City Slang: DMA Thoughts

May 2, 2012

OK, I’m not going to drag this on. I’ve sat and thought about how to reword what I wrote about the Detroit Music Awards in the pages of the Metro Times last year and, no matter what I do, it feels like I’m repeating myself. So, to summarize, the performances were mostly really good. The handing out of awards, or at least those handed out at the main ceremony at the Fillmore, was underwhelming.

There’s plenty of chatter on the internet about how the DMA’s are a joke. I don’t think they are a joke, but something has to be done to encourage the award organizers to help celebrate the huge depth of talent we have here.

Now see, I’m repeating myself already. Jeez, Eve Doster wrote pretty much that very thing for us back in 2007, and I’m sure people were saying it before then.

But it’s true. If the past few years are to be believed, Jill Jack and Carolyn Striho are the only acoustic singer / songwriter-y types worth giving a crap about around here. I like Carolyn and Jill, but nothing could be further from the truth.

There’s a metal category that doesn’t include Battlecross, who this year signed with Metal Blade Records and toured the country with some of the biggest names in the genre, not to mention the Black Dahlia Murder.

That’s why people get angry. Look at last year’s nominees and this year’s, and it’s very, very close to the same list. Then Striho, Jack and Ty Stone simply swap awards.

Again, no offense to the people that won. They are all awesome. But the simple truth is as follows – justify it how you want, but to be taken seriously across the board the awards has to introduce some sort of “spirit of rotation”.

On the plus side, the performances were great. The Pleasure Seekers rolled back the years despite missing their most famous sibling, Black Milk killed it early on, and Savage Grace, backed by the Grande Ballroom All-Stars threw down some classic Detroit rock.

But if there has to be a star, it was undoubtedly Amy Gore, performing with both Gorevette and Her Valentines. There are few songwriters not just in Detroit but in the world right now who can write songs as fun, gritty and downright dance-worthy as Gore and, whether she was flanked by Jackson Smith or Nikki Corvette, Gore simply ruled the night. On a night when the awards were being dished out all over the place, Amy Gore looked like the real winner.

I still have big hopes and an open mind that next year will be better.

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  • Scott

    We ( Carolyn Striho) won ONE award (nominated for 5), and last year also won ONE award (nominated for 6). This is sweeping, and “swapping” awards…?!?  Maybe you should “reword” this …..AGAIN. Thanks for the support, Scott Dailey

  • guest

    I don’t care for award shows. I care about our audience & what we share

  • benzingabrett

    Three the year before that.
    Scott, I’m not digging at Carolyn. My past reviews prove that I’m a fan. But yes, I think 5 awards and a whole lot of nominations in three years suggests that there isn’t enough talent here, and I know that isn’t true. Carolyn is awesome, but there’s a whole lot of amazing music in this town. So no, I won’t be rewording.

  • SquirreL

    No punk bands are worthy? Just because we don’t fit your ‘WRIF’ category? Many talented people out here….we helped shape Detroit too…

  • SquirreL

    are you saying getting nominated for 11 awards and only getting 2 and bring it to all of his readers attention is unjustified because you didn’t win all 11 so your not to be pointed out? How about nominate 5-6 OTHERS in those spots ? But, it does say something if you lost out on those other awards………

  • benzingabrett

    Circus Boy were nominated in the hard rock / metal category. Last year too. You’re 100% right. There should be a punk category. There is an industrial one, after all.

  • Jenna

    Politics and art do not make good bedfellows. The DMA is striking proof of it.  

  • Natashavassallo7

    ok, then maybe some new catagory’s should be included.  Since the film industry is rockin’ Detroit, may they should have a catagory for best film by a new director.  How about best score for a film or even better local stage productions, perfromances, costumes, set design.  Louder than Love should have walked away with an award or the least been nominated for best local film documentry.  And also take a look at some of the new talent around town who deserve nominations. I agree this past awards show chose some of the best talent in the music business and it was well deserved but maybe it’s time they should take a closer look.

  • benzingabrett

    Well, it is a music awards not film, but the film score award is a great idea. Also, the punk category mentioned above. Anybody have any other category ideas?

  • John

    It is interesting to see yet another view painting the DMA’s as a disappointment.  No disrespect to the winners, but this ‘awards’ show so  incestuous it really does take away from what it should be: a landscape of what Detroit music is all about.  Instead, it is the same bands/acts nominated for different genres, (which says an act would be disqualified if done so) and voted on the the same people on the inside year in and year out. To me and a lot of Detroit artist, it really is the definition of a joke.

