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Letter To The People - May 2000

Publisher's Commentary by Rökker
Little Lizzie  - photo by Rökker

Hey Everybody!

I must say HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY to my daughter ELIZABETH, and HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY to my wife Allison! I love you both very much!!

Two of my favorite bands are playing in Madison. REBELS WITHOUT APPLAUSE make another appearance in Madison at the Annex for the next MWO mudwrestling show on May 26 which also features ANGELS OR INSECTS…. 420 from Rockford will be there this Saturday, May 6! I’d have to say the Annex fukken ROCKS!!

Anyone remember SHAWN BROWN from LAST CRACK and SPIRITUS? He’s now married (a belated congratulations cause it’s been a while) and living in North Carolina. He’s in a wikked new band called FORTIFIED UNIVERSE and you can download MP3’s from www.michael9.com/mp3/sbrown_michael9

Look out Ashland! BRADLEY FISH’S ELECTRIFRIED BAND will be playing our annual pre-reggaefest gig at NORTHLAND COLLEGE on Friday evening, May 19th. If yer up there, stop down and say HEY MON! You can’t miss me, I’m the dude with the long hair & sunglasses behind the double bass drum kit!

Keep checking the web at www.maximum-ink.com, it is being worked on and updated continually. There are even more stories and interviews on the web than are in print here!! Check out Kurt Stream’s interview with SYSTEM & STATION and John Noyd’s second interview with MUSE from their tour bus!

Rökker’s WAMI slam:

Whooeee!! As most of you know by reading my column all these years, I put every ounce of my effort into contributing, prodding, promoting, networking and just about anything else possible to provide a venue for the “Local” musician to display their “Wares” to the Wisconsin music scene. Literally, sometimes I can’t sleep (ask my wife!). But I’m also an honest person and sometimes I wear my feelings on my cuff and call it as I see it. Refute me please, maybe I listen to too much TOOL!

There is a local organization in Wisconsin called the WAMIs (Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards). They give an award away (like the Oscars) every year to the top people in various categories of the music industry ranging from “Best New Artist” to “Monitor Engineer”. After the “fans & musicians” vote on a cast of “members only” chosen nominees the winner is awarded a plaque at a ceremony stating that they were best in that category.

Sounds good right? It should be. I want it to be. But it isn’t and I’m sick of everyone turning heads and closing their eyes to its ineptitude and injustice! The whole thing stinks of “Good Ole Boys Club” tactics.

There are many on the list of nominees that deserve recognition because of their hard work. I do not belittle anyone in the list of nominees. But a lot of nominees, including most of the staff at WAMI, are nominated year after year.  . How does that happen? You create an award and nominate yourself? If you thought the election process for president was screwed up….anyway…..mixed with an award that has no value, ask anyone if a WAMI award helped them get ahead, what is the benefit to the local musician or fan? Sure, there are a few token “new”, upcoming bands, sure a few of the names have changed on the ballot. But what about the ones that haven’t? Take a look back at past WAMI awards, I bet you will see a lot of names haven’t changed in very interesting places. See for yourself, go to their website at www.wami.org and compare the list of names on the nominee list for this year and the list of the staff at WAMI or check out the difference between last year’s nominees and winners and this year’s. And if you were to look at the last few years you might notice the same thing a stock analyst might notice, a pattern.

Now the thing that really ticked me off (because the prior ramblings are things I’ve wanted to say for 15 years) is the latest fax I received on their current “membership” drives. I thought I’d read between the lines and see what they are really saying. In the fax, the WAMI was coming to town to meet with local musicians about getting membership with WAMI (insert here that membership is $15, check made payable to WAMI, a non-profit organization). Now in return, you get to “network” and find out how “to get booked at Summerfest”….

You know, stop right there. If you think your going to get a substantial booking at Summerfest by attending a WAMI membership drive you may as well take a glass of ice-water and splash it in your face to wake up!! I personally have a problem with this. They are preying on the hopes of musicians with the perpetuation of these types of membership drive tactics. A friend here in Madison called me up very excited about the news of the “membership drive”. I asked him why he was going to go to the meeting. Did he want to join WAMI? He went because the fax told him he could find out how to get booked at Summerfest. I guess he never saw the words “increase membership”.

The bottom line is no taxation without representation. Sounds to me like it’s a better idea to take the money and spend it on something that will get you ahead, like your phone bill or bass strings or gas for the van. The Maximum Ink website is nominated for a WAMI. Don’t vote for us, we won’t be there to accept an award.

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