“Shhhh-it!”: Introducing Idolator’s AnonIMous Music-Biz Interview Series

Oct 24th, 2006 // 2 Comments

shhhhhh_it.jpgAs much as we love getting our hands filthy–filthy!–with music-world dirt, it can be hard to get people to go on the record. So we’re proud to introduce the first installment in our Idolator AnonIMous Music-Biz Interview Series, in which we brow-beat professionals into telling us about the stuff they don’t want to say in public. Our first interviewee is a bigwig at a major New York City rock club, who spoke to us about stuff like this:

VivSavage1984: do you see a lot of coke backstage?
RockClubBigWig: I saw that band you plugged, the [name redacted].
RockClubBigWig: I think they had each done huge fat rails before going on.
VivSavage1984: oh no, i love them!
RockClubBigWig: They were sniffing like lunatics and babbling incoherently

After the jump, a tale of coke abuse, STDs, and crazed Scandinavians.

VivSavage1984: okay, so first question: do you actually read/care about music blogs?
RockClubBigWig: I do read them, every day, when I get to work.
RockClubBigWig: Just the major ones–Idolator, of course, Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, Stereogum, Product Shop NYC, etc.
VivSavage1984: well, thanks for the plug. So, do the blogs have any big impact on what bands you guys book?
RockClubBigWig: Sometimes. I would say that more often, we book the bands first and then the blogs write about them. Blogs are more useful for finding out about shows going on at other venues.
VivSavage1984: really! interesting. well, what do you think about when blogs take credit for helping to “break” a band? is there any merit to that?
VivSavage1984: so what’s the day-to-day of your job like?
RockClubBigWig: go over the schedule for the evening.
RockClubBigWig: listen to a lot of cd’s and visit a bunch of myspace pages.
RockClubBigWig: respond (or don’t respond) to a couple hundred e-mails.
RockClubBigWig: answer the phone.
RockClubBigWig: bullshit with colleagues.
RockClubBigWig: talk shit about shitty bands.
RockClubBigWig: and praise good ones.
VivSavage1984: hey, that’s like my job! okay, so who are the best/worst bands you’ve worked with?
RockClubBigWig: mostly, people from europe are always awesome
RockClubBigWig: japanese bands are the best. they’re just so excited to play
RockClubBigWig: with none of the attitude of local bands.
VivSavage1984: and which bands have you wanted to strangle? name names!
RockClubBigWig: you’d be surprised how many people in local, unknown bands are complete cocksuckers.
RockClubBigWig: it’s as if they are playing madison square garden or something; they act like divas when there will be like 12 people there for their show later.
RockClubBigWig: it’s really unbelievable.
RockClubBigWig: they berate the soundman, refuse to tip the bartenders, and whine and beg for more free drinks, like dogs under the table sticking their tongues out for scraps
RockClubBigWig: bands who we hate:
VivSavage1984: yes, names!
RockClubBigWig: The Bones Royal, they’re like these 16 year old kids who are nice but way too “professional.” They’re sixteen and they have a publicist.
RockClubBigWig: This band Trouble Everyday from Philadelphia…they’ve already been trashed on the Internet enough
RockClubBigWig: but they are dicks
RockClubBigWig: They are unprofessional, which would be kind of excusable if they were good or brought people to the club.
RockClubBigWig: We will continue to book bands that don’t draw if we love their music.
RockClubBigWig: But we refuse to book bands who do draw if they act like assholes.
RockClubBigWig: This band The Shys, from LA. They are not nice.
VivSavage1984: so who’s the biggest-name asshole you’ve ever encountered?
VivSavage1984: i mean cocksucker, sorry
VivSavage1984: i don’t mean to confuse assholes with cocksuckers
RockClubBigWig: I don’t like Moby, but that’s just a personal thing.
VivSavage1984: too easy! NOBOdy likes moby!
VivSavage1984: so what about backstage shenanigans? what have you seen and regretted?
RockClubBigWig: A&R guys do a lot of coke.
RockClubBigWig: But everyone knows that.
RockClubBigWig: Everyone does a lot of coke, I guess, these days.
VivSavage1984: do you see a lot of coke backstage?
RockClubBigWig: I saw that band you plugged, the [name redacted].
