Stiletto Broadcasting

Thoughts

TO THE PRESS IN HOUSTON: WE, THE MUSICIANS, ARE DOING OUR OWN THING WITHOUT YOU

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Written by Tessa Kole – Host of Musician’s DIY Fight Club

(NOTE: THIS IS REALLY GOING TO PISS SOME PEOPLE OFF.)

As most of us in the music community are aware of, there was a blog piece put out last week by Jesse Sendejas Jr. from the Houston Press titled “Maybe It’s Time to Cool It On All The ‘Houston’s Music Scene is Awesome’ Talk”.

After reading our reactions to it, he then put out a “save my ass” piece Tuesday in response, titled “Things I Learned From the ‘Houston Music is Awesome’ Response”.

Let’s notice something first. He titled his response piece: ‘Things I Learned From the ‘HOUSTON MUSIC IS AWESOME’ Response’. Note how he didn’t include the entire title of the original piece, which was…. “Maybe IT’S TIME TO COOL IT ON ALL THE Houston’s Music Scene is Awesome’ Talk”. Wonder why that is? Wonder why he didn’t want to include that entire title in his response piece? Could it be because it’s too painful to be reminded of it? I think it’s because he knows he fucked up and now he’s trying to save his ass. We get it, Jesse. We’re a lot smarter than you think we are. I mean, right here, he admits it: “I’ve never been a fan of the follow-up article”. And even further reveals his true nature here: “I’m willing to don the jodhpurs, even at the risk of knowing how ridiculous I may look.” Well, yeah, you looked ridiculous after writing the first article, and now you look even more ridiculous trying to save your ass in this piece. But whatever. You gotta do what you gotta do to try to defend yourself. Moving on.

What was the fucking point of even writing that first damn article??? Really? Oh, I see. You stated it here in your defense piece: “I agree, that is a sensationalist title. It’s going to stoke a fire in the eyes of some before those eyes even set upon the first sentence. There’s no real defense of that except I wanted you to read the bit.” Well, that’s about the weakest defense I’ve ever heard. Why not put out something that actually has substance, and a title reflecting that? You wanted a sensationalist title, and you wanted a sensationalist article. You achieved just that, and not much more. Oh, and by the way, here’s that first sentence for any of you who haven’t yet read the article: “When we say the Houston music scene is amazing, as many of us do with bordering on annoying frequency these days…..”. Yeah. Sensationalism and being totally craptacular towards our music community in the same sentence. What an achievement.

We, the musicians and music fans of this town, are completely and totally over this kind of bullshit. I really don’t understand it from Jesse, either, since normally he puts out such supportive articles regarding the local music community. Both of these articles he wrote within these last two weeks bring some serious deductions against his former credibility.

The fact of the matter is, Houston Press has been putting out this TMZ quality (I use the word quality loosely) for YEARS now, and it’s not JUST Jesse that has recently contributed to this detrimental bullshit. Kristy Loye has been one of the demeaning “writers” the Houston Press has to offer us… I don’t even know how she still has a job there, to be quite honest. She’s written more pieces that have crapped all over the music community and music fans here than I can stand. There’s also been other numerous writers at that particular publication over the years who have loved to fuck with, criticize, and pick at the music community, bands,  musicians and music fans in this town, and we are really really sick of it.

These writers sometimes come back and try to save their asses like Jesse just did, too… especially when the article sparks as much of a “fuck this shit” response from our music community. They’re just trying to save face. They know they fucked up, and then, they attempt to “redeem” themselves somehow by writing some sort of response piece to pacify us, not because they are truly sorry in any way whatsoever. It’s a shame, but it’s the absolute truth. I liken it to a relationship where one partner is at times verbally abusive to the other, then apologizes, so the other partner says “well…… he/she DID say they were sorry… I guess I’ll stick it out and see if things get better”.

Well, things are NOT going to get better, people. I’m just here to tell you. I’ve spoken to some of you who feel that there should be a symbiotic relationship with the press here. I agree with you wholeheartedly. There SHOULD be, it’s just a matter of whether or not there ever truly WILL be.

