There are a number of problems with Chris Shott’s “Strings Attached” (4/29), in which he slanders the reputations of hardworking local musicians—for fun, I guess, since there’s no clear point to the article.
First, some factual errors: $350 per day is far from “pricey” for Inner Ear Studio. That’s below the bargain-basement rate for any pro studio. And if Shott had even the slightest understanding of the recording process he wouldn’t act shocked—shocked!—that a microphone could cost $8,000 and that a musician known for high-fidelity recording work would want to use it.
Ten thousand dollars for a record is nothing. Well-known local bands routinely spend more than double that amount to record albums. And Beauty Pill’s $10,000 was spent over two years, while the entire membership of the band turned over. Plus, it was spent at the place where Chad Clark works. And the final product sounds as if the band had spent $50,000.
Throughout, Shott sets up Beauty Pill as the straw man so he can create from whole cloth a nonexistent controversy about D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities grants. This is a reprehensible technique I see frequently in Washington City Paper articles: fabricate controversy where there is none in order to move papers. This nonsense is why I no longer pick up the paper and prefer not to do business with City Paper advertisers.
Shott could have written a thoughtful piece about struggling local artists and the tensions of creating work with public funds—or any funds. Instead, he made decent, hardworking people, who legitimately applied for and got a modest arts grant, come off like self-important artistes harboring delusions of grandeur. Shott’s errors in fact and judgment, and the apparent absence of editorial oversight, make your publication look foolish.