I find it strange when a musician addresses the critics. I can't quite understand why I feel this way, after all, musicians, like artists, are sensitive folk. Surely if their music is unfairly assessed, if their performances are unduly slated or their business decisions duly dissed, surely the musician has a right of rebuttal. Yes? Maybe? I don't think so.
I refer to a time when there was scant information available online about Bloc Party. Of course, there was the stylish and minimal official site which reflected the artwork of their first EP. Typically enough, there were also angry music snobs saying unkind things about the band on Drowned in Sound.
It would be the first instance where I'd witness a band member defending their music. The bassist addressed the indifferent, he implored them to just give them a chance. I thought it a rather desperate move to make, but then as a fan and rather naive music listener, I harboured a belief that the music should be assessed on its own merits. Should it really have to come down to begging?
I was reminded of this instance when it was brought to my attention that Tim Rogers replied to a rather unfavourable live review in the Townsville Bulletin. The complaints were unsurprising: bad sound, sloppy stage show, the needless heckling and the jeers, "I'll be the one your girlfriend is thinking about later tonight!".
Although eloquent, Tim's response seemed pointless and self-satisfied. He assures the writer, Amanda Gray: "I need to make it clear to you my writing has nothing at all to do with whether you think our band is rubbish or that I am a complete tool." He goes on to defend his banter, to explain that his sexual bravado is something of an in-joke, that he finds bad language to be so "bewilderingly exciting".
Flecked throughout is his gratitude to be a professional musician, to have toured the world for twenty-two years, "with this humble self-satisfaction intact". Yet, all this carefully drafted posturing makes me wonder why, if Tim Rogers is so successful and self-assured, why does he feel compelled to even read the reviews of some small town paper? More to the point, what does he get out of addressing the grievances of this one unimpressed critic?
I understand that it is difficult to accept that universality: not everybody is going to like you. I suppose the point I am trying to make here is that you cannot convince someone to like you by obliterating them in an essay about how good you are. Tim, may I suggest that you take solace in the support of those who do appreciate your music and stagecraft. Although the lengthy rebuttals may amuse some, they ultimately come across as needy and insecure.
Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Mod Podcast #37
The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night
The Drums - Book of Stories
The Pipettes - Because It's Not Love (But It's Still a Feeling)
Francoise Hardy - Il est tout pour moi
Gerry and the Pacemakers - It's Gonna Be Alright
The Beatles - All I've Got to Do
Wishful Thinking - Step By Step
The Jam - Happy Together
INXS - Wishy Washy
The Chords - Maybe Tomorrow
The Monochrome Set - Monochrome Set
The Coctails - Whoopsy Daisy