The year, it seems, has started with a nice throwback to 1990. That year, Kenny Vasoli of the famed Starting Line from Philadelphia was a mere 6 years old, and a tantrum like the one he’s thrown would be more acceptable, perhaps even expected from him.

please don't be mean to me...or I'll call you a hipster.

Kenny responded to this review, which, admittedly, deserves to be derided. It’s wankery. No self-respecting journalist should put his name on such a badly-written piece. It’s a cry for attention..and one that seemed to reach the ears of the heroic, self-righteous Kenny.  However, what Kenny did was no better than what the journalist did. Take a gander:

Dear Philadelphia Weekly & Bill Chenevert,

I am Ken Vasoli, singer and bassist for The Starting Line. You know..the
“horseshit” band with an “insufferable brand of whine.” Thanks a million
for printing that article filled with those classic low-blows. Good move
too, you guys are giving Pitchfork a run for their money by cleverly cutting
down bands like us, its clearly the hip elitist thing to do. Congratulations
in advance for the increase in readership, as I’m sure will be the result of
bashing a popular philadelphia band.

What exactly was the point if the article? Was it to prevent people from
attending a show that’s already sold out, or perhaps to convince thousands
of Philadelphians that they have inferior taste in music? Regardless, I’m
happy to report that the two shows were both a fantastic success. I could
barely hear myself over crowds’ singing. These shows gave us in the band an
indescribable feeling of joy, one that I’m sure Mr. Chenevert will never
experience in his pathetic excuse for a career. I imagine the closest he
will come to such euphoria will be masturbating to a Deerhunter record while
reading the single comment left for his review bashing Coheed and Cambria.
I win.

Happy New Year.


KV

Everyone gets upset when they read a negative review. But what Ken did was deplorable, unacceptable for an artist who takes himself even remotely seriously. I can’t fault him for wanting to respond to this article, in all fairness. This article is trash. This article was clearly written, as said before, to get the attention of the fans of the Starting Line and make them angry. The author is a bad writer who deserved to be taken to task for his self-indulgence. HOWEVER–and this is indeed a big HOWEVER, big enough to warrant all capital letters–this is perhaps the last way to go about taking anyone to task. Kenny played all the classic cards–the hipster card, the “I’m better than you” card, the “BUT IT MEANS SOMETHING TO SOMEONE” card–and went the way of Bemis in “Admit It!!!” with divisive language that rather than addressing the shortcomings of a bad article simply does the same thing as playground name calling.

This is simply childish. Responding to someone’s opinion the way Kenny did is stupid. It’s self-aggrandizement as a response to self-aggrandizement, first of all, and has no place in critical discourse about music. Second–and this is the worst part–it’s hypocrisy. Kenny loves the good reviews of all the kids in the crowd at his shows, but when someone says “man, I don’t like the Starting Line,” he can’t handle it. He only wants edification, not actual critique. Had the article actually been of any repute, Kenny would still, I think, be mad, mostly because of his go-to “classic low blows” about Deerhunter and Pitchfork, which demonstrate a lack of respect for a music scene he may not necessarily be into (though, as Person L suggests, he at least WANTS in, so perhaps he’s angrier because he hasn’t been accepted into this indie scene…which also could explain the earlier-than-planned TSL reunion…hmmmmm….)

At any rate, Kenny’s response is the ultimate in hypocrisy. If he would rather operate on the same low level as this “reviewer” than actually be the better man, so be it. That’s just one less band I have to take seriously as artists among the rapidly-narrowing field of generic pop-punkers.

-David

Editor’s note:

I just want to highlight the fact that Ken referred to music journalism as a “pathetic excuse for a career.” The Decomposed Blog may just be a little wordpress weblog, and we’re not a blip on anyone’s radar at this point, but I still love what I do here. I’m sure David, Tim, Evan, and Max would agree with me when I say there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to write about something you love, which for all of us, is music. As David pointed out, it is utter hypocrisy for Ken to all-of-sudden thing music journalism is a such a terrible career choice now that some shitty writer made fun of him. He says that his problem with the review was that it was before the actual show. I ask you this, Ken; if the review had been overly positive, praising your show before it happened, while simultaneously making fun of hipsters for not enjoy your band, would you have responded to it? Would it have been a tragedy then? Clearly, you’re a very self-righteous individual, so please consider adding this gem to your sermon; if you do not want to be criticized, don’t bother attacking entire professions, genres, and scenes just for the sake of defending yourself.

-Dion