  • Doug Coombe

    Year after year the DMAs fail to recognize the truly great records that came out in Detroit the past year.  Kind of like the Grammy’s. Let’s look at this year – nothing for Danny Brown, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Elzhi, or Chirs Bathgate?  The DMAs do a great job of honoring past greats of the Detroit music scene.  It’s a shame it doesn’t do nearly as well honoring the contemporary greats of our amazing music scene.

  • RioScafone

    Sadly, I think a lot of people are turned off my the DMA’S because it seems like the same (very talented) people make it through the *nomination* process year after year.  They are talented people, no one is denying that, so let me say it again so no one misinterprets what I am saying. Those nominated are very talented – but there is something lacking when so many of the same people are nominated year after year which makes one wonder- IS there any other talent in town?  Of course there is.  

    Also, without a designated, set panel of “objective, industry professionals” voting on who is nominated- its wide open so that anyone who claims to be in the business can nominate and vote.  It is common knowledge that people who are not in the business claim they are – in order to be approved to vote on nominees.  Again, the talent of the nominee is not being questioned here – its the system itself.   

    The awards should also open their categories up and explore the diverse types of music that Detroit has to offer.  By doing so, there will be new names cropping up at the DMAS and by default will help to negate the “same ole same ole” complaints that so many seem to have surrounding the awards.  I know of many musicians who have astoundingly talented bands that are forced into categories that are ill suited for them because of the narrow genre field offered. However, I will speak for myself on this subject as Rio & the Rockabilly Revival were told straight out that the DMAS did not feel that Rockabilly / Americana should be included in the DMAS.  Really? Where do they think a lot of this music came from?  
    Americana/Roots (along with many other genres) is a well known and beloved genre worldwide- not to mention its undeniable role in the history!   Just like Rock, Jazz, Rap – they all have legions of fans.  Having a designated panel of judges (what a great way to reach out to and involve international recording artists/producers from each genre and include them in the judging of the DMA Awards?!)  That alone could bring a new level of  excitement, legitimacy and visibility to the DMAS. There are many other genres that are equally cool that should be included in order to give a better representation of the vast musical history as well as current talent that makes the Detroit music scene what it is.  The DMAS are a great concept and we should celebrate the  musical talent here in Detroit, but the system needs adjusting in order to shed the  “predictable” reputation.
    –    Rio Scafone

  • RioScafone


  • Seán Eric Harris

    I agree whole heartedly with Brett and Rio and others…  I have a lot to say here, so please, understand this is not a criticism of any of the winners, or saying that any of them don’t necessarily deserve to win.  I agree that the process needs to be addressed, not necessarily any given year’s outcome.  Okay, here we go….

    Here’s a couple responses to comments made:  Directors and such should not be included for film portions.  FILM SCORES and SOUNDTRACKS, ABSOLUTELY SHOULD!  Why?  Same reason they’re included in the Grammys.  They’re MUSICAL endeavors.  

    Lounder Than Love just came out THIS year, didn’t it?  That would make the score/soundtrack eligible for NEXT year’s awards.  That leads me to another beef I have with the process of the DMAs.

    People are nominated on popularity a LOT.  Now, I’m with Brett that I’m a BIG fan of a lot of the people who were nominated and won, so I’m not saying they aren’t theoretically worthy.  But the way the Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and the like work is that your contributions of a GIVEN YEAR are judged upon by professional peers with credentials and the membership of an organization.  I joined the DMAs membership years ago, and was told I’d have to pay a one-time fee of $10 that was never charged to me.  That was it.  Oh – and I had to CLAIM I was somehow related to the music industry.  I could have said anything.  There’s no oversight, or at least there is no impression of oversight whether it’s there or not.  I think that’s malarkey!!  I’ve earned a place in the music community by working hard on my craft, performing, arranging, doing time in the trenches, etc.  There are industry professionals here that deserve to be members… and there are a lot of people who aren’t terribly savvy or deserving of a place in these same ranks.  Yet, they vote in the DMAs.

