If you don't want it read ...


... don't write it down. Someone said that once, don't ask me who, but I can guarantee they had no idea how true that would become later. I find now's a good time to revisit the proverb. It's particularly true in the case of U.S. Congressional candidate Alan Grayson's emails to our own Billy Manes, all of which start with "This is off the record." As we all learned, if you're writing it down, it ain't off the record.

This ties in with another recent trend I've noticed that involves local band members writing me on my personal MySpace account. I don't know if that's truly the only way they can find to contact me or if it's assumed it's private if they do, but neither of these are true. Please note: angry emails should always go to either music@orlandoweekly.com or jstrout@orlandoweekly.com or letters@orlandoweekly.com or hell, just the comments section at this here blog. When it comes to my personal accounts, I really prefer good tidings and fluffy bunnies. Please.

Getting to my point, Blue Meridian singer Donovan Lyman wrote me this weekend in response to columnist Bao Le-Huu's brutal assessment of their Back Booth show Aug. 7, which read:

" ... with music so shallow as to be soul-draining, they're still a relic of Orlando's douche-rock days. Man, am I glad to be able to call them an L.A. band rather than an Orlando band."

Ouch, I know. But still, don't fight back on my MySpace. I really can't stress that enough.

Lyman's response in full is after the jump:


An outraged fan forwarded me your review of Blue Meridian's recent Back Booth show.

Do you realize 10 years ago when you couldn't even get in to a club to see a band, we were drawing 1,500 to the House of Blues and selling out the Social (known as the Sapphire back in the Douche-Rock days). No, we don't have that kinda pull in Orlando anymore (who does?)... but we still outdraw every local band we get paired with on a bill. How is it not commendable to stick with it? To keep doing what moves you?

Do you realize the band I performed with that night isn't even my band anymore (The Blue Meridian of the past 5 years is based out of West Hollywood). I hadn't played with those three guys together in several years, it seems. We had one quick rehearsal to knock the dust off the old songs and did the gig. We did it for fun. To give the old die-hard fans one last chance to hear so many of the old songs.

Were we hoping there'd be an A&R guy in the audience? Or a rabid music critic? Not at all. We did the show because we like each other. Because we're honored by the undying support from our fans old and new. Because making music is fun. Not because we're after a big recording contract or some other pie in the sky.

We formed back in the mid 90's, when bands actually came together through friendship and genuine love for expressing themselves through music. These days most bands unite for fame, money and influence (American Idol had a hand in that I'm sure). I often fear for the later-in-life dispositions of those who set their goals unrealistically high like that. One in ten thousand of them will ever really make it. The rest will probably just drink themselves to death or beat their wives. Personally, I just hope they can look back and chuckle at how diillusioned they were and maybe even pick up the guitar for fun before they finally put it in the attic.

The District Media Manager from Best Buy once told me that as an indie, we've done unprecidented things. How many unsigned bands sell 12,000 albums, record 6 full length studio albums in 10 years, see their guitar and photo on display the the worlds largest Hard Rock Cafe for six years, relocate to the most competitive music scene in the world and within months receive an advance of several thousand dollars to sign with Universal, the largest Publishing company in the world?

We've played more than 700 shows in 10 states and 7 countries and haven't taken more than a month off since we began. We draw a larger audience in London than most bands (on the verge of a recording contract) do in their own town.

The Orlando Weekly should honor, not slander any continuing efforts or past contributions from any of the acts that helped establish the "Orlando Music Scene". Back when Rolling Stone Magazine saw fit to describe it as the "next Seattle".

A good critic is unbiased and honest. The best food critics don't bash every dessert they're served just because they've outgrown cake or lost their sweet tooth.

In Closing, I'd like to invite you to visit the Audio page at www.donovanlyman.com , there you'll find sound samples and all of the lyrics for my most recently released album. I'd be interested in learning what you might consider "Soul Draining & Shallow".

Thanks for your time.


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