Tuesday, July 24, 2007

White Night

Last time I used this space to talk about a Chris Arnott blog entry, we were in disagreement. This time, I couldn't agree with Chris more.

In a recent post on his Arnott of the Arts blog, Chris wonders aloud about the lack of coverage received by The White Stripes in the Advocate, Play and the Register. Here's his money quote:

"So now I'm wondering ... either we all missed the
boat, and should have done more, or The White Stripes
is truly on the way down and few of us really care.
So are we oblivious, or is our relative inaction an
instinct, a prophesy? It's the kind of editorial
decision-making that keeps me up nights."

I struggled with the decision about how much to preview this show. I honestly struggled a lot. I've never been a White Stripes fan. I liked "Elephant" a lot, but I don't ever go back to that record anything. It's a band that just doesn't do much for me. With that said, I'll be at the show Wednesday at the Chevrolet Theatre.

I had a chance to interview the band, could have done up a big preview and ran it in Monday's Life/Style section or something. I chose not to. As an editor, it's one of my jobs to cherry-pick some shows that might not be getting much buzz, that I think are important (or whatever word you want to use) and highlight those. It's also my job to do everything I can to feature shows that are huge, that the public want to know about. For example, The Police aren't doing interviews with the Register about Monday's show, so I'll surely write a lot about this show in my Friday column.

The White Stripes show falls in the middle of this. I mean, it's surely getting covered and people know it's coming, but I also don't think enough people care to truly necessitate a full-blown feature. I declined an interview because of this. Maybe if the show was on the weekend, I would done something up, but it's not. And I didn't put anything in my column because I truly believe people need to know about Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers coming to Watertown tonight. That's an editorial decision. So I ran a photo and a blurb of the Stripes and called it a day.

Did I make the right decision? I'm not sure. I do know that "Icky Thump" has been pretty icky when it comes to sales, so I guess the duo's fan base is dwindling. Even though I don't listen to Jack and Meg, I can appreciate what they're trying to do. I just think the band is (now picture me affecting a California accent), so three years ago.

Did we all miss the boat on The White Stripes? Should we have done more? Should Play have thrown the porn star off the cover? Should the Advocate have made the band a cover story? Should I have run a big feature? Seriously, post some comments. I'd appreciate the feedback. We probably all would.


Kenny Milford said...

I'm not a big fan of the Stripes, but I think boosterism for local "big name" shows is important in general. A lot of acts skip this area and I get sick of having to travel to Boston, Providence, Northampton or NYC to see bands that should be stopping by the Shubert, Palace or Oakdale.

Great column, great blog- the only reason I ever buy the Register is for your Friday pieces.

Pat Ferrucci said...

You make a good point, Kenny. We don't get many big-ticket acts anymore. Thanks for the comment, appreciate it.


DMc said...

It's fine to boost shows you're willing to vouch for, but there's no need to promote a show just because it's a semi-big band.
The White Stripes are past their peak and don't really deserve our attention anymore. This is their first time playing in Connecticut, so it's not like they've done much to cultivate a fanbase here.
I say save your attention for acts that care about your readership.

Kenny Milford said...

If we limited coverage of national bands that actually cared about the readership of a local newspaper, there'd be about 2 acts a year featured...

New Haven used to be an essential stop on most national tours back in the day. I don't like most semi-big acts and prefer to see club shows anyway, but for all the big shows that I don't care about, there's always something that I'd appreciate seeing locally instead of getting home at 3AM from NYC or Boston.

All I'm saying is a small city needs to be more "provincial" in promoting shows in their town. The CT Post features every act at Harbor Yards, regardless of their merit or cool factor, in a big way.

It's great to promote local music and indie stuff, and Pat does an excellent job of that, but a paper as thin as the Register can certainly spare a few column inches to feature whoever is passing thru the big halls that week.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the Stripes is that they seem predictable at this point. Even Jack seems a bit bored with his own schtick.
His side projects are more interesting than his main gig.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You know, at first I WOULD be a little puzzled at the absence of a White Stripes story in the Register. But on the other hand, I can definitely see how there's really nothing new to say about the White Stripes.

Also, I had no idea there was a new Rilo Kiley record (or even a Rilo Kiley still in existence) until now. Score one for your blog!

- Mr. Greenland