Thursday, April 13, 2006

 

Black Crowes' media black-out

I'm a long-time fan and supporter of the Black Crowes. I wrote the High Times cover story about the band in the July '92 issue and a feature interview with frontman Chris Robinson in the Dec. '93 issue. The Crowes were named High Times band of the year in 2001. I've met Robinson on numerous occasions - twice with his lovely actress/wife Kate Hudson. He's always been friendly to me and High Times.

That said, I'm perplexed about the Black Crowes' ticket policy regarding press requests for reviewing purposes. Standard-operating procedure in the music business is for media outlets to make their ticket requests to band publicists, either at record labels or independent PR companies. These requests are considered and tickets are provided. Not every request is granted. Decisions are based on the number of tickets made available and the outlet making the request. It's a highly subjective practice, but generally works. In my case, I usually receive tickets I request. Recently, I was turned down by the Rolling Stones and U2.

This week I was turned down by the Black Crowes as well. Chris Robinson and his band co-founder, guitarist Rich, are playing three acoustic shows in New York, dubbed "Brothers of a Feather," starting tonight. (The ad for the concerts, by the way, is decorated with pot leaves.) I requested a ticket for tomorrow night's show at the Rose Theater. I also asked for an interview with the brothers in behalf of Relix magazine, who assigned me to write a cover story about them. On Tuesday, I received the following email from Lathum Nelson, who works at Mitch Schneider Organization (MSO), the Crowes' LA-based PR agency:

"Please note that management is not arranging any press interviews for the band. At the same time, this is a no-comp tour, so we don't have a press list."

I wasn't happy on both counts. The Crowes have a right to decide who to and when they want to grant interviews. However, I disagree vehemently with their "no-comp" policy ("comp" for complimentary). I followed up with Nelson and his associate Todd Brodginski, who replied:

"We understand your concerns and appreciate your candor. However, this has nothing to do with MSO or our other bands, this is a policy established by management for the Black Crowes two years ago, and they have again reiterated that they can not make exceptions, and are sticking to this policy on all requests. If you want to discuss further with management, I can set you up on the phone with Pete Angelus."

Angleus is the band's long-time manager. Fact is, Angelus instituted this unusual policy more than a decade ago. I contacted New York Daily News pop-music critic Jim Farber for his opinion on this matter. Farber emailed back:

"I can confirm that the Black Crowes do not give press tickets. It works out for us, because we're sick of covering them anyway."

I decided to give Farber a call. He laughed about being responsible for the Crowes' press ticket ban because "I've written nasty things about them. I hope I didn't spoil it for everybody."

Angelus is notoriously sensitive to negative coverage. Once, when I gave the Crowes' 1996 album Three Snakes and a Charm a lukewarm review, he had Mitch Schneider call and grill me about it. That's the only time I every received a call from a publicist questioning my coverage.

"They hate the press," Farber adds. "I can't think of another band who does this [doesn't provide press tickets]. They enjoy connecting directly with the fans. They don't want anybody in between. It gives them a mystique."

I have yet to hear from Angelus. I'm still waiting for my ticket so I can cover the Robinson Brothers show for Blooming Ideas.

Comments:
I understand that you are a journalist, and thus reviews are your life-blood, but as a fan, surely seeing the band play, rather than getting the review, should be your prioity?

If it's not, then I perfectly understand why there are no comps. There are fans out there who are desperate for tickets. They are hard enough to get due to eBay. Last thing they want (and I'd like to think the Crowes want) is to lose out to journalists, who would probably just go over the same Retro-Stones ground all over again.

Perhaps they don't care about publicity. Maybe that's a good thing.
 
Not sure how journalists can be "sick" of covering the Black Crowes. They haven't did may interviews in the last few years at all.

Maybe they actually want to give tickets to their real fans.

Gee, imagine that.
 
seems to me this is a great policy...

you want to go see a show...buy a ticket!
 
You clearly don't get the point. Being a fan is one thing. Being a professional journalist is another. I don't know if these shows sold out or not. If they did then I guess press tickets would have taken away from tickets sold to fans. But that's just too bad. In this case, it was too bad for me and for any other journalist who requested to "cover" these shows - which means to write about it for a newspaper, magazine, website, blog or wherever. Too bad because we couldn't do our jobs.

Why? Because the Crowes are vain and overly sensitive about what journalist have to say about them. They need to grow up. You may think this is a bunch of whining, but I'm dead serious. This is our job. It may be a "cool job, but a job nevertheless. Bands, record labels and venues provide tickets for such purpose. That's the understood arrangement. When a band decides to break that contract, they will incur our wrath.

Please read the comments int he "Black Crowes controversy" post for more on this subject.
 
quit acting like they owe you something because you are a journalist. They don't owe you anything, and you can't really provide them anything of value at this point--they are whyo/what they are and anything positive or negative you may write about them is pretty much irrelevant to them and those who are fans of their music.
 
Concerned readers,

This really has nothing to do with you. It's an internal issue between the media and the music industry. I'm airing this on my blog to get a dialogue going. You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but again it should be of no concern of to you.

I wrote on my "Black Crowes controversy" post: "To me this is unacceptable and stands in the way of the free distribution of information. It's a form of censorship." Why are you suporting censorship? Furthermore, why aren't you supporting an editor of High Times who helped build the Black Crowes' "cool, stony" reputation when it served the band's purpose way back in '92 and '93?