Judging from the quality of articles I have seen come out of this particular entity and others, I am of the opinion that we will never truly every be able to achieve this kind of relationship. Here is one reason why:

We’re really nothing but pawns in their own game of “I want accolades as being a well known music critic in this town, and THEN, I want to move on up to a bigger job at the regional or national level”. They’re just trying to crawl their way up the food chain. For REAL. Think about it. It’s not that they REALLY support us, they want credentials and advancement at any expense. They will write anything at all, good, bad, ugly, whatever… just to get hits and shares. It brings them the attention they seek so desperately so they can get noticed and move on up the food chain of the editorial world. That’s it in a nutshell. The writers here that actually write our about our community because they really and truly want to support it are few and far between. Just examine the timeline of the Houston Press Music’s Facebook page and others and look at the quality and content of the articles there. You will begin to see the apparent pattern for yourselves.

Ask yourself this question as well: what have any of these people TRULY done to help further you or your careers in any real, tangible way? At the end of the day, it’s YOU, the musicians, who create your own opportunities. None of these ‘industry’ people or press people are gonna do it for you. Do you see these people putting their asses on the line and talking about the real issues holding us back in this town? No, because the money interest involved with the bigger venues in this town are totally hooked up with the press here, and the editors of these press entities won’t print ANYTHING even remotely touching on those issues! Someone out there would be out of a job, and the other would potentially lose money. THIS SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN US AND THE PRESS WILL NEVER EVER HAPPEN, YALL. The money interest, the bigger venues, certain larger booking and management outfits, and the press here (and anywhere else you look in this world, for that matter), are all ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY, PEOPLE. They will print anything and everything that furthers that relationship in whatever means they can. They use us for their own ends one way or another. You and your band might get a great writeup one day, and then the next, they will print something that craps all over our community. Think about it. You folks KNOW I’m right. It’s NOT real support, and at the end of the day, they are all answerable to their editors, who are answerable to the money interest, the booking and management firms, and the venue owners. It’s all one big circle jerk. Do some research and you will see that this is 100% fact.

I oughtta know all this for myself. I’ve done interview after interview with these people and tried to assert the same points I’m making here plus many more, and they never get printed. They just print the surface level shit, or write bullshit articles taking a negative tone towards our community like these last two we just read over this past week. Every single interview I have ever done with the Houston Press I have saved. I have these interviews time stamped and dated. I can show you what they DIDN’T print, and then show you the 5% of my interviews that they DID print. Some of the interviews I’ve done with them haven’t even been published at all. I know for a FACT it is because I always touch on the issues concerning our music community, those same issues I touch on in this blog, and these writers are too controlled by that money interest and the fear of their editors to print it! These folks don’t take REAL risks at all. Until they get some balls and start to talk about real issues facing our community, like the rental fee issue that venues charge local bands, for example (and there are MANY MANY OTHERS), the job has now fallen on US, musicians. We gotta take charge. This is our time, and this is our calling. We gotta get our shit together and NOW. I’m happy to be here doing my part. Don’t like it? Oh well, I really don’t care. I’m gonna keep doing this until something changes!! We aren’t just going to ‘TALK ABOUT HOW AWESOME WE ARE”, we’re gonna put our asses on the line and fucking show y’all what the fuck is up.

When writers publish “sensationalist” pieces like this, it makes any article they’ve ever written attempting to support something going on in the music community look like total bullshit. I’m all for their freedom of speech, but that freedom brings consequences. BELIEVE ME, I know that fact VERY well. If any of you have ever read this blog, heard my radio show, or been on my Facebook page, you’d be quite aware of it. There’s a LOT of motherfuckers who do not like what I’m doing here. I don’t care about them. They’re not getting me gigs or paying my band’s recording studio time or rehearsing with us to be kick ass or pounding the pavement hanging up posters and handing out handbills for us or anything else that tangibly helps my band or any of YALL’S BANDS survive! Think about it now!!! I stand by exactly what I say because it is THE TRUTH. It’s the truth that it’s fucked up that venues charge bands rental fees to play, and it’s the truth that on average, with a few exceptions, the press in this town does more to piss off and shit on the local musicians here than it does to help them. I’ll stand by those statements proudly, even if it costs me my “reputation” and certain “working” relationships. I don’t give a FUCK because they’re both FACTS and y’all all know it. Those ‘relationships’ obviously weren’t worth it to begin with and were NEVER working. And like Joan Jett said, “I don’t give a damn ‘bout my reputation”. I put my ass on the line every time I write one of these pieces and am proud to do it. I actually know a lot of people who are beginning to come out with the same points I’ve been making now for a long time. This is something that has been a running undercurrent of fire in our local music community for YEARS and I am not one fucking bit afraid to speak out about it, or anything else, for that matter. I’m focused on bringing out the truth first, and then building something better. Something REAL. A community that sustains ITSELF. We don’t need the bullshit. It’s over.

