Jughead, A Loaf of Bread and Thou (January 2005 issue)

You can also view this here: http://web.archive.org/web/20070630032027/www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=87 and you used to be able to view it here: http://www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=87.

If you run a record label, the most important department you have is your promotions department. This is the arm of your label that sends stuff to radio stations and magazines and Web sites. After all, with thousands of bands out there willing to do anything for airplay and attention, you have to find a way to set your guys apart.

Agouti receives tons of stuff every month: wooden signs, stickers, T-shirts and so on. Sure, we notice. I mean, that’s the point, right? But the most important thing is that we get the CD. After all, we do not review signs.

Would you believe that some bands and labels don’t get this? Some bands and labels swear up and down that they will send you promotional material, and then nothing graces the almighty P.O. Box. What’s up with that?

Whether it is because they don’t communicate well, they are too full of themselves, or they just hate music reviewers, some bands and labels are as two-faced as Two Face. I have had label reps, bassists, lead singers and more look me in the eye and say that a press pack was on the way to Agouti Land, and you know what? Every subsequent meeting, I look Agouti Tom in the eye and ask, “so, where is the new CD from that band?” and he stares at me blankly and says, “there’s pizza in the kitchen.”

I am not going to name names. I do not need to give these guys any publicity. There are plenty of appreciative artists and labels out there that take care of us, and that’s fine with me. But sometimes, it can really hurt.

A few years ago, I reviewed the debut album from a band. It was absolutely fantastic. Then I heard they were coming to town. You know I was stoked to see that show. You might even say they had a “reputation” for being one of my favorites. So the fateful day came, and I drove up to San Francisco, California, and watched a great set. After the show, I introduced myself, and they even remembered me from my review of their first album.

This is where I get about as excited as I can be, because I just don’t get appreciated enough to suit my egotistical needs. Then the lead singer told me that the band used quotes from my review in their press kit. Well, getting their newest album to review should be a piece of cake after this, right?

Of course not. I wouldn’t be writing about it if it were. Haven’t you guys learned anything about me by now?

The lead singer said I should “look out” for their label rep. It seems that the band’s second album was another label, but their rep was in the building. I caught up with her and gave her the spiel of how great Agouti is and how they keep me in pizza and hooray for them.

The rep said that the person I needed to talk to did not make the show because of some bullshit reason (so she said herself) and she gave me her card with contact information.

When I got home from that show that night, I sent an e-mail to the person I met, as well as the person I was supposed to contact. I e-mailed the band, thanking them for their time. When I got to work the next day, I called the number I was given and left multiple voice mails, over the course of the next month.

Next Agouti meeting? Agouti Tom showed me the pizza.

It really makes me sad that one of my most favoritist bands in all of history can’t benefit from my obvious adoration. And if you have seen my reviews, you know that I don’t exactly praise everything like a Fat Boy Slim song.

How about another example? Last “summer,” I thought I would have “fun” seeing an “all-girl band.” It, too, was a great show, and I even bought a canvas bag made by the lead singer all by herself! She said that they would mail us a CD. I e-mailed a few times. And every time it was the same thing. Agouti Tom introduced me to a lot of pizza in the coming months.

You want another one? OK. I attended a show and after it ended, I was “vis”-a-vis with a “queen” of a lead singer. She was awfully nice to me and friendly and all that. She told me to e-mail her and help give Agouti Tom something to say besides, “pizza’s ready.” So I did. And she didn’t. This time, Agouti Gene wasn’t at the meeting, and I had to eat pizza with only olives as a topping. Bleah. I like olives, but I need something else on a pizza besides it.

This band returned to town a few months later, and she remembered me. She apologized for not sending us information, but she said to e-mail her and she would get it out the next day. Guess what? I set a record by eating 16 slices of pizza at the next meeting. Agouti Tom’s arm must be sore from all the pointing toward the kitchen he has been doing.

These are extreme examples. I just received an e-mail this morning from a band that just released an album. The lead singer just dropped their album in the mail this afternoon. The system works. It’s the promo reps that sometimes don’t.


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