Try and see the whole picture. It's not about "value," it's about the free distribution of information in a democractic society.

A comparision I cited is the relationship between the sport media and the teams they cover. Barry Bonds has the right to not submit to interviews, but the teams do not have the right to prevent reporters from covering the games. The analogy is the same. The Black Crowes have the right to not submit to interviews, but they do not have the right to prevent reporters from covering their concerts - which is precisely what they're doing.

But you all say I should simply buy a ticket. That's certainly an option, but runs counter to what I believe is the appropriate procedure that should be - and generally is - followed. It's not as if I've never purchased a ticket for a show. But once again, that is NOT the point here.
 
For the past year this band has "Let the music do the talking", granted no interviews and done almost no promotion. As a journalist you are missing an amazing and historic concert. Your loss. The Crowes don't give a damn what you think.
 
Did anyone out there go to the New York Robinson brothers shows? Please let me know and tell me how they were.

Again, I wished I was there, but was prevented from attending. I could have gone and attempted to scalp tickets, but chose not to.

Like I said, the Crowes cared when they needed me to promote them 13 years ago. In all my years at High Times I've always supported the band. They should return the favor. It's that simple.

Is there one fan out there who sees it from my point of view?
 
>I wrote on my "Black Crowes controversy" post: "To me this is unacceptable and stands in the way of the free distribution of information. It's a form of censorship." Why are you suporting censorship?

You wanna talk about FREE distribution? The band encourages taping and the fan base is a very close one. We have the information. How are you contributing to the distributorship of free information...you wanna give that as a reason; but, truth is that you're expecting free information so you can turn around and make a buck off of it (and subsequently take it outta thier pockets, too.) Your company should have comped you, NOT the Crowes. If I had 'em, I'd give my left nut to be at one of these shows; and with all due respect, Mr. Bloom, maybe you should think about pawning yours?

>Furthermore, why aren't you supporting an editor of High Times who helped build the Black Crowes' "cool, stony" reputation when it served the band's purpose way back in '92 and '93?

The Crowes would've reached their status regardless, they were signed already and they play some the best music there is out there. We appreciate your efforts with High Times and it's a great magazine; but, just because you write about weed doesn't mean that the Crowes automatically have to have some affiliation with you.

>Try and see the whole picture. It's not about "value," it's about the free distribution of information in a democractic society.

Oh, I think the whole picture is being realized. The fact is that you need them to make money, not the other way around. If not for these bands you wouldn't have anything to sell with your music section, no? As I said before the fanbase are widespread and closeknit...we generally have a play by play regardless of whether we can make a show or not. You want a set list from tonight? Because we (the fans) were getting it during the show (god belss Digital Crack)...I'll sell it to you for one left nut -- just so you can get get that "free" information out there, pad your wallet, and stop whining. It doesn't have to be yours, neccesarily...common, give it up, man...I need to pay for the roadtrip to the Austin show! ;)
 
Oh the "poor" Black Crowes, they need the money so they stiff writers who request to cover their shows. I really can't believe the level of cynicism I'm reading from Crowes' fans. And the lack of awareness.

Lady: Writing a review is not "making a buck" off of anything. It's just covering a band and providing info to readers who would like to know how the show went. Wouldn't you be happier to read my comments about the show than about me "whining" that I wasn't able to attend it due to the the circumstances I've described?

2) "If not for these bands you wouldn't have anything to sell with your music section" - the fact is bands line up to be in High Times, so who's selling to whom?

3) "just because you write about weed doesn't mean that the Crowes automatically have to have some affiliation with you" - this is the crux of my point. I think bands should honor the contract with the media, which they generally do. But in the case of the Crowes, I'm doubly disappointed. As I'm sure all of you know, the Crowes created a reputation of being a "pro-pot" by appearing on the cover of High Times in 1992. They contacted High Times. If they choose not to support "the cause" now that's up to them. But clearly that's not the case - why would the ad for the "Brothers of a Feather" include several pot leaves in the design? Where is their sense of solidarity witht he magazine who they joined forces with so many years ago?

4) "The Crowes would've reached their status regardless" - this is how I look at it. In 1991 they had huge success with the "Shake Your Moneymaker" album. But they were perceived as a commercial band for teenyboppers. With "Southern Harmony" - they're best album by far - they changed their image to pot-smoking album rockers. They came to High Times to help change their image, which has lasted until now. Due to this, I believe they owe High Times the favor of tickets to shows. It's really not much to ask. Other bands associated with weed like Cypress Hill and 311 have never, ever stiffed High Times.
 
1) I take a fan's review over a journalist any day. They spent their hard earned money and time to get there. THey have the same passion for the Crowes as I do. They in a couple of words are like me. You, being a journalist are their because it is your job. No passion, as if it was your passion you'd probably not complain about the lack of free tickets.

2) Great for you guys having bands lining up. I don't read and never will, glad you can make you buck on some other band.

3) The cover is one of many things they did to make this image come alive. You mentioned the ads yourself. But did you also know they played the MTV music awards with pot leaves on Chris' pants. Probably more people saw that then the psudo underground High Times. Also many, if not most shoes have some refrence to the love of the herb. So High Times is one and only one element.