    With the Oscars, you have to be a member of the Screen Actors Guild.  In order to become a member of the screen actors guild, you cannot simply claim to be an actor or every server in LA would be a member.  You must achieve specific, legitimate level of success within the field to be considered.  Now the form of that achievement can take many different forms, but it’s there.  THEN you have to pay a prohibitively high stipend to be a member.  That is partly to get rid of those who aren’t serious.   So even if you’ve somehow weaseled your way through the system of proved achievement, you at least have to cough up enough money to prove you’re serious nonetheless.  Those who know me know I’m an outspoken advocate that “Musician” is a titled that should be earned just like “Doctor” or “Professor” or “Lawyer.”  Having a sharp knife and not being disturbed by blood doesn’t make you a surgeon.

    Now, SAG is a union.  I’m not necessarily saying that the DMA committee should become a union and do everything SAG does, but I DO think the system to be a member who votes on the qualifications of the nominated works is good.  I’d endorse, and I’d pay to be a member.  THEN I believe the voting structure would have legitimacy, and guitarists with several music students wouldn’t get their entire student base to sign up and vote for them.  (I’ve heard rumors of this EXACT thing happening)  Maybe both the world and those going to the affair would take it more seriously at that point.  And I want the DMAs to be serious.

    Before the members vote, a panel has reviewed works that have been submitted for consideration.  So we have people who are elected to those positions, not people who who claim to be in charge and help pay for it, therefore they simply are in charge.  They should have to win the position from the membership just like winners of the awards.  

    I would also agree that there should be a Punk category, and Rockabilly, and a bunch of others.  My Irish band, Brothers of the Sea, competes for votes against Ska and Reggae acts because we’re all “World” music, along with Musique Noire (acoustic world jazz fusion).  Rio and the Rockabilly Revival is in the same category as the Brothers Groove.  What?  It just doesn’t makes sense, and it ends up excluding those sub-genres that are totally legitimate and making HUGE advances to the overall body of music in the world.  The bands touring on Metal Blade mentioned above should have some sort of presence, right?  

    Although I know and respect lots of cats who won awards and totally deserved them (Damon Warmack, Gabe Gonzales, Striho, many others), I agree it’s too much of the same over and over.  And far too many people get awards in a field without a specific piece of work or set of work being judged upon… that means they won on popularity.  Although I may love the act, that does NOT mean they should win an award because they’re simply good players or something.  There needs to be specific criteria….

    Okay… Stepping off my soap box.  I have not seen hardly anyone who won an award this year that I don’t agree with them winning at least in theory. (Although I’m not sure what work[s] were considered in their award win.)   Congratulations to all of my very deserving peers!  Good job!!

    -Seán Eric Harris

  • Dkhairgrrl72

    Missing out on Battlecross is a huge miss for the DMA’s. They’ve just landed some pretty huge tours and from what I understand, some big announcements are to come. They have a growing fanbase here and in Europe and have the #1 single on specialty metal radio shows AND on Sirius XM Liquid Metal across North America. They are in European and American Metal industry newsites, magazines, etc and to not include them is a big miss for getting some publicity and attention to the DMAs.  Their label  (Metal Blade) is the biggest name in metal and the attention and press that the label would give to this would be enormous.  Missing out on the Black Dahlia Murder is a big mistake too, they’re world famous.

  • Brett

     Really? You were told that? That makes me sick in my mouth. Unforgivable.

  • Brett

     I agree with all of this Sean, apart from the bit about earning the title “musician” being the same as “lawyer”, etc. Those are professions with hard and fast skill sets. Music is subjective, and the only thing in my book that somebody needs to be called a musician is the ability to make music. Anybody wants to tell me Iggy Pop isn’t as good a singer as an opera dude, I’ll disagree wholeheartedly. It’s not about skills that are earned, or at least its not for me. It’s about passion. Hence garage rock. But yeah, I agree with the rest. There has to be something done differently.

  • RioScafone

    Yes, thats what I was told.  Such a shame.  So much history there you know?  

  • Seán Eric Harris

    I still think it’s something that should be earned.  I do agree that there are a lot of paths to being a “musician.”  Diz couldn’t even READ music when he and Bird were changing the entire face of Jazz forever.  But he could play.  My definition isn’t based on collegiate credential.  I went to school for music, but I don’t have a degree.  I do think you should be moderately proficient on your instrument, have a basic understanding of music theory, and moderate ability to improvise on chosen instrument.  If Iggy Pop can’t do that, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like what he does, just that he shouldn’t necessarily wear the title.  Now someone like Iggy Pop has a track record and clear path of legitimate credential in the world stage, so that would transcend musical education, or perhaps is a different kind of musical education.  I can totally endorse that. 

