It was weird. I wrote about how this band, Autozamm, seemingly a band (with a shit name) that no one gave a fuck about. I wrote about how they’d been funded and funded, they’d score so much money from the Govt-purse and done 5/8s of fuckall with it, max. They were garbage. But they kept getting money. I wrote about this in a series of posts pointing out that NZ on Air often got it wrong. And there was no accountability. Fuck, the CEO of NZ on Air had no idea who James Reid was – I told her it should be her job to know who she’s giving $50k to. So, yeah, that’s sort of the background.
Then Autozamm wrote a song called “The Review” and it was about me. Apparently. I had never reviewed them – as such. I’d written a blog post about how they were basically rip-off merchants; milking it, having a laugh…
Maybe, the highest honour any music critic can receive is for an artist to write a song about them, mention them in a tune, reference them in a video.
So I guess I was supremely honoured find out that Autozamm’s song The Review, was inspired by me/directed at me. The video is gone now, they deleted it but the ideas was you were supposed to spot me in the video – or the version of me that the band knows – a fat man eating sweets battering away in the general direction of a laptop – then it was all made clear in this interview.
Yes, a fine piece of journalism that. Worthy of the band. And the cause.
So if you missed the bit where the band explained the concept behind the video there was at least this motivation: “We came under fire from one particular journalist and we decided to make an example of him on behalf of every other fuckking band in the country…”
It is then clarified which particular journalist the band means: “Yeah, Simon Sweetman, he basically has single handedly taken it upon himself to try and dismantle every commercial act in the country AND now he’s moved onto the comedy circuit which is good of him ya know…”
That would be the comedy reviews I’d been writing for about a decade now, almost as long as I’ve been doing music reviews. New to the members of Autozamm perhaps as it’s clear they work very hard on their music. I guess they must be friends with a Kiwi comic that suffered a “negative” review – actually the Kiwi Comedy Mafia banded together and had me ‘removed’ from reviewing them. They were sick of being told they were shit. Ticket sales were not enough for them. They had to have a positive post in print. That is the rules. Apparently. I never know the rules…
Anyway, the fire that Autozamm came under from me was when I first looked at The Joke That Is NZ On Air Funding. I pointed out the example – call it a crime even – that this band that so many people in the country had not heard of, or wished they hadn’t – has received close to quarter of a million dollars in funding. All because they had friends that would text the radio station and help get songs playlisted; because they played the funding game well above and beyond the real goal which, surely, is making decent/memorable music.
You might say good on them for being smart and making money. That’s one way to look at it. And they were making money – we, as taxpayers, were basically paying for this band to exist; to continue. Maybe you were happy with that. Maybe you were not. Maybe you never even knew.
Or you might get the feeling you’ve been cheated.
I never actually reviewed Autozamm – I avoided that particular occupational hazard. I was invited to join a panel review of the new single. But it was a bit hard to coordinate, I was on holiday at the time. But a bunch of other music scribes had a wee write-up about it.
I had no trouble with the song and video existing. Good on them I guess. Amazing to think that they took that time and effort to reply to a blog-post that took me about 25 minutes to write; all I did was go to the NZ On Air website and look up the facts – all the amounts of money offered to bands are listed. I just asked the question about Autozamm because it was astounding to me that so many bands and artists miss out on funding yet these guys have continued to get both hands in the pot and smear the honey doled out all down their faces. (It tastes like egg though when you recognise it’s smeared on your face too, right?)
I don’t know the members of the band – they were probably all decent folk, they might even have been great musicians and incredible songwriters (though they keept that pretty well hidden) but they felt the need to strike back. You would think they could handle a bit of ribbing for the quarter of a million bucks they’ve siphoned.
I don’t make anywhere near that kind of cash – and never will. And I get to cop all forms of abuse.
But I was just so very mean to these guys, apparently. You see I was fat, grumpy, fat, judgmental, fat, out of touch, fat, silly, fat, surly – and fat. What was I thinking when I was looking up statistics on websites and pointing out the obvious? How cruel of me. And to think Autozamm had been around for ten years at that point – and one person was so mean to them. That’s so unfair in the world and lifespan of a band.
The vid was viewed 1000 times or so and with only seven likes and 57 more dislikes. I thought: that’s 57 new songs that Autozamm is currently working on so quick, help, some more people need to like this song and video. Quickly!
I don’t think it was any sort of stretch to call that song the best thing Autozamm ever did.
I hope – since I like cruel ironies – that NZ On Air funded the video.
Well, whatever happened, it was pulled down pretty quick. The band seemed to fade away shortly after…
Postscript: There’s a great line on the band’s Wikipedia page: In 2010, amateur music blogger Simon Sweetman hit out at Autozamm in a blog post on NZ On Air music funding, describing the group “terrible” and saying “they certainly do little to reflect any distinctly New Zealand culture.” In response to this, Autozamm released the single “The Review” in 2012, which hit out at Sweetman and other critics…