4) No actually they don't owe you anything. This is business and they want their fans to be a part of it, not passionless journalists. I also think the one ticket they would have to give away is huge to the one fan who couldn't go. Lastly, in my opinion you can do business with 311 or Cypress Hill, as I will never listen to them, just like I will never pick up a copy of High Times.
 
Buy a ticket you bum.. And you are whining about this hole thing. "Free flow of information crap you are spewing.. Get real, get your boss to buy you a ticket, there are no free rides.
 
I honestly don't think that the policy is directed toward High Times - which has been a pro-Crowe for a long time. But when you decide to make a policy based upon journalists in general you really can't make exceptions, that would be truly like the censorship you are accusing the crowes of propogating.

The fact about the press is that they have mostly ignored the achivements of this band since 1992-93. And while they were a part of why they sold 7 million copies of their first record, they were also a part of why they only sold a few hundred thousand of their best record (3 snakes - which you reviewed luke warm!!!- you should be fired for that , no offense), jumping off their bandwagon as soon as they could.

Jim Farber is sick of covering them? Any jounalst who says that just typifies the problem and justifies the Crowes position. Obviously his objectivity has left the building.

The Black Crowes are trying to do something noble and necessary in todays world. Making it on your own creativity and talent and NOT relying on the old boys network of music jounalism. It seems to b working out!!!!

P.S. I saw the show last night and you damnd well should have scalped - it was amazing!
 
YOU ACT LIKE THE CROWES IN A
CALCULATED EFFORT CREATED AN IMAGE OF(POT FRIENDLINESS)FOR FINANCIAL
GAIN GET REAL THEIR IMAGE IS WHAT IT IS THEY OWE NOTHING TO HIGH TIMES OR ANY OTHER PUBLICATION

IF YOU OR ANYONE ELSE WANTS INFO GO
TO AMORICA.ORG OR BLACK CROWES.NET
WE ARE THE TRUE FAN BASE AND DO NOT NEED ANY INPUT FROM ANYONE WHO
HAS AN OPINION TO POST FOR
FINANCIAL GAIN
 
YOU ACT LIKE THE CROWES IN A
CALCULATED EFFORT CREATED AN IMAGE OF(POT FRIENDLINESS)FOR FINANCIAL
GAIN GET REAL THEIR IMAGE IS WHAT IT IS THEY OWE NOTHING TO HIGH TIMES OR ANY OTHER PUBLICATION

IF YOU OR ANYONE ELSE WANTS INFO GO
TO AMORICA.ORG OR BLACK CROWES.NET
WE ARE THE TRUE FAN BASE AND DO NOT NEED ANY INPUT FROM ANYONE WHO
HAS AN OPINION TO POST FOR
FINANCIAL GAIN
 
Anonymous writers,

I don't understand your distain for journalism - it's a noble professional - what gives?

"No passion" and "pasionless journalists"? How can you make such generalizations? If I was without passion, why would write about this at length and respond to all of your comments? Becasue I'm a "bum" who want a "free ride"? Whatever. I can't communicate with someone like that.

"did you also know they played the MTV music awards with pot leaves on Chris' pants?" - of course I know that. That was when the Crowes truly cared about legalizing marijuana. That was when they appeared on the cover of High Times, headlined the Atlanta Pot Festival (which I covered) and had the big potleaf backdrop at their shows.

"you can do business with 311 or Cypress Hill, as I will never listen to them, just like I will never pick up a copy of High Times" - you're clearly a hater, like a lot of the people who leave nasty comments at hightimes.com. This forum is not that. It's for good people with something intelligent to say.

"I saw the show last night and you damnd well should have scalped - it was amazing!" - please send me your review of the show, with set list. I'd like to post it.
 
Once again, this point about "financial gain." The Crowes changed their image for their own reasons. They came to High Timnes to help them acomplish this. I don't see this in terms of financial gain. I see it a creative development of the band's image and reputation. If it results in finacial gain, so be it.

"Do not need any input from anyone who has an opinion to post for financial gain" - again, this has nothinto do with finacial gain. I simply wanted to review the show and they turned me and other media outlets down.
 
I know I already commented, but I just thought I'd reply again, due to your above comment.

I, personally, don't have a distain for journalists. For a long time, I wanted to be one, until I realised I had zero ability. There are some amazing journalists out there, with a huge knowledge and passion for music, and who write brilliant articles. I think the Crowes fanbase as a generalisation aren't too friendly toward them as a species, however, because the press has been less than nice about the brothers Robinson and their album releases over the past decade or so. That is a generalisation, but people are protective of 'their band'.

That aside, I do understand your frustration at not being able to do your job. However, the Crowes, presumably, did not request that this article be written - in fact, they seem to be shying away from any press coverage at all. To my knowledge, they have not given interviews of any description since reforming last year. That they did not request the publicity leads me to feel that it is thus not their responsibility to provide any journalist with the opportunity to see the show in a professional capacity. The responsibility should perhaps fall on the shoulders of the magazine who gives the commission.

Now, I don't know where this is going to lead. I understand your concern that it sets a dangerous precedent perhaps regarding other bands and making your job (because, as you say, cool or not, it is still a job), and I also wonder if this will harm the Crowes in the long run. I'm not really sure about that - they have a very dedicated fanbase, and I'm not sure super-success is what they want anymore. They have managed well so far with very little publicity, and perhaps feel they don't need all that anymore and are satisfied with their fanbase - perhaps they feel they owe their fans the right to tickets for supporting them all these years than journalists who were too quick with the Stones comparisons.

