They arrive at the New Times music-department office every day, flocks of them. Not pigeons. Press releases. Band bios, newsletters, cover letters, itineraries, unspoken quotes, anything and everything record company publicists can conceive of to sell their bands to the press, who in turn will sell same to the public. Boastful missives are the pulsing lifeblood of the biz, its most crucial tool of success, and often a real pain in the buttocks.
Occasionally, however, a flack will find an act so inspiring that the resultant press material takes on a new dimension, a life of its own, becoming the sort of glee-inducing entertainment that the subjects of the hype will never be. We feel it's time to share some of that with you. After all, you're the pigeons.
INTO EVERY DARK DAY A LITTLE LIGHT MUST SHINE
"Bret Hoffman's vocals are even more frenzied and psychotic than before, singing graphic, hate-filled lyrics centering on different forms of death. Based not on fantasy, but everyday life, the lyrics touch upon themes such as serial killers, war, drug addiction, premeditated murder, and other depictions of death." (Roadrunner Records press release for Malevolent Creation)
SPOKEN LIKE A TRUE MALL SANTA
"Ralph King, president of Rincon Children's Entertainment, says, `Christmas is the time of year when there is an intensified focus on children's products.'" (Rincon Children's Entertainment release for new Christmas videos, which arrived in June)
IT'S NOT AS DIFFICULT AS YOU MIGHT THINK
"In a musical world drowning in its own tears, heavy with message-laden, pretentious pontificating, it's good to know that one could still find music with absolutely nothing useful to say." (Relativity bio of Lawnmower Deth)
AND ALL THE TIME IN BETWEEN
"Reality is a condition which cannot be ignored. It permeates our being and directs our lives from the moment we're born until the day that we die." (Grand Slam bio of Non-Fiction)
IT JUST COULDN'T BE SIMULTANEOUS, COULD IT?
"Prince & the New Power Generation to Come with `Sexy MF' on June 5th." (Warner Reprise Video release for Prince)
THE BAND THAT GOES BOOM
"Apocalyptic, clairvoyant, visceral, post-everything, Dinosaur Jr is either modern music's last best hope or its first documented case of spontaneous creative combustion." (Sire release for Dinosaur Jr)
WRONG ADDRESS, RETURN TO SENDER
"Dear Consistently Valued Journalist," (Relativity cover letter)
THAT'S HOW THEY ALL DO IT
"Hookers had to be brought into the recording session, one song was cut in a makeshift Atlanta basement, and the lead singer literally phoned in the vocal on one song." (Def American release for the Four Horsemen)
DIDN'T WE SEE THIS ON GILLIGAN'S ISLAND ONCE?
"Office Tragedy! Doctor Dream director of publicity Mark Woodlief was involved in a tragic accident during the remodeling of the label's new offices. Woodlief, a graduate of Duke University, was entering the building just after carpet layers had spread ultra-sticky adhesive on the concrete slab floors. Mistaking a workman's cautionary gestures for a friendly wave, Woodlief walked across the gluey surface, slipping and landing on his rear. In an attempt to free himself... Woodlief covered his back, sides, arms and hands with glue. Workmen attached a trowel to a long pole and scraped Woodlief off the floor like an oversized pancake." (Doctor Dream Records newsletter)
THE HUMMER OF OUR DISCONTENT, NO DOUBT
"A hum rises out of the Alps. A faint one at first, but one that grows increasingly louder and more pulsating; a hum that weaves its way into your head and finds its home in that little part of your brain which is rarely touched." (Noise International bio of Swamp Terrorists)
HOW CAN WE SIGN THE PETITION?
"Things are looking pretty bleak for Pete Steele and the members of Type O Negative in Germany. There are thousands of flyers circulating around the country asking people to `kill this band on sight' with a picture of the band on it!" (Roadrunner newsletter)
NOT IN OUR BIBLE IT'S NOT
"It's not the Story of O, but the story of creation; long-form featuring Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine and Ride to be released. They're too young for nihilism, too smart for rock-n-roll and too uncoordinated for the dance clubs...." (Warner Reprise Video release)
ARE YOU SURE IT'S NOT FLEAS?
"When asked why he jumps around so much, David [Byrne] answers: `I'm a victim of my own curiosity.'" (Luaka Bop/Sire release taken only slightly out of context)
OF COURSE NOTHING LIKE THAT COULD EVER HAPPEN!
"Not true! Not true! Not true! Not true! Not true! A number of I.R.S. execs have been catching hell at home over a story that appeared in the Daily Star. Rebel Pebbles founder and bass player Robin Fox was quoted claiming that she had `lured a record chief into bed to clinch a deal for her band' and that she had `had a string of affairs with music business bosses.' Imagine [I.R.S. chairman Miles Copeland] having to explain to his wife...that she should ignore it! For obvious reasons, only I.R.S.' Barbara Bolan has come out unscathed." (I.R.S. statement)
YOU'D CHANGE YOUR NAME, TOO
"A Fish, a Fish, my kingdom for a Fish. Polydor recording artist Fish, not to be confused with Elektra recording artist Phish, has run into an identity crisis. Fish was born Derek William Dick...." (Polydor release)
SANTERIA COMES TO PAYOLA
"Jackyl sent live chickens to Geffen staffers to announce their arrival in Los Angeles to record their album." (Geffen cover letter)
THAT'S WHAT THEY ALL SAY
"How do you follow up what is considered the sickest record ever? `This time out we really concentrated on the songs,' says [Chris] Barnes." (Metal Blade Records release for Cannibal Corpse)
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"Sick of hearing about Seattle music? Wish someone would just chop the whole state of Washington off the map and let it sail into the Pacific?" (Roadrunner release for Willard)
...AND THAT GOES DOUBLE FOR MANCHESTER
"No.... The Manchester scene is not over, and surely you haven't written your last piece about that paisley-clad-drug-induced-shuffle-fest. Why?" (Geffen Records release for Northside)
ANARCHY IN THE P.R.
"Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Press Release. Okay, so maybe the punters and poseurs prevailed. Maybe what started out as the last great assault on a bankrupt and brain-dead culture turned into just another bunch of skinny tie, briefcase-toting careerists making fashionably angst-ridden music for a mass audience too narcotized to care if they were being co-opted. Maybe it's the fate of all actual anarchists, pinheads and certifiable social deviants to crash and burn before they can pull down the pillars of a smug, complaisant and hypocritical status quo, committed only to cheap holidays in other people's misery. Maybe we're all doomed to be led like fattened cattle to the Babylonian altar of the commodity aesthetic." (Warner Bros. release noting the Sex Pistols album finally went platinum)
WELL, WE'RE AFRAID THERE JUST MIGHT BE
"Writing a biography of a band is not an easy task. Where do you begin? Where do you end? And what about all of that stuff in the middle? Will there be a sequel?" (The Tribal Dogs' self-written bio)