RockClubBigWig: I think they had each done huge fat rails before going on.
VivSavage1984: oh no, i love them!
RockClubBigWig: They were sniffing like lunatics and babbling incoherently
RockClubBigWig: But I guess if you’re that unabashedly retro with your tunes, it makes sense to be the same with your drug of choice.
VivSavage1984: stay healthy, [name redacted]!
RockClubBigWig: It was kind of sad.
VivSavage1984: and do you say anything, or just ignore it?
RockClubBigWig: We just ignore it.
RockClubBigWig: Or we ask for some.
VivSavage1984: okay, what about groupies? do indie rockers actually get laid?
RockClubBigWig: Yeah, but the girls tend to be kind of gnarly.
RockClubBigWig: Unless the band happens to be from Scandinavia, in which case the girls are those really hot ones that work in Nolita boutiques.
RockClubBigWig: Those Scandinavian guys, man, they’re the craziest.
RockClubBigWig: They actually think New York is cheap.
RockClubBigWig: Yeah, I guess a beer in Oslo is like 20 bucks.
RockClubBigWig: and a gram of blow is like 200.
RockClubBigWig: So they get to New York, and it’s like 5 bucks for a beer and 50 for the coke, and it’s like a discount.
VivSavage1984: what’s the craziest scand band you’ve seen?
VivSavage1984: so, about the groupies: do they ever trade favors to get backstage
RockClubBigWig: There definitely is a subset of girls who live in Williamsburg and just take dudes from indie bands home when they swing through town.
RockClubBigWig: So I guess a message for up-and-coming blog bands: use protection! Herpes is endemic in areas serviced by the L train
VivSavage1984: ha! those are the gnarly ones, i take it?
RockClubBigWig: It depends on your standards. They’re definitely not Gisele, but they’re definitely not chubby chicks who listen to Belle and Sebastian and cry all the time.
VivSavage1984: do you have to deal with a lot of label people for your job?
RockClubBigWig: Yeah, they’re in the club all the time.
RockClubBigWig: Some manager will hire a publicist,
RockClubBigWig: next thing you know, there’s 50 A&R people at a show.
RockClubBigWig: These are usually the worst bands.
RockClubBigWig: They don’t really do that. They just watch 2 songs then leave.
VivSavage1984: i am “ha!”-ing a lot. sorry.
VivSavage1984: okay, last question: what do you see as the biggest hurdle/pain in the ass/whatever for you in the next year? any big changes in the live-show business?
RockClubBigWig: There are a lot of new venues.
RockClubBigWig: But there’s a big market out there.
RockClubBigWig: I mean, I wish I could say that there’s cutthroat competition in the New York live music scene.
RockClubBigWig: But it’s kind of like, Clear Channel/Live Nation, whatever, they’re on one side,
RockClubBigWig: and everyone else is on the other.
RockClubBigWig: And the balance seems to be tilting towards the independents.
RockClubBigWig: Irving Plaza, Nokia Theater, BB Kings: their booking has really gone downhill in the last couple years.
VivSavage1984: really?
VivSavage1984: but steven seagal played bb kings!
VivSavage1984: he’s a big draw.
RockClubBigWig: They still fill seats, no doubt, but they’re completely segregated from anything that’s new or exciting or vital.
RockClubBigWig: Did you know that the Moonies own the Hammerstein Ballroom?
RockClubBigWig: True!
VivSavage1984: what?
RockClubBigWig: Completely true.
VivSavage1984: wow, i’ve never heard that. i wonder why they don’t do more mass weddings there!
RockClubBigWig: they do do mass weddings there.
VivSavage1984: i have learned much today. Thank you, RockClubBigWig!


  1. m-j

    “you’d be surprised how many people in local, unknown bands are complete cocksuckers.”

    From this moment forwards, I will refer to this as “The Godspeed You Black Emperors” axiom.

  2. IamnotStarJones

    This section is great
    can’t wait for you to get to the publicist,
    the a&r fool, the girl in marketing who sleeps with her boss for her job,
    the hip hop hypeman,
    the groupie,
    the bodyguard (they do have all THE DIRT when they get to stay alive) and the bitter former record label employee who discovers that the *skills* they gained in the music industry (lying, stealing and doing no actual work) means they will be some kind of *consultant* for the rest of their professional lives.

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