At the same time, as someone who loves this band, I want everyone to know about them, and the best way to do that is get the word out in the music press. To do that, people need to see your shows, and catering for the press is part of that, however 'unfair' and part of the media machine it may seem.
 
Suburban,

Great comment - my only point regards your statement: "the Crowes, presumably, did not request that this article be written - in fact, they seem to be shying away from any press coverage at all... That they did not request the publicity leads me to feel that it is thus not their responsibility to provide any journalist with the opportunity to see the show in a professional capacity. The responsibility should perhaps fall on the shoulders of the magazine who gives the commission."

That's the main problem as I see it. Some bands - usually newer bands - request coverage via their publicists. Established bands generally don't request coverage. The media contact their publicists and usually receive tickets or passes to cover concerts. This generally works out. However, in the case of the Crowes they are refusing such requests. That's where we run into the problem of censorship. The only recourse then is to gain entracne from the venue or purchase a ticket. In the case of these concerts, they were already sold out by the time I was told that they would not be providing me with a ticket. It's kind of a Catch 22. The Crowes succeeded in their goal to keep the press away. But is that really what we want in a democratic society where we treasure a free exchange of ideas? I hope not. The Crowes need to reassess this policy.
 
My take on this, is I don't see it as 'censorship', I see it as trying to make this a fan-oriented thing. No one can force them to accept publicity.

Presumably you are still free to write about the Black Crowes if you wanted to? No one would call you and ask you to pull the article if you wrote one? That would indeed be censorship and if it was the case, I would be against it.

However, in simply refusing to grant journalists tickets - that's not censorship. That's simply bucking against a tradition, which the industry accepts as a given.

I can understand that you're pissed. Apart from your opinion on Three Snakes (seriously...listen to it again, in the dark with headphones, from Girl From a Pawnship through to (Only) Halfway to Everywhere and tell me that it's not brilliant), you seem like a guy who's into his music and has passion for it. But to make an exception for just you would be, as someone else stated, a more effective way of censorship, because that's saying 'we like what he'll say, so we'll let him in, but not the people who'll say bad stuff'. By having NO press, it's 'for the fans'. It's a 'we don't care that no one knows what the hell we're up to...the people who matter do. If you really want to come and see us, get tickets like everyone else, because we don't care what you write about us, so we're not going to give you freebies to do so'.

Maybe that's a bad attitude - but then the Crowes have never really worried about what anyone other than their fans think. In fact, I'm not sure they've worried about what ANYone thinks.

Maybe y'all can get your own back when they're trying to promote a new album (if such a thing should ever materialise).
 
I gave "3 Snakes" 4 stars out of 5 and that wasn't good enougt for the Crowes' management. I just felt it wasn't quite up to the quality of "Southern Harmony" or "Amorica." So shoot me having an opinion.

By not providing a ticket for one of the 3 shows this week in New York, I couldn't write waht I wanted to write about the Crowes/Robinson bros. - a review. I'd much rather have done that then air this gripe and then spend all this time discussing it in comments. We all have better things to do.

"Bucking the tradition"? If you want to look at that way, fine, but to me they're simply preventing coverage, good or bad, and that's a terrible precedent, especially coming from such a supposedly "cool" band.

And btw, you think it's all about the fans, but I'm sure they give away plenty of tickets to friends and ass-kissing VIPs.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I was started to worry about Crowes fans...
 
With regard to Three Snakes - you described your review as 'lukewarm' - to me, 4/5 isn't lukewarm! So I take back what I said. I still say that four-song run is one of their best though. I'd put a wink-smilie thing there, but it seems a little trite.

As far as this debate goes, while I do, to an extent, understand your point of view and frustration, it's never be solved between us, because we come at if from completely opposite points of view. I understand what you're saying, but I'm on the fanside, so I'm always going to want to see fans watching this band. I don't think I have anything else of value left to add - I'm not a journalist, and so I really don't know enough to go into any further depth - and so with that, I'm going to bow out of this debate.

Peace, and I hope you get to see the Robinsons at some point on this tour, because it sounds like it's been amazing.
 
yeah, well, Steve...don't worry about us Crowes fans; because again, we have the information. And if you didn't want scathing responces you should've picked a different word than 'censorship'. If you knew ANYthing about the Crowes, you'd know that's just not part of their agenda. That is what got me riled up. This band is VERY in touch with their fanbase...and makes sure that WE know what's up. I don't think it's very prudent of you to assume no one can get information about the band unless they read it in a magazine. That is just not the case. You do a good job, and as far as your comments of your magazine building their reputation, I suppose that your magazine was who booked them for the pot festival in Atlanta around that same time, too, huh? You know, the one that Mtv covered? Man, you got some serious pride issues if you think your magazine was what built their rep. And, what now? They've been on the road for a little over a year now and haven't had a bit of press done, but are still selling out venues left and right...just how do you account for that? They don't have to have press at this point...have you taken a look at their albulm sales over the years? Folks line up to see them because the music is good, not because a review tells us to.
 
It's clear that you are the one who "doesn't get it" when just about every fan comment on the situation is the exact opposite of yours.

These shows were absolutely mind blowing, and if your magazine couldn't expense an eBay ticket for you, your loss.

