda excited about getting a message from GC, cos of how good their demo is. But I feel pretty depressed about what it said. I'm not sure what the basis for it was. I guess they must've read a copy of a zine I gave them at the Leeds gig. The Leeds gig I have given a pretty good review to elsewhere in this issue. And bought their demo at. And travelled 140 miles to see. But I guess they didn't check the web pages to find that review. Bit gutting really as when I received that message, Iíd already written their demo review, along with reviews of bands such as Spy Vs Spy, Get UP Kids, Babies Three, Sunfactor and Rydell. Because I know that Iíve not covered that sort of music much, and because I do try to cover as wide a range as possible under the "rock" umbrella. I wonder if thereíll be complaints to the hardcore zines or ones that cover their sort of music. Because hey, a lot of them donít cover the stuff I do.
Now, I get on at people not checking out enough stuff. Which is what this kind of says to me. But I try and check out as much as I realistically have time, effort and money to be able to afford to do. And not just one style. So why shouldn't I listen to "dross NYHC and ABC metal" given that I'm also giving a chance to emocore and punk, and melodic punk, and technometal and whatever? I could ask why some punks donít listen to metal? Why donít some metalheads listen to anything different. You can apply it to everyone.
Ok, here's the deal. I listen to metal. Hardcore. Emo. Poppier stuff. Alternative stuff. Whatever. I'm no expert in any of them. Listening to a range like that means that sometimes the zine isn't going to be dedicated to one particular style. Or maybe an issue gets slanted towards one style. That's how it is. Thems the rules.
If I was to do what is asked there, and only listen to a certain style, although I'd be checking out new bands, I'd be just as guilty by checking out only new bands in a certain style.
What you get in this zine is a mixture. If you don't like that, then don't read it. I try my absolute best to cover unsigned stuff. And I try to cover it in a wide range. But there will be some signed bands, some "corporate" bands. I listen to them. I like them. I havenít got time for people who want to be more righteous about music and say you canít make a living out of it. Or money out of it. Or that you mustnít listen to something on a major label. Or that if you do any of those, then you are the son of Satan. Bollocks. Think like that and youíre just a clique king. And a wanker. You can do all those things. However, it gets sick when people exploit. But thatís a different issue. And you can exploit even when youíre supposedly DIY. And I only have so much time and so much space per issue. I reckon I work pretty hard at this in order to cover as much as possible and get this thing out as often as possible. And yeah, I may be patting myself on the back there, which I've accused others of doing in the past, but at the moment, I think I fucking deserve it. For the record, Iíve got in "free" to about 10 gigs in my life. And I saw around 100 last year, and 30 in the first 4 months this year. "Free" review material accounts for maybe 1/5th of what gets reviewed in this zine. EVERYTHING else I pay for.
Sorry, Iím off on one now. Well, you can read and go with it, or tell me to fuck off. The choice is yours.
You want to know a secret. Well here's one. In the time of doing this zine, I've probably spent best part of a grand in publishing it, sending it to people, buying demos to review and whatever. And that doesn't include the money I forked out to do the CD last time. Or the money on gigs. So excuse me if I give myself a little credit here. It's not perfect, not by a long shot. It doesnít cover everything cos I donít get sent everything, and inspite of the money Iíve thrown at it (because I chose to), I canít afford everything. Or have time to find everything. I do rely on people letting me know about new stuff, stuff they think I should check out. I'm always working to try and improve the zine. Plus I have a job that I have to do every day.
As regards getting out and seeing bands, well, I see almost 100 gigs a year. So I think I at least try. I travel a fair bit around parts of the country seeing stuff. But y'know, some evenings, after work, I'm just too tired to go see a band. I can't always travel to London from Nottingham. But I think I do my bit. And if things go according to plan, I'll be expanding that by putting on some gigs of my own, and maybe even starting a distro with the specific aim of including demos.
So, as for not covering up and coming bands. Well, like them or not, but I think I've given pretty fair coverage to the likes of Milque, Monkey Boy, Dai Lo, BlowHoly, and a shit load more. Iíve got some more up my sleeve. Iíve planned on trying to sort some stuff out with bands like Grand Central themselves, as well as Spy Vs Spy, Imbalance and more. I've put together a CD covering a lot of unsigned UK stuff. I'm preparing to do interviews with all the bands on the CD that I haven't already done interviews with. I was getting ready to try and give a fair bit of coverage to Grand Central as well.
And besides. Did you send me your demo? Huh? Did you? Did you send it out to the zines that donít cover the stuff you want them to. Or did you just stick with the Fractureís and Vision Onís of this world (which are bloody good zines I might add). Couldnít you have asked if I review stuff like that and if Iíd be prepared to review your stuff instead of claiming that I donít with no evidence. Huh? Did you. No. I bought your demo. Itís about time some bands realised that zines donít exist soley for their exploitation. You could help out. Take zines to give out or sell at gigs. Even when they donít have you in them. Or pass on the details of a zine to bands looking for places to get their stuff reviewed. Or send zines demos of stuff you may get handed. Help out a bit. Donít expect us to do all the fucking work for you and then complain if we donít do exactly what you want or give you the review that you want. Some bands, should stop fucking taking zines for granted.
Yes, I do give some stuff shit reviews. Yep, Iíve been known to rant a little bit! But I also think Iím pretty fair. I try to give everything a reasonable chance, but at the end of the day, Iím entitled to an opinion.
Sorry, just kinda real disappointed in that message, because I like what I've seen and heard of that band. I know that if I write stuff about bands, then I have to take criticsim myself. And I can accept that where it's justified. But check your facts first. And if people sour it with me, then it gets difficult. And it's maybe the first kinda real slagging I've received from a band that I like. And you have to roll with the good things as well as the bad, so I'll get over it. Still, wish they'd actually checked on some stuff before they'd jumped in with both feet and removed any support that I may try to give to the band in the future. Sad. So, great band, you should check them out. Lousy attitude, which means I'll review their shit in the future, but don't expect any interviews or anything like that with them.
This is what you get with me ok. It's as honest as I can make it. If I like something, I'll get excited by it. If I don't, I won't. If you wind me up on it, I'll retaliate and let you know about it. I am defensive about what I do. Fucking right I am. If a band slags me, fine, I wonít go out of my way to do anything for them in the future. That's how it works. Donít pussyfoot around me and try to impress me, cos Iíll still write what I think, and you should be yourself. But if bands, or anyone else, want to complain about things, well do it. But expect me to get the last word in on it. If I did this for ME and for what I could get out of it, thereís plenty of other ways I could achieve more. But I donít. I do it to try and support bands. And I write what I feel. And if you donít like it. Ah, fuck off. I'm in a really bad mood about this now.