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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Music: The Tragedy of Music Snobs 

I've written about Cruiserweight on here before, and in the media blitz surrounding their Doghouse Records debut of Sweet Weaponry last month, the Austin Chronicle stood out as one of many fishwraps hailing what was generally a well-received album.

Not all of their readers agreed.


Dear Editor,

Alright, maybe I'm the cynic here, and after reading Christopher Gray's "Cruiserweight, Armed and Ready" article in last week's Chronicle [Music, Feb. 18], I am additionally yet unreasonably aware that I may in fact be the only person in Austin (despite Cruiserweight's singer, according to the article) with any sort of "grumbling" to publicly air about this band, as per Gray's assumption. Yet I feel as if I can't be the only one! After having a recent routine trip to Waterloo darkened by these local impresarios of modern mediocrity, I was suitably chagrined upon finding them featured prominently in last week's Chronicle, lending itself in part to my letter today. However, a point is needed: Here we have a band that fancies itself fashioned from such banal influences musically so as to completely retard itself from the outset, and then seek to transcend those influences to come into its own as, what? Plagiaristic of unoriginality, completely lacking in any sort of redeeming quality save the fact that it is, despite the band's assertations otherwise, part of a ridiculous musical trend that has come and will, hopefully sooner rather than later, be gone. These young locals, as with every bit of music they have constructed themselves after (the whole emo-pop-punk battalion of disaffected musical subnormals), need to hang up their gloves and get out of the ring. It's helpful here to remember why they put the Cruiserweights in their own division: They can't stand up to the heavyweights.

Reed Burnam
Mr. Burnham is certainly entitled to his opinion, and quite honestly, it's almost refreshing to read a letter in the ultra-liberal Chrinicle that doesn't find some petty Bush-assailling agenda. But come on... this is a classic example of musical snobbery run amok. You'll often find that in Austin, but it's rare to see the citizenry here eat its own.

I'm not sure what Mr. Burnham considers "original" or "redeeming quality," but suffice to say I won't lose any sleep over it when I pop in my Cruiserweight CD later today, just to spite his "chagrin." Cruiserweight is a hard-working band, and I've known them for a long time now. The guys and gal have spent five-plus years chasing a dream, busting their ass and sacrificing more than most of us in our lazy society would contemplate, in hopes of fulfilling it.

It's easy for people like Reed Burnham to sit on the sideline and ridicule bands like Cruiserweight. But it's usually the snobs that get their jollies from trying to tear others down that ironically have never even put themselves out there to receive the same criticism. I wonder if Mr. Burnham has traversed the country five or ten times over to try and get his music out there. Has he crammed into a van with three other people for weeks at a time, slept on stangers' floors and saved every last penny to print a few more CDs or t-shirts? And should such a personally tragic fate befall Mr. Burnham as the one Cruiserweight endured year before last -- when every last piece of equipment was heinously stolen from their van -- would he have the moxie to regroup and continue on?

I don't know about Reed Burnham, but my friends did exactly that, and their fans (and friends) are proud of them for it. He can continue to write scathing letters to a newspaper, while Cruiserweight travels from venue to venue, making crowds happy and sharing good music with the world. You just go ahead and live in your sad little world, Reed.


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