It is a shame that this city’s largest newspapers devote most of their music columns to music created elsewhere. This, at a time when Chicago is gaining recognition as a hot music scene, is even more troubling.
Following Chicago music for the last 15 years, I have noticed a strange inferiority complex. This does not originate from musicians, but from the local music press. Chicago’s music press will not give coverage to local talent until they break on a national level.
Are these writers too worried that Jan Weener (excuse me, Wenner) will think they are unhip? Bill Wyman of the Reader, Mark Caro and Greg Kot of the Tribune are only a few of those guilty of this journalistic snobbery. Despite what these writers think, there is a lot of music talent in the Chicago area besides Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill, and Liz Phair. And let’s be fair about Phair. A guest shot on Good Morning America doesn’t come without the access to network producers a big-time publicist affords.
A lot of very influential bands (Shoes, Naked Raygun, Big Black) have been unjustifiably ignored by the local media. Even now, artists like the Slugs, Rustbucket, Brainkiss, or the new Shoes record have been ignored by our music editors.
When I travel to other cities, I depend on local papers to find out what is going on in town and what are the top local bands. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone will learn much about any Chicago scene by reading the Trib or the Reader’s Hitsville column.