open letter to Andre Torres

VitaminVitamin 631 Posts
edited May 2005 in Record Collecting
Mr. Torres, I just read the latest issue. I loved the two part bio on Jimmy McGriff. Pat Longo is a nice read. And the Phase 2 cover is classic. My only suggestion is to rein in those question and answer interviews. Take the piece on Horse Mouth. It's pretty clear that Carter Van Pelt can write, let him do a reported profile--with interviews with his contemporaries, family, friends. Was jack Ruby available? That would have been fascinating. Same goes for the bizarre interview with Jimmy Stewart from Gabor Szabo's group. It would have been better to let the writer explain why those four records are so hot and then put them into the perspective of what was coming out at the time. Instead of interviewing Beni B, maybe play five tunes for him and print what he has to say about them, like the old downbeat sound test segment. I love the magazine and have purchased, at full retail price, just about every issue. So I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who would like to see the endeavor succeed and counts himself as a supporter. But it's a little too fanzine right now. The Q and A format is hagiographical. I would love to read a wax po hit piece on some shady record dealer, or maybe something on the real story about Sonny Lester. I mean McGriff in the interviews is saying how shady he is, get someone to track down all his dirty dealings. Also it would be great to read a contrarian critic. Give me 1,500 words on why electric miles sucks, or someone who thinks Dennis Coffey is formulaic, or why the hysteria over Black Jazz records in the mid nineties was akin to the 17th century Dutch Tulip market. Looking forward to many more issues, Vitamin
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  Comments


  • johmbolayajohmbolaya 4,472 Posts
    "Now there's a challenge!"

  • Sun_FortuneSun_Fortune 1,374 Posts
    The Q and A format is hagiographica

    YESYESYES -- hagiographical, omigod.

    I've had the desire to write to them about twice in a similar vein. I think they do far to many puff pieces that go on for far too long. I mean, we dont need egon to simply transcirbe the entire interview he did. Much of it is extraneous.

    I think Wax Poetics is coming off as far to authoritarian -- and when it is virtually the only mag that does what it does, it makes folks like me a little bit cold to it.

    Your also right, I would like to see more Gonzo journalism. And more pieces about topics that are not just stories about old jazz guys. (How about the history of the echo in music??)

    I get the magazine almost every month as well, but I think that if its going to present itself as the legitimate voice for this illegitimate culture, then they need to stretch the format further than simply interviewing dudes and telling them what geniuses they are.

  • johmbolayajohmbolaya 4,472 Posts
    I've had the desire to write to them about twice in a similar vein. I think they do far to many puff pieces that go on for far too long. I mean, we dont need egon to simply transcirbe the entire interview he did. Much of it is extraneous.

    There are quite a few people on here who have written for them or continue to be with them, myself included (the debut issue).

    I stopped reading after issue #3 but a friend recently passed me a bunch of back issues that I missed, and I've bought the last three.

    Is it "authoritarian"? I think the magazine is in the position to be just that, and I would think a lot of people come to the magazine to know more about a record, a label, a producer, an artist, or a scene. It was being able to read a magazine in digest form, when you weren't able to read these views elsewhere. Or if you did read them, it was online.

    I always liked the writing in Big Daddy, at times it showed us in the U.S. some of the music we ignored and/or missed. It offered a perspective that no U.S. magazine had ever done. That's where Wax Poetics came in.

    If you're suggesting that they show different sides of things, and not just the good, maybe you're right, and maybe they should. It celebrates music, especially music, artists, bands, and songs that for the most part are dead to people, so to celebrate something and only to turn around and say something negative almost (read "almost") defeats the purpose. It's waxing poetic about the poetry of wax. However, I think the David Matthews interview was very informative. You always hear praise about JB, and sometimes rumors based on rumors based on rumors. I like how he said he didn't want to talk shit, but by darting around the issue and skimming on things, it was pretty obvious what he was trying to say.

    I remember the issue of Option with Shadow on it, which got into the history of sampling, and borrowing "found sound". That was very in-depth, because it not only got into recordings with "found sounds", but also live performance where the instruments were tape recordings or custom made records. Would someone like Pauline Oliveros be of interest to readers of Wax Poetics? I don't know, but I had to find out about her in Signal To Noise, which is where I heard about such people as Marina Rosenfeld, Jo??lle L??andre, and Jan Jelinek.

