more adventures in the life of a record

Music Hates You went to the Slayer concert at Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheatre last night to pass out postcards announcing the release of our new record. We handed out 1000 of them. (That’s all I could afford to print. It wasn’t cheap.)

This sounds fairly simple on its face, but if we sort of unpack this process as an event, it becomes kind of interesting and more complex.

Promoting our band is humbling- sure, we believe in the band the way that most folks believe in going to work or working their farms or going to church- but it was a challenge to confront a thousand complete strangers (esp at a Slayer show… bear in mind that this is a subculture that reinforces antisocial behavior) and say “I am in a band called Music Hates You and we just released an album called ‘Send More Paramedics’,” over and over and over…. and in this band, I am the verbose and extroverted one. Noah, for all his onstage fury and bravado, is an intensely private person. Zach is actually kind of a shy guy, and very sensitive to The Snub. There was a possibility that last night could have ended badly- if one asshole had torn up a postcard, thrown it over his shoulder and said something snotty, we would have been in a brawl- fat lips, broken noses and ‘Hello, officer!’

Fortunately, it went well. This is the work that we do.

Increasingly, I am seeing all of what Music Hates You does through the lens of class. I am a late comer to this party. These guys have been washing dishes, roofing houses and trying to push this thing over since late 2001. Once I was tapped to join the band, I was made aware of several long-standing conflicts the band had with some of the local music establishment. You can see it alluded to in this interview:

When you were first getting started, I remember there being some tension between your band and what some might call “the establishment” of Athens: Flagpole, certain clubs, etc. How or why did that come about and how or why has it eased?
Noah Ray
We spray-painted some shit. People freaked out. Works every time.

When I joined the band, there were certain clubs we couldn’t play, some beef with the college radio station and some rumors and innuendo about issues with the local music press. All of this old animosity was hanging around like a bad smell.

Yes, Music Hates You did spray-paint some private property and some public property- and they took every copy of the local alternative weekly out of every box in town and spray-stenciled “MUSIC HATES YOU” in the center page of every one of them, then put them back in their boxes. Some of this stuff was obnoxious. Some of it was genius. Mostly it was the kind of thing where folks would go “Ha! Those pricks! Whatever!” and be done with it. I mean, it’s rock and roll, not a cotillion. Holding a grudge against a punk band for doing punk stuff is kinda, y’know, a bit silly.

But with MHY, in some cases, the animosity lingers to this day. I ran into it firsthand at the college radio station. Upon much reflection, I don’t think it’s simply a matter of MHY not adopting the proper posture when approaching The Throne as a punk/metal band. I think it’s as much that in a college town, where the vast majority of the people who are the Tastemakers are upper-middle class collegiates, it’s that MHY are aspirants from the wrong caste.

This sort of sniffy disdain for what we do is, I think, rooted in more than just aesthetics, though I am perfectly happy to annoy college radio effetes on whatever grounds it takes to put a burr in their panties. More than that, I think that it’s the fact that a band made of up guys who wash dishes or paint houses or fix cars might dare to believe in what we do passionately enough to promote it by any means necessary.

Self promotion? Tres louche, ¿non? “Isn’t there someone that one can PAY to do that sort of work? How disreputable!”

Metal is essentially working class music. Paul Westerberg once famously said (I am paraphrasing here because I can’t find the quote online) “Middle class kids make the best rock music. Working class kids try too hard.” I see what he’s getting it. It’s sort of like the William Butler Yeats quote: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.” Taken out of context, that’s Pavement in a nutshell. It’s hard to work the ironic disdain tip when one is standing in a surging tide of Slayer fans handing out postcards as fast as possible saying “I THINK YOU’D LIKE MY BAND!”

But, like I said, it’s the work that we do, and what propels us is what lies beyond failure. We can’t take this casually and hope that someone decides we’re cool enough to sell ten thousand records that record store clerks will horde. After all, we’re not the sort of people who can fall back on grad school. Option B is the Void. Jail. Alcoholism. Crime. Institutionalization. Oblivion.

So, last night I watched my band hitch up their jeans, brace themselves for the inevitable humbling, and wade into a sea of people saying “Check us out. Here’s our MySpace page. Here’s our website. You can listen to our music there. We hope you enjoy it, because we want to be your favorite band.”

Because we do. I’m not ashamed of that.

Here, you take it for a bit

Brother TRex has really taken the blogging torch and run with it here, as of late.

