As always, the City Paper music desk welcomes comments, feedback, and criticism from anyone, any time. Constructive criticism is terrific. Personal insults and straight-up outrage are fine, too. Off-the-wall accusations and flimsy rants? What the hell, send 'em in.
In an exchange via e-mail last week between the music desk and an angry reader named Andrew Barranca (a local musician and filmmaker), he took issue with a recent feature on a local act. "Once again you've saturated your paper with White Boy Crazy," he wrote. "Two features, in one issue [1/18, issue # 22], for the same event! Shit man, where will you put your nose when there is no more WBC?"
To that I replied, "A 300-word piece on White Boy Crazy's video screening and CD release gig at the Village Tavern release is hardly 'saturation.' What's up?" Mr. Barranca wrote back, contending the City Paper's music section consistently amounts to an unbalanced pile of "fluff."
"For some reason the music section always seems to be about the same trendsters who really aren't producing anything that anyone anywhere else really cares about," he replied. "Instead of journalists, you have these biased writers who seem like they're in a popularity contest to win the favor of their subjects. A video and a CD release party both got write-ups, come on, man. No one cares that much. Does anyone give you any awards for excellent journalism for printing that fluff? I have such a hard time believing this is all you can come up with locally."
Biased writers? If he's referring to Sara Miller, the author of the White Boy Crazy preview, he's off the mark. To that I replied, "Maybe I haven't been back in town long enough to understand your gripe with the members of White Boy Crazy. White Boy Crazy have not received coverage 'every other week.' 'No one cares that much?' You certainly appear to care about it. But do you care about any other local or touring acts who perform in the area, too? The jam bands, jazz bands, solo acoustic acts, blues players, metal groups, shag bands, acoustic duos, folk singers, indie-rock bands, etc.? Probably not."
Come to think of it, it's the clubs and music venues who book their own shows, not the City Paper. Which act is booked within each week helps determine who and what we cover in each issue.
As Miller put it in her own e-mailed response to Mr. Barranca: "If you hate the City Paper's music coverage so much, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and contribute something about the bands you find so much more deserving than the ones we write about?" she asked. "Even if you don't want to write for whatever reason, try maybe giving us some suggestions for bands you would like to see written up in the City Paper instead of just trying to rile the people who actually do something to get the word out about a fairly wide variety of bands from both the Charleston area and around the country." She received no response.
But yet again, Mr. Barranca wrote to the music desk. "I don't have a gripe with any particular group," he said. "However, you claim to be an egalitarian, but your column doesn't support your statement. It is about the 'in crowd' and it is very hard to understand how it got that way. I would think you are the main reason, since you are the music editor. I don't remember it being so unbalanced before you got there. Of course I care — not about WBC, but about contradictions in the your press. Why constantly write about the same few people over and over? I could almost guess the names you'll put in the next issue, it is so predictable. Your section is more like People than Time Out. There seems to be no reason to read your section anymore, except for laughs."
Ha! Do the music pages have an obligation to regurgitate any press release or e-mail from any band, word-for-word? Should the music section only cover non-mainstream bands so underground and anti-establishment that they refuse to perform at any venue with a business licence? Are there ever any celebrity photos in this section as exciting and vital as those in People? Who knows? What do you think?
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