    Now that Passion you speak of, that’s the difference between an innovator, and one who inspires and connects with an audience and someone who happens to be a good musician.  I hope to emulate both, personally, but everyone has a different path in this matter, and all of them can be legitimate. 

    But for the subject at hand, the DMA voters, there should still be some sort of criteria and recognition.  hopefully those who in this new structure I’m suggesting would take what you’re talking about into consideration at the same time as musical “expertise.”

  • Jamato3836

    I love to see this dialog!  I have a few gripes too… for example – shouldn’t the nominees – especially in recording categories – be working a CURRENT record (released within the year).  Nominees (& Winners) Jill Jack, Billy Brandt & Carolyn have not released records in at least 2 years.    Yet, Stewart Franke releases a beautiful work this year with the city’s best players AND even has BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN on a track – and gets 1 nomination.  HUH?
    We made a low budget, Hi-Def music video for my client Dave Edwards that – in ADDITION to the internet – has aired all over the country on local music shows, national TV networks and all sorts of life style closed circuit platforms – from night clubs to the entire Wendy’s fast food chain to Harley Davidson stores.  Yet, we were not even nominated for Best Low Budget Music Video…  As a music video promotion professional who has been in this business for over 20 years – I DO feel slighted.  Dave doesn’t – he makes fun at both of us.  But – it does make you wonder what the criteria for a nomination is.

  • Jennifer

    Everyone is so opinionated!   The same conversation will happen next year!  I think whats most interesting over anything is that the best of Detroit party was the same night.  Complete disconnect in the entertainment scene.

    DMA’s and the local scene are like a cheerleading squad in HS.  People try out. They think it would be the coolest to be one of those girls.  Some girls get cut for no apparent reason; politics.  Half of those will decide the cheerleaders are the nastiest bunch of no-talent bitches ever and you couldnt pay them to associate….and they will cry about it….  until next year, and they will try-out again.

    Some will create their own click, and be happy not paying any attention to the cheerleaders.

    And some of us ugly ducklings will just keep our heads in the books and heed our mother’s words ….that one day, all those girls with the bouncy boobs and boyfriends will be fatter than hell, and you will still be skinny…

  • Matt Jones

    Would it be possible for me to somehow win every award next year? 

  • Dylan Dunbar

    MOON PIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guest

    As someone who is asked to nominate and participate in voting (but never does) I can say that the author is both right and wrong.

    He’s right because the awards are underwhelming and frankly, no one cares.

    He’s wrong because it’s not necessarily the organizer’s fault that the same folks win, and it’s certainly not politics.

    The problem is, that … well… no one cares. The way nomination and voting works, the folks who CARE about getting a DMA, generally do… and those who don’t, generally don’t.

    So there’s your circular logic. If people don’t care about the DMAs, then the DMAs don’t work…. but if the DMAs don’t work… then people don’t care about them.

  • Guest

    Though I have heard that Jill Jack is a nice person, her continuous stream of wins show how out of touch these awards are, at least with the singer-songwriter scene. There should be an academy of sorts…folks in the know that vote and that’s that. These awards are not taken seriously by any serious artist in town for obvious reasons.

  • Heather G76

    Most of the complaints I’ve heard have been from people who didn’t win or make it onto the final ballot, or in one very vocal case, a person who was totally peeved that his girlfriend wasn’t nominated. (Way to make yourself look like a spoiled child, btw) And you may say ‘no disrespect to the winners’, but calling the DMA’s a joke IS a little disrespectful to those who did win because you are in fact devaluing the award with your comments and petty bs, basically writing it off and saying they don’t amount to anything. I know several people who won for their first time this year, and these people TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY DESERVED the award they got  …. so I’m guessing some of you are making a blanket statement, perhaps without realizing it.

  • Guest

    I vote every year, but submitted completely random votes this year in protest, mainly since I didn’t know who ANY  of the nominees are, and I work in the national music industry as a full time career. I’m also a voting member of the Recording Academy and lets just say that the DMAs could learn a bunch from them.

  • Jennifer

     lol how did i know you would rear your handsome head?

  • Sulsbury

    i’m certain that being old and skinny will garner you a DMA.

  • Sulsbury

    i think it’s real cute the way everyone “really respects” the people who have been nominated and won over and over for the last umpteen years and the people who nominate them.   the people in my circles were using less carefully chosen words…

  • Dmattjones

    well heather- i guess one thing comes out of this- your friends who won this year…we can be sure that they will win for many years to come! whether they produce anything or not.

