Wanted: New Rock Writers

Rogue editor Eric Melendez explains, in no uncertain terms, the past, present, and future of local rock journalism– and why it doesn’t exist.

by Eric Melendez, art by Mags Ocampo
Hello. Thank you for your interest. As an leading pop culture publication, we are always looking for new voices in the field of rock writing.

Before we accept your application, however, there are a few technical matters that must be addressed. This screening process is intended to weed out old paradigms of rock journalism, which may already be ingrained in your character. As a publication that exists in present day, we cannot afford to squander any of our resources on what will inevitably lead to another 2000 word thinkpiece about the death of OPM.

Please read through our requirements thoroughly, and ensure that your application is appropriate for this position. Also, please avoid any further mention of Almost Famous in any further correspondence with us. The first time, we can forgive. Any further will cause the dismissal of your application.
Tender Notice and Invitation to Tender

That an interview continues to be the first point of contact between a rock journalist and his subjects speaks to an ongoing disservice to consumers of rock media. How exciting a topic is process? Nobody wants to know how a band came up with their name. Please stop asking artists to give advice to those just starting out.

Services to be provided

The tender applicant is expected to conduct a kind of Filipino rock journalism that reports on the material conditions of, rather than the sensationalisms in, music production; that lays bare through reportage rather than obfuscates through hagiography the violence between creative impetus and commercial consumption; that understands that it is not its job to aggrandize musicians, and thus uses terms such as “front man” and “opus” only in the context of mocking its own sloppy or sycophantic practitioners.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants are expected to have a disