The 25 Most Important People in Metal: #8, Monica Seide-Evenson
As much as metal is a genre of music and a lifestyle, it is also a community. And like all communities, it has its leaders — men and women whose work, be it by design or circumstance, affects all lovers of extreme music on a regular basis.
Throughout November, MetalSucks will celebrate these industry leaders by counting down The 25 Most Important People in Metal one per day. To be clear, this is a list of the people we believe are most important to metal today, in 2016 — not necessarily the most important people overall in the entire history of the genre. Some of them are musicians. Many of them are not. Some of them are people you’ve heard of. Many of them work behind the scenes and do not routinely get to take a bow. But they all have one thing in common: more than just cogs in a machine, they are truly, undeniably irreplaceable.
One of the true joys of writing this series — as written above in the pre-amble accompanying each post — has been shining a light on some of the people who make the metal industry go behind the scenes, but rarely get to take a bow. Sure, this list has many musicians on it — especially in the coming top portion — but there are so many folks who do so much for the scene that rarely get a drop of credit.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Monica Seide-Evenson of Speakeasy PR, a woman so elusive that none of your MS editors have ever even met her in person. Despite the fact that her publicity roster includes some of the biggest names in the genre, she’s a testament to the fact that you don’t need to be hobnobbing it with the elite to make it, you just need to be really fucking good at your job, which anyone who’s ever worked with Monica on either the press or band side will tell you she most certainly is.
Monica’s success story is a true embodiment of the DIY ethos of metal we all hold so dear. Looking back at old emails from 2010 — the oldest I’ve kept — Monica’s roster of bands consisted of a few key acts with a whole lot of lesser-known, undeground types. That’s how you do it in metal: you grind it the fuck out, keep your head down, build contacts, prove your worth, and bit by bit you achieve success.
We’d call Monica’s current and recent roster of bands pretty darned successful: Red Fang, Maynard James Keenan, Periphery, Animals as Leaders, Melvins, Baroness, True Widow, Caspian… that’s just a sampling, and doesn’t even cover the work she does outside of metal.
Here’s the thing about being a publicist: your job, inherently, is to be annoying. Pester outlets to cover your bands, bother them again when they don’t, shake them when they promise to do something then flake out, and repeat. It’s a neverending cycle. While this complaint certainly warrants the tag “first world problems,” when your job is to read 200 press releases every day (plus all the stuff posted on websites and social networks), it takes a LOT to cut through, which isn’t lost on publicists, so it sucks when you feel shaken down and cajoled into covering something.
Only the very best publicists find a way to do their job without being annoying, and that is no easy task, but Monica’s managed to become a master at it, which is a huge part of her success. Most importantly, she knows when not to ask at all (“it can’t hurt to ask” is a falsity; sometimes it CAN hurt). When she does ask, it’s always appropriate, and with the utmost style and grace; it’s clear that she takes the time to regularly read all the outlets she’s pitching to get a feel for their tastes instead of just blindly looking for coverage wherever she can get it. As a result, when she asks we always pay attention. And bands (and their labels and managers) know that Monica has built this rapport with the press over the years, which is why they choose to hire her.
Monica Seide-Evenson’s work has little direct influence on your daily life as a metalhead, MetalSucks reader. But it has an absolute, quantifiable indirect impact on the bands you see, the music you hear and the press you read. Please give a hearty thanks to Monica even though you don’t know her, and likely never will.
THE LIST SO FAR
#25: Mark Riddick
#24: Robb Flynn
#23: Rob Scallon
#22: Kim Kelly
#20: Rob Halford
#19: Ash Avildsen
#18: Steve Joh
#17: Karim Peter
#16: Misha Mansoor
#15: Dan Rozenblum
#14: Joey Sturgis
#13: Randy Blythe
#12: Amy Sciarretto
#11: Dimebag Darrell
#10: Corey Taylor
#9: Jose Mangin