  • Seán Eric Harris

    … Not ANY of the nominees?  Not one?  I mean, are you from Detroit?

  • guest

    i also noticed that a lot of the musician who complain, when pressed, will name their friends as people who should have won…or they’ll throw in one random and two friends…just for street cred.

  • Mattzilla

    yes Matt …I agree along with Misty Lyn.

  • Jennifer

     i woulnt be offended by that statement.  The DMA’s should be respected enough as an organization to perk up the ears of national industry people…enough for them to want to take note of this “new” local talent. Like a showcase….But the person that made the comment doesn’t view the DMA’s that way. By overlooking fresh Detroit talent that is making headway nationwide, im sure that hurts credibility in their eyes.  Yet, if it were only to award heavy hitters, it’d be a super short show and you’d see the same half dozen people every year.  Its a local show.

  • Brett

     We’ll have to agree to disagree. If two kids decide to record a CD of feedback and they call it music, then they are musicians as far as I am concerned. They are just making a different type of art. But anyway…

  • t.h.e. modfather

     I must be
    getting old(er)… Today, I find myself
    musing about the day when promoters promoted, recording companies
    recorded and
    distributed, songwriters wrote, publishers published and all performers
    performed…..  .   I keep looking at these awards and while many
    talents are worthy it sort’ve has the vibe of “have a friend to nominate
    you and then harass all your social media friends to go register (That’s
    where the data miners capture per$onal info which they sell) and vote for you….I am
    old, busy surviving and perhaps dead wrong …I hope so…I do know that
    way before we had such things as the DMAs and social media  (The 50′s,
    60s, 70s and even early 80s) Detroit artists, drew audiences, broke y, got label support and some made it as credible stars…. I pledged my life to Rock n Roll in 1969 and I love it enough to trust my gut and resist the temptation to partake… I mean no offense to those who do…It’s a choice and not an easy one……

  • RioScafone

    Your post speaks volumes.  While I dig your passion – it loses it’s credibility when you take it off the DMAS and try and pit people against one another and try and take personal jabs at people.   Sounds like you are very invested in the DMAS running as they are.  Do you work for them? Are you a repeat winner who might not win if the nomination process is not based on your friends and family voting for you but instead has an outside, objective panel of industry professionals as judges?  Are you a groupie who thinks she needs to defend the system in order to look like a super fan?  Come on. 

    Crazy, I know, but adults can actually separate their feelings about the DMAS selection/nomination process and still have a respect and friendship with the musicians who are nominated. Thats called being a grown up.  Its pathetic to chalk up anyone who does not kneel at the temple of the DMAS as bitter because they didn’t win.   People can take issue with the way the DMAS are run because they have the right to their opinion and because it is a flawed system.  It’s common knowledge. So your defensive stance is interesting.  Did anyone insult you directly in any of these replies?   So why deflect the conversation about the changes that could be made to improve the DMAS by tossing out personal jabs?  I was nominated at the beginning in multiple categories for the DMAS for my band Rio & the Rockabilly Revival.  First thing I did was post on my FB wall that while I was flattered to be nominated that I didn’t have the time to campaign for votes.  I invited people to vote if they felt moved to but assured them I would not be blowing out their inboxes and walls with pleas to vote for me.  I was gigging back to back and in the studio, I didn’t have the time nor interest in spending precious time campaigning for votes.  It just was not priority to me.  If it were actually judged by proven names in the industry, I would be more interested.  But its not.  Its about getting as many friends and family and students to vote for you — yes, (gasp!)  they lie when filling out the “application” that says you must be an industry professional to vote – I mean come on, lets keep this in perspective.    Complaints about the DMAS come from from musicians as well as MANY people who don’t even play music but have been around long enough to see that the system is flawed in how the DMAS are run.  It could be bigger and better. The DMAS could have an International presence if it made some adjustments.  Change is not always a bad thing. 

  • Msmay

    Two questions:

    1. Who here is actually registered to vote for the DMA’s?
    2. Did you vote this year?

    Be honest now!