And BTW...quoting an egotistical hack like Jim Farber isn't going to win you alot of converts to your way of thinking...just an FYI.
 
It's clear that you are the one who "doesn't get it" when just about every fan comment on the situation is the exact opposite of yours.

These shows were absolutely mind blowing, and if your magazine couldn't expense an eBay ticket for you, your loss.

And BTW...quoting an egotistical hack like Jim Farber isn't going to win you alot of converts to your way of thinking...just an FYI.
 
Discussion over - except for Suburban Boheme, you're a helpless bunch who don't have a clue as to what I'm talking about. This has absolutely nothing to do with the fans. You can have the Crowes, they deserve you. Don't send any more comments. I will not publish them.
 
If you gave the record 4 out of 5 then it's honestly on them for denying you a ticket. Of course I've never seen any crowes record get 4 out of 5 stars since 92, so you'd be the only major journalist who gave them a very good review after Southern Harmony.

Even when they got decent reviews, every review I ever read focused more on who they were copying than anything related to the music and it's depth. Most reviews used the same comparisons and hackneyed phrases like 'southern fried rock' , 'pot laced jam band', 'stones meets faces boogie' or 'bar band' - all not so subtly degrading to their artistry and originality.

After 15 years of this, can you blame them for shutting out the media?
 
The coverage is in the music. They know the business and have been burned by it, they are out there playing genuine rock and rock without the gimmicks.
There is no one better in music today than The Black Crowes. Period.
These brothers tickets sold out in minutes. To think that they owe you a ticket to do a review... Come on, get a little creative and go out there on you own and just do it.
Maybe, then you will get a little more respect.
 
The way I see it, that's their right. You're being childish and spoiled. I think you're also being foolish if you don't purchase a ticket with actual money and go to the show.

I work in the media and get just about every ticket I could want for free. But some shows I don't get them and if I really need or want to see a show - I buy a ticket. Yeah, us folks in the media, we've got it rough! So suck it up and buy a ticket or at least stop the whining.

- Jason Davis
 
Don't You worry about a thing Mr. Journalist. The Crowes have always found a way to piss off the people that help their career. They are not fan friendly like many other bands. They rarely give us a head's up for tickets or new releases. They have released 6 studio records in their 16 year history which is ludicrous (two year hiatus somewhere in there). Do not take offense to what they are doing to you because they do the same to us, the fans, on a regular basis. We usually rely on you to get our information first but even that is changing. Magazine and newspaper writers do not write about them anymore and don't even mention upcoming shows because they just don't care. This band will be gone again before you know because you can't keep treating your fans and the media that has helped you get where you are like crap.
 
You've slightly restored my faith in Black Crowes fans. I needed to hear an independent voice who doesn't kiss up to the band. Thanks...
 
Sorry you couldn't get your comp--Friday night was amazing! I do wish the Crowes would have more positive exposure in the press, getting real music to more people who need to be exposed to it, but I run my life very differently than the brothers Robinson; it's apparent to anyone who has ever been a working musician that they are just trying to do what they need to do--they have families to support, and as Chris mentioned Friday night, when you've got a commune like theirs, someone's gotta cook the lentils and keep an inventory of all the VW buses. In the case of the Robinson Brothers, they've gotta remain creative, maintain perspective, keep up key relationships with all band members, management, and crew; on top of that, they've gotta keep up the kids' college funds, feed gasoline to the Range Rovers, pay the mortgages in Greenwich & Malibu or wherever, and secure their futures in an extremely fickle business. They probably don't wish anything bad upon you and appreciated your coverage, like, 13 years ago, but their priorities have shifted, they entrust their media relations to certain people, and that's the end of the story. If key people get your message, maybe they'll reconsider, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Peace.
 
Check out www.crowesbase.com for the setlists and a couple of reviews.
 
Heya...

I have my issues with the way the Crowes do things. But I understand that they are a business entity and they don't owe me anything.

I bought every album they came out with. With the exception of the first two, I didn't hear about the albums anywhere in the media. Granted, I don't read a lot of music mags and I don't watch MTV or VH1... but still, I hear about a lot of music here and there, and I don't recall any real support for the Crowes. Most of the mainstream reviews I have read over the years have been snarky and dismissive, with the notable exception of the High Times coverage.

On its surface, that would seem to support the case for giving you a freebie. I'd probably give you one, if I had any. At the same time, though, if there is a boatload of snarky dismissal with one supportive oarsman, who would really blame them for just foregoing the whole thing? Yeah, they could make nice and send you a ticket, seeing as how you've been nice to them all these years... but then they'd just be caving to cronyism. Beneficial hypocrisy is still hypocrisy, so I really wouldn't get so worked up over being denied a benefit that nobody else is getting.

Just so you know, there are plenty of fans who are feeling snubbed right now due to the lack of the Taller ticket presale program and the rampant scalping of tickets to sold-out shows. We aren't getting much in the way of assistance from management, either. Yeah, we're pretty peeved about the situation... but most of us don't think we have cause to demand anything, either.

I just hope that they actually come to the Pacific Northwest sometime so I can see the band I've been missing since '96.
 
"Don't send any more comments. I will not publish them"

Is this censorship or what?????
 
