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Death Threats and Insults, the First Decade

  On EvilSponge, we don't use our real names. The reason for this is quite simple: everyone hates a critic! It's silly, but true. Because what we do is sometimes percieved as insulting to other people we have recieved a variety of threats. I made a big deal back in 2003 about an actual Death Threat that we recieved, but there have been others. Here is a "greatest threasts" list.  
Kill people for disagreeing with you:

Left By: vince dooley
Date: 2003-5-5
Comments: hey evil sponge. i was looking at an article from a couple of months ago and it's safe to say that you guys really hate hip hop. your perception of it as a culture and as an artform is completely off base, but i guess in the realm of indie rock there is no mediocrity and everything that's done is of the highest quality. bullshit!!! to watch a band with a singer that is usually off key and watch guys play instruments that they got for christmas and just learned how to play badly is not my idea of the best presentation you can offer. the evil sponge is the worst online publication ever created and i think that you guys should be shot dead. reading some of the reviews that you've put on this site are just not correct. especially being at most of the shows myself and knowing that the show sucked and you guys rave about how good it was. your taste in music is questionable and i think that you're not qualified to review shows or music or even the smell of a piece of dog shit, which you would probably say smelled great. you guys really suck to put it plainly. thank you for having a clue.

PostLibyan's Reponse (since it was he who wrote the review in question):
It's not that i hate hip-hop per se, it's just that i don't get it. In fact, i try to mention that in reviews. However, searching back through the site i can only find one explicit statement to that effect, namely:

"But then again, it's not my thing really. Who knows: if you are into the hip-hop scene you might really like them."
(from the review of Psyche Origami, opening for DJ Spooky on Fri.17.Jan.03)

At any rate, anyone who reads more than one review here will know that i don't get hip-hop. I hope.

To Mr. Dooley i have to ask: what part of "i am a middle-aged honky from Ohio" don't you get? Hip-hop is a foreign world to me, and i do not feel comfortable there. All of my reviews are written from my perspective: which starts with punk rock and corn fields and goes from there.

I really felt like i had said my "i don't get it" thing more often. But maybe i am just mis-remembering that. At any rate, i will try to be more explicit in mentioning that i do not understand the art and thus my persepective is somewhat skewed.

Fighting for the honor of your band:

In 2005 the Minions went and reviewed a show that included a performance by The Humans, a Birmingham band that did not exactly impress. Read the review here for context.

So, that is what we said about the act. Not that bad, at least in my opinion. Well, Brian Teasley, the drummer in said band (and also of Man or Astroman and The Polyphonc Spree), sent us the following email:

Subject: We Must Fight
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 11:56:59 +1000

Brenden- Hey, how goes it? Someone sent me the review of the Humans at Lenny's on your website. No big deal, but wish you had liked it better, because now I must fight you. I promised myself a few months ago that when someone writes something in the vein of what you wrote, I must physically fight them. Unfortunately, it took a long time to set up at that specific show because Jonny our guitar player's amp was broken, and I guess that didn't bode well. Maybe after we fight, we can get on the right track again or at least get a second shot. Please know that I'm not at all joking, and let me know when we can meet to fight. Also, I just got the domain www.wepolicethepolice.com and a lot of writers are contributing to review reviews- I'll be sure to put some of your better stuff up there. For the most part, I enjoyed reading through your site and chagrin our present circumstance. Thanks for your understanding. I look forward to your reply.

PS- We're playing with the Oxes on March 12 and it would be great to do the fight then as I will already be in the ATL.

We read the email, laughed at it, and went about our business. But this wasn't enough for Mr. Teasley. he sent the following email the next day.

Subject: Fwd: We Must Fight
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2005 03:49:41 +1000

Shit. Brenden- I just looked at that thing again and realized you may not have actually written the piece. This means I may have to fight you and someone else. Hopefully in separate fights, but I'm good to go either way. I'm not that big, but I have broken more bones than I can count on my fingers and toes and have an unbelievable high threshold for pain- just ask anyone who knows me. If the writer of the piece was a girl, I would rather not fight her, and just take you on.

