Pop & Hiss

The L.A. Times music blog

« Previous Post | Pop & Hiss Home | Next Post »

Music critics: Mindless sheep or sheepish twerps?

August 17, 2009 |  4:45 pm


Most of the time, reading about "the future of music criticism in the Internet age" either makes me want to cry, throw something or slip into a catatonic state so I don't have to think about it any more. But our sister blog, Jacket Copy, has a sassy take on the issue from Henry Owings, the founder of Chunklet, the cranky, inspired zine that once provoked lots of industry gasps with its "Biggest A-holes in Rock" issue. Zines were what bloggers did before the Internet, by the way, and honestly, most of them took bigger risks than your average indie-rock kid posting MP3s in exchange for concert tickets.

It turns out Owings agrees (more on that in a sec). The Atlanta-based Renaissance Man has a book out, "The Rock Bible: Unholy Scripture for Fans and Bands," which Jacket Copy describes as "a snarktastic set of hundreds of music-related 'commandments,' all bound in scripture-esque fake leather. (Sample: 'Few singers are allowed to drape scarves on microphone stands. You are not one of them.')"

Bad news for all those Stevie Nicks copycats out there.

Owings, in the interview with Christopher R. Weingarten (who's masochistically reviewing 1,000 albums on Twitter), explains his problems with bloggers:

My biggest gripe with online journos is their false sense of importance when they're oftentimes just regurgitating press releases and tour dates. Of course, that mindless mentality is what many labels love. Me? I just find there to be a negligible amount of talent in what passes as a blogger in this modern age. What ever happened to attitude? What ever happened to opinions? What happened to pissing off advertisers? What happened to alienating readers? What happened to having fun? Sadly, I believe that the new boss is the same as the old boss. I just wish and pray somebody would be out there stirring things up instead of following the herd of mindless sheep. But then again, when you have publicists that just needle you all day to write about their clients, it makes a blogger's job easy.

Fret not, Internet scribes; your print brothers and sisters don't get off so easy either. Read the full interview here at Jacket Copy.

-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: Henry Owings. Credit: Ryan Russell