The idea that you were censored because you weren't given a free ticket to the show is a joke. No one is stopping you from writing about the show, and in fact there are reviews of the 3 NY shows that have been written. I would imagine that if you bought the ticket and saved your receipt, you could have filed that as "business expense" on your 2006 Tax Return.
Your sense of entitlement is disturbing.
 
If a ticket is 60$, isn't your employer or you (if you are an independent contractor) getting at least a 30% discount on the price of the ticket due to it being a busines expense? So, not only are you bitching about not getting in for free but you are also bitching about getting in for a 30% discount.

I only wish I had such complaints.

Next time you buy a 300$ ounce remember that you missed out on a great concert for around 40$.
 
Mr. Bloom a real journalist doesn't PROMOTE! He/she INFORMS. People who promote are promoters, publicists, P.Rs, etc. As a journalist you (fortunately) don't have any duty toward your subject! The only duty you have is to... your readers!
As a music journalist for more than 20 years (not in the rock business) I must say that bands who don't want any press to inform their audience, or beyond their audience, and bands who don't facilitate access to journalits DON'T NEED & DESERVE to be covered! Drop them! There are a lot of band out there that want to be covered and deserve to be.
Magazines, radios, TVs, websites.... should buy their own tickets for their journalists? Yes! In a "perfect" world. But it doesn't work like that. Should they buy their own CDs too? You guys are dreaming. Do all those people think the media have the money for that? Do they know how much a music journalist is paid? Music journalism is a profession, not a job.
In conclusion forget the Crowes. Or buy a ticket and invoice it to your employer. And write about the music and only the music, not their attitude towards press/interviews, etc.

T.P.
 
I absolutely love the Crowes but I will say that their management sucks. Their communication with their fans is terrible IMHO and this whole problem with the press is just one more example of their managment dropping the ball on yet another of a wide range of issues.

That said, I have to say I found this whole issue of "censorship" a bit much. We're talking about a rock 'n roll show here, not a secret meeting between government officials and industry insiders to set energy policy or make decisons on the war. Issues like this really are happening and Americans have their head in the sand, while there is a furor over stupid sh*t like this. Man this country is in trouble.

Even though I'm a Crowes fan, if I were in your position, I'd pretty much just say to h*ll with them and go write a big article about another band that is more press friendly. It is only going to hurt the band in the long run.
 
I'm really impressed with the quality of the recent comments. Thanks for telling it like it is. Crowes fans rock, afterall...
 
I've been reading this debate with interest because I'm a longtime entertainment journalist who used to be a Black Crowes fan. I was a fan since the band's first album but I lost interest in them around 2001/2002 because I think the quality of their music has gone downhill.

Here are some facts, based on my experiences:

1. Every time I asked for comp Black Crowes tickets, I got them. I've seen the band in concert several times since the early '90s, as well as solo shows from Chris and Rich Robinson, and I've gotten free tickets every time, even when they knew I wasn't there to review the show. So it's a lie to say that the Crowes have banned comp tickets for the media for 10 years. However, it's very likely that they've stopped giving comp tickets for the press since the 2005 reunion tour, which I had no interest in seeing.

2. The Black Crowes don't hate all journalists. The fact is that I and several other journalists I know have often been pitched by the Black Crowes' publicists to do features stories or reviews of the band. Ditto for when Chris and Rich Robinson did their solo projects. It really depends on what media outlet you're with and whether or not the band trusts you as a journalist. It's no secret that some bands don't like certain journalists, so if Jim Farber has been on the Black Crowes' shit list for a long time, that doesn't mean that all other journalists have been too.

3. I've interviewed hundreds of celebrities, and if I did a cover story on a band almost 15 years ago, I wouldn't feel entitled to get free tickets from the band whenever I wanted, or feel entitled to interiew the band again whenever I wanted. Get real. You're only as good as your current job, and High Times isn't the only magazine that as ever put the Black Crowes on the cover. What have you done for the band lately, not something that happened at least five years ago?

4. If you've really been assigned to review the show, and you can't get free tickets, then have your media outlet pay or reimburse you for the tickets. If your media outlet is too cheap to pay for the tickets, then that means your media outlet is probably very low on the totem pole and the band doesn't need press from your outlet anyway. I know plenty of music journalists who work for bigger outlets than Relix and High Times who can't get free tickets to some concerts--and these are people who are ranked highly on their staff, not freelancing. So keep it in perspective and realize that there are people "higher up" on the food chain who have their requests denied too.

5. Last but not least, this Black Crowes policy to not give free tickets to the media applies to all journalists. I sympathize if people are being turned down for interviews or free tickets, but try not to take it personally, and please move on. It's very unprofessional to get in a public feud over this because free tickets for journalists are a privilege, and never a guaranteed right.
 
I've been reading this debate with interest because I'm a longtime entertainment journalist who used to be a Black Crowes fan. I was a fan since the band's first album but I lost interest in them around 2001/2002 because I think the quality of their music has gone downhill.

Here are some facts, based on my experiences:

1. Every time I asked for comp Black Crowes tickets, I got them. I've seen the band in concert several times since the early '90s, as well as solo shows from Chris and Rich Robinson, and I've gotten free tickets every time, even when they knew I wasn't there to review the show. So it's a lie to say that the Crowes have banned comp tickets for the media for 10 years. However, it's very likely that they've stopped giving comp tickets for the press since the 2005 reunion tour, which I had no interest in seeing.

