At the recent 91X Punk Rock Pro Am golf tournament, next to a gaudy 18-wheeler billboard for Jaigermeister, a small booth with a cardboard table and donuts stood out like an exhibit-booth starter kit. Manning it was a button-cute girl in a pink golf hat, a photographer with Elton John-sized sun specs and a tall, Amazonian woman who looks like Chrissy Hynde's better half.
One of the girls would later confide that they were kind of embarrassed by their "little booth." But that's their charm, for they are the women of SDMusicMatters, and every month they give San Diego musicians a beautiful, glossy blowjob.
I'll get to that in a second.
SDMusicMatters started as a website dedicated to San Diego musicians and artists. Formed by a husband and wife duo, the latter of which is a nastily good photographer, the small collective of local music lovers has frothed over their finds in the San Diego music scene.
They're the reason so many San Diego bands have great promo photos. Scarlet Symphony's Gary Hankins wrapped in cellophane, witty rockers Rookie Card assaulting the San Diego Chicken, Louis XIV looking mean, dour and goth.
It's an artful documentation of what's happening here. And now.
In a perfect world, each American city would have a publication like SDMusicMatters, one that dedicates itself wholly to the great sounds in their own area code. Unfortunately, unless you've got a millionaire benefactor, economics works against you. Readers want to read about stuff in their own record collection, or what's hot regardless of locale. And advertisers want to advertise where the readers read.
Also, there's just not enough seriously good local music to champion-even in a city like New York, you can run through the A-list bands pretty quickly. That's why the Village Voice peppers local coverage with essays on Bright Eyes. CityBeat has a similar approach.
The Reader's BLURT section is almost all local music; they manage to keep readers' interest by almost exclusively covering controversy or "dirt." Scandal sells. As a former writer for BLURT, I was told in no uncertain terms that positive profiles of local bands simply weren't acceptable. There had to be conflict.
Yet here is SDMusicMatters-an all-positive magazine dedicated to local music, printed on expensive glossy paper, beautifully rendered. It's a coup for local musicians.
Sort of. Because the girls of SDMM are such big fans of local music, their articles often comes across like a series of press releases (blowjobs). When a magazine is so overwhelmingly positive, it's hard for a reader to trust what's being said. It's just not real. I'm sure even Gandhi talked back to his mother.
I say this not as a critical competitor, since we're not competitors. I say it as a longtime fan of San Diego music and media who wants nothing more than for SDMusicMatters to succeed.
I guess that's why, after the Punk Rock Pro Am and a few drinks, I decided to offer some feedback to one of their writers. I suggested that, in order to really connect with local music fans, they might want to add a healthier dose of realism. If they see a blemish, call it out. I think people appreciate that, even if it's their blemish that's being pointed out.
"You realize that a lot of people don't like you, right?" the writer responded.
Ouch. But an absolutely fair response. There are reasons to dislike both myself and CityBeat's music coverage, one of them being the occasional dearth of local artists.
Despite being told that I'm not well liked, I love those girls. Not in a coddling, patronizing way. I love them because they're seriously passionate about local music, the type of people that every healthy artistic community desperately needs. Sadly, a lot of music journalists keep writing long after the thrill is gone.
I hope I'm wrong, but chances are they won't last a whole lot longer if they continue doing what they do. Apparently, they're considering dropping the "SD" and trying to expand to Southern California. So enjoy it now-a creative magazine that's beautiful to look at, has good taste in music and gives blowjobs to the bands they love.
Not real, but wrong for the right reasons.Check out www.sdmusicmatters.com.