Advice for the New Observer Music Editor
As you might have noticed, the Dallas Observer music section's been in a state of flux for the past two months awaiting the arrival of a new music editor, with several of us filling this space and editing duties falling squarely on the shoulders of cranky old Buzz. Thankfully, our new music editor, Pete Freedman, formerly of the Colorado Springs Independent, starts next week. In preparation, we decided to open this space up to some familiar faces so that we might advise, inspire and possibly frighten this impressionable youth. Pay attention, Pete, and maybe you can make it a whole week before some local music blogger says you suck or calls you an asshole. Doubt it, but it could happen.
Don't purposefully try to piss anyone off. If you do your job well, that will come naturally. Trying only makes you look desperate.—Matt Barnhart, The Echo Lab,Tre Orsi, BLACKSMITHS
Don't worry about whether you are right or wrong. Because you are.—Dave Little, comedian/songwriter
We, the music fans, want recipes for great meals...not crappy recipes. We also would love to hear about great records and bands. Who needs to know about a taco or power trio that sucks? Love Life, Love Music.—Mike Schoder, Granada Theater
1. Be warned that immigration from Colorado tends to scare many Dallas folk, thanks to Big Head Todd and the Monsters, hacky sacks, the String Cheese Incident, phrases such as "That's gnar-gnar pow-pow out there, broham," devil sticks, etc. Put us at ease early.
2. Fuel City and Mia's have the best tacos.
3. Watch all seasons of Dallas before arriving. All rock club goers wear big cowboy hats and boots. Dress accordingly.—Merritt Martin
"Outta my way, kid, you're bothering me." Kidding. The music community (or "scene") in Deep Ellum is thriving. The music community around Exposition Park is thriving. The music community around South Side on Lamar is thriving. The music community around Victory Park is thriving. The music scene on Upper and Lower Greenville is thriving. The music community in Plano, McKinney, Denton and Fort Worth is thriving. Live it all with an open mind...oh, and whatever you do, don't piss off Wilonsky.—Cindy Chaffin, The Fine Line
It's a lot warmer here in Texas. Make sure you carry a koozie with you everywhere you go to keep your beer cold. And good luck, dude.—Chelsea Callahan, Crystal Clear Sound, Double Wide
I know that most people in the Dallas music scene probably couldn't care less about our local music history, but I would really like to see some more retrospective material about local punk music from the '70s and '80s. DFW had some great unknown bands (Superman's Girlfriend, The Skuds, Lithium X-Mas, Vomit Pigs...) and, from what I've read, some very cool venues. If you feel bored with it all at any point, just go dig up the corpse of Mike Vomit or Bobby Soxx and write about that instead of, oh...I don't know...Annie Lennox.—Daron Beck, The Great Tyrant
Dear Pete, It can't be that hard to please everyone. Especially if you don't forget Denton. Come by the store sometime soon. We're glad you're here. —C.J. Davis, Good Records, Pancakes For Mattie
Don't ignore all the good klezmer, bhangra and Gnawa bands Dallas has to offer. My point is, dig deep and look beyond the indie rock scene every once in a while.—Reid Robinson, Shanghai 5
1. Don't be that guy who argues against smoking bans because smoking is so "rock and roll."
2. Love the Theater Fire or you're dead to me.—Noah W. Bailey
You better learn how to keep up. I'm out every night, so you better be too. Pace yourself on the booze and women (or dudes, if that's what you're into); the music is the most important thing—that's what you are here to cover.—Kris Youmans, Granada Theater,Tactics Productions, The Paper Chase
Be true to the music scene—get grimy, gritty and dirty and get to know as many artists as you can in every genre of Dallas music. Don't be afraid to be groundbreaking and go against the grain. Make your presence felt like there is no tomorrow.—Pikahsso, PPT
Get OUT, at night even (!) and see the local and touring acts in the city. Don't just hypothesize about what they sound like, but actually be involved in the scene you are writing about. What a novel idea...—Jeff Ryan, Myopic, Pleasant Grove
1. Don't date. Don't get married. Don't get old. If any of these things happen, quit writing a local music column—you won't be going to enough shows anymore. More than one great band will have been born and will die without getting the momentum your prize real estate could have lent during those months you were mailing it in.
2. Think about the week you decided to write all the reasons why you don't much care for a certain local band. Now, consider the great little local band you didn't write about that gets to struggle another week to find a bigger audience.
3. Be an alcoholic. Go see a band. Forget all the details the next day, and then lie to yourself and write about it. Make this band fascinating. Go oblivious on how derivative they are—instead make them an amalgam and tribute to your 12 all-time, latest, greatest, favoritest bands...that all sound just the fucking same.
4. Drive to Denton occasionally and don't bitch and bitch and bitch about it in print, you sack.
5. Have some taste.
6. No one gives a shit about what you mix with your Red Bull or the brand of cigarettes you smoke. Take a shot at writing about local music.
7. Shine on a band until their asses glow—the half-cooked band you heard on the cassette you got from your Sunday regular friend-with-benefits who has good ideas about music and humping. You will change the lives of these folks. Once hobbyists, they will now take it all too seriously and give themselves to a label and a national audience, get critically lauded, never make money and get sick of writing short little poems with music. At least one of the dudes will wish they'd never stopped making films. And all this will happen before they've gotten their second album released, which'll take a while between the cycling depressions and trying not to rush "genius" or the exposition of a fraud perpetrated on everyone. All because some local music writer loved a cassette that you whore. Anyway, best wishes and good luck to you.—Chris Flemmons, The Baptist Generals
Don't suck.—Robert Wilonsky
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