Bio-Hazard

To paraphrase Marcellus Wallace, band bios only hurt, they never help. At their best, they simply give you some decent reference points as to what the band may sound like. Even then, you basically get a list of revered bands that could release an album of lost D-sides that would be 100 times better than the latest disc by the band in question. At their worst, a bio makes you want to avoid anything to do with that band, forever and ever. Some examples of the latter are below, with a few extra notes. All relevant band names and album titles have been removed, to protect the guilty. (We're only pretty mean, not super mean.) Our question to readers is simple - which of these bands would you most like to listen to?

No. 1: Payback for all the times they've been shunned by family, friends and foe; electrified by heart and soul, [Band]'s latest release "[Title]" displays 'intestines in hand'. Written about trust, honesty, love and loss, recalling tragedy, and how to make the best of all of these situations, [Band] will take you on a journey from the concrete jungles of their past, to the heart of their future, with 12 blast you in the face tracks. "[Title]" will capture you in purest form, and force you to believe and understand this young band.
(Note: "Intestines in hand" and "blast you in the face" are not phrases I ever want to see, let alone in a band bio. Also, of course they've been shunned by foes. Isn't that what foes do?)

No. 2: A young, talented, and charismatic five-piece band from the Washington, DC area are dominating the mid-atlantic area music scene and are completely redefining the global image of rock music today. Much like Jimi Hendrix, Living Color, Sevendust and Hootie and the Blowfish (admit it, when you first heard their music, you thought Hootie was a white dude!) have all changed the face of rock -- and Eminem and The Beastie Boys have changed the face of rap - [Band] are opening people minds and broaden people's horizons with their driving, emotion-filled music in a unique, unprecedented package. In a changing new world where music seems to be erasing any existing racial boundaries, [Band] -- with several members who are American-born, but of Asian heritage -- are poised to further prove that music is, indeed, the one true universal language.
(Note: We'll ignore the run-on sentences because this isn't English class. We can't ignore the hyperbole, though. "Completely redefining the global image of rock music today," huh? You expect us to take that seriously? )

No. 3: With its lineup solidified in 2004, [Band] has ignited the Washington DC area with their crisp, pop-sensible anthems alongside a loyal following of music lovers young and young at heart. [Band] scored a hit with their first single [Song], as their fans chanted them straight to the stages of monster radio festivals such as the HFStival and Warped Tour. Their unmistakable charisma, catchy riffs, and sing-along melodies have propelled [Band] to the national spotlight with strong support from radio stations such as DC101, 98 Rock, XM Radio, and Baltimore's Legendary WHFS. The rest of 2007 has the band working closely with producer Tom Higgenson (Plain White T's) in the studio to record their highly-anticipated full-length, due out in 2008.
(Note: This one actually isn't too bad. But when the big closer is that the band is working with one of the guys responsible for "Hey There, Delilah," well, it's easy to lose interest. Fast.)

No. 4: [Band] has created a niche within the harder edges of radio rock. Formed in mid-2004 this quartet of musicians produces a sound that is distinctive and unique. Heavy, driving, and melodic you can't help but rock out. There are currently two 5 song albums available to the public. The newest EP titled "[Title]" shows a progression and refinement in technique and style that continues to develop as the band pushes forward. An ongoing partnership with Bud Light True Music, 180 Energy Drink and Real Clothing Company is furthering the expansion of [Band]'s influence and buzz. With a focus on outstanding live performance and outright entertainment, [Band] continues to grow rapidly in multiple Mid-Atlantic markets. Based in Fairfax Virginia, [Band] has quickly become one of the biggest names in the Washington DC Metro Area.
(Note: Clearly this is a band to check out because if both Bud Light True Music and 180 Energy Drink are in their corner, how can it possibly be bad? )

By David Malitz |  January 18, 2008; 10:04 AM ET Randomness
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"Baltimore's Legendary WHFS"

Hunh? I realize that these blurbs are written by press hack who probably wouldn't know the band from a hole in the wall, but they should at leat know that WHFS was WASHINGTON'S station for over 20 years before CBS Radio screwed the pooch and moved it to Baltimore for 18 months.

#3 sounds like it should be Good Charlotte, but they're older than 2004. Who the heck was on the stage at that weird HFStival at Merriweather back in 2006 who was local? Wikipedia's got nothing useful.

Posted by: EricS | January 18, 2008 10:37 AM

A deserving target, Malitz! Nicely done. You're right: They never help. Some of the press bios I've read for Established, Respected bands are only marginally better than these.

I'm going to go with Band No. 4. They had me at "distinctive and unique." And after all, I liked a lot of the stuff Bud Light and 180 Energy Drink were doing with Brian Eno in the 70s, even if they are just, like, beverages now. I hope that never happens to Radiohead.

Posted by: Klimek | January 18, 2008 10:39 AM

ohhhh...are these like the Blind Items you see in gossip pages? If so, let's start the guessing!

i'm going to say that one of them is Good Charlotte. Maybe they're Band #1?

# 2 - Lloyd Dobler Effect?

# 3 - Okay, maybe Good Charlotte is Band 3

# 4 - no idea

i'm probably wrong on all counts (except for Good Charlotte) but i'm guessing all these bands are medicore (like Good Charlotte). ;)

good thing Joel Madden has a new baby so he can pimp those first baby pics to US Weekly and make money off that cuz he's not making much with music anymore...

btw, this is the most i've ever thought about GC. Ever.

Weird....

Posted by: around | January 18, 2008 10:41 AM

If your intestines are in your hand, doesn't that mean that you're about to be up to your elbows in fecal matter? (Or at least one elbow?)

Also, this sentence crushed my mind with its utter meaninglessness:

"The newest EP titled '[Title]' shows a progression and refinement in technique and style that continues to develop as the band pushes forward."

I declare no winner because all these bios are awful. Of course, I'm currently sitting in a gray-walled cube listening to Georg Telemann's Recorder Suite in A Minor, so my vote means nothing.

Posted by: Lindemann | January 18, 2008 10:55 AM

I would want to listen to whichever band would capture me in purest form...so, band #1, obviously.

Posted by: shf | January 18, 2008 11:32 AM

I'll take the band behing bio#3. at least the bio can spell WHFS and knows that for some reason it is legendary. and heck, even the best of bands makes a big producer mistake at least once in their career, right?

Posted by: jsm | January 18, 2008 1:00 PM

Google is our friend:
1. Rude Buddha
2. The Speaks
3. Crash Boom Bang
4. Bob

Wow, I've actually heard of 1 & 4 - I wasn't expecting to know any of them.

Posted by: Hemisphire | January 18, 2008 2:53 PM

Hemisphire- way to introduce everyone to the magic of 'google.'

I've written (and been paid for) band bios and they're not easy to do. They've got to be brief, interesting, accurate and perhaps most importantly, cool. In an age of where you can find music samples with the click of a button band bios are virtually irrelevant. Nonetheless, everyone needs a little copy on their website, press kit, etc. . .

Posted by: robgoose | January 21, 2008 4:56 PM

Everyone needs a little copy? Really? DO they?

doubt it bout it

Posted by: Ian Spivokaye | January 25, 2008 1:14 PM

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