The highest honour any music critic can receive is for an artist to write a song about them, mention them in a tune, reference them in a video.
So I was supremely honoured to find out that Autozamm's new song, The Review, was inspired by me/directed at me. If you can't spot me in the video - or the version of me that the band knows - a fat man eating sweets battering away in the general direction of a laptop - then it was all made clear in this interview.
Yes, a fine piece of journalism that. Worthy of the band. And the cause.
So if you missed the bit where the band explained the concept behind the video there is at least this motivation: "We came under fire from one particular journalist and we decided to make an example of him on behalf of every other f**king band in the country..."
It is then clarified which particular journalist the band means: "Yeah, Simon Sweetman, he basically has singlehandedly taken it upon himself to try and dismantle every commercial act in the country AND now he's moved on to the comedy circuit which is good of him ya know..."
That would be the comedy reviews I've been writing for about a decade now, almost as long as I've been doing music reviews. New to the members of Autozamm perhaps as it's clear they work very hard on their music. I guess they must be friends with a Kiwi comic who suffered a "negative" review from me recently - either that or they read Nick Dwyer's Facebook page, perhaps.
Anyway, the fire that Autozamm came under from me was when I first looked at The Joke That Is NZ On Air Funding. I pointed out the example - call it a crime even - that this band that so many people in the country had not heard of, or wished they hadn't - has received close to quarter of a million dollars in funding. All because they play the funding game well above and beyond the real goal, which, surely, is making decent/memorable music.
You might say good on them for being smart and making money. That's one way to look at it. And they are making money - we, as taxpayers, are basically paying for this band to exist; to continue. I hope you know that. Maybe you're happy with that. Maybe you're not.
Or you might get the feeling you've been cheated.
But I've never actually reviewed Autozamm - I've avoided that particular occupational hazard. I was invited to join The Corner's panel review of the new single. But it was a bit hard to coordinate, being on holiday at the time. But you'll see if you click that link what some of the other music scribes in the country think.
So, I have no trouble with the song and video existing. Good on them, I guess. Amazing to think that they took that time and effort to reply to a blog-post that took me about 25 minutes to write; all I did was go to the NZ On Air website and look up the facts - all the amounts of money offered to bands are listed. I just asked the question about Autozamm because it was astounding to me that so many bands and artists miss out on funding yet these guys have continued to get both hands in the pot and smear the honey down their faces. (It tastes like egg though when you recognise it's smeared on your face too, right?)
I don't know the members of the band - they might be decent folk, they might even be great musicians and incredible songwriters (though I think they're keeping that pretty well hidden), but they have felt the need to strike back. You would think they could handle a bit of ribbing for the quarter of a million bucks they've received.
I don't make anywhere near that kind of cash - and never will. And I get to cop all forms of abuse.
Anyway, allow me to link to the video again - and to help the band. I believe in giving back - fair's fair and all that. I've been very mean to them in the past, apparently. Fat, grumpy, fat, judgmental, fat, out of touch, fat, silly, fat, surly - and fat - old me. What was I thinking when I was looking up statistics on websites and pointing out the obvious? How cruel of me. And to think Autozamm has been around for 10 years now - and one person was so mean to them. That's so unfair in the world and lifespan of a band.
So check out the video - it's been viewed about 1000 times with only seven likes and 57 more dislikes. That's 57 new songs that Autozamm is currently working on so quick, help, some more people need to like this song and video. Quickly!
As for my opinion on the song - beyond being flattered, obviously - well I don't think it's a stretch to call this the best thing Autozamm has ever done.
I hope - since I like cruel ironies - that NZ On Air funded this video.
What do you reckon? Good song? Great video? Their best yet?