I’ll spare everyone the specifics, but I’m currently pondering a morally ambiguous situation that happened to my band recently, which I find myself growing increasingly irritable thinking about.
My band, Match By Match recently played a show at a local bar/venue where there was some press coverage by a certain student run periodical. The coverage wasn’t for us, but rather one of our compatriots (who, it should be noted, well deserved it because they are awesome and I would give their name now if I wasn’t trying to keep the details underwraps. ::coughcoughappleseedcollectivecough::).
While we aren’t the focus of the article, there was some information on the other bands performing that night. In the course of this coverage, we had our pictures taken during our set. A rather nice picture, if I might say so.
This picture was later posted (in ultra-tiny, microscopic thumbnail form) in the article about the show. We thought the photo seemed pretty good and inquired as to whether or not we could get a higher resolution (re: visible) version of the picture. They said surly. For their standard rate of $20.
Now, I’ve done some probing and have been assured that (as I expected) legally, this is a perfectly kosher request on their part. We’re not Lady Gaga, we don’t own the inalienable right to our image in print or reproduction. Our performance at this bar was public (in as so much as that anyone with 5 bucks and a desire to see folk music played with a manic conviction could get in. We are considered public figures and thus its within anyone’s right to take a picture of us and do whatever they want with it (include sell it back to us) as long as its not libelous.
My issue is this: it feels like bad form. I’ve been in bands for going on 10 years now, and I’ve had my picture taken a while performing more times than I can count. I really don’t have a problem with this. I actually rather like it. Usually, I’ll get my picture taken (whether professionally or by a normal schmo) and, when the picture is later published/posted, if I like it, I’ll repost the picture to whatever site I have, always crediting the artist/photographer. This is my standard game, and seems pretty reasonable to me.
I take issue with being charged for my image, especially since we were not asked if it was OK to have our picture taken, and when I think it’d be mutually beneficial to both parties (me as hot-shit rockstar, they as badd-azz rock photographer) to have the image as readily available as possible. Coming back to the whole “MxM < Lady Gaga,” the picture is not really of much value to the to the student (::coughcoughtrashy::) publication (since the article only featured a thumb anyway wasn’t really about us to begin with) and we aren’t exactly blowing up the Billboard charts (yet).
This means that, while the image is of virtually no value to them, they get to arbitrarily charge us for the privilege of being photographed. Now, I believe that their price is set and they consider it to be well-reasoned and fair (to stretch the metaphor, they’d charge Lady Gaga the same scale they’d charge us lowly fuckers). I argue with the very principle of it being fair.
When you’re podunk nobody little band, there are a million small ways people are looking to squeeze you for what little money you have. Whether its the old fashioned kind: promoter who is hoping you wont hang around until the end of the night to get paid out or the “battle of the bands” where the band who pre-sells the most tickets wins; or the newest scam, websites like Sonicbids that charge you to have a EPK (a digital document not occupying any real tangible space) AS WELL AS to submit to venues. It gets utterly tiresome. It starts to feel like you’re paying for the privilege of being a working band.
I for one am sick of it. I’m sick of being bled by people who are pretending that their work somehow makes me more legitimate. I’m sick of these fucking phonies who tell themselves they’re hot shit making these bullshit rules that don’t account for the reality of things: that they’re just a glorified student gazette and we’re a garage band without the garage. I’m sick of the one-sided relationships when both people could benefit from something reciprocal.
Namely, I feel like it’s bad form to be charging us. I understand wanting to be paid for your time and effort, but it’s not like we hired them to photograph us. They were there anyway and snapped a few shots they frankly aren’t doing anything with, shots that are just cluttering their hard drive, and now they have the gall to charge us for something which is of NO VALUE to them, other than the money they can extort from schmuck’s dumb enough to not have a photographer on staff. I would be delighted to have a lower-res picture with a big fat imagestamp on it, credit the magazine in question, the photographer, link to their site, and anything else to promote the relationship between photograph and photographer. I will, however, not pay for a picture of myself that I didn’t ask for.