    Maybe by adding different things, it would also break down or just break the stereotypes that exist, yet still keep its core of being informative for the fan of soul, funk, and jazz fan, the elements of which started a great sample-based era in hip-hop, which still continues today.

    I don't know.

  • SwayzeSwayze 14,705 Posts
    I actually usually only read the Q and A stuff. I kinda don't like reading some author go on and on about whatever. I'd rather just hear what an artist says verbatim. In fact I usually just kinda skip the shit in between where the author talks about stuff and skip forward to the QA.

    Q and A will never die!

  • Sun_FortuneSun_Fortune 1,374 Posts
    It's waxing poetic about the poetry of wax

    Lots of good points, but I think where the mag fails is that it isn't very poetic -- I find it very literal. I mean, how about an article on sampling and synchronicity, or a feature where they trace the history of a single record back to its source??... That seems like waxing poetics. And yeah, i'd like to read about Pauline Oliveros -- if it's written well. I also think the writers need to take more chances with their prose.

    Man I must be losing my mind -- ragging on wax poetics at 130 in the morning...

  • BsidesBsides 4,244 Posts

    Mr. Torres,

    I just read the latest issue. I loved the two part bio on Jimmy McGriff. Pat Longo is a nice read. And the Phase 2 cover is classic. My only suggestion is to rein in those question and answer interviews. Take the piece on Horse Mouth. It's pretty clear that Carter Van Pelt can write, let him do a reported profile--with interviews with his contemporaries, family, friends. Was jack Ruby available? That would have been fascinating. Same goes for the bizarre interview with Jimmy Stewart from Gabor Szabo's group. It would have been better to let the writer explain why those four records are so hot and then put them into the perspective of what was coming out at the time. Instead of interviewing Beni B, maybe play five tunes for him and print what he has to say about them, like the old downbeat sound test segment.

    I love the magazine and have purchased, at full retail price, just about every issue. So I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who would like to see the endeavor succeed and counts himself as a supporter. But it's a little too fanzine right now. The Q and A format is hagiographical. I would love to read a wax po hit piece on some shady record dealer, or maybe something on the real story about Sonny Lester. I mean McGriff in the interviews is saying how shady he is, get someone to track down all his dirty dealings. Also it would be great to read a contrarian critic. Give me 1,500 words on why electric miles sucks, or someone who thinks Dennis Coffey is formulaic, or why the hysteria over Black Jazz records in the mid nineties was akin to the 17th century Dutch Tulip market.

    Looking forward to many more issues,

    Vitamin


    those are cool ideas. I think any editor worth his weight would certainly appreciate the suggestions and your patronage. You should probably write the magazine though instead of posting on an internet forum.....but most of the magazine is probably on here anyway. So carry on.


  • twoplytwoply 2,903 Posts
    "Now there's a challenge!"

    Off topic, but I just watched the entire series on DVD a few weeks ago. I'd forgotten how hilarious that show was.

  • SoulOnIceSoulOnIce 13,027 Posts



    "the world record for stuffing the most marshmallows up one nostril? Ah, Toxic O'Grady, USA, 364."[/b]

  • LamontLamont 1,086 Posts
    Mate, it's 604 & I didn't even have to look that up + he had the world's stickiest bogey.

  • PEKPEK 735 Posts


    Is it "authoritarian"? I think the magazine is in the position to be just that, and I would think a lot of people come to the magazine to know more about a record, a label, a producer, an artist, or a scene. It was being able to read a magazine in digest form, when you weren't able to read these views elsewhere. Or if you did read them, it was online.



    I always liked the writing in Big Daddy, at times it showed us in the U.S. some of the music we ignored and/or missed. It offered a perspective that no U.S. magazine had ever done. That's where Wax Poetics came in.




    JB - the primary difference w/ Big Daddy and Wax Po is that the people behind Wax Po really take to heart the phrase 'the JOURNAL' 'cause it comes off as a stiff read at times (and having read enough academic journals, especially in Biochemistry, it's not the most invigorating experience to delve into 'em) - you could pretty much ascribe a formatted pattern as to how a lot of articles (and many interviews) will unfold - there's not much surprise nor enough of a unique spin - don't get me wrong, it's informative, but a little dry... As for Big Daddy, you could pretty much deem them to be cut from the same cloth, but their enthusiasm always seemed to be more to the fore - the Paul C. piece (which didn't just gloss over the somewhat disputed accounts of his death/etc./wifey problems) is the example that readily springs to mind...



