Now, before I go any further, I want to say that my goal with music has never been to Make It, Man, the point for me is to have the music reach people who might appreciate it, and to have really great performances with, hopefully, a good crowd! That's what makes me extremely happy, what "completes" a piece for me as an artist. And it always seemed to me, and my mates, that if you really wanted to get good gigs etc., you needed to get reviewed.
Back when I had a subscription to Razorcake, I'd comb through all the reviews and I'd see bands I knew and enjoyed like The Measure SA (or whomever) being reviewed numerous times in one issue. I'd see my friends' bands getting some press here and there and getting a boost. I allowed this to reinforce my views, when really these characters were getting ahead because people who knew and liked them were taking the time to spread the word.
Anyway, we'd compile lists of publications, blogs, review sites, etc. And we'd send them our record with a nice letter about us, a one sheet, all that. Almost never did we hear back from anyone. We'd scour the Internets for blogs that we thought weren't "too cool" to review us, we looked far and wide for anybody who might actually look at what you sent them. When I think now of the deluge of garbage these folks must get, I'm astounded that I thought this was a good plan.
You can behold the fruits of that labor for yourself. Not very fruitful. Only three of those reviews were by people with whom we were unacquainted, and of them only two were really published. Razorcake, according to an email inquiry, didn't have room in their print edition for Alvarado's good review and it ended up in their site archive to rot like so many other unused bits, waiting for a hard drive to die.
All the good press we did get, all the good shows we got, everything that didn't suck that happened to us was on account of people who'd seen or heard us, possibly knew us, and already knew they liked us.
That's it. That's the whole story. There's nothing else to do but make your art and show it to the people who care. No one else does, and we shouldn't waste our time bothering them. It's no different from that guy standing outside the subway platform handing out CD-Rs to people who are never going to give the thing a listen. In fact, it's probably dumber.
Despite this, every now and then I get to thinking, out of the old habit, that I ought to sit down and start mailing out the new record. But then I look at these things, that took me some two days to screen print, and I think to myself, "what am I talking about?"
So I've resolved not to mail the Ben Franklin record to anybody who doesn't actually want it. I'm not emailing or writing publications I don't know, I'm not begging people I don't know for reviews. If the music is good enough, it will get around because we play out and people like us when they see us.
PR always has been and always will be complete bullshit, and it's just not even our place to engage in it as artists. I'm never doing it again. It was extremely stupid of me to engage in the activity in the first place.