As you may or may not be aware, the debut album from Austin’s Meet Your Death is released this coming Friday (August 12), coinciding with a show at East 6th Street’s Hotel Vegas also featuring labelmates James Arthur’s Manhunt, Atlanta’s Omni and early contenders for Best Band Little Steven Would Have A Problem With, Borzoi.
Anyhow, a local website graced us with their opinion of Meet Your Death’s forthcoming album and declared the band’s repertoire, “music so obscure and varied that most wouldn’t recognize the songs unless they had an extensive musical knowledge.”
The reviewer has a point. What did Bo Diddley or Mose Allison ever accomplish compared to say, Moving Units?
Still, while each critic is entitled to his or her opinions and biases, deeply entrenched or not, there was one sentence in particular that I must take exception to ; “perhaps because Meet Your Death is comprised of seasoned performers, or perhaps because they have friends at 12XU, it seems we’ve been asked to consider this as a record by a developed band.”
The reason folks are invited to consider ‘Meet Your Death’ the work of a developed band is rather simple : John Schooley and Walter Daniels’ individual resumes and discographies look like a virtual who’s who of crucial players in US underground rock history. The rhythm section of Harpal Assi and Matt Hammer have merely been key components in 4 of Texas’ most acclaimed modern outfits (and that’s a modest count). Collectively, the band has been playing out for two years. But the implication that efforts to bring their work to the wider public are a byproduct of “friendship” could not be further from the truth.
For starters, I can’t stand these guys. When I see John or Walter on the street, not only do I cross to the other side, I hop in a cab, head straight to the airport and purchase a one-way ticket to the furthest-away domestic location. You ever wonder why I’m nowhere to be found after they play? Because I’d sooner cut my own throat than discuss topics like, “was the guitar loud enough?”, “how was the lighting?” or, “do you think they’ll have us back?”
I realize it makes convenient copy, suggesting the label roster is one-big-happy family, but truth be told, I work with a never-ending succession of horrible, horrible human beings and I need to take drastic steps every day to make sure none of their character flaws rub off on my otherwise perfect self. My sole motive for documenting their endeavors is complete and thorough appreciation for their art (and the fervent desire to exploit the fuck out of it). But do I consider these musicians to be friends? Listen, if any of ’em showed up at my doorstep asking to use the bathroom, I’d demand a doctor’s note and a $50 deposit.
OK, glad we cleared that up.