    As for the authoritarian tone, it veers close to aloof smugness whereas Big Daddy felt ('cause apparently it's on indefinite hiatus) like people of a similar interest eagerly sharing their anecdotes, stories, information...

  • djannadjanna 1,543 Posts
    I hear you Vitamin, but I agree with Dizzy that some articles work best as Q+A.

    and as far as Big Daddy goes, remember that Paul C article was originally written for 360HipHop, not Big Daddy and I think Wax Po would have ran it as well if given the chance. BG was cool, but it also lacked some quality control (ie British dudes arguing about why Jurassic 5 is not "down enough" or whatever for six pages an issue)

  • VitaminVitamin 631 Posts
    I'm not saying never run question and answers, I'm saying that it is obvious from the well crafted intros, that the contributors to wax poetics know how to write. So let them write and report. The model here would be Jeff Chang's new book. As someone sympathetic to the neoconservatives, I thought Chang's analysis of the roots of Bronx lawlesness or the CIA's interference in Jamaican sovereign affairs in the 1970s was wrong. But as a work of journalism it is frankly unsurpassed for the genre. Chang did so much field research for the book, it's worth reading it even if you are not going to agree with all of his conclusions. And his conclusions are well argued and clearly written.

    As for the point about wax poetics being authoritarian, that's exactly what a magazine should be. I want more opinion, criticism from the editors and writers, not less. And they should not care about offending me or for that matter sanitizing the text to address my sensibilities. I don't think it's a problem either that Egon writes for the mag and the mag occassionally reviews his projects. Egon, as O-dub wrote in an earlier post, is the only guy who has actually unearthed early connecticut hip hop. So it's interesting to see what he has to say. The only caveat should be that when wax poetics is going to write a review of one of those projects, they should commission the piece to someone who has no connection to stones throw or egon.

    And none of this means the q and a format should never be used. But to me, there were too many pieces in the latest issue that looked like the notes for what could be a great article. Post the interviews on line the way the new yorker does. But the finished product should be a narrative from the writer's perspective. I am sympathetic that the old jazz dudes who get pub in wax poetics deserve past due appreciation, but their contributions are better honored by well crafted essays, not an unfiltered interview.

    I write all this in an open forum because we at soul strut represent probably a majority of both the readers and contributors to the magazine. As many have pointed out, it's the only magazine that is doing this. So it's time to graduate wax poetics from being an archivist fanzine to a real journal that reports on the good, bad and ugly of the world of beat collecting. Some other recommendations. Get a real economist to explain how tastemakers on the internet effect the market for old records. Perhaps a story on the evolution of the GEMM standard for record condition. Maybe a piece on who actually purchases overpriced dollarbin commons at the ironically named house of rare records in the village. I would love to read an honest analysis of some of the big record shows. What dealers sling shoddy goods, what dealers have the best reputations, what is the scene really like. An essay from a big time collector like Anthony Pearson on his essential 100 records would be cool. In some cases, why not get the artists themselves to write about their music. Anyway, I write because I care and regularly read the mag.








  • faux_rillzfaux_rillz 14,343 Posts

    Mr. Torres,

    I just read the latest issue. I loved the two part bio on Jimmy McGriff. Pat Longo is a nice read. And the Phase 2 cover is classic. My only suggestion is to rein in those question and answer interviews. Take the piece on Horse Mouth. It's pretty clear that Carter Van Pelt can write, let him do a reported profile--with interviews with his contemporaries, family, friends. Was jack Ruby available? That would have been fascinating. Same goes for the bizarre interview with Jimmy Stewart from Gabor Szabo's group. It would have been better to let the writer explain why those four records are so hot and then put them into the perspective of what was coming out at the time. Instead of interviewing Beni B, maybe play five tunes for him and print what he has to say about them, like the old downbeat sound test segment.

    I love the magazine and have purchased, at full retail price, just about every issue. So I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who would like to see the endeavor succeed and counts himself as a supporter. But it's a little too fanzine right now. The Q and A format is hagiographical. I would love to read a wax po hit piece on some shady record dealer, or maybe something on the real story about Sonny Lester. I mean McGriff in the interviews is saying how shady he is, get someone to track down all his dirty dealings. Also it would be great to read a contrarian critic. Give me 1,500 words on why electric miles sucks, or someone who thinks Dennis Coffey is formulaic, or why the hysteria over Black Jazz records in the mid nineties was akin to the 17th century Dutch Tulip market.