I know I speak for a LOT of musicians out there who want to say this, and I have talked to SO many that feel this way, but they are afraid to speak out for fear of losing gigs or press opportunities or other industry related relationships… well, I’m not at all, and I work only with venues and people who treat musicians right and support us. I don’t need any of these middle men industry types or press people to ‘have my back’, when I know they don’t truly give one rat’s ass about any of our success.

And by the way, you press people ought take at look at your DAMN selves. Y’all AIN’T the best writers we’ve seen around here and you’re not doing us any real favors. So stop fucking with us, we’re over it. Musicians AND music fans included. We don’t owe you jack shit, so stop trying to glorify yourselves like you run this place. You don’t. WE DO, and we are about to show you what time it is. You folks have NOTHING without us, and you KNOW it.

I’ve been talking about this kind of bullshit the press here puts out for a LONG time, and it wasn’t until last week when I saw some of you who never ever speak out against what they are doing that I decided it was officially time for a call to action.

As of last week, I put out a video missive calling for our local musicians to start setting the tone here and becoming our own press. We’re doing it, too. In just the amount of time it took ol’ Jesse to write and put out that piece of shit article, there’s been three people I know who have already begun this process: Catherine Catzilla Dietrich, who owns and operates Stilettobroadcasting.com (go directly to the website here: (http://stilettobroadcasting.com), local visual artist Katherine Strawn Erwin, and local music photographer Michael Villegas ( check out his local music and photography blog, Live, Breathe Music here: https://livebreathemusic.com ). You also have my homies Matthew Davis Buehrer and Andrew Karnavas running Yawp Records, ( check them out here at:http://yawprecords.com ), which is a true community based enterprise trying to help musicians empower themselves and get paid for their work. Local music photographer Mars Simons also reviews local and national shows AND does photography for worldwide music publication National Rock Review. You can check out some of her work by following this link: http://www.nationalrockreview.com . There’s gonna be more. Just you wait. We are over it. The only writers here that really do try to cover things in a positive manner are few and far between. Y’all know who they are…. Jeremy Hart from Space City Rock, David Garrick talks about almost every show going on at almost every venue any day of the week… But we need more of that shit. We need to break up the monopoly in the press here, and that is only gonna come from YOU ALL STARTING TO BE YOUR OWN PRESS. I’ve said it before, and I’ll reiterate it again:

This is a call to action for ALL musicians. Start a blog on WordPress, it’s free. Start a You Tube channel talking about what’s going on in Houston or use it to promote your band. IT’S FREE TOO. Do a Periscope live broadcast. FREE. Do a Facebook Live broadcast (I do those from time to time and it does help spread the word) all you need is an account, which is FREE!. Start a podcast. If you have the means, start a print publication. But for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, STOP RELYING ON THESE MOFOS FOR ANYTHING!! They are NOT doing a good job! WE CAN DO IT BETTER! WE ARE THE MUSIC COMMUNITY HERE, MUSICIANS! SO WE HAVE TO TAKE CONTROL OF THIS SHIT! I will personally review any album or show that y’all want me to! I’m not paid to do any of this, like these other writers are, I’m doing this because I BELIEVE IN YALL and I KNOW WE NEED A CHANGE HERE.

No money interest runs me nor does it run any of the other people I mentioned. No big money investors are involved. I’m not financially tied to any venue people or investor money like a few of these press people are (no names mentioned but y’all know who your asses are), so I say and do whatever the fuck I want. I will help y’all in any way I can. If these bitches are not giving you your fair level of press, or aren’t covering you at all, hit me the fuck up. Looks like you have some other people on your side, too. Can’t afford to pay a venue’s rental fees? Write about it! Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Hell, if you’re too afraid to speak up, drop me a message and I will! I know you’re just as sick of the horseshit as the rest of us, so you if you want someone who’s gonna have your back, first, have your own by starting your OWN THING, but just know that myself plus the other people I just mentioned will, too. Also, know there’s more of us coming.

Like my friend Matt said yesterday, “Scenes have actors, communities are about GROWTH”. So let’s stop focusing on a “SCENE” and start truly building a COMMUNITY. The time is NOW.

So there you go, press people. If you’re all offended or pissed off about this, guess what, welcome to the fucking club. This is how you’ve made us feel for YEARS. Payback’s a bitch.

TK

Please visit Musician’s DIY Fight Club for more information.

https://diyfightclub.wordpress.com/

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