Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Soundstone rock...Maiden score a Brit...and A&R reveals lazy secrets

A weird, weird time on Wednesday night's TV.

First Maiden score a Best Live Award at the Brits (a metal act getting a mainstream award...WTF!). To stay on the weird theme it was allegedly through BBC Radio 2. On the surface this could be because us long established metal bands such as Maiden are now regarded, like the old rockers of Jagger, Richards, Daltrey, Page, Plant et al as 'institutions' and not worthy of the cutting edge Radio 1 .

It could be many things, but the truth is that more Maiden fans sent emails to the Brits than the so-called fans of the other utter shite that was up for the award. [And more than a few readers of this blog...Bruce owes us all a pint or 6!]

Needles to say this one-off was not to be repeated and AC/DC didn't get their just reward, but then that would have meant critics would have had to admit that the ancient Aussies rock harder than any of the miming twats and superannuated losers (Bono, Weller?) on display.

That overly long rant is all I am going to say on the 'Brit' Awards, except to mention that having dipped in and out of it most of it was unmitigated shite.

A beer and Jack later UTV's news segued into their Live at The Limelight show...cue rant number two...

This was filmed seemingly an age ago. Presented by bubbly airheads and half informed reporters (you have no idea how many takes that first introduction took!) the show kicked off with Banbridge's Soundstone.

Having had the privilege of being there during filming it was a faithful record of an act who took a wee while to warm up during 'Devil' but really got going on 'My Crime'. Despite an awkward mix and unfamilar set-up Soundstone kept going and proved that with the right support they should be counted among the many deserving of a breakthrough from Northern Ireland's musical backwaters รก la The Answer.

Then....oh fucking dear my beating hard rock metal heart...a blonde presenter interviewed the blonde A&R woman from the 'record label'. Now I have many friends that are 'blonde'. I even number a few ginger-tops among my friends. But these two 'blondes' offered nothing of any substance and, were I to be so unkind, might even be said to be air-headed blondes that give the rest a bad name!

Worst still the A&R woman revealed why rock and metal have to go the long hard road before getting any success.

She tellingly revealed how her and her contemporaries picked acts...they looked at their myspace sites, looked at the band's top friends and then heaven help me went to a live night...and then hoped the band were radio fucking friendly!

Well as she and her ilk seem to be slow of thinking I suggest they do some real research rather than surfing for the next big thing on the 'net...unless they care to breeze by here of course.

Here's a wee starter for them as to where the cutting edge can really be found should they choose to do some research...

These figures are based on the Audit Bureau of Circulation figures. That is the trade body that monitors sales of printed outlets. Kerrang! sells 52,272 copies a week. Metal Hammer sells 50,269 copies a month. Classic Rock sells 70,188 copies a month. Even the sub-genre publication Terrorizer (and how I love the hidden gems on the Fear Candy covermount CD samplers) sells a healthy 13,788 copies a month.

At the same time that so-called cutting edge publication NME sells 48,459. The cutting edge for these bampots is more likely to be the mime induced mediocrity that pervades prime time TV, or Indie shoe-gazers.

Rock and metal has never been about a popularity contest, but the numpties, headcases, poseurs and empty headed programme chiefs, have neither the wit nor the wisdom to acknowledge that from the mega stars such as Maiden, Metallica, and DC, through to our local rock warriors like The Answer, M$R, A Little Bitter, Residual, Soundstone, and a hundred others, there is more talent, more originality, more commitment, and more loyalty from fans than the fickle prejudices of TV programme commissioners or London based A&R people will ever know.

Before leaving this rant...well it is a bit of a rant...it is worth noting that UTV commissioned this show as part of what is known as its Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) requirement. The regulator, Ofcom, required that ITV licence holding stations show a set amount of local produced PSB shows. UTV and others are no longer required to produce as many hours, so shows like this (which one suspects was only commissioned to licence requirements!) will never appear again.

Well done to Soundstone for reminding viewers that there are genuine acts out there; well done to Maiden's fans who voted, and come the revolution any A&R prat who hasn't signed a rock or metal act will be force fed Cannibal Corpse and Slayer CDs until they recant their evil ways!

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