In music, as with anything, the goal of public relations is to get the media interested enough to cover an act, so the public can become familiar with its name -- maybe even get inspired enough to seek out the music. Unfortunately, PR agents are often young, inexperienced, idealistic folk whose powers of "spin" are no match for the average music journalist -- who tends to be suspicious and cynical, if not a world-weary borderline alcoholic who's been suffering from tinnitus since the Who's 1980 tour. Worse, PR flaks can be far less attuned to the subtleties of spelling, grammar, punctuation and phrasing than those of us who live by them.
What follows is a small sampling of my favorite press-release snafus of last year. Original punctuation, grammar and spellings have been preserved. The names of the senders, however, have been removed to protect the guilty.
A welcome alternative to those nine-track discs designed to make listeners feel bad: "Recorded at The Fillmore in Denver and San Francisco and at Salmonfest 2001 'Fester In Lester' (a Leftover Salmon founded festival in Lesterville, MO to be held on Labor Day weekend this year), 'Live' is an uptempo collection of 9 tracks designed to make the listener feel good." (received March 4, 2002)
Hope he wiped the strings before he tossed it in the cauldron: One morning in the early '70's, Bill Wharton walked out of his house and found a 1933 vintage National steel guitar in his front yard. Years later he combined his blues with his hot sauce in a big pot of gumbo, made right on stage. (received March 15, 2002)
Undoubtedly, few opinions are more credible: "SUPERSHITTY's Top albums of 2001 ... #9 Boetz's Call to Arms. (SUPERSHITTY is an individuals "Username" and not used as descriptive. The list printed here is 1 of many listed on the StonerRock.com website.)" (received March 28, 2002)
So, does that hurt?: "Cloud 10, a new band from North Georgia, combines melodic ambience and harmonic vocals with raging distortion to create a sound that cuts through its audience with a satisfying chill." (received May 30, 2002)
Where's an iceberg when we need one?: "This Labor Day in the Gulf of Mexico ... 10 bands, 2,500 fans, and 1 ship o' rockin! Yes it is The Rock Boat rippin' through the gulf like an out of control storm with some of today's hottest bands. Chrystina Lloree is playing the largest floating music festival, and you need to be there. Along with Chrystina, Sister Hazel, Cowboy Mouth, Dexter Freebish, and The Pat McGee Band, you will see many new up and coming acts ..." (received June 21, 2002)
You mean Hot Tuna canceled?!: "This is your opportunity to be part of the most exciting rock event of the year, THE U.S. CLASSIC ROCK FESTIVAL 2002 -- Patriots Theatre at the War Memorial -- Trenton, New Jersey, USA -- Saturday October 5th and Sunday October 6th 2002 - Featuring URIAH HEEP, ASIA, NEKTAR, FOCUS, Plus MOSTLY AUTUMN & KARNATAKA. For one magical weekend this fall, Trenton New Jersey is the place to be for connoisseurs of great rock music. Over the course of this amazing weekend, fans can savour some stunning music performed by some of the greatest names in the history of rock." (received Oct. 2, 2002)
Because you know how tight security can be behind the velvet rope at Luby's Sports Bar: "We've begun working with a San Francisco based band called Low Poster. They are headed to Atlanta on Friday, October 18th at Luby's Sports Bar. If you are interested in going to see the show, let us know." (received Oct. 9, 2002)
You mean they couldn't recruit anyone from Weekend Excursion?: "An extraordinary lineup of who's who rockers from North Carolina's talent-rich indie music scene, Marat consists of Michael Rank on guitar (Snatches of Pink, Clarissa), John Ensslin on lead vocals (Teasing the Korean, What Peggy Wants), Des White on bass (The Veldt), and Scott Carle on drums (Dillon Fence, Collapsis)." (received Nov. 13, 2002)
Another band gets its big break opening for Kenny Howes: "LEISURE MCCORKLE IN AT #8 ON THE JOHN SHELTON IVANY TOP 21 CD's LIST. Just confirmed: Leisure McCorkle & The Empire of Sound @ Echo Lounge In Atlanta On Saturday, December 21, opening for Kenny Howes & The Yeah's ..." (received Nov. 19, 2002)
Hope they've got comfortable shoes for the March: "Wanted to let you know that we are working with Sister Hazel on their new record, Chasing Daylight, which will be released on February 4th. They will be appearing in a 'Pre-record release party' show on Saturday, December 28th at Earthlink Live! This show kicks off their new tour and doesn't have the guys back until March for Lyrics for Life." (received Dec. 18, 2002)