YAZ Vs Kerrang! - Round 2

Ok, I’ve got a bit of a gripe with Kerrang! at the moment. I think they’re crap. I’ve told them, and well, as you expect, you get fobbed off with the same old stories all the time. Which is fair enough I guess. But not enough to stop me acting all high and mighty. So, I thought I’d edit some of the messages I sent them and pull out a few of the points that I think standout to my mind. I did a rant a couple of YAZs ago, but well, it’s just such a good source of ammo every time isn’t it. Even better, it’s their own ammo they give you with which to shoot them. Which is nice of them. So here goes, YAZ puts Kerrang! to rights in however many easy lessons.

Ok, first, why am I bothered? Surely that’s why I do a zine. Because I’m against those corporate bastards, standing up for the little band, promoting independance that we don’t want to see in the hands of influential major corporate wankers blah di blah. Well, yeah. Except I don’t pretend to operate at the most underground level. Plus there’s the fact that Kerrang! is the only weekly source of information available nationally in the UK. Therefore it has a duty to do things, and to do them fairly, balanced and well. And going hand in hand with that is that more people read and take notice of it than do so with zines. So they should encourage those people to go out and experience more, support scenes, bands, zines, etc more than they do. And like most things, it should actually coexist peacefully with what people like I am doing. There’s room for all ways. But while “mainstream” ignores “underground”, then “underground” will always fight back. It’s the way of the world. And here you have essentially the “underground” fighting the “underground”.

But now some of the latest gripes.

Well, my first message to them covered most of the things that were mentioned in the previous YAZ rant. So let’s pick up from there. After complaining about the 100 whatever features, they treated us to another. This time we get 21 pages of 100 Coolest Stars. Wow, just what we needed. This in an issue which, rather inaccurately, claimed to also have 10 MAJOR new interviews. Uh, like, I don’t think so.

At the same time I complained about the lack of coverage given to new UK bands. Responses. Well, there was “we rely on our writers to bring them to our attention” and “UK bands don’t tell us enough what they’re doing”. Ok, so there’s only a slight contradiction there. We’ll let that go. For now! They tell me that King Prawn, Lockdown, Cynical Smile and a few others HAVE been covered. Oh yeah, in all of their one paragraph glory. “As much as we’d like to do 8 page features on these new pages, we simply don’t have the space” cometh the reply. Um, like so why waste 21 pages on 100 coolest stars. Hmmm, I’ll ponder that one. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve nothing against the scope of the bands Kerrang! features. I’ll always dislike something. That’s not the point. It’s not “feature what I want or who I like”, it’s feature everything, but in balance and with equality.

And then, in the very weeks issue which accompanied such a statement, we have a 3 page feature on a US band with no deal, no album and no tour over here. That’s 3 pages. THREE. Trois. More than 2 but less than 4. When was the last time a UK band of similar status got that coverage? Any of the bands they said they’d “covered”. Correct, the answer there is “they haven’t”. But that’s probably because they’re not the side band of another of the K!sters favourite bands. So we’ve got a bunch of issues here. How much can we believe the big K! given their inability to accurately include the same number of MAJOR interviews that they claim on the cover (I count major to be more than “so what’s your favourite boozer then”), and their real coverage of UK bands.

Now, I also complained that those Kerrang!sters just sit on their arses, waiting for the latest next big thing to be given to them by labels, and patting themselves on the back in selfcongratulatory ego massaging. Of which they assured me this wasn’t the case. Which is ok then, cos I believe them. No really, I do. But then, we come to one of my favourite bands. The very wonderful System of a Down. You’ve heard of them right? You’ve read about them in YAZ since well, issue 1 in September of ‘97. You’ve listened to them as well haven’t you? Well no, apparently you haven’t.

Because Kerrang! always bring us something first. Like, ooh, let’s say, just for arguments sake here, the opportunity to hear System of a Down FIRST. That’s FIRST. In the WORLD. Before the REST OF THE WORLD. As in FIRST. So the 30,000 tapes that have been given out worldwide are actually a cunning new time travel device because they don’t actually exist until after Kerrang! has given people the chance to hear System FIRST. And those tapes, which have been available in the UK since BEFORE Xmas actually don’t exist. So if you’ve been listening to them, forget it. You haven’t. Because you can’t have. Because Kerrang! are FIRST.

Sorry, but that’s is just such a total and utter lie, and one that I can be confident about as being a lie. They can sue me on whatever else I say if they so desire, but that I know to be factually incorrect. Exclusive YES. FIRST. NO, that’s NO. Which is a minor thing, but in the matter of a few weeks it’s another example of my questioning whether you can actually believe what Kerrang! says.

But at least they didn’t pat themselves on the back with that one. I mean, imagine if they were like claiming you could hear the band because of this wonderful service brought to you by Kerrang! I shudder at the mere thought of it.

Like did you know that that the Kerrang! sponsored gig that the Deftones are doing to make amends for pulling the London gig was actually booked months ago. Actually before they pulled the other gig. As in, it’s been there all the time. They’ve been going to do it as a warm up for the Reading Festival. So where does Kerrang! get off on claiming that they are doing it, and pulling it together in response to the “outrage” from Kerrang! readers. Um, it’s a lie. That’s A LIE. Just in case the lawyers are having trouble with this.

Going back to the free tape offer. And the WONDERFUL support and coverage of UK bands. How many UK bands have featured in these Kerrang! free FIRST exclusive tape giveaways. I’ll help out with the answer here in that it’s definitely a number, and it’s most certainly less than 1.

So there’s a few of my gripes. Maybe I’ll actually print the full messages I sent them, which surprisingly enough haven’t been in the magazine. But one thing I asked them to do, in order to prove they do care, and they do listen, was to poll people. Would people like to see more balanced coverage? More interviews which are, well, good rather than one-dimensional pieces of tosh. Would people like to see more new bands featured, and given fair coverage. And that means UK, European etc as well as US bands. So, what do you think? Have I just got a chip on my shoulder and I should “get over it”, or are there some reasonable points in what I’ve just written. Tell me. Or tell Kerrang! Maybe if people actually do point out it’s crap, er, sorry, it has areas for potential improvement, then they may do something. While people continually slap them on the back and go, “you’re wonderful you are, I really like you, no, I mean I REALLY LIKE YOU. YOU’RE MY BESTEST MATE YOU ARE<burp>” then they’re going to do sod all, and I just have to rant on all the time. After all, it’s my job as a whingeing zine writer to complain about those corporate sell-out bastards blah di blah. Either that or they should just actually do their bloody job properly. And truthfully.