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By Johnny Angel

Making sense out of the gobbledygook pumped out by those major-record label-PR idiots

Press-Speak: "They're one of the hottest new alternative rock acts in the scene today."

Translation: We just spent a fortune on these bozos after a frenzied bidding war and we pray we aren't wrong as usual.

Press-Speak: "Blistering guitars and angst-riddled, deeply poetic vocals from the band's striking singer."

Translation: They're metal. They've been assiduously aping every goateed moron rocker on MTV for six months now and finally have the shtick down. The singer's a babe who mouths arty, patricidal, knee-jerk, clichéd, antisocial shibboleths and other assorted gibberish.

Press-Speak: "Look for them on tour with (insert arena act's name here) this summer as they begin their assault on America."

Translation: They have a powerful agent. They're third on the bill. No one knew who they were until the record company basically bought them onto playlists. According to Soundscan, they haven't sold 2,000 discs yet.

Press-Speak: "They're Everykid."

Translation: White.

Press-Speak:"Fresh new faces."

Translation: For the last six years, one configuration or another of these sad sacks has been pounding on our door, changing line-ups, image and repertoire every six months. At first, they were Guns N' Roses clones. Then Alice In Chains. Then Green Day. Now they're Bush. They're right on schedule, derivative-wise, as far as we in the manufacture-of-rock-bands business go. That, or they finally managed to afford a really expensive entertainment attorney that we couldn't ignore.

Press-speak: "They're untamable rebels revitalizing rock music."

Translation: Tattoos, piercings and Manic Panic crazy color in every frame of their $200,000 video.

These are actually blurbs from a new hard-rock band's bio/press-release. The press-speak part, that is. I tell you, after five years in LA (where I helped compose some of this horseshit for Sony, Elektra and others, mea culpa), I could spot the sheer silliness inherent in these propaganda-burgers after half a sentence. Be thankful that all you, the consumer, have to occasionally endure is the wretched product itself. Imagine the same retread, tired flim-flam with a goddamn manifesto attached to it, and see if you don't wanna blow up your disc player. I feel like that every day.

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From the June 20-26, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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