In the marketing world — in the world of those $600 cell phones you can text-message Bolivia on and offices that come complete with pingpong tables and fridges full of vitaminwater — people like to use the word “task” as a verb. Strictly speaking, it can be used as such. But until recently I had never heard constructions like this:
“Lemme task you with calling Jimmy Joe-Joe.”
“I've been tasked with getting Manfred's contact info.”
“I'm gonna task Bill with that.”
By “recently,” I mean the last five months, while we — me, my friend Logan (the event's go-to guy), our Street Team, and, finally, our marketing department, which is physically a hundred feet away from my office and figuratively a couple million — have all been planning the 2005 SF Weekly Music Awards. In a few moments, I will explain why these proceedings are going to so totally-super-absolutely rock. First, however, we must discuss something.
As you probably know, this summer SF Weekly closed a deal with Bill Graham Presents, the company that operates the Warfield and that is owned by Clear Channel Communications. This deal means that a) the Warfield is now called the SF Weekly Warfield, and b) this paper gets some additional ad revenue from one of its pre-existing clients. (Two weeks ago the owner of the theater, Warfield Theater LLC, sued BGP, its tenant, alleging the concert promoter had no right to rename the venue. BGP disagrees.) All this may or may not be interesting to you, but as some people and publications have decried the original transaction as a monumentally nefarious act that signals nothing less than the death of both quality journalism and Life As We Know It, I wanted to set the record straight. The SF Weekly Warfield deal is a familiar naming-rights arrangement made in the interests of promoting our paper (believe it or not, we wouldn't mind having more readers). Businesses make deals like this all the time (see SBC Park, etc.), because it is the nature of businesses to compete with one another. SF Weekly is not evil. Our high standards and sound values remain intact, our integrity as stalwart as ever. If you don't believe me, simply attend these awards, where I'm certain you'll ascertain our righteousness for yourself.
On to the show.
To begin, we have secured a trio of MCs who really need no introduction: legendary actor Robert Blake, trailblazing Wall of Sound producer Phil Spector, and football and movie star O.J. Simpson. Do I even need to point out the connection? That's right, each of these men is gifted with immense wit and charm. Some of you may object. Like the aforementioned decriers, you jump at the chance to proclaim just how empty the glass is. For you, I have but four words: innocent until proven guilty. And, what the hell, another six: The Naked Gun trilogy was awesome.
Moving right along: This year's list of performing bands may be the most superior and varied lineup to grace the awards since their inception. The members of headliners Velvet Revolver — Scott Weiland, Slash, Duff McKagen, and Matt Sorum — were down and out a little more than a year ago. Their credibility was questionable, their sobriety nonexistent, and their command of the English language rivaled only by Chewbacca's. But you can't keep a poor-to-middling band down. Egged on by greed, boredom, and morally bankrupt producers with the technical know-how to make a fart sound ready for the Top 40, Scott and the boys checked out of Betty Ford and into the second act of their careers. SF Weekly is pleased to have them.
Opening for VR is a performer whose skills have never been called into question, primarily because they've never been exhibited. Ashlee Simpson is perhaps best known to Americans as the world's greatest lip-syncer. “Lip syncing, an art form?” you ask. The answer: It is now. Here's yet another example of SF Weekly delivering the real news first. Along with competitive eating and tearful awards-acceptance speeches, lip syncing is becoming one of the 21st century's most cutting-edge entertainments, and Simpson is leading the charge.
Rounding out the bill is a handful of bands you've never heard of from Los Angeles that signed to a major label too early in their careers and now find themselves locked into multialbum deals, owing the label money they'll never recoup against advances paid to them for an album that was never released because it was determined by said label to be either too early or too late for whatever musical fad said band was trying to cash in on. Like sweatshop laborers, these bands work cheap and keep their mouths shut about questionable practices. They suit our needs perfectly.
And the pesky decriers are once again crying foul: “What about local music? I thought this was supposed to be about local music.” Indeed, once upon a time the SFWMAs were all about local music. But that was then. Today this paper is privy to a whole host of new resources. For instance, did you know that we're getting Ashlee free of charge in exchange for writing a glowing review of her new record? Clear Channel totally hooked us up with that one. And Velvet Revolver? We're paying them in uncut diamonds from our slave-run mine in Sierra Leone. What, we never told you about that?
So, as you can plainly see, SF Weekly remains and will continue to be a bellwether of moral clarity and plain old good taste. Hoo-rah.
Ha ha, very funny. Here are the facts: There is an absolute-fucking-ly huge party going down on Market Street this Thursday, Oct. 20, a party that has been in the planning stages for, as I mentioned, the better part of five months. Someone said, “Garrett, we've got a tidy sum to spend this year on the SFWMAs,” to which I was like, “OK.” Swipe. A bunch of that dough is going toward subsidizing the cost of tickets, meaning that instead of a $30 admission price, a lowball estimate of the average cost of a Warfield show, you'll pay $16 for what promises to be something special: a great night of local music and community, which happens to include a music video directed by this really sweet sky-diving senior citizen about a malfunctioning parachute.
In addition to the presence of two fountains that spurt chocolate, 27 nominated acts, and various bookers, club owners, radio DJs, and assorted hotshots on hand to present awards, there will be music. Blessed, wonderful music. They said, “Garrett, we need a few good bands,” and I was like, “Hell, yeah.” So I went out and handpicked my favorites. Please read all about them in the program you now hold in your hands. It's a diverse assortment, to be sure. Lord knows Fairfield's own you-can-find-me-in-the-club party rockers Federation are never going to share a stage with shimmering indie-pop heroes Rogue Wave ever again.
So please come. Come see the goodness for yourself. If you're a Parchman Farm fan, come and find out what Federation and “hyphy” are all about. If you like jazz, then you simply must check out Hieroglyphics; they play hip hop. Find me in the club and we'll have a drink together; I'll be the one in the tuxedo. Come and be a part of the biggest party thrown in honor of local music and its fans all year long. Come. I'm tasking you.
P.S. I almost forgot. Here's a little giveaway: The first five people to read this column and e-mail me at email@example.com will receive two complimentary tickets to the awards.