Volume 12, Issue 6 ~ February 5-11, 2004

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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at [email protected].

Refighting the Battle of the Bands

Editor’s note: Once more this year, music columnist Matthew Pugh’s review of the Battle of the Bands [Vol. XII, No. 5: Jan. 29] has brought us many letters, many soundly cudgeling Pugh. We’re devoting this week’s Letters to some of Pugh’s critics, with more to follow.

Dear Bay Weekly:
I have read Matt Pugh’s new column, and I must say, as I was last year, I am a bit puzzled as to why your publication deems it necessary to allow him to trash high school musicians.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that Mr. Pugh’s comments and reviews are unfounded. On the contrary, I find some of them to not only be relevant but even humorous. This was a welcome change from last year’s article, which was littered with personal attacks and arrogant drivel.

However, the true issue here is whether or not it is appropriate for Mr. Pugh to even be “reviewing” the performances of such young and inexperienced musicians. For many of these high schoolers, this is the first chance they get to expose their music to a large audience. Certainly, they don’t need a washed up lacrosse goalie telling them why their dreams will never be realities, do they? I’m sure that a struggling goalie wouldn’t get the same harsh treatment in the newspaper that some of these bands did.

I understand that Mr. Pugh is to review music on a monthly basis. I would suggest that perhaps he should stick to bands that are actually playing gigs full-time. These kids aren’t professionals, and should not be critiqued as such.

For a publication that claims in its mission to “focus on the good in society, and explore ways to improve our world,” this certainly seems like a giant step backwards. Truly, as long as Mr. Pugh puts down these aspiring kids, we are “at risk of taking on the characteristics of dark elements we see and hear.”

I do thank Bay Weekly for the publicity you graciously give to our show each year, and I don’t wish to come across as being ungrateful. However, I would rather see these kids be able to play in a constructive environment, rather than feeling like they’re under the microscope of an egomaniac who doesn’t have the musical credentials to back up his harsh opinions.

— Danny Mays: Marketing Manager,
Anne Arundel County High School Battle of the Bands

Dear Bay Weekly:
I find it disheartening that for the second year in a row, I open up the pages of Bay Weekly and see an attack on youth music. Many of these kids are in it to have fun and went out to enjoy themselves, as well as to showcase their songs to their peers, not to get ridiculed by you, the reporters. Teens, many of whom are nervous enough to perform in front of anyone, may get discouraged and quit music because of what you may have written about their performance. Criticism is one thing, but many of the comments you made were rude and uncalled for.

So, Mr. Pugh, I ask you, next time you plan on bashing teenagers attempting to have fun, go to a playground and insult kids trying to play basketball, ’cause your comments are not wanted among us at the Battle.

— Drew Novotny with Avenli, Bishop Spalding High School

Dear Bay Weekly:
Seriously man: You need to get over your let’s-bring-down-high-school -musicians-who-try-very-hard-everyday, self. If you knew the first thing about music, you would know that constant changes in temperature expand and change the size of the strings and the metal holding the strings in place, making it sometimes out of tune. About the guitars being over the brass: How do you blame that on us? Do you see a sound board up on stage that we can tweak every chance we get in our limited 15 minute set? I would like to see you do any of these things that these kids can do.

Why don’t you try saying something good about a band that didn’t get first through fourth place? So I’m gonna be just like you: You suck at writing articles for this great local newspaper.

— Drake Beckner: Westin, Southern High School

Dear Bay Weekly:
I was a viewer at the Battle of the Bands and your article was not accurate. This also happened last year when you attempt to make every band seem like they are horrible when in fact they are way better than anything you yourself can put out. My final comment is that your opinion really doesn’t matter to anybody who knows about music because if you knew enough and if you were a good reporter then you wouldn’t be with Bay Weekly.

— Mike Dwyer, [email protected]

Dear Bay Weekly:
How dare you call yourself a music critic. The entire article published was extremely rude and unnecessarily insulting towards high school kids who are just trying to have a little fun with their bands. Those kids had the guts to stand up on stage in front of the 750 of their peers and play their hearts out while you were hiding behind your pen and paper jotting down notes of every single slip-up.

— Cait Gillespie, [email protected]

Dear Bay Weekly:
I have been involved in the area teen music scene for the past four years. My son was in two local bands. I attended most of his shows, allowed practices to be held at our house and supported him in any way possible. I also got to know kids in other bands and also their fans. When Danny’s band, Item 16, played at the Battle of the Bands, I saw firsthand what a thrill it is for the bands. Imagine being able to play a wonderful place like Maryland Hall in front of a large group of people. That is something these kids will remember for a lifetime.

It’s not about the talent level of these kids, it’s about the fact that they’re out there doing something positive. Someday, Mr. Pugh, if you have children of your own, you will thank God that they make it through their teenage years staying on the right path. And I hope that whatever they’re involved in, they are not subjected to the negative attitude you have shown these kids.

—Nancy Mays, [email protected]

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Last updated February 5, 2004 @ 12:05am.