The message, forwarded to me by Captain Adam Bissen of the USS Second Supper, contained the typical chummy form letter used by music publicists since music publicists emerged from the oceans. Hey, super-cool people of [insert publication], just wanted to let you know about [insert band], who are coming through [insert town] on [insert date]. Would you be cool with inserting a little publicity for the show into your fine publication? We can set up an interview if you’re interested. You rawk!
The only difference between this message and every other one I’ve received since I emerged from the music journalism oceans was that [insert band] was Motley Crue.
“You interested?” Bissen asked. Shit yes, says I.
Yet what would probably have been the biggest music interview of my phony career in music journalism was not to be. As it turns out, I don’t feel that bad about missing out.
The next message I received from Captain Bissen cast doubt upon the interview’s likelihood. It included another forwarded message, this one a response from Admiral Roger Bartel of the USS Second Supper to Motley Crue’s publicist. I’m pretty sure Roger wasn’t using a form letter.
The summary of it is that while there are a lot of local venues and businesses that support the Second Supper, Fort McCoy has not been one of them, so there’s not much reason for the Supper to promote its shows. After giving a shoutout to more symbiotic venues like Freedom Fest, the Kickapoo County Fair, and the Eau Claire Jazz Festival, he closes with this awesome line: “for some reason Fort McCoy is not interested in reaching audiences under 50, which is exactly our audience. Sorry we can’t be of more help.”
Shit yes, says I.
Here’s something I’ve felt for years which may not make me popular among certain people of my hometown: I don’t think that most people in La Crosse give a shit about anything that isn’t safe, simple, and right in front of them. La Crosse has no sense of creative community beyond a few freaks who all get ignored because beer is cheaper and more readily procured. Major bands play major shows at the Warehouse all the time and the Root Note has thrown together some sweet performances and Jammin’ George is one of the funniest bastards I’ve ever met and I’ve heard word about a bunch of Noise City schmucks sowing discord at the Cavalier and there have been loads of amazing musicians in town scraping by doing shows in the dirtiest corners of bars and basements and Chris Zobin puts bologna on his face and croons about the dangers of shaking babies and La Crosse as a whole simply cannot be bothered to give the slightest subatomic particle of a fuck about any of it.
But Motley Crue? A band as old as I am? Golden. Hordes of my fellow Midwesterners will show up at Fort McCoy, probably ignore any song that isn’t “Dr. Feelgood,” “Kickstart My Heart,” or “Girls, Girls, Girls,” go nuts for those songs, fart, and go home. La Crosse’s other newspaper will cover the show with its typical bland tripe, and the radio stations will fawn. Fists will be pumped, heads will be banged, rebellion will be faked, and what I’m assuming will be a fine, high-production show will go off without a hitch or the faintest sense of danger. I doubt anybody will go home afterwards and write a song.
This void is a big reason why I left La Crosse, and why I don’t ever expect to live there again.
Bissen told me that if I really wanted to, I could pursue the Motley Crue interview, but after reading Roger’s letter (and being really, really proud of it) I lost all interest. Ultimately, my decision not to go for the interview was based less on giving the finger to La Crosse’s smug and sedate victory lap rock concert scene than it was on my complete disinterest in interviewing a band that has been around since the 80s and has had its dirt splashed across a vast product line of books and VH1 specials. What the hell am I, or anybody, going to add to the story? I’m assuming it would end up being the whole prerecorded “this is our best album/tour ever” bullshit hype that makes reading most Q&As with major musicians pointless.
Besides, if you’re a fan of Motley Crue, you don’t really need a prick like me to convince you to go, do you?
So Motley Crue is playing this Friday at Fort McCoy. You’re welcome, [insert publicist]. The show will probably be pretty good. Go if you want. Or don’t. I don’t give a shit.
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