We're gonna make this one a letter-and-response column.
Here's the letter:
"Was there really a good reason for David Holthouse to trash Brian Smith of the Beat Angels (Coda, February 15)?
"Holthouse doesn't have to like the Beat Angels' music and he doesn't have to listen to it, but does he have to tell us he smashed their tape and threw it away? I don't think there is any reason to bust on the Angels or Smith. It shows Holthouse is close-minded and judgmental. He should be concentrating on whether the music is worthwhile. How can he do that if he refuses to listen to it?
"Is he that insecure that he has to trash the people in the band and try to make the public side with him? His sophomoric rules about how promotional information should be sent to him and how band members should act should be printed in the paper so that [they] can please him and get a fair critique.
"If I were in a band, I wouldn't want tosend anything to Holthouse. Within thistiny, little column written by Holthouse, I can now say: Franco Gagliano doesn't seem like such a bad guy, after all."
And now the response:
It's called sarcasm, Name Withheld--ever heard of it?
At the listening party for the Beat Angels' new album, Unhappy Hour, Brian Smith told me one of the things he hates the most about living in the Valley isthat no one around here understands irony and sarcasm. This was right after hetold me that--like you and the fiveother people who wrote or called to bitch me out for that column--he thought I was serious when I wrote that, because he'd misaddressed a letter to me that camewith an advance copy of his band's debut, "I immediately smashed the tape and threw it away, of course."
There's been a miscommunication here.
My intent with that line was to effect the voice of a real pompous dickhead of a music editor, and take it so over the top that it would practically glow with sarcasm, thereby making it clear that I, myself, am anything but a pompous dickhead of a music editor. That was my intent. My execution, it would seem, was a miserable failure.
Allow me to clarify myself: I would never smash any band's tape before listening to it first. I may feed a demo to the alligators at the zoo (that's a joke), but only after I've heard the damn thing.
As to your other points: I try not to be close-minded about music (new age, contemporary country and anything involving Simon Le Bon aside), but I am highly judgmental--that's my job. Printing the rules for submitting a demo is a good idea. Thank you.
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Here they are: Mail me a tape.
Enclose a note that says where you're from (Mesa, Tempe, etc.), who plays what, the song titles if the tape is unlabeled and what equipment was used to record it (4, 6 or 8track, etc.).
Finally, whether Gagliano is a bad guy may be unknown, but he obviously goes for the last laugh. Franco is having Mason Jar shirts made that read, "The Biggy Guy."
Punk better send me one (kidding, kidding).
On-again/off-again, and now back on. Tha Dogg Pound show scheduled for Sunday, March 10, at Electric Ballroom in Tempe is once again a go, according to promoter Ty Carter. Opening bands include Weirdoz, THC, and Vontel. Showtime is 8 p.m.--David Holthouse