The Black Crowes Manager Issues An Open Letter To Maxim Magazine And James Kaminsky
The Black Crowes' manager issues statement:
In my thirty years in the music business, I have never once written a letter to
any publication to discuss or oppose a "review" of my artist's work. Any
artist or manager who has survived a dramatically changing musical
landscape, and experienced some longevity throughout, has a clear
understanding that both good and bad reviews are part of the scenery.
However, this letter was not written to address a bad "review" but rather a
fabricated album review that your magazine published even though your "music
critic" had not heard more than one song.
In our business, a fabricated review is a serious concern that may
ultimately harm all artists because it calls into question the credibility
of the entire review process.
A February 20th email response from a Maxim representative stated in part:
"On the rare occasion that we are not given music because of our lead time
or unavailability of the tunes, we make an educated guess ... Of course, we
always prefer to hearing the music, but sometimes there are big albums that
we don't want to ignore that aren't available to hear, which is what
happened with the Crowes. It's either an educated guess preview or no
coverage at all, so in this case we chose the former."
In your publication's first attempt to deal with this issue publicly, a
Maxim representative had only this to say in their official statement:
"Maxim will continue to provide our readers with information that is
important to them, whether it is about fashion, lifestyle, technology,
music, movies and more."
As the media coverage increased dramatically, it seems that your publication
realized that the above statement failed to address the scope of the issue,
and then released the following:
"It is Maxim's editorial policy to assign star ratings only to those albums
that have been heard in their entirety. Unfortunately, that policy was not
followed in the March 2008 issue of our magazine and we apologize to our
Mr. Kaminsky, your explanation would be interesting as to why you felt it
was acceptable to address only your readers in your apology statement and
completely neglect to mention The Black Crowes, whose music your publication
denigrated in a fabricated album review.
I believe that after the flood of negative media coverage directed towards
Maxim, only then did the publication feel it necessary to issue a public
apology to its readership to contain the damage caused by its actions.
I also believe that the reason you omitted The Black Crowes from your
apology was because your only concerns during this entire situation have
been to protect Maxim's bottom line and the potentially tarnished perception to
Yesterday, you were quoted in an Associated Press interview stating in part:
"I will be the last person to mince words here: This is a mistake. ... There
should be no blurry line between what's a preview and what's a review."
Contrary to your above referenced statement, it seems that your magazine's
actions have created an extremely blurry line, if there is any line at all,
between "what's a preview and what's a review." Shouldn't a proper "preview"
notify the reader that an artist's work is forthcoming, whereas a "review"
offers an opinion of the material after someone has actually heard the
In this case, Maxim's preview offered an opinion on an entire album based on
having heard no more than the one track that had been released to radio,
"Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution," and went so far as to assign a star
Please enlighten your readership and me, or at the very least your staff, as
to what your definitions and guidelines are for previews versus reviews.
Apparently the "mistake" has allegedly occurred with another artist. The
recording artist Nas publicly stated that Maxim gave his unheard, unfinished
material a 2.5 star rating. Was that a preview or a review that rated his
material while he was still in the recording studio? In either instance, I
feel it is indefensible.
In yesterday's Associated Press article, the full extent of your
accountability to The Black Crowes was covered as follows:
"In his interview with the AP, Kaminsky officially apologized to the
After three public statements made by your publication, I feel that offering
an apology through an Associated Press writer without addressing the band
directly is offensive.
Although my comments may be perceived as unforgiving, the fact remains:
Maxim has yet to issue a public apology directly to The Black Crowes.
Although I maintain that Maxim should act in good faith and issue a public
statement of apology to The Black Crowes, as was done for your readers, I
feel that this issue was important to expose on behalf of all artists and
expect that Maxim will follow the publication's claimed policies in the
Sincerely, Pete Angelus Angelus Entertainment
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