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we have a date with the underground, chapter 40
by Turtle Jones
Local music newspapers are so naive. Or maybe they are so much fun. Or maybe they don't care. Whatever the cause may be, I love me some local newspapers. They can be your biggest friends.Just get a few people on the staff who love you and watch what happens.
The only reason I bring this up is cause of all the voting on FTTW lately reminded me of a thing that happened a few years ago in a different town that had to do with voting. And me. And a local paper. Funny how FTTW reminds me of a lot of things I once thought forgotten.
Anyways, in was a rebuilding time in the town. Bands were rediscovering fans and in most cases drugs as well. Hm. Let me explain this a little better. After some bands got big, they decided to change the rules and bands broke up. It happens. So there were a lot of unstable bands around just filling time with gigs before they found something new they liked. So "super groups" formed.. Fans knew who these people in these side projects were and some of those side projects became big. Well sometimes.
Here is where the newspapers come in. The town I was in knew about a few of the bands and decided that they would hold a yearly contest. The best bands of allgenres type of thing. Just really a popularity contest. Best rock, best punk, best metal, etc. You guys can get the rest. So the guys at the paper decided to put some of these bands on the ballot. The thing was that this paper modeled the awards after a real big California award show for local bands. They tried to use this other award shows format and by this I mean a free newspaper with a ballot inside of them. You fill the ballot out and that was it.
Problem was, when it came to alternative bands on the list, there were one or two on there that pretty much were signed and rich and really not living in the same state anymore. I mean these guys were still cool and still hung around but they pretty much had made it big and only came to hang around every so often. They kinda made big.
Soooo this is where the paper story comes in. We knew that the best punk category was going to be a wash. Best alternative band was gone, too. Two bands that are still huge today had those slots and no one was going to take them away. But the thing is that this award show was a joke. Most people knew that almost everyone on the ballots didn't even live around locally anymore so what the fuck? The bands didn't need the press. They didn't care.
So some of the bands that was just a small side project made it on the vote. No one knew who they were except for people who knew them from the music scene. So we formed a plan.
Now when I say no one cared, you have to remember that yes, some people cared about who won this thing. So maybe I should change that. Some people cared about who won, but it sure as fuck wasn't us. We just wanted to fuck things up. So with the help of our newspaper friends, we got about 2,500 pre-filled ballots and handed them out in stacks to some of our weirdest friends. See, we had them all filled out for one of these bands. The ones no one had heard of.
So off everyone went. To bars, coffee shops, restaurants, bingo halls, churches, anywhere and everywhere people gathered. Just to get these things signed. It was a shitload of fun. The 2,500 were signed in under a week.
We needed more. Cause this was just too much fun. Drunk people wandering into malls harassing people for their names on a piece of paper to "support your local music scene, god dammit." We had them filled out for the write in bands. The spot were you could write in your own bands were filled in. Christian bands were written in for the Death Metal category. Best vocalis tnominees were written in for best Industrial band.
And off another stack went to be signed.
Basically we just fucked the whole thing up.
A common theme for us.
So award night came around and off course everyone who had done this ended up in a bar rather than go to the ceremony. I mean fuck it. Most people just were happy with reading about what was going to happen in tomorrows paper. But not me. In my infinite wisdom, I decided to go pick up the award. Well, whichever one we had one. Who knew at this point. So shitfaced drunk in a Cadillac with three strippers, I cruised down to the theater to get the awards. Some of the other bands nominated were on tour and therefore not around, so I designated myself and the girls as their official awardreceiver . So we had it made. The paper had made the ballots. The fans had got the ballots signed and really, no one cared. I just wanted to see what would happen.
I stumbled out of the theater after we lost each and every one we had cheated for.
What the hell happened? We had so many votes. We cheated for two weeks straight to get this award, any award "no one cared about" and we fucking lost. It just blew my mind.
I walked back out to the Cadillac car and hoped in the back with the last of my vodka. We all headed back to the bar to give everyone the bad news.
A few days later, I ran into one of the bands that did win an award. I really don't know what category they won for and really I don't remember caring about it that much anymore. I did want to know one thing though. How the hell did they win? We had fucking everyone signing our ballots. I know I signed at least 200 hundred myself so how did they do it?
"We sent the drummer to Kinko's with about 50 signed ballots and he photocopied about 10,000."
That must of cost a shitload of money.
"Well, we wanted to win, dude."
Some people did care.
Sent the drummmer, ha! The drummer gets all the shit jobs!
Posted by: Richard | February 12, 2007 5:13 AM
drummers are the piss boys of the music world
Posted by: turtle | February 12, 2007 8:21 AM
Our local (bearing in mind it's a smaller town) paper has highschool students covering the local music scene. Too bad they can't get into the good clubs...
Posted by: deb | February 12, 2007 4:37 PM
have the guys in the paper go to the door and ask to meet the promoter of the club. Or ask the guys in the paper if they know any of the guys in the bands that play to get them in.
chances are he or she will be happy to let them in to cover something they promote
Posted by: turtle | February 12, 2007 6:47 PM
unless it's something underground / with younger people, you can almost rest assured that the local bands here will be playing in a bar, 21 and over.
and it sucks about the award, but you had a Caddy, liquor, and three strippers. you might not get what you want, but you can get what you need.
Posted by: johnny | February 12, 2007 8:39 PM