So The Sheepdogs made it to the cover of the Rolling Stone – too bad nobody warned us about what was to happen on the inside of the magazine, past the pretty picture on the front.
Within the span of a few incendiary paragraphs, Saskatoon is exposed as a cesspool of bad drugs, bad bars and a backwater attitude to boot – and none of this is helped by The ‘Dogs’ own words, which includes plenty of references to dopes-smoking-dopes.
Tellingly, many of us are shaking our fists in outrage that varies in intensity from well-manicured to buck-toothed.
But, before we take to the streets, there are a few hard lessons that should be taken from the Rolling Stone debacle.
1. Mainstream Rock Journalism is a Fool’s Game
Rolling Stone – at least at some point in its checkered history – was once a bastion of all things rock ‘n’ roll. That time has passed. We pick up the magazine to read about why we should love Bieber – the most un-rock phenomenon since The Spice Girls clawed their way to the big screen. Anyone in Saskatoon worried about what a dinosaur of a rag has to say about their city should probably save that anxiety for the next Riders game – Rolling Stone possesses the musical relevance of a 65-year-old CEO from Atlantic Records who has an opinion on what is ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ with the young folks these days.
2. Rock ‘n’ Roll is Fat and Ugly
Yeah, remember rock ‘n’ roll being a dangerous and tawdry thing, celebrated by those whose social statures were essentially on par with dirt? It seems like that stereotype is once again being celebrated. Sorry Saskatoon – the best rock songs have never come from clean livin’. Besides, taking the angle of being raised in a humble, squeaky-clean prairie town likely won’t sell a heck of a lot records either.
3. Don’t Shit Where You Eat
This one is for The Sheepdogs. Maybe it’s a lesson to learn early on that the press is a ‘salacious’ bunch. So it might be a good idea to watch what you say about your hometown – you are talented but you are new to what can be a very vicious game.
4. The Sad Truth
Yeah, that article might have been insensitive – and it definitely set off a few racist alarms as well. But to the credit of what was immortalized in ink, everything that was printed possesses a grain of truth. Yeah, Saskatoon’s skyline is a trifle ‘squat.’ And Broadway is pretty much the three-block line-up of venues as referenced by the author. So here is another mouthful of bitter truth for Saskatonians: every kid who has ever dreamed of wielding a guitar in front of thousands of adoring fans has set their sites on being Not Here. Sure, Saskatoon has more to offer than the ugliness that is the Colonial on a weekday, but not all of us regularly attend brunch at the Bessborough or are seasoned patrons of the Persephone Theatre.
5. The Sheepdogs Are Good But…
If your knowledge of local music ends with The Sheepdogs then we pity you. Saskatoon, and the rest of the province for that matter, has a huge swath of talent that goes far beyond what a manufactured publicity stunt from a shitty magazine will ever care about. For instance, did you know that Regina’s Library Voices just got signed to Dine Alone Records for a deal that covers the USA? And what about Saskatoon’s Untimely Demise getting signed to Sonic Unyon? We could go on, but you should probably look into this yourself…
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