2. The Black Crowes don't hate all journalists. The fact is that I and several other journalists I know have often been pitched by the Black Crowes' publicists to do features stories or reviews of the band. Ditto for when Chris and Rich Robinson did their solo projects. It really depends on what media outlet you're with and whether or not the band trusts you as a journalist. It's no secret that some bands don't like certain journalists, so if Jim Farber has been on the Black Crowes' shit list for a long time, that doesn't mean that all other journalists have been too.

3. I've interviewed hundreds of celebrities, and if I did a cover story on a band almost 15 years ago, I wouldn't feel entitled to get free tickets from the band whenever I wanted, or feel entitled to interiew the band again whenever I wanted. Get real. You're only as good as your current job, and High Times isn't the only magazine that as ever put the Black Crowes on the cover. What have you done for the band lately, not something that happened at least five years ago?

4. If you've been assigned to review the show, and you can't get free tickets, then have your media outlet pay or reimburse you for the tickets. If your media outlet is too cheap to pay for the tickets, then that means your media outlet is probably very low on the totem pole and the band doesn't need press from your outlet anyway. I know plenty of music journalists who work for bigger outlets than Relix and High Times who can't get free tickets to some concerts--and these are people who are ranked highly on their staff, not freelancing. So keep it in perspective and realize that there are people "higher up" on the food chain who have their requests denied too.

5. Last but not least, this Black Crowes policy to not give free tickets to the media applies to all journalists. I sympathize if people are being turned down for interviews or free tickets, but try not to take it personally, and please move on. It's very unprofessional to get in a public feud over this because free tickets for journalists are a privilege, and never a guaranteed right.
 
You are right. The band owes (owed) you. My guess is that when record sales stall to zero, bands get real cheap on the road when it comes to comps, and, when you have an incompetent like Pete Angelus running the show for a couple of stoners, this is what happens. This band is a classic example of what happens when you give a reunion tour and nobody cares.
 
Longtime journalist,

Yes, thre are a lot of grey areas in this debate, but to me coverage is black and white. Either you're provided tix and allowed to cover or you're not. If you know in advance that a certain band will not provide tix, then buy them, sure. But often we're not informed of this until the last minute, as was the case with last week's Robinson bros. shows. In my opinion, it is not a privilege but our right to cover live events (as it is a sport writer's right to cover live events) and you as a journalist should not only know this but stand up for it before we lose it.

As far as the Crowes in particular, my beef with them goes back to a similar instance in '93 or '94 when the Crowes declared an Academy Theater show "fan only" and refused press requests. I did receive tix for the opening night of the Crowes reunion tour at Hammerstein. I received tix for their recent New Year's show at MSG, but that was via No. Miss. All-Stars. I knew better then to even bother with the Crowes for New Year's tix, which Phish and String Cheese had gladly provided in the past.

Call me unprofessional, but I think we cannot allow bands to stand in our way of coverage - this is our journalistic duty to inform the people. I'm sorry you don't see it this way. Don't be cowed by music-industry bullies. Stand up for your rights and stop taking their side.
 
As a publicist, I can tell you that if a band gets bashed and bashed again by the press, then why would they authorize their publicist covering said press with tickets to the show? That is masochistic, isnt it?
 
Hello, delusions of grandeur. I can't believe you describe this as censorship. You could've bought a ticket and covered the show. You were too late and missed the boat, sure, but you were not censored. You are writing about the Black Crowes right now, inadvertently giving them more publicity than they would have gotten from a 3-inch show review buried in your music column. You, sir, have a very skewed idea of the relationship between artists and the media. Someone posted this already, but you need them, they don't need you. If you were assigned to do this story, your publication should provide you the tools necessary for the job, not the subject of your story. The onus is on your publication to produce a ticket if they see a value in running a piece on a particular artist. Sure, most bands need and/or want coverage and provide tickets, but they have no contract with the media to do so. If your publication decides you should write a review of the new Hummer, do they have to give you a free car? Don't think so. Not unless they feel like it. Which the Crowes don't.
 
Anonymous (1PM),

Your Hummer comment is ludicrous. I'm sure writers who review cars for car mags get to drive new cars around for a few days so they can form an opinion. A car vs. a concert ticket? Bad analogy.

It is censorship. Black Crowes' management succeeded in preventing the New York Robinson Bros. concerts from being reviewed. What are they so afraid of? By the time I was told that these were "no-comp" shows, tix were not available even if I wanted to buy one. But I contend music journalists should not have to pay for tickets. Why does this matter to you? Are you jealous that journalists get free tickets while fans have to pay?

You write: "You, sir, have a very skewed idea of the relationship between artists and the media... you need them, they don't need you." That depends. When bands are starting out they seek publicity to build a following that partially comes through media coverage. Matter of fact, they often beg for coverage. When bands become succeessful, that dynamic shifts - at least in their minds. Suddenly they don't "need" the media that helped them get to where they are in the first place. That's why a concrete ticketing policy needs to be in place - and, for the most part (with the exception of bands liketh Crowes) is...
 
Progamming note: I reserve the right to reject any comment. You may call that censorship. I simply refuse to publish rude, hateful and overly negative comments. I'm looking for intelligent discussion, not bile.
 
