...And F*ck You Too


  • Axl Rosenberg


Alright, so reader C.J. Altman follows Atreyu drummer/auto-tuner Brandon Saller on Twitter I guess. And C.J. tipped us off that Saller tweeted about God Save RockandRoll, a blog run by his wife, who is apparently named Ashley Jean and looks kinda like Saller if Saller looked like a dude. But I’m already getting off-topic.

So. Ashley Jean’s blog, God Save RockandRoll. It’s not just a blog – it’s a blog with a purpose, a theme, kinda like this one you’re reading right now. Here’s an excerpt from Ashley Jean’s first post, which is a de facto mission statement:

I am starting my first blog as a cry, a cry to society as a whole to understand that we have an endangered species.

For a minute I thought Ashley was going to endorse Ice Cube for president, but no – African-Americans are not the endangered species of which she speaks:

A slowly dying, beautiful, but at this time, weak light that seems to dim with each passing day. Friends, rock and roll is in a decline. With the listeners streaming, burning, you tubing, stealing and Pod-ripping we have contributed to the murder of an art form. With music stations turning away from what made them to the awful world of capitalism and reality TV. Do you know MTV had an entire day devoted to 16 and Pregnant?! I found myself disgusted to see that MUSIC TELEVISION played absolutely NO music during its prime time programing. Its a sad day.

Wow. MTV doesn’t play music anymore. Welcome to 1997, Ashley. You’re gonna love it here.

Anyways, Ashley continues:

I am a lover of music. I love all music, however Rock and roll pumps through my veins and it seems to be the most under appreciated sector in the industry.

So now she’s arguing that there’s an actual bias against rock music. That’s like when some shit head claims people are trying to kill Christmas by saying “Happy holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

She goes on:

If you haven’t made it then society is making it very difficult to. There are so many artists who’s music needs to be heard. There is another cultural movement sound checking in a basement somewhere. Or the next big thing is touring across the USA playing seedy venues because a record label wont put the money or time into allowing them to be played on your radio. Your ears will never hear them. We are standing in the face of the watered down, force-fed music that the industry can guarantee to make money off of or has already made money off of.

Is a woman who married a dude from Atreyu really bitching about “watered down, force-fed” music? Does anyone under the age of about 50 really ever write “rock and roll” (or “Rock and roll” or “RockandRoll,” as the case may be) instead of “rock n’ roll?” Am I really supposed to be taking this seriously?

I guess I am, because Ashley Jean’s next post, “God Save Rock and Roll around the world,” humorlessly reprints that phrase in seven different languages, like a Coke commercial in which we all hold hands and sing or whatever.

Except it doesn’t actually succeed in translating that phrase. I don’t speak six of the seven languages Ashley Jean chose, but I do know enough French to know that “Le rock and roll d’arrêt de dieu,” which is what she has up on her page, does not mean “God save rock and roll around the world.” It means “God stop the rock and roll.”

Allow me to type that again: Ashley Jean wanted to say “God save rock and roll,” and instead she said “God stop rock and roll.” Which is the exact opposite of the sentiment she was trying to express.

At this point we can logically conclude that Ashley Jean is not especially intelligent, or is, at the least, insanely lazy. She couldn’t even be bothered to take three seconds to look at Babel Fish and make sure her French was correct.

But wait! There’s more. Ashley Jean’s most recent post, published just this past Monday, is entitled “Restructure!”, and makes a bold proposal for how to stop save RockandRoll. Here’s a lengthy excerpt that is completely worth reading from start to finish:

Last night I was thinking of dialogue between a king and his son from the Lion King and one part reminded me of how important a balance is in order for something to survive. I looked the quotes up this morning and it goes like this:

Mufasa: Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.
Simba: But dad, don’t we eat the antelope?
Mufasa: Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why is Ashley quoting Lion King and what does it have to do with her blog” Being the avid Disney fan that I am I think of quotes and lyrics all the time. However, this scene imp articular reminded me of how the balance has shifted in the music business and why you are seeing such drastic changes in how everything is going. I have a theory and it calls for people to voice that there needs to be an evolution of the music industry as a whole. After everything has been evaluated then change can begin.

Okay. I don’t have a problem with The Lion King. And quoting a children’s movie might not be the worst way to make sure even the simplest of simpletons – say, your average Atreyu fan – understands your meaning. I mean, if she quoted Kierkegaard, I might have been a little surprised.

But what does the Circle of Life have to do with saving RockandRoll, Ashley Jean? Here is her “evaluation” of the current state of the music industry:

1- The Artist
*Records are not selling so comparing success on a system that is that same as 1985 to now is absurd. Just like the dollar isn’t the same today as it was in 1965, record sales are not the same as they were. And since records do not sale, labels are not handing out money to artists. Since there is no money being made there is no money being spent. The first person to suffer from this is the artists themselves. Of course there are exceptions (EX: Britney Spears, JayZ,etc) I am not speaking of these. I am talking about the majority not the exceptions. Since there isn’t a lot of label support due to lack of record sales bands are making their money through touring and merchandising (That is if they didn’t strike merch deals with outside companies) In order for a band to make living (because fans need to remember these people have families, they have homes, bills, responsibilities just like everyone else) the have to tour.That’s when ticket sales are important. If someone burns a CD (which is what starts the death in this “circle”) you have the art which most musicians are happy about, but if you don’t go to the show then artists cant tour and if they cant tour they cant live and if they cant survive so ends the cycle because the band breaks up. I hope this making sense.