So what do you think: is this morally reprehensible? Is this just another artist trying to get paid for their work?
I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me, but I just was overcome by the realization that world is full of pretty girls and just how great that is.
I honestly don’t think about it much anymore. I’ve had a bit of a sea change in my lech gaze since I’ve been in a happy relationship for so long. My girl is, of course, one of the prettiest, so win for me.
Carry on, pretty girls of the world. Your work is invaluable.
“I must admit I am a big fan of Indie music. In fact, The White Stripes and The Format are two of my favorite bands. And I even subscribe to the idea that making the kind of music an artist or band wants to create (vs. the kind of music they are expected to create) makes all the difference when it comes to showcasing true talent.”—From a local review of The Kills’ new record. Its a pan, no big surprise from someone who capitalizes “Indie” and associates The White Stripes and The Format with the foremost examples if the genre. How delightfully magnanimous of the local reviewer to concede that an artist making the music they WANT to make might lead to more inspired art. Really, you are truly expanding our horizons by even acknowledging these things. Thank you for being the last person in the country getting paid to review bands to realize that it’s a false equivalence between popular success and quality and that the major label system just might lack relevance. Thank you for brining your message to the lowly, pitiful surfs. And only 20 years too late to be relevant. Not bad. It’s worth noting that this declaration of the potential value of an INDIE band (OMFG THE FORMAT!!!1!) comes in the same issue as an article about DAYTROTTER. Good job local music press. Good. Fucking. Job.
We figured since the kickstarter has wrapped up, the time was be right to give everyone a taste of one of the new tracks from American Crowbar (also to assuage fears that your money is being spent entirely on pup-a-roni and funny hats for Oscar).
This is an instrumental rough mix of the brand spankin’ new song “Dear Dead Stars,” featuring Sara Paquet on cello and MxM’s own Melissa Coppola on flute.
Another long day of tracking at Backseat, but still full of surprises and little delights. We’ve added cello to several tracks and all this morning I was channeling my inner Panda Bear (the man, not the ursine) by manipulating a crashing wave of feedback loops via one of the most delightful delay pedals I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. Must take pictures for my Christmas list.
I feel like I’m bad at the 21st century because my instinct isn’t to preserve and post these things in the moment. It never occurs to me. I’m not much of a picture taker and if something is worth sharing, it takes a lot for me to muster the enthusiasm to just post it. I recognize the irony of talking about this on tumblr. I am a complicated man.
After three long months, the kickstarter is finally done! 91 backers, almost $3000, and we’re about half way through recording. This is honestly far more than we could have ever asked for or imagined and we are so honored everyone felt like we were worth giving to.
I went bananas and spent more than I usually do on anything on records today. It wasn’t my fault. There were lots of people there, it was chaos. What was I supposed to do???
Here’s what I picked up:
I like First Aid Kid, as I’ve previously discussed. The single is nice, though I can’t say that I care for the Fever Ray cover (not a huge Fever Ray man to begin with). I give them credit for expanding their comfort zone with Jack White, but feel like this is more their wheelhouse.
Now THIS is interesting. I’ll cop to the fact that I really, really dig Mumford and Sons. Sure, they’re a bastardized pop-bluegrass. Yes, they lay it on thick with the gravitas and the drama of the lyrics. Most definitely, they flirt with that sort of ren-fair anachronism that is unbecoming. But they have great hooks, great chops, and have this really tight, complete sound, and honestly, the world would be better with more of them than Rhianna.
This album, as I understand it, is their collaboration with Laura Marling and a group of Rajasthani folk musicians. Its really cool to hear the combination of the Appalachia folk tradition (by way of the heirs to Fairport Convention, a group of English 20somethings) and Indian music and how well their jive.