I agree with Bloom: journalists shouldn't have to buy their own tickets! By the way car reviewers don't rent the cars they borrow from manufcaturers in order to write about those vehicles, it's a fact! Anyway... Should magazines pay for concert tickets for their journalists? Should they systematically buy them? It's an interesting question. In order to be more independent they should. But do they want to be ethically free and independent? Can they afford it? Should book reviewers buy their own copy?
What is this crap that music journalists need the artists and not the way around? As a music journalist let me say that I don't need the artists NOR do they need me! My readers need me! I'm paid to satisfy them, to get them interested in someone or pissed off, whatever. I answer to my boss and my readers, not the artists. Some of you have a twisted way of looking at it.
Mr. Bloom writes: "When bands are starting out they seek publicity to build a following that partially comes through media coverage." I don't get it! If bands seek publicity they should hire a publicist NOT some journalists! Media coverage is intended for readers, viewers, etc. When journalists promote they lose their credibility and miss their target.
If a successful band doesn't "need" the media anymore then Mr. Bloom should rejoice! That should give him the necessary freedom to say whatever he wants without pleasing the band. Matter of fact, music journalists might only want to write about succesful bands who don't give a damn anymore.
Another thing... some bands or some musicians want to manipulate the media by banning the media from their shows. Don't know if it's the case with the Crowes. I can't blame them. Incestuous relationships don't bring anything good.
Last thing: the Crowes or their publicists or their management should grow up. Too bad they have the right to impose their rule, no?

T.P. again
 
Wow. A lot of misunderstanding about the function of reviews. T.P. gets it. A reviewer, a critic, writes for readers. And for reviews of one-night-only concerts, a critic writes for those who couldn't be there. It's similar to sports writers who cover games.
So, using that analogy, do the teams being covered charge the sportswriters for tickets to the games?
No. They give them their own special seats, and space and electrical outlets, etc. for their equipment. They even feed the folks in the main press box. (As a student, I once covered the St. Louis Cardinals from the auxillary press box. No food, but we did get free score cards.)
That's so the sportswriters and sportscasters can tell the audience outside the stadium what happened.
And like many sportswriters, music critics add their own opinion about the skill and value of the performance. It's a job. It serves a purpose in communicating to fans, whether they are team fans or band fans.
To serve those fans, a critic should try to keep some distance, retain an element of objectivity so that whatever he/she writes has integrity. (OK, the sportswriters who get fed are in a different category. lets stop the analogy there.)
When a critic starts acting like a fan -- including buying a ticket to a show -- he or she has lost some of that distance. Admittedly, that's also the case when the critic has to depend on the largesse of the band for tickets. Publications with deep enough pockets usually buy the tickets, but that often means that all shows will be weighed by budgetary concerns. High-priced tickets can edge out a lot of lesser known bands playing in smaller venues.
The one element in this controversy I have not seen mentioned are the venues. My husband is a part-time music reviewer and I always thought our tickets came from the venue. Certainly venues the size of those presenting the Black Crowes have some interest in promoting their concerts and the artists who play there.
Last point: comped tickets -- whatever their source -- have the advantage of giving the reviewer a relatively good seat from which to hear and see what's going on. Does a band want the reviewer trying to catch the onstage action from the lawn seats?
VG
 
I can't believe you people.
One argument: A fan's review is just as good as a music journalist's review. This may or may not be true. The issue between the two is credibility. People who write for a living about music, are paid to listen and to disect rhythms and phrases and who generally know tons of information about many different genres simply have more writing tools than fans who think the show kicked ass. Journalists build credibility with their reviews, and comp tickets are a way of saying, "Hey, you write well and I would like some promotion in your magazine. Here's a free ticket." Bands don't give free tickets (usually) to fans because the band isn't getting something in return.

Don't whine and cry and say the world would be better off without music journalists. Maybe nobody would miss coverage of bigger bands like The Black Crowes, but journalists, in a way, have helped launch the careers of lesser-known bands.

... And don't tell me you wouldn't have read the review if it could have been written.
 
One difference in the sports analogy: Game stories are written in a news style with no editorializing.
 
CITY QUARTERLY MEDIA GROUP has interviewed, filmed and photographed many Rock Acts including the Allman Brothers Band, Devon Allman, the Black Crowes, Mearl Saunders, Bruce Hampton, Dave Mathews, and others.

Case in point: Fans of bands such as the Black Crowes should understand that media folks who interview the band are 50% of the time, huge fans of the band or artist that they interview.

However, instead of detouring and not granting interviews, it would be so much better if the band could allow a few interviews, let the media outlets (Magazines, Media Broadcasting Networks such as VH1 / MTV) pay for their tickets because that's not the end of the world, and write their interviews. Of course, with policies such as the Black Crowes impose onto Media Contacts, it would be righteous of them to simply specify to pass them the composition prior to being released. If they don't like it then the writer should re-write the composition. With the advent of Rap and Hip Hop on the rise, I don't blame the Crowes for being cautious about the press they receive. We have attained 'Ins' and interviews around MSO - - so my advice to any Media Professionals who have passion and love for the bands they write about and interview is to remember when one door closes, another opens.

As far as the Crowes goes - I feel they are the best live act on the road...

CEO, City Quarterly Media Group.
 
HIGH TIMES IS ACCUSING THE BLACK CROWS OF CENSORSHIP?

I can spend my money elsewhere.

it's a sad day when...
 
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