It’s making sense insofar as you’re just repeating things that most people have been aware for the past ten years, but not so much in the Lion King metaphor sense. In Rockandroll’s Circle of Life, burning a CD is death? Does that mean that no one has died since 2004, roughly the last time I can remember burning a CD? And what does that make actual death in the circle?

But whatever. Ashley Jean continues:

2- The Industry (Labels, Media, Managers, Producers,etc.)
*As above mentioned ratio [Editor’s note – WHAT THE FUCK DOES “AS ABOVE MENTIONED RATIO” MEAN?!?!], labels are not giving budgets to artists like they used to. So there isn’t a lot of money being spent on recording, advertising, and radio play. Basically if you haven’t sold at least a gold record (the current standard is 500,000 units) the amount of money a label will spend on development and record push is minimal.
*Record Producers are still charging high$ to produce records that are not selling. They have yet to re-evaluate their standards just like everyone else. Again it isn’t 1985, no one going 10x Platinum anymore. Everyone must adjust.
*Magazines are running press on bands that have push behind them and if there is no money there is minimal push. Again I am not saying this is true across the board but as a whole this is the majority.Music television,as I have written before, is practically obsolete. So if you aren’t reading about a band in a magazine, hearing their song on the radio, or seeing them on TV how is the majority of people supposed to be exposed to the art? Again another step in the “circle”

Well, my friend Eyal has asserted that word of mouth from other fans is the best way to be exposed to art, and based on the list of hundreds of unsigned bands our readers have suggested that poor Eyal now actually has to listen to, it seems that the kids have no trouble finding art with which they connect.

Also, your husband is signed to a major record label, so bitching about a lack of money being spent to push the product is, y’know, silly. I saw so many fucking magazine ads for the last Atreyu album that I thought they were part of Mayor Bloomberg’s re-election campaign. If that band isn’t selling records or at least concert tickets and merch, it’s because they suck, not because they’re under-exposed.

So now Ashley Jean has spent a lot of time talking about the problem, but has yet to offer a solution. So here’s her solution. Ready?

3- The People
*Since records are not selling and the bands are touring to get their music heard it is up to the fans to support. Don’t just burn a CD and think that your voice doesn’t matter. Because you are the most important part of this circle of life. Without you to want the music those people gifted enough to bring it have no one to play for, no one to be there for. And without you showing support in buying a tshirt,writing a great online review to convince someone else to buy the record, taking friends to shows, spreading the word, spreading the art…. a band will not survive. Ticket prices are higher because more then just the band has their hand in the honeypot. As a fan, save yourself the service fees of buying a ticket online and go straight to the box office of your local venue. I know times are hard and there isn’t a lot of money to go around so saving anywhere is crucial. But please keep in mind it isn’t about the money for your beloved musicians. They WANT to bring you their art. They want you to hear their music no matter how you hear it. But the survival part comes from your support and sometimes that’s paying for something. Higher ticket prices, signing to a label, or getting a song played on the radio can be conceived as “SELLING OUT”. And as I have stated and I can not stress this enough, making money as minimal as it may be at this stage of the game, is a necessity to any job, any industry. So think twice the next time you say your favorite band has “SOLD OUT” think about the circle of life and all the obstacles they had to surpass to just to get to your ears.

Now, telling fans that there are ways to support their favorite artists without buying their CDs is nothing new. Once again, Eyal – whose band, I assure you, makes much less money than Atreyu does, despite being approximately ten-thousand times more talented – has stated how most metal bands would “rather sell shirts and hoodies” than CDs because “That’s where there’s actually profit.”

But – and here’s the part where I fully admit I may just be biased against a woman who lets a member of Atreyu put his penis inside of her – Ashley Jean’s pleas just seem.. cheap. Here’s why:

  • She named her blog “God Save RockandRoll,” as though to suggest there was something truly righteous about what she has to say. If God exists and he’s spending time thinking about RockandRoll instead of, say, Haiti, well, we’re all capital-“F” Fucked.
  • Unlike Eyal, who was just told you a fact, Ashley Jean explicitly instructs her readers to go buy merch.
  • Ashley Jean says “Since records are not selling and the bands are touring to get their music heard it is up to the fans to support,” which implies that the fans weren’t the ones supporting the artists back when records were still selling. Which is blatant hooey – the fans were the ones buying the records. Her argument seems designed to lay a guilt trip on the fans, which isn’t fair. As Eyal wrote, “it seems like metal fans are more into buying shirts [than CDs] anyways.” Which is to say that fans will buy merch for the simple reason that they’re fans and they want to. I may have illegally downloaded the last Magrudergrind album, but I legally purchased a hoodie from them a couple of weeks back, and I did so just because I like the band and wanted a hoodie. Fans don’t need to be told to buy merch, they just do.
  • She brings fan accusations of bands “selling out” into the equation, when selling-out has nothing to do with anything she’s talking about. This is kind of a fantastic Freudian slip; she’s really defending Atreyu, who get accused of selling-out on a near-hourly basis, bemoaning the band’s dwindling fan base, and justifying the more radio-friendly direction their music has taken since signing with Hollywood Records. She’s telling the readers “They have to be on the radio because they have to make money and if you call them sell-outs and don’t buy their merch you’re not supporting RockandRoll,” which is about as logical a statement as “If you don’t support the war than you don’t support the troops.” One really has nothing to do with the other.

So, ultimately, it seems like this blog amounts to little more than passing around the money plate. No wonder she brought God into the equation.

And finally, Ashley Jean: what the fucking fuck does this have to with the fucking circle of life? Maybe metaphors aren’t your thing, y’know?


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