I’ve always enjoyed Manchester Orchestra, though this single might be a grower, not a shower. The orchestra (no pun intended) touches are a bit much, and the band seems to be regressing a bit from “Everything To Nothing” in terms of the unique voice of the songwriting. The live b-side (featuring Kevin Devine a Bad Books) is a stinker.
These guys are kind of my new favorite. A lot has been said comparing the band to Sonic Youth, but I don’t hear that nearly as much as I hear Dinosaur Jr. That epic guitar sound is coming back in a big way, very new sincerity.
Okkervil River is an enigmatic band. It’s hard to get a figure on exactly what they do. The single “Wake and Be Fine” has a Beatles feel to it; a drowsy underwater orchestrated waltz. “Weave Room Blues” is something like Harry Neilson might write.
Perhaps its the production, perhaps its the songwriting, but there’s a detachment to this single. It feels far away, unapproachable. It’s not my favorite of their work, but you win some you lose some.
This is pretty much what I went to the store in search of. Let’s go down the list, shall we?
Misfits covers: Check.
Some other band I’ve never heard of: Check.
Does it live up to expectation? Kiiiiiiiiinda. Misfits covers are rarely spectacular, but the two on here are pretty fun.
From the credits: “A HELL-FOR-LEATHER WESTERN TRAGEDY; MASKED COWGIRL TELLS OF LAWLESS HEARTBREAK IN HER OWN WORDS, WITH EMBELLISHMENTS BY FAMOUS OPEN-RANGE HUSTLER PHIL ELVRUM.”
Yes. This is true.
I figured I’d pick up one of the classics that got rereleased. I was torn between this and Blizzard of Ozz. I feel pretty good about my choice.
You ever have funny memories that get inexplicably tied to certain phrases? It can be a particular figure of speech that gets twisted by something a long, long time ago and then sticks on your head like that, forever glued to some odd little arcania.
The phrase “Here Goes Nothing,” is like that for me.
My first memory of encountering it is in an episode of Duck Tales. The Beagle Boys had (as they were want to do) come up with a scheme to steal Uncle Scrooge’s gold by convincing him to buy a certain spray that allegedly warded off Money Moths (which, of course, ate money). Scrooge gullibly doused his whole vault with the spray, which turns out to actually be part of a teleportation system, allowing the Beagle Boys to transport Scrooge’s money (and anything else that happened to have been sprayed) safely to their hideout.
Needless to say, hijinks ensue. Huey Dooey and Louie get sprayed, there’s a lot of cross teleportation, Gizmo-Duck may have been involved.
What I remember vividly was, right before the BBs activate the machine to steal Scrooge’s fortune, one if them gleefully announces, “Here goes nothing… Or should I say, HERE COMES EVERYTHING!”
This phrase sticks in my head like this, meaning that every time I hear someone say, or I even think “Here goes nothing,” I have to add “OR SHOULD I SAY, HERE COMES EVERYTHING!!” in my head.
…you know what? You’re the crazy one for not thinking that. Jerk.
I feel… Weary is the closest description I’d say. Not sad, not anxious. Just a mix of tired and a mite irritable. Sort of overwhelmed.
My mood has made me intolerant to the overly austere. I will not abide anything too serious, overly sentimental or taking itself too seriously. No bearded, flannel wearing fuckers with acoustic guitars playing songs they wrote in a cabin somewhere. I disown those voices. They do nothing for this world.
I think only the Ramones will do. Any other suggestions?
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit it: The Internet largely serves as a tool of self-indulgence. I’m utterly at risk for this, which is why I haven’t been my usual verbose self. The more I think about it, the more it seems like the Internet just seems like a tool by which we air our grievances and try and attain legitimacy. It feels like a tool of validation.
I suppose this is the devil’s bargain in it being the great equalizer. In giving everyone an unprecedented voice, we are forced to suffer through the whimperings and boasts of the majority (which includes myself).
I honestly envy those people who have boundaries with this stuff. I don’t really want to be a hermit, I just want to feel better about knowing that the virtual world isn’t as important to the real tangible world.