Sunday, May 28, 2006

IT WAS FUN WHILE IT LASTED

It's been my experience that when a musical group or performer gets profiled in the New York Times Magazine, it's all over for them, creatively speaking. So it is with a heavy heart that I post this link to a lengthy profile of the two guys from Sunn O))) (it also features a side trip to Tokyo - must be nice to have the Times' travel budget! - to hang out with Boris). I've spoken to Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson a few times over the years, both in an official capacity as hack and in a general hey-how's-it-going way at gigs. I think they come off pretty well in the piece, despite the writer's cack-handed attempts at wit ("would a metal band really do this?" "would a metal band really do that?" "your label's name means Satan, right?"). Said writer seems to genuinely get what these guys are about, even if he's dumbing it down a little for the Times readership. But the question is, why would the Times readership give a flying fuck about Sunn O)))? A certain percentage of them are already aware - they're at the gigs, they're buying the records. But are their parents, the ones who read the Sunday magazine, gonna show up at Avalon for the Sunn/Boris show this week? I have my doubts. So this is pointless cultural piggybacking. The people likely to get into Sunn O))) are already reading about them in Arthur and The Wire and on Pitchfork. Sure, it's probably nice, from Anderson and O'Malley's angle, to have their backs patted by the Newspaper of Record. "Good job with your weird noise thing, guys. Keep at it, you could really get somewhere." But as functional journalism, it's a) late to the party, b) unnecessary, and c) still condescending, despite obvious efforts not to be. Certain institutional biases - against Democratic politicians, against metal - simply will not be overcome.

1 comment:

Raspberry said...

Beyond "Arthur" being a publication whose stories have become leads for mainstream periodicals of late, the current Sunn O))) phenomenon also has somethingto do with the ArtForum piece on the band a couple of issues back (http://www.artforum.com/inprint/id=10627). Their subsequent open-armed acceptance by the art crowd is in keeping with the art world's current love-fest with "extreme" metal -- as th emost obvious example, check out Banks Violette's work.