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So You Wanna Be in a Rock Band?: Put up your dukes

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | Opinion | February 7th, 2011

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
Like any aspiring artist, my work has been subjected both to critical review and praise. While I've had listeners assert that my lyrics and music espouse "universal truths" inspired by an honest "broken-hearted aesthetic," I've equally been labeled "cliché" and "unoriginal." Suffice it to say, I came to the conclusion rather quickly that it's impossible for me (or anyone else) to please everybody. Let it be known, I'm totally fine with this. What I'm not fine with, however, is the corruption involved in this process and the increasingly apparent decline in some sort of "standard." Allow me to explain:

One of the more memorable moments review-wise I've endured in my career was undoubtedly when I had a "journalist" employed by a highly regarded Canadian music magazine rip unrelentingly on my former band's album, only to months later commend us for our "catchy" radio-worthy tracks and "edgy attitude" after being privy to one of our live performances … perhaps she had a shortterm memory problem. She got paid either way though, and isn't that what really matters?

Beyond this, interestingly, I've also been educated in regard to my own biography from reading critiques of my work: apparently my Ode to Tofu is a sensational hit overseas, my primary musical instrument is the drums, and Alicia Keys is a huge influence of mine.

Out of these experiences I've learned two valuable lessons I'd like to impart onto my fellow artistic types:

1. Take all reviews with a grain of salt (moreover, with any insult that is hurled in one's general direction, one should always consider the source).

2. Don't submit material for review consideration. Opt for interviews instead, so at least you'll have the opportunity to explain your work in your own words.

In this industry, as much as I hate to admit it, you will frequently encounter sketchy situations about which you're forced to bite your tongue — not because you're in the wrong in any regard, but because, unfortunately, artists generally have a lot less capital to hire attorneys to defend themselves should they be accused of making "slanderous" or "libelous" remarks. Though, as noted by the Canadian Bar Association, one is only liable of being charged for "defamation of character/reputation" (of which slander and libel are subcategories) should their statements prove to be false and deliberately malicious, and when it comes to the music biz (much like any other corporatelystructured industry anymore), "money talks." Further, this entire industry is based on appearances and who you know. With this said, you need to know how to pick your battles if you wish to be able to pursue your aspirations.

In this case, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've worked too damn hard to allow any Joe Schmoe who thinks they can run a website to insult not only me and my work, but further to misrepresent me to such an extent that it could prevent music listeners from potentially giving me a chance.

In conclusion, while the internet has demonstrated itself to be an effective tool for indies in regard to having the potential opportunity to promote one's material to a worldwide audience (for a nominal cost, too), it clearly has many fallacies that one should keep an eye out for: junk journalism and scam artist promoters barely scratch the surface.

And … to bring things full circle, I can now state with absolute certainty that I fully understand exactly what my friend and fellow artist Ash Keenan meant when she said that her reason for refusing to write any further music reviews was because she felt she had become "part of the problem."
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