A few points concerning the review:
-The changeover delay was because we had a broken amp, and we were extremely apologetic to the Orphans while it was happening.
-I didn't realize we had bad haircuts. What do you think I should get? Just like a crew cut or something a little more sensible- my hair really isn't too scrappy is it? Please list 5 haircuts that you think would be appropriate for me- taking in of course the shape of my face, hair-type (greasy-yuck!), color, lifestyle, etc.
-Sorry we just wore street clothes. I do have some black clothes, but they get really hot during a show. Do you think it would be okay to play with black clothes, but say have two fans on stage to keep our body temperature down. I tend to think of fans as being lame, but wanted to get your opinion.
-I wasn't aware that not having every single song is in 4/4 that makes you a math rock band. We've never thought of ourselves that way. Please email me a list of 20 bands you think play math rock so I can clarify your definition of the term. -I don't think Jonny, our guitar player, has ever listened to much Van Halen (who I'm a big fan of), and I generally think of Eddie Van Halen's playing and sound as being defined by fast paced hammering on across pentatonic scales and floyd rose whammy bar dive bombing/note bending through overdriven Marshalls with a small wash of panned reverb and may some flange for just the right moments. Dude, am I crazy?
-While we're constantly striving to be better and trying to evolve, and working very hard at it, I can't imagine describing our shortcomings as not being "tight". I think the rhythm and syncopation of the band may be one its strong points. Replay the show in your head with a 10 minute change over and us all wearing black. Would you still describe it as not being tight? I have a video of the show and don't understand what you're talking about. Can you further describe what you think may improve and make it tighter in a few months?
-Also, Crane Orchard are good friends of ours, and I am a huge fan of their music. The way Paul voices works itself in front of all the collaged noise and guitar weirdness is really original to me. I like the band a whole lot, but to describing them as having "rocked" seems simple and misnomered. Can you please let me know if by "rocked", you meant "moving" or "powerful" or just "good"? Am I losing touch with the modern music lexicon.

Okay. That's all I can think of for now, but I'll `get you more soon. I'm going to forward your piece to some of my writer and copy friends to see if their down for having it on the wepolicethepolice.com when I get it launched. Damn, I'm starting to feel like we're friends; it's too bad we have to fight. Oh yeah, just a warning. I may ultimately lose if we fight, but I 100% guarantee I'll do some good hurtin' on that body. Take care.

Okay, that second response is pretty funny. I like how he goes through the review and refutes the various points raised.

But that brings me to my point here: what we do, ultimately, is just opinion. Every single thing posted on EvilSponge needs to come the words "In the opinon of this writer..." inserted at the beginning of every single sentence. In fact, that would probably be a good policy to implement on the entier Internet, which has become a minefield of silly ideas and poorly worded opinions.

To Mr. Teasley i say this: no matter who you are or what you do, someone is going to dislike it. Heck, there are even people who dislike The Beatles (we call such people "idiots", but they do exist!) Eventually, any artist is going to come across such people, spewing their opinions on the Internet, for everyone to see

My advice to you (and by you i mean both Mr. Teasley and anyone reading this) is this: don't take anything you see on the Internet personally.

I don't know what else to say. Really people, it's just one person's opinion. Get over it.

Blogging about hating us:

One final incident to note. In 2002 the Minions went to see The Death and Dismemberment tour, which included, among other acts, the alternative rapper Cex.

We have already explained that, being a bunch of middle aged white people, we do not really "get" rap. And that's fine with us. We try to understand it, but honestly it just isn't all that enjoyable to us. We are left watching it and wondering, "Where is the melody?" Our review reflected our perplexity.

However, Cex took offense to the negative review and posted on his blog that we were "middle school and parochial". He devoted a whole blog entry to insulting us for not liking his performance. (Please note, he has moved on from that blog, and the entry is no longer on line. We linked to it back then, but it has been lost int eh constant upgrading of technology. Oh well.)

Again: eventually someone is going to dislike whatever you do. Get used to the idea.

We accept that the things we say are insulting to people. We know that. We try to be as polite as possible, and each of the three incidents listed here are times when we learned a little more about how to be polite and nice. We take these as a learning experience, and have never confronted these individuals again.

Anger, after all, just leads to the dark side...

Related Links:
  Other links relating to EvilSponge's Tenth Anniversary:
Statistics on EvilSponge's web presence.
The danger of being a music reviewer.
The EvilSponge Family Photo.
PostLibyan's essay on the nature of EvilSponge.
Malimus's essay on the first decade of EvilSponge.
Indoor Miner's list of the 25 best records of the decade.
Indoor Miner's list of the 100 best songs of the decade.
Meta commentary.
Best quotes from our first 10 years.
Various Minions list Records that Stay Near the Stereo.
Various Minions collect anecdotes about the music biz.

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