Does Liz Armstrong only write profiles of bands that claim to engage in acts of violence against women? The two articles I’ve seen by her were about bands that supposedly like to body slam dudes onto unsuspecting chicks or punch Kathleen Hanna in the face for fun. I guess wearing stupid fucking costumes and playing confrontational antimusic just doesn’t seem dangerous by itself anymore; time to up the ante.

The punching Kathleen Hanna story in last week’s Post No Bills [August 15] is probably just a jokey reference to Courtney Love, but cultivating that kind of mystique around a band is pretty pathetic anyway. I’d say Armstrong’s writing marks a new low for the Reader’s god-awful music section, beating out previous lows like:

–Bill Wyman making up some of his “100 Greatest Moments in Rock History” (i.e., Mick Jones’s guitar solo on Elvis Costello’s “Tiny Steps”–which has no guitar solo and no Mick Jones).

–Peter Margasak declaring that the closing Lounge Ax was obsolete anyway and wouldn’t be missed.

–Peter Margasak using his column for non sequitur put-downs of local artists with zero PR/hipster clout (Diane Izzo and Braid being the most gratuitous).

–Peter Margasak rushing to be the first on his block to use terms like “electronica” and “rock en espanol” only to deride these terms as marketing catchphrases a month later.

–Peter Margasak baiting Hello Dave’s fans by calling the band “unoriginal,” as if he didn’t know that bars and street fairs commonly distinguish between “cover bands” and “original bands.” Not to mention acting like hip street-fair bands like Spoon, Eleventh Dream Day, Calexico, and Archer Prewitt are somehow “original.” (Because they usually play the Abbey Pub instead of the Cubby Bear? Because their obvious influences are inoffensive to the urban hipster demographic?)

–Peter Margasak still having a fucking column.

Anyway, I hope that Peter Margasak gets back from vacation soon so Liz Armstrong can go back to writing mercifully short electroclash/noise/high fashion/antifashion Critic’s Choices that we can set our watches to.

Mike Sturgess


Liz Armstrong replies:

Andy Ortmann says he really punched Kathleen Hanna, at a show in Columbia, Missouri, in 1993; Hanna declined to comment.

Bill Wyman replies:

The Mick Jones guitar solo was on Elvis Costello’s “Big Tears,” not “Tiny Steps.” I got the two songs mixed up because they were both early Costello nonalbum B sides.