  • Enormous Balls

    I remember those days Modfather! and Jamato, I agree with you. The punchline to all this dialog? The Metro Times is
    the DMA’s in paper form. I long for the day when we a return to
    credible publications in this city. Instead of one filled with
    hypocritical banter  and “articles” based on the “buddy system”. But don’t take my word for it, it’s all there right up above this. In black and white. thank you assholes!  What a joke.  But I digress, even Rolling Stone magazine has no credibility anymore. It is all politics nothing more, nothing less. It’s just hard to take when the only so called “artists” getting props are all friends of whoever is writing the piece. Talk about the blind leading the blind…feedback is not art, it’s noise, your mind is so open your brain fell out son… “Hard-hitting journalism” Right…and the Pope is Jewish.

  • tt.h.e. modfather

    I feel sorry for the Metro TImes. I have one of the first issues which I treasure becasue it had a little review of a 45 record from a band I was in and it had a picture of us on the cover. Like many counterculture publications of the day, it touted art, music,film, fashions and the counter culture..It was an extension of what we called “underground newspapers’ back in the day. It was full of idealism and articles about justice, respect for each other and articles regarding esoteric matters were not uncommon. Most of the advertising back then  consisted of arts related material…Concerts, events and music stores were their means of advertising revenue.  Now I don’t even want to look at Metro TImes because it is primarily a medium for “Jerk your chain” strip clubs which degrade both the women who work there and the male patrons who attend…I’m not a prude but I find it sort’ve sad that things have changed and ideals sold out in the quest for profitability. I still believe in drugs, sex and rock and roll but the amount of “faux” sex that supports Metro Times just doesn’t do much for me these days……   I guess its time to move back to the family farm, eh ?

  • Enormous Balls

     You hit the nail right on the head Mod! Maybe we should start an Occupy The Metro Times movement, maybe THEN The Metro Times would not dismiss those of us that remember real journalism and aren’t afraid to talk about it.

  • Dmattjones

    What is wring with you?

  • Matt Jones

    What is wrong with you?

  • seanmooer

    Well, there’s a lot to be taken in here in this discussion but I have a few remarks. I don’t think that the DMA’s are perfect but I do appreciate them greatly… and no its not because we won. Its because its recognition from our peers. I happen to know that it isn’t as easy as some have suggested to qualify to vote on the final ballot. Some of the folks that verify the registrations know me and my band yet I had a hell of a time registering our newest guitarist because he wasn’t listed on our website at the time which surprised the crap out of me… I had no idea they actually went to websites to verify anyone. I’m sure people slip through the cracks but for the most part, they do a pretty good job of watching who is registered.

    Also, the time window for submissions were from Dec 1 2010 to Nov 30 2011. So anything happening after Nov 30 until the awards weren’t eligible… they will be eligible at next years awards.

    As for the “haven’t released anything but are still nominated” thing. The only awards that are affected by releasing music are the best recording/best album awards…. everything thing else is mostly based on the popularity of the bands and their performances.

    I too have a problem with the categories… there seems to be an over abundance of awards in some genres and not anywhere near that in others. And back “in the day” they had awards like “deserving wider recognition” which I think they should bring back.

    I openly protested some of their procedures a few years ago and it was published by the Metro Times and most of my complaints were fixed in the following years… so I know they listen and I know they are willing to fix things… so maybe instead f complaining amongst each other… maybe write the DMF and submit your ideas and complaints… it can’t hurt.

    I don’t like that CRUD wins in our category every year but you know what? They are friends of ours and they promote and have many fans and friends in the industry. I notice many who win are the ones I see out there every day promoting.

    I see people complaining about venues and getting paid but I also notice that those are the same people I don’t see promoting. Not saying you all don’t promote but getting your name out there is the key… not only for the awards but for the industry.

    Just my observations…. I think a lot of people who were nominated but didn’t win should have won.

    The number one thing we get from the DMA’s is not winning but being recognized by the industry. Being able to have a chance to mingle and network with local and national folks. Thats the benefit of the awards… not taking home a $50 trophy. 

  • CD

    Rockabilly/Americana shouldn’t be included, but Best Tribute Band, should?  Wow.  I am shocked as well.

