You can also view this here: http://web.archive.org/web/20070630032027/www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=71 and you used to be able to view it here: http://www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=71.
For me, nothing is more exciting than receiving an e-mail reply from a band. When I was a kid, I would save my money and buy a pack of baseball cards. I would open the pack and turn right around and send the cards to the players’ respective teams, hoping for an autograph. Most of the time the cards never came back, but when an envelope from the Houston Astros or whatever team arrived in the mail, well, that was hot shit indeed.
As I got older and started spending my money on more important things, such as candy bars, this practice was discontinued. You can mail a Krackel wrapper to Hershey, but what are they going to do? And who would sign it? There is no Mr. Krackel. On the other hand, I can eat a candy bar, albeit only once. (Wouldn’t that be cool if you could eat the same one multiple times? Hop to it, cloning scientists. I want regenerating chocolate, and I want it now.)
So anyway, like a cocaine user trying to replicate that initial high (it can’t be done — that’s the way the brain works), I have tried to get that same feeling of receiving a signed 1990 Donruss Mark Portugal card. I’ve finally found it, and as it is with many things, it’s the good ol’ Internet here to save the day.
It’s a double-edged-sword-type of time to be in the music biz. Anyone with a penis or vagina (or both) can start a Web site and talk about how fucking great their band is, and here are the next two shows, and here are pictures of their ugly drummer (you know, the one with the bag over his head with the misplaced eyeholes). And of course after the band breaks up, the so-called webmaster will neglect to update the site, resulting in useful information on the main page about the “great show coming up on July 14, 2002!”
But the integral part of these sites is the “Contact Us” button. Yes, that’s right. With a simple click you can tell someone that you think the bassist is hot, or that they suck eggs, or whatever. Let’s go Internet. Praise the lard.
So that’s fun. You can write a band. But it gets better. Sometimes, they write back! I mean, don’t expect meaningful exposes of their personal life, but you will get a nice, typed “thanks for writing.” When this happens, I print out the e-mail, hold it to my heart, and sigh, well, heartily. This must be how a teenage girl feels when thinking of a boy named Corey.
And unlike regular mail, responses can be same-day, even minutes later! I was listening to All Girl Summer Fun Band, and was particularly touched by their song, Car Trouble. In it they sing about some asshole guy, and except for the role reversal, I felt a bond with the song. So I wrote the band and said how the lyrics were meaningful, and hey, maybe you guys should come to San Francisco. Not a couple hours later, one of them writes back and says they are playing at Ladyfest San Francisco at the end of July. How cool is that?
Other times, you will hear music and wish that you could grab the guy by the collar and say, “Hey fucker, no one wants to hear that shit!” Like in one of those tense NHL playoff games. It’s tied up, and the guy in the control room is playing some pre-recorded ballpark keyboard ditty that has no place in a hockey game, especially a playoff hockey game. What the hell is that? If I wanted something organic at a hockey game, let it be food from the concession stand, not “Charge!” from an A’s game. Keyboards belong at baseball games and in bands. Period.
My best experience was when Barry Harris of Thunderpuss 2000 wrote me back. When I was in junior high (it’s not middle school — get it through your head), I discovered a synthpop band named Kon Kan. They were from Canada and, like many things from Canada, they were fucking awesome. I went through so many AA batteries listening to their first album on tape that some Duracell executive is set for life, complete with his own tropical island.
Well, the lead singer of Kon Kan was Barry Harris (well, yes, Kevin Wynne also, but he has disappeared off the face of the earth), but in 1989, how could you get ahold of a band, especially one on a major label? Of course I wrote many obsessive letters to the band, as a 13-year-old should do. I wonder whether they ever got them.
Needless to say, when I discovered Thunderpuss 2000’s Web site and saw their e-mail address, I didn’t mention said letters when I e-mailed Harris. And two days later, he wrote back, thanking me for my years of “support.” And again, I printed it out and hugged the letter to my chest. It was going to be a good day.
So write those bands that put their e-mail addresses on their Web sites. That’s why they are there! And who knows — they just might write back.