The rumblings of a revolution can be felt in the music industry air. The record companies are testing the waters of technology, though you'll probably never hear about it, much less actually hear it. What they're trying to do is move us print-press dinosaurs into the modern age by linking their public relations offices to newsrooms via computer. Need a photo? We'll transmit for your scanning pleasure. Why interview a rock star when you can link up on the Internet? Et cetera.
Someday, it seems, the mailboxes of music writers will no longer fill up each day with stacks of mailings -- bios of bands, press releases, photos, tapes and CDs. Someday, there won't even be music writers, just a direct hookup from consumer to artist, a fully electronic reality. For now, though, we still get mail, and we're still happy to share with you the special highlights. Herewith, then, some stellar press-release moments from the past few months:
In Fact, We've Begun Talking to Ourselves
"Dear Media Moguls: Where to begin? Are we busy? Are we busy! Do bugs fly? Jeez, what a question! (But then, I was the one asking, wasn't I? Nevermind.)" (Slash Records press release)
Heavy Onions, Hold the Muster
"Hey Editors and Writers: I know it's going to take Herculean strength to throw on an advance cassette by yet another new band with a sarcastic name, but the Charthogs' debut LP, Do Your Mind, is worth the muster." (Atlantic press release)
We'd Rather Be Whipped, Thanks
"Dear Friends: Enclosed is a copy of Sexploitation's whipped new single, 'Black Acid Jig' (b/w 'Golden Shower Hour Power' and 'Shake'). We hope you like our new songs. If you have any questions, want a T-shirt, a copy of our latest single, or want us to play your school/gig, please write or call us...." (Sexploitation press release, complete with real lipstick print)
And We Still Haven't
"last week of December, 1993. happy new year. so, have you heard the 'next big thing' yet? while you're waiting, here's something i think you're gonna like...The Obsessed...there's no way to describe this three-piece band. something meets something." (Columbia press release)
Let's Hope He Doesn't Hurt Himself
"Here Comes the Corn: He raps, he grooves, he rocks, he pops, pops, pops...." (Upfront Promotions release for Miami rapper Popcorn)
Consider Yourself Eliminated
"Dear overworked and overwrought music editor: Here is your opportunity to possibly eliminate one more bothersome phone call and earn the appreciation of two of the most plugging punk rock publicists ever to pen a persuasive postcard." (Epitaph survey of critics)
Forget the Postcard, Just Modem Us
"If you want to communicate with Skinny Puppy, you can reach them on the Internet, FTP Site puppy!O%Ro¨L*D %Oñ.Rfl ØD) (E$ You hold in your hands the fruits of a musical vision: a trans-dimensional journey through undersea depths, thick jungle mists, hot desert winds, and the expansive sprawl of cyberspace...all of it floating in the modern-day dreamtime, manifestations of the trance of chaos." (Axiom release for Material's Hallucination Engine)
Not at the Moment
"Dear writer: Looking for something demiurgic?" (Zoo press release for Course of Empire)
Is It Lips and Assholes?
"Press Release Press Release ***or just a juicy bit of news we'd love you to exploit*** What the hell is Sausage?" (Interscope bio of Sausage)
You're Both Fired
"Dear Complete and Total Stranger and/or Dear and Trusted Friend: We're having an argument. This is the first time we've worked a project together. This is the first time we've worked a record nationally. So we're a little worked up -- not just by Mother Tongue (we agree they're truly brilliant) -- but by the pressure. Oh, we so want to impress you. Anyway, back to that fascinating argument. Publicist #1 thinks that you don't really care about pitch letters.... Publicist #2 is so self-impressed that she fully believes that her pitch letters make the difference -- or at least extend the time -- between the circular file and the cassette deck. And while both of us, however, are pompous enough to think that you care, only one of us is affectionately known as 'the boss.' ...Pointing out that we didn't bother with the hype because we respect you enough to know that you'll listen out of journalistic diligence and integrity. [Signed:] Julie Farman, Sr. Director, Seniority Supersedes Alphabetical Order Division [and] Heather Davis, Mgr., Intelligence Supersedes Corporate Hierarchy Division." (Epic pitch letter for Mother Tongue, whose tape we still haven't gotten around to listening to)
Now's the Time to Use That Circular File
"Dear Journalist: Welcome to PARASITE, the latest infestation of information-decimation and hype to intrude upon your already cluttered desk." (Parasite press release)
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Could You Run That by Us One More Time?
"Hey People: Cool reissue enclosed!! Street date: 5/24. Out on tour in June. Call us. Kerry and Amy." (Handwritten note from Relativity)
And What if We Lock You in There for Four or Five Years?
"The M.I.R.V. comic book. It's Here! It all comes together now...the ecstacy of spiritual revelation...I transcend my mortal existence...Now, I understand... Where's my Cosmodrome album? Gee, I hope I haven't sold it already. M.I.R.V.'s Cosmodrome -- What happens when you lock yourself in a room for a year." (M.I.R.V. press release)
God Help Us
"Blessed are they who readeth this, and they who hear the words and music of Messiah, and keep those things which are written herein, for the time of Messiah is at hand. For they will be joyously heralded at the crest of the Great Age of Computer Sampling, CD-ROM, and Interactive." (small prayer book, designed like the handouts used by some evangelical types, from Messiah)