  • JJ

    maybe more bands would would be able to promote and get recognition if the metro times would get out of their rutt and actually give other bands a chance. they hold the power on who gets to be seen and who does not but they have dropped the ball as well. they seem to flip back and forth between the same groups over and over again…how would the DMA’s even know who they are if they never get featured? I think they go hand in hand. as for comparing the DMA’s to the grammy’s, oscars or any other award institution is redundant. the Oscars lost credibilty the moment they awarded Jennifer Hudson an oscar for playing a singer, now if she would have had to step out of her element and play say a junkie, THEN that would make her a thespian. Regarding SAG, all one has to do is pay dues, to say that this gives you special “credibilty” is simply not true. It is merely a means of insuring residuals. I don’t think the answer lies in paying a price to participate. art is about the human experience ALL EXPERIENCES, not just of “those in the industry”. To imply that one requires special credentials or needs to be an industry person in order to be considered a legitimate artist is elitist in its conception. Example: there IS a musicians union in this town, it is called the Detroit Federation of Musicians and I have seen some of the musicians in this union perform and I must say they are not especially skilled. These are the musicians that are called on to back a big name performer if needed. There are a few of them that I have seen perform at an open jam at one of the local breweries, they normally do world music, funk and groove kind of stuff. but when I went to see a noted roots performer a few years back, they backed her, and TERRIBLY. They obviously were not familiar with the roots formula, were unable to improvise and it most definitely showed. Again, “membership” does not constitute ability or credentials.

  • seanmooer

    I can’t think of a time when we ever relied on the Metro Times for promotions… in fact only recently have we ever been mentioned in the Metro Times in the 17 years we’ve been in the local industry.

    Local media really hasn’t been very supportive of the local music scene but in these days and times… there are so many other outlets to promote yet… most bands don’t do it. With all the recourses out there, it amazes me that a lot of bands have NO internet presence. Not even on facebook. How can a band bitch about not getting recognized if they don’t even have a facebook page?

    Yeah it irritates me greatly when I look time and time again at the cover at Metro Times and have no idea who the band is they have featured. Never heard of them… never seen a show promoted by them yet here we are, been around since 1995, won 7 DMA’s and have played almost every venue that has come and gone but I don’t let that bother me. I don’t because we understand that the Metro Times is not the door to success… they are just one of many publications out there.
    The thing is, MT has to do what they have to do to stay in print…. most bands in Detroit aren’t going to do that for them on their name so MT has to follow the money…. at least thats how I understand it.

    I agree with Brett above… I swear every time I hear Jill Jacks name at the DMA’s, I feel like I’m gonna stroke out lol…. but I’m not gonna just complain… I’ll take note and possible send the DMF my ideas and hope they listen.  One thing they have done which is a step in the right direction is after 3 awards of the same category, bands are not eligible to with for a forth year. Its small but its a good thing.

    Besides all of that… I am still very appreciative of the DMA’s and the DMF for trying. There aren’t many cities that put on an awards show.
    I don’t think they are a joke but I don’t think they are the golden key to success either… just a night that recognizes local music… and they do the best they can.

  • JJ

    Seanmooer, the fact that you have been doing what you are doing for 17 years is a testament to how local artists are typically treated by our local media. don’t get me wrong MT DOES feature SOME local acts, but only the ones that are in the “club”. Obviously, you are not in the “club”. Congratulations on your success in spite of that. I agree with you about being appreciative of the DMA’s and what they are attempting to do, I just think that if our local media was more supportive of its artists and i mean ALL of them, then this would create an environment where artists from all walks can have a chance, not all them have disposal income to smooze and launch a major campaign yet I always understood “progressive” publications to be about lifting the under dog. what is so pregressive about being exclusive? is this not hypocritical? (btw I am referring to those artists that DO promote on other outlets, this is a given) the issue arises when artists  do that and still find themselves excluded. it is pretty bad when a local band can go on the road, and get featured in print elswhere yet not in their hometown? There is something seriously wrong about that. in the meantime, like you I will be throwing in my 2 cents to the DMA’s as well.

  • benzingabrett

    JJ – with my City Slang column and blog, I try desperately to cover as many different types of music as possible from all eras. I do as much delving as I have the time to do, but still, we have to hear about the band somehow. I’d love to hear about which genres, musicians, etc you think I should cover. I always take suggestions. Thanks for your input. It genuinely is appreciated.

  • JJ

    You may want to start with Seanmoor’s group. And in all honesty I think we both know that people reach out to you all the time. Perhaps you should start there. Furthermore you guys host the Blowout so how can you be at a loss for music to cover? no doubt you get 1000′s of entries for that I would imagine that is a pretty full window into what people are doing out there? Idk know what else to say, with all due respect it is really up to you to be more inclusive than you have been given your position.