Another brilliant and funny Late Night FDL.

I know for a fact that he wasn’t feeling well when he wrote that.

Lately, I have been swamped with promoting the record and playing. Sorry that I have been remiss in my blogging duties. It may be that I am compensating for my blogging sloth when I say this, but it seems that the usually asinine internecine conflicts of the mighty blogosphere have taken a turn from the stupid to the even stupider. Billmon has an interesting take on it.

In the meantime, I am going to try to blog more regularly. We’ll see.

Does this podium make me look fat?

Actually, the podium looks like half a million free minutes of AOL.

(photo by Spotted)

That’s me yammering on about what an honor and a privilege it is for Music Hates You to be selected as the 2006 Flagpole Music Awards Best Punk/Hardcore band.

from l-r:
Noah- vocals and guitar. Hidden behind him is Big Andy from The Dumps. Then Forest, Bass player for MHY. Craig Lieske, presenter and guitar player from Garbage Island. The right leg and wrist you see is Jeff from The Dumps, then some guy, and far right is Zaxx from Music Hates You. Who knows what I was yapping about, actually? Might have been anything.

There are more photos from the Flagpole Music Awards here.

There are all kinds of luck

I am lucky enough to work somewhere I can watch the US vs. Ghana game on the break room tv while working from the laptop.

That’s one kind of luck.

I am pulling for the US.

That’s another kind.


::Update 2:: well, that didn’t last long.

This is sorta depressing, innit?

Once a government gets addicted to pawing through your data, I imagine it’s like getting them off crack to get them to stop, never mind who is in the White House.

In a pivotal network operations center in metropolitan St. Louis, AT&T has maintained a secret, highly secured room since 2002 where government work is being conducted, according to two former AT&T workers once employed at the center.

In interviews with Salon, the former AT&T workers said that only government officials or AT&T employees with top-secret security clearance are admitted to the room, located inside AT&T’s facility in Bridgeton. The room’s tight security includes a biometric “mantrap” or highly sophisticated double door, secured with retinal and fingerprint scanners. The former workers say company supervisors told them that employees working inside the room were “monitoring network traffic” and that the room was being used by “a government agency.”

I mean, what are you gonna do? Charge in there and rip out the wires?

4th Amendment? Who needs it?

especially when you’ve got The Magic of the Marketplace™.

Federal and local police across the country — as well as some of the nation’s best-known companies — have been gathering Americans’ phone records from private data brokers without subpoenas or warrants.

These brokers, many of whom market aggressively across the Internet, have broken into customer accounts online, tricked phone companies into revealing information and sometimes acknowledged that their practices violate laws, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Nothing to see here, folks. Just everything about your personal data for sale…. move along…

Will of the People? Anyone?

I love it when Bush or someone else in the White House says “We’re not going to let polls drive policy.” I especially like it when they tack on “Clinton did that, and that’s not the way we do things.”

OK, if the will of the American people isn’t going to drive policy… what is?

President Bush understands there is growing U.S. concern over his handling of the Iraq war but will not rely on polls to determine when to withdraw troops, his spokesman said Sunday.

First we have to check with our most generous corporate contributors and see what their opinions are. Then we’ll get back to you.

Where all of my energy is going, lately

I have been really focusing on two things:
1. Painting my house.

2. Promoting my band. This is an email that I just sent out to all of the Music Hates You fan club mailing list and a bunch of other nice people:

Tonight on the Local Music Show on 105.3 The Buzz in the ATL, Aaron F. Hickman will be playing “Living Room.” Homegrown Buzz starts at 8pm EST, and if you are not in Atlanta you can tune in via the intarwebs thingy by going to their website:

105.3 The Buzz

and clicking the “Listen Live” link.

If you wanted to really help the band, you could call the station and thank Aaron for playing the song, letting him know that by supporting Music Hates You, he’s putting money into the Athens beer, coffee, cigarettes and auto parts economy. 404-741-1053

You can also add Aaron as a MySpace friend here:
and keep track of goings-on in ATL/ATH music.

Tell him we sent you. The Buzz is the sort of station that makes a difference for bands, and if we crack Atlanta, baby, that’s like winning the lottery. This is the first step of that.

and YOU are our secret weapon. We appreciate your support.

music hates you

Pushing it over….

If you’re a musical type person and you have some thoughts on record promotion, leave them in the comments. Any advice is good advice….