After Warped Tour in Dallas, the Alternative Press' Pot-and-Kettle Moment

Categories: DFW Music News
Mike Shea thinks we should be nicer to the festival he has a financial stake in.
Mike Shea, the founder and publisher of Alternative Press magazine, took to Twitter on Saturday to attempt some 140-character assassinating of this blog's Warped Tour coverage. Specifically, he had a problem with Darryl Smyers' "The Five Best and Five Worst Bands at The 2011 Vans Warped Tour" post.

Which is fine.

Everyone's entitled to his opinion, especially a surly punk-rock fan who started a zine out of his mom's house when he was still a teenager, and who is one of seven employers left in all of Cleveland.

But it seems worth pointing out some of the holes and hypocrisy in Shea's criticism.

Basically, Shea's beefs with our coverage were that:

1. Our writer didn't stay the whole time.

2. Our writer spent too much time thinking of snark and not enough time listening and writing critically about the event.

3. Our writer criticized bands who are really popular with some people.

4. Alt-weekly writers are all a bunch of elitist dicks.

5. And, overall, our coverage just wasn't fair.

Which is sort of funny, because:

1. We had multiple writers at the show. (Shea altogether ignored Eric Grubbs' all-inclusive review of the event, not noticing that Smyers' post was merely a sidebar to our overall coverage.

2. Both of these writers stayed the whole time.

3. Shea spent all that time Tweeting about our coverage while, as far as I can tell, his magazine produced zero coverage of the event, and his Tweets provided barely a word about the festival itself.

4. Shea's magazine recently raided our sister alt-weekly in St. Louis for his new managing editor -- a music writer who just last summer helped St. Louis music fans identify Warped Tour bands that "you can admit in public you're going to see."

5. And, speaking of fairness and intergrity and honesty, and all the things apparently lacking in our writers, who had the audacity of writing about which bands they didn't like: It seems worth pointing out that Alternative Press is A SPONSOR OF THE EVENT.

Shea's criticism painted him as simply a crusader for fair-and-balanced rock criticism. In fact, as AP's publisher, he stands to gain, personally and financially, from the success of the event as it moves around the country this summer. The more people at Warped Tour, the more people who see AP's logo plastered on the festival grounds. So it doesn't do Shea any good to have prospective ticket buyers Googling "Warped Tour" and finding honest criticism of some of its bands.

I emailed Shea to ask about all that. I haven't heard back. In the meantime, I think I'll look elsewhere for my lectures on fairness. Mike's are a little too hard to hear with the cash registers going off in the background.

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and Lord knows that we should NEVER say bad things about bands that are popular. I guess we should only be mean to bands nobody knows. To be on this guy's bad side is better than winning a Grammy. Check that. I don't want one of those. Only really bad popular bands get those.

Annie Zaleski
Annie Zaleski

Hi Joe!

Just a clarification: There was no raiding going on when I decided to take the job at AP and leave the Riverfront Times. I was looking to move closer to family and my boyfriend in Cleveland--where I'm from, as you know--and the job at AP happened to be open at the same time. I'm a long-time freelancer there and so the fit was natural. Nothing nefarious was involved in my move, and I was quite sad to leave St. Louis and the RFT.

Also, that list I did last year had nothing to do with said freelance work at AP or my current job there.  It was just something fun I decided to do, since I'm a genuine fan of a lot of those bands, and a way to fulfill the list requirements VVM has for its music blogs. I was gently poking fun at Warped Tour's rep, not any of the bands themselves.

Hope Dallas is treating you well...


I visit Cleveland regularly. There are many more than seven employers.

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

Yeah, I knew all that, and didn't mean to imply raiding like going-in-the-cover-of-night-and-stealing, just that AP doesn't mind snarky alt-weekly writers when they're useful to the mag. When they have the nerve to be critical of an AP-sponsored event, though -- look out.

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