(above : proposed new category for the 2015 Austin Music Blogger Awards)
After a weekend of back and forth, Austin Town Hall’s Nathan Lankford wrote on Sunday evening, “For me, the sadder part is how adamantly Gerard is about being part of a community, which, like it or not, he is a part of. If you don’t wish to foster a music scene or community, then what are you doing here? Oh, that’s right, pilfering the talent to suit your bottom line and whims.”
Suffice to say, this bozo doesn’t know the first fucking thing about me beyond, y’know, Pavement. Do my efforts in the city of Austin foster any semblance of “a scene” or “community”? Maybe. That’s for someone else to judge. I’m interested in things like who has something to say musically regardless of where they’re from. The constant reinforcement of “the Austin Music Scene” around these parts is a tiresome cliche (holla!) and one that often leaves the city’s most talented and unique artists —- those who aren’t particularly connected or fit the traditional notion of what an upwardly mobile pro rock band is meant to sound or look like — on the outside looking in. Their welfare and place in history matters to me, sure, but I’m also not gonna pretend “we’re all in it together” because we simply aren’t. The AMBA’s reinforce a goofy status quo far more than they break it down.
As far as “pilfering the talent to suit your bottom line and whims” goes, that’s a pretty amazing accusation. Lankford can’t credibly claim I’ve pocketed a penny from
Money Dump Records 12XU because I haven’t and I won’t. How putting out records that might not otherwise exist, ownership in the recordings/copyright being kept by the artists and 100% of the profits post-manufacturing with no personal expenses deducted constitutes “pilfering”, I haven’t a clue. But when and if any of the artists wanna set sail for another label (HINT : PLEASE!) or reissue their existing recordings somewhere else (DOUBLE HINT) —- even Lankford’s own glorious imprint — they don’t need my permission to do so. He could’ve asked around, assuming he’s trading in facts rather than sniveling innuendo, but I also suspect the label’s artists based in other cities and countries would be very surprised to know they’ve been “pilfered” from the oh-so-rich Austin music community.
“Whims”? Who is this cretin to question anyone else’s motives or devotion for putting out the records they care about? There’s certainly any number of Austin releases issued every year that I might find less than exceptional, but I’ve never for a minute presumed they weren’t someone’s labor of love. Even the ones that sound like someone kicked the Strokes in the nuts.
12XU has been putting out records by artists from Austin and places farther flung for 13 goddamn years. I’ve been here for nearly ten. I don’t expect any special treatment and I’m certainly not gonna claim I’m above criticism, but I strongly suspect the vast majority of those I collaborate with would not characterize my involvement as “pilfering”, a cash grab or most bizarre of all, “whimsy”. And while I’ve zero doubts my versions of “giving back” will have at least as much lasting impression than a bullshit awards show, this was never about me vs.
…what’s his name again Nathan.
At no time did I argue for more AMBA representation of artists I had any biz relationship with. I did, however, contend (privately and then publicly) there were completely awesome, world-class bands that-I-have-nothing-to-do-with other than paying to see them play, dicked out of the process because of what, exactly? They weren’t on a “name” imprint like 12XU or Modern Outsider (news flash : 540’s probably sold more records than both combined)? Did Spray Paint need to release 3 critically acclaimed albums in 2013 to get a look in? SUCH LAZY FELLAS — if only they worked half as hard as music bloggers!
No offense to the “Austin Music Community”, but if said village is really in need of a custodian, can you maybe find someone with better musical taste? Or at least someone who can write their way out of a paper bag?