Friday, April 09, 2010

The Death Of Rock Journalism?

Christopher Weingarten is a freelance music critic for several monthlies..Rolling Stone, Spin, etc. I don't know whether to love him or hate him because most of what he says is true...critics are everywhere...look under a banner and you'll find a critic pushing out his three columned blog for his/her 2 cents of info.

I'm sure I would be considered one of the people he throws caustic javelins of hatred at..being a blogger and all...but my critiques are chock full of belly laughs, right? I mean, I do take my rock seriously, and only wanna be friends with those who wanna hang out in the basement and high five each other when a killer song comes blaring out of the tune box during a block party weekend....wait that was 1983..Ok, here....I only wanna be friends with denim tuxedo clad file sharers who try before they buy and are in the know about the best places to download obscure album cover art for their "libraries".

I love good criticism as much as the next well rounded rock snob, but I know when to stop taking myself too seriously as well. Sure I'd like to make a living, traveling around from festival to festival heeing and hawing about some underground all girl metal folk hybrid band...but I'd also like to make fun of myself for having that much time on my hands to care, when people are forming militias in their backyards and poverty get less coverage than the shifty billionaires running the corporations that run the world.....I have to poke fun to keep myself sane. Its not fun just to collect facts and wax philosophical about how great a guitar tone between the second and third verse of a Utopia song was...It is a small thing that I give big love to...this blogging/critic/reviewer thing I have going on. I'd rather help Chris Weingarten than hurt him...Let me know what you think about the state of rock journalism as you hear him talk in this you have a go to critic these days? Or do you just have a go to blog/website to be in the woe or in the know.?


  1. This is a discussion I'm fairly passionate about, so advance apologies for the length, I literally had to break it into two comments….talk about lack of 140 characters…

    I think that Weingarten is acting like a wounded animal who is trapped in a corner, very defensive - when you place anyone in a situation like his their initial reaction is to belittle the people whom he perceives as his "competition" even thought he'd never call them his competition. Woe is he. Cry me a river.

    This is not a new story, and it's nothing unique to the music industry. 10 years ago I went to the Digital Video Expo in Madison Square Garden and attended a panel with some of the hottest video editors of the moment (see: Sopranos, the Spider-man move, etc.) and this same conversation came-up in relation to non-linear editing (Final Cut Pro, Premier, etc.) coming to the masses. The argument the editors had was that it was going to dumb down everything - and the quality of things would drop, basically - they looked at it as bad for the industry. I literally argued with them for 5 minutes on this. At the time I was teaching community producers how to transition from analog to digital editing, and I was deeply offended, and reacted much like I did listening to Weingarten talk, angrily. And look where we are, yeah there may be billions of shitty quality YouTube videos out there, but there's also some great ones, and even the bad quality ones shine through and get the hits, if there's something of value there. My question is this:

    Why are only a select few people allowed to create or comment on art?

    It's ludicrous. I agree with him that the mass of people often don't choose correctly. Shit, if the masses really had a say in 1865 black people would still be slaves, and in 1919 women would not have been given the right to vote. But as in anything, the cream usually rises to the top. Twitter didn't kill punk rock you asshole, you putting Green Day and Blink 182 on the cover of your shitty magazine for a decade plus killed punk rock. Twitter is most likely saving it.

    Talent does not go unnoticed, and it won't be denied for those who are consistent and passionate. There's an old saying that goes something like, "For does after true success, don't sleep". Think about it. Anything good is worth work, and if you're naturally good at something, you still have to work at it to be great. Most blogs are just part of the great echo that is the internet - and are just useless fodder and not of worry to a real journalist. The good blogs, again - through persistence and talent, survive and rise. Yes those may be a threat to writers like Weingarten, but that's because of the print/advertising model magazine's are based on - they do9 have website's too right?, The actual blog and passionate person writing for that blog are not the problem, it's person writing their checks, and their lack of both vision and balls that are the problem. This is why I don't feel even slightly sorry for Newspapers. Mark my words - 20 years from now there will still be people getting rich writing about music, just not this guy.

  2. I personally haven't gone to a Rolling Stone or Spin for anything since the late 90's - and it's not because of Twitter, it's because they were so out of touch with what real music freaks wanted. I used to have only 3 radio stations and two magazines to choose what I liked, and now that I have choice that's a bad thing? Because I can't name ONE Katie Perry song that's a bad thing? DIY is punk rock, not having David Fricke tell me what's punk rock.

    I have a good friend here in Boston who write's rock journalism for all the big magazines and newspapers and he sounds exactly like Weingarten. We've gotten drunk on numerous nights arguing about this - and in the end, it's because they don't want to let people in their special club. They love to be rock sniffers, getting back stage, showing friends the pictures of them with - so they can vicariously have some of the fame stink land on them. There's no reason why a great journalist can't be relevant and live comfortably in the digital age, they just have to choose to live in it, and if they don't - the world will pass them by.

    Power to the People. Long live the Blog. Long live cheap home recording. Long live the ability to create high end at low cost.

    Death to the elite social clubs.

  3. Boy, have I been told! Looks like my opinions about music really don't count after all. I suppose that I should pack up the "3000 word twaddle" that I have been indulging in and resort to writing fucking haikus on Twitter about 1000 records that I don't care about.

    Let's kick it off with one about our good friend Chris, self-appointed dean of rock critics:

    Don't need some dick in a stupid hat to tell me what I like.

    Wow, the haiku format comes in well short of 140 characters AND gives the reader the impression that you are a seasoned writer who understands that brevity is the soul of wit.

  4. You guys are so spot on....there are artists,writers,musicians many of them that need an outlet for their words,visual, sound. The internet has provided that for new millions to express themselves AND be informed and educated. I think there's room for everyone... perhaps even the nitwits on twitter who think they can get a pure thought across within 140 characters..reviewing an album within that protocol is ridiculous..its more of a smarmy vanity "project" that reeks of gimmickry...I use twitter simply to link to why is he doing it? To poke fun at disposable bloggers who utilize it? Or to bring more attention to his own "journalism"?

  5. I guess my opinion is we all have opinions and I think we all like to make them known. It is so easy now to inform the masses what your opinion is and that is a good thing. I enjoy reading others opinions and if you are relevant and insightful you will be followed. I would say Weingarten may not be relevant anymore or he just cant stand the company. Either way he misses the point of his trade.

  6. Did you not publish my comment or did I not enter it correctly? I can't remember what I said but basically that the guy was an arrogant ass. I love Sean's comment ! :)