    Looking forward to many more issues,

    Vitamin

    I disagree completely; the Q&A's are what makes the magazine worthwhile. I don't need Oliver, Egon or anybody else to tell me what makes a given album great; I can figure out what I think of the album for myself, and would much rather hear some of the people responsible for it speak on it in their own words. The older I get, the less interested I am in any kind of music writing other than first person stuff from artists.

  • Big_ChanBig_Chan 5,088 Posts
    Damn, Ya'll folls need to get off those quarterly academic music journals and read a real magazine...


  • faux_rillzfaux_rillz 14,343 Posts
    Damn, Ya'll folls need to get off those quarterly academic music journals and read a real magazine...


    And don't sleep on Don Diva.

    Every article starts out the exact same way: "Street sources confirm that [artist name] was getting money way before this rap sh!t..."

  • Big_ChanBig_Chan 5,088 Posts
    Damn, Ya'll folls need to get off those quarterly academic music journals and read a real magazine...


    And don't sleep on Don Diva.

    Every article starts out the exact same way: "Street sources confirm that [artist name] was getting money way before this rap sh!t..."

    Word Faux. I just finished a new resume/CV and it starts off "Street sources confirm that Big Chan was getting money way before this 9 to 5 sh!t.." You gotta let fools know who they are dealing with!

  • BamboucheBambouche 1,484 Posts
    I just finished a new resume/CV and it starts off "Street sources confirm that Big Chan was getting money way before this 9 to 5 sh!t.." You gotta let fools know who they are dealing with!

    EXPERIENCE[/b]
    [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored]
    REFERENCES[/b]
    Ray "Crazy Eyes" Broughton, RIP Larry "Straight Razor" Jackson, RIP Chuck "Bitchkiller" Morales (See you in 5 to 10, homie)
    EDUCATION[/b]
    California Youth Authority, 1990 - 1994 Folsom Correctional Facility, 1995 - 1998 1999 - Present, Gettin that street knowledge, kid.

  • Big_ChanBig_Chan 5,088 Posts
    I just finished a new resume/CV and it starts off "Street sources confirm that Big Chan was getting money way before this 9 to 5 sh!t.." You gotta let fools know who they are dealing with!

    EXPERIENCE[/b]
    [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored]
    REFERENCES[/b]
    Ray "Crazy Eyes" Broughton, RIP Larry "Straight Razor" Jackson, RIP Chuck "Bitchkiller" Morales (See you in 5 to 10, homie)
    EDUCATION[/b]
    California Youth Authority, 1990 - 1994 Folsom Correctional Facility, 1995 - 1998 1999 - Present, Gettin that street knowledge, kid.

    Perfect Bam! Let's post something like this on Monster and see if any companies show interest! LOL


  • faux_rillzfaux_rillz 14,343 Posts
    I just finished a new resume/CV and it starts off "Street sources confirm that Big Chan was getting money way before this 9 to 5 sh!t.." You gotta let fools know who they are dealing with!

    REFERENCES[/b]
    Ray "Crazy Eyes" Broughton, RIP Larry "Straight Razor" Jackson, RIP Chuck "Bitchkiller" Morales (See you in 5 to 10, homie)

    How does one insure that street sources keep it real with a prospective employer, and don't come with some ol' hatin' azz bullsh!t?

  • BamboucheBambouche 1,484 Posts
    I just finished a new resume/CV and it starts off "Street sources confirm that Big Chan was getting money way before this 9 to 5 sh!t.." You gotta let fools know who they are dealing with!

    REFERENCES[/b]
    Ray "Crazy Eyes" Broughton, RIP Larry "Straight Razor" Jackson, RIP Chuck "Bitchkiller" Morales (See you in 5 to 10, homie)

    How does one insure that street sources keep it real with a prospective employer, and don't come with some ol' hatin' azz bullsh!t?

    If you have to ask...

    Why you think Ray and Larry are 6 feet under, son?

  • AaronAaron 977 Posts
    Six feet deep in the creep
    Res' technique got a nigga locked down for a week*

    * 40 hours

  • DJ_EnkiDJ_Enki 6,471 Posts
    I don't think it's a problem either that Egon writes for the mag and the mag occassionally reviews his projects.

