Real fast, as I have to get back to work, but my band, Darth Vato, just received its first two pieces of hate mail, which I pasted below, followed by my response.
Dylan S., probably from Saddle Creek, NE writes:
you dudes totally look like a bunch of losers who listen to sugar ray, and
sublime. perhaps your name which abounds in originality was thought up listening to one of the afformentioned bands whilst smoking some form of illicit drug. i am sorry for not speaking
monosyllabically for you guys to understand, but i just thought i would say you suck...
i just downloaded one of your many songs, and realized you guys sound like 311, which is worse that i previously imagined. that skeleton with the sword is like a harbinger of death to you guys, seeing as how im going to steal the cutlass he is holding and cut off all of your fingers, so as to save the world from the hell that is darth vato. you guys would probably have been better in naming yourselves "going nowhere cause we are frathouse wankers". oh sorry for being a bit "rude", but bands like you give the world of music a bad name. just thought i would give you guys a word of encouragement by saying "quit now". by the way 311 sucks, but not as much as you guys. oh yeah you guys should return that year prescription of rohypnol you got from your buddy at the pharmacy, because dosing chicks at your venues is sooooo last year.
Oh! Well allow me to retort!
Wow. You are the first person in three years to directly express antipathy for Darth Vato. We assume that people make fun of us behind our backs, but no one has ever made his or her loathing as explicit as you have. For your honest opinion, we thank you.
I do take issue with a few items in your emails, however. Though I applaud you for checking your spelling, grammar and punctuation (are you a journalism major, perhaps? Are you using your reporting class as a podium by which to disparage your town's music scene?), I am puzzled as to why, in your second email, you chose to enclose the word rude in quotation marks. Did you mean something other than the definition of rude that is commonly agreed upon by nearly everyone who competently understands the English language? Because otherwise, I can only assume that you were trying to emphasize your point that we are frathouse morons. I suppose you drove that point home sufficiently; in the event that you were trying to be funny, I am sorry to say you failed.
Furthermore, in the first email you accuse us of emulating Sublime and Sugar Ray and in the second, 311. I would like to clear up any misconceptions you might have about our musical tastes. Kerry (the bearded guy who plays guitar) and I (the sometimes-bearded guy who plays bass) both love Sublime. Though we both like many other types music (Kerry is really into jazz; I am all over the place), Sublime was common to both of us when we met in college, and our band largely sprang from jamming on Sublime songs (oops--sorry, jamming is a gerund probably too fratty and stupid to use with you). I will also begrudgingly cop to liking a couple Sugar Ray songs. For good or for ill, Mark McGrath (or whoever writes them) crafts sickeningly good hooks. That's partly why he doesn't have to have a day job beyond appearing on television and singing at state fairs. He is likely a millionaire, and if you are accusing me of aspiring to be one of those, I can only plead guilty. As for 311, our drummer likes 311, and we ridicule him mercilously and ceaselessly. We hate 311, despite what it says on our Myspace page. Bad Brains are awesome, however.
Finally, my last issue with your emails involves your contention that we give music a bad name. We have no pretensions about being a type of band different than the one we are, but I think you are thinking of The Bravery. The bass player should have stuck it out in whatever ska band he was in.
As for you as a person, we sincerely appreciate your honest feedback. It would have been better if you had articulated your enmity without using verbiage such as "abounds," because in total, your emails lead me to believe that you are, in fact, an eigth grader who has recently discovered what pressing the shift and F7 keys does on your keyboard (which opens Microsoft Word's thesaurus, in case you have no idea what I'm talking about). But really, I know you even less than you know me. I might, for example, guess that you are some burgeoning indie snob, who after purchasing Good News for People Who Love Bad News became a Modest Mouse authority, especially after you found out they made albums prior to getting Top 40 spins. If I were to make these types of assumptions, (which I'm not, of course), I might suggest that you take your devastatingly original, ironically-worn, size-too-small "Virginia is for lovers" t-shirt and use it for wadding when you cram that unopened Yo La Tengo album you bought two months ago up your ass. Or, I could assume that your email address pays homage to that underground hip-hop guy, which means you are light years beyond us in terms of indie cool and therefore intelligence and overall human merit. Either that, or you are a Dragonball fan, which confirms my suspicions about your being in eighth grade.
Anyway, thanks for the feedback. See you at the Warped Tour!
I'm not sure how to get rohypnol, but if I do, the first girl who is going to get it is your grandma, so I can take the ten dollars out of her purse she intends to put in your birthday card.