  • Brett Callwood

     People do reach out to me all the time, and I cover most of them. As for the Blowout, that’s Christmas for me. I cover as much of it as I can. Of course, City Slang isn’t just about that. I make sure I cover jazz, classical, blues, punk, metal, indie, etc, etc. But good try, sir. Good try.

  • Greg Upshur

    UhhM YA,
    I have to say being new to the scene, and recently  observing the DMA’s on the net..there seemed to be a very small circle . I was surprised  by how little activity there is on their social internet sites. …..especially during off season.
    It was very difficult for anyone new to their site to get through the mismanaged maze they set up to cast a vote{ which I pointed out to them}…with no reply back.
    When searching for Award results for this year on their site..they were still not posted days after the event” Hello…should have been up simultaneously.
    Its’ cool that someone is trying to do something with” The Scene”, but not sure of their understanding.. or how current they are. I would suggest they hire a savvy internet researcher/marketer…along with a field talent agent .

    Nice job on article the Brett . Hope you won the” Entertainment Journalist Award”????

  • JJ

    I sense a bit of sarcasm in your tone, sorry, you asked for feedback and I gave it to you. Regarding the Blow Out I am confused because you claim it is Christmas for you but so many of those bands in the past few years have never been featured and they have gone on to either grow or accomplish some pretty exciting things. Here is a tip: Why don’t you focus on those bands that do not get selected to play the prime time Friday and Saturday night slots? Why is it that The Cobras always play on Saturday night at the Hall? Because they need the exposure? Truth is it is because, like other groups in this city, they are in the “club”.  To make matters worse, you have recently run some pieces that are glaring evidence that you knew nothing about the subject or genre you were writing about. It is your business to verify information before you print it. I have also noticed that  you have a love affair with the phrase “according to a document” fyi this does not excuse you from verifying any claims in said document. Failure to do so is lazy and has been instrumental in false reporting on your part.  Furthermore,  whoever writes the band bios for the Blowout should take time to learn about the bands they are describing. some of the bios I have read do not encourage me to go see that band but I have gone  anyway and have been glad that I did. So-much-so that I will purposely look for those luke warm bios as a way of selecting who I go see. That is NOT something you guys should be proud of. Do not think it goes unnoticed because there are many of us who remember when the Metro Times was actually a progressive publication and gave props to so many artists. How is it possible for a band to be around for 17 YEARS, win 6 or 7 DMA awards and never get featured in your blog or column? if you “so DESPARATELY try to cover” as much as you can? really?   It appears to many of us that someone has fallen asleep at the wheel. It is time for you to wake up and realize that you are part of the problem. You have 2 choices: be a man and own your part in this AND RIGHT IT or throw a tantrum like a spoiled little hipster, dismiss us all as “bitter”, and continue the MT charade.  We are all waiting and watching. Don’t ask for feedback  and then get your panties in a knot because someone is honest with you. Good Day.

  • Brett Callwood

     No sarcasm, we genuinely appreciate your feedback and you are of course entitled to your opinions. I just don’t agree with them. Around the Blowout, I wrote features on bands like Sex Police, the Read Spicolis and Destroy This Place. I’m happy that I delve into the underground. As for not knowing my subject matter, that’s laughable. Finally, there’s a difference between the features and the blogs. I feel that it’s acceptable to reference press releases on my blogs, because I’m just passing on news. I go in depth with the features. But again, thank you. I’m always looking to improve, but I’m happy that I’m doing the right things. Any genuine tips, put forward in a friendly manner, will always be accepted. Oh, and I agree that Sean’s band Cybertrybe should get coverage. I’m on that.

  • Brett Callwood

     Thanks Greg.

  • MT SUX!!!!




  • Jmoran

    passing on “news” more like passing on BS…you lazy
    mo-fucka! “i want your feedback” but if one  nails your ass it is “laughable”??? seriously???? We are MANY, and it is YOU who have a problem! Brett U.R.A. MORON!!!  exactly how  BIG is that bubble of self-rightousness you got goin’ on?  if you were a Drag Queen we would name you “Queen of De-Nile” you a FOOL Nigga…good thing you’re finally gettin on the Cybertrybe bandwagon! Way to keep it real,mod and current…it only took 17 YEARS and JJ’s prodding….be PROUD OF YOURSELF…you got it goin on! lol…i laugh because THAT is truly LAUGHABLE…getover yourself….

  • benzingabrett

    Thank you for your feedback, Mr. Sux.