    Out of curiosity, what did you think of Egon's Q&A with Madlib and MF Doom-cum (pause)-extended Madvilliany advertisement? I dig Wax Poetics, but I think they went out of bounds with that one.

  • DenmarkVZDenmarkVZ 397 Posts
    the Q&A's are what makes the magazine worthwhile. I don't need Oliver, Egon or anybody else to tell me what makes a given album great; I can figure out what I think of the album for myself, and would much rather hear some of the people responsible for it speak on it in their own words. The older I get, the less interested I am in any kind of music writing other than first person stuff from artists.

    Cosign! Especially these "Hey look how BLANK I am and, by the way, this record..." kinda bitch ass "reviews."

    Also, Mr. Vit E, your critique might apply to recent journalism more broadly... especially the shit coming out of DC.

  • DubiousDubious 1,865 Posts

    Out of curiosity, what did you think of Egon's Q&A with Madlib and MF Doom-cum (pause)-extended Madvilliany advertisement? I dig Wax Poetics, but I think they went out of bounds with that one.

    i havent bought a single issue since that foolishness... im not paying $12 for glorified add peace.


  • Mike_BellMike_Bell 5,736 Posts
    Damn, Ya'll folls need to get off those quarterly academic music journals and read a real magazine...


    And don't sleep on Don Diva.

    Every article starts out the exact same way: "Street sources confirm that [artist name] was getting money way before this rap sh!t..."

    Word Faux. I just finished a new resume/CV and it starts off "Street sources confirm that Big Chan was getting money way before this 9 to 5 sh!t.." You gotta let fools know who they are dealing with!
    Nah fuck that son. It's all about FEDS!!! Seriously, Wax Poetics is some good shit.

  • Hotsauce84Hotsauce84 8,450 Posts
    I just finished a new resume/CV and it starts off "Street sources confirm that Big Chan was getting money way before this 9 to 5 sh!t.." You gotta let fools know who they are dealing with!

    EXPERIENCE[/b]
    [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored]
    REFERENCES[/b]
    Ray "Crazy Eyes" Broughton, RIP Larry "Straight Razor" Jackson, RIP Chuck "Bitchkiller" Morales (See you in 5 to 10, homie)
    EDUCATION[/b]
    California Youth Authority, 1990 - 1994 Folsom Correctional Facility, 1995 - 1998 1999 - Present, Gettin that street knowledge, kid.

    Perfect Bam! Let's post something like this on Monster and see if any companies show interest! LOL


    Some dude did just that a couple years back. Apparently, he had just finished up his bid and decided to straighten up his act. He posted resumes everywhere explaining exactly what he did, but worded it so that it fit into the corporate world. I read a couple articles on dude BITD. If I remember correctly, dude got a decent job as an analyst or something.

    On a related note, dude that that Tom Hanks/Leonardo Dicaprio movie "Catch Me If You Can" is based on now makes MAD CHEDDA, YO' working for the FBI and speaking to banks across the nation about various frauds and crimes. My manager attended a meeting he spoke at about a year before the movie came out.

    Herm

  • NiteKrawler45NiteKrawler45 1,062 Posts

    Out of curiosity, what did you think of Egon's Q&A with Madlib and MF Doom-cum (pause)-extended Madvilliany advertisement? I dig Wax Poetics, but I think they went out of bounds with that one.

    I agree, def questionable material. I felt myself slipping into minus 10 mode when reading it.

  • DenmarkVZDenmarkVZ 397 Posts

    Out of curiosity, what did you think of Egon's Q&A with Madlib and MF Doom-cum (pause)-extended Madvilliany advertisement? I dig Wax Poetics, but I think they went out of bounds with that one.

    I agree, def questionable material. I felt myself slipping into minus 10 mode when reading it.

    that was the last straw for me. then they edited mention of soul strut from the MM article. i have only disdain for that kiddie-ass dickzine.


  • faux_rillzfaux_rillz 14,343 Posts
    I don't think it's a problem either that Egon writes for the mag and the mag occassionally reviews his projects.

    Out of curiosity, what did you think of Egon's Q&A with Madlib and MF Doom-cum (pause)-extended Madvilliany advertisement? I dig Wax Poetics, but I think they went out of bounds with that one.

    I was embarassed to own a magazine that featured that terd of an interview.

  • BigNachoBigNacho 47 Posts
    i stopped reading after the third or fourth issue. bit too much of the cheerleading and/or masturbation vibe for me.
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