Bratty Pack?

Re: “Through Paying Dues: Now that their second album is out, Smith Westerns can’t get to the payoff fast enough,” by Jessica Hopper, February 24

The Chicago music scene is a bit upside down when it comes to talented bands like this not getting the recognition they deserve but typically Chicago hometown bands have to move away to be appreciated. —tattooedAxe

In the years I’ve been reading the Reader, I’ve never been so outraged by an article. I am not at all criticizing Jessica Hopper’s part, she did her job as a reporter/journalist and I respect that.

Bands who have been playing their music years before these kids were born are still “paying their dues,” and it’s insulting that they think they’re owed something for the handful of years they’ve been playing.

And way to go Smith Westerns for pointing out how much you all want to make money out of something that is supposed to be an art. After the bad press from the Tribune article, you’d think they’d want to make some kind of amends with audiences rather than saying such things as “I would like to upgrade our shitty equipment” or “If we were a bunch of ‘tards, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

And then they complain about an opening gig that they got paid for?

Smith Westerns, if you want people to stop criticizing you because of your age, then stop acting like a bunch of immature, ungrateful, adolescents.

My suggestion for a first step in the right direction? Learn how to make a coherent statement and stop unnecessarily using “like” in your sentences. —dyz

I think these guys were being earnest. I totally understand the message here. It’s VERY true that Chicago bands have to move out to get recognized. Chicago doesn’t appreciate and nurture its stars. And they do exist. I haven’t listened to this band at all, but I’ll speak from a personal point of view. You can be around for years, get a shit ton of local press, make big things happen (international festivals, etc), have a solid local fan base, and you still have to persistently ride Empty Bottle Pete Toalsen’s ass in e-mails just to get some first-of-three show at the Bottle that’s halfway decent. And walk out with $80 for your whole band, when you actually spent that much on posters, and contributed 50-80 people for the headliners. You feel ripped off and lose a little more faith each time. It sucks and it gets to you. As much as I love it, sometimes I hate this place and “serving” people with my performances, for real. Just get me some good shows, pay a fair rate, be professional. I’m totally behind these guys in their interview. It’s a lot easier to duck criticism by acting humble and being too cool for ambition. They’re ambitious, good for them. What the hell is wrong with that??? Don’t we want our local artists to get our city back in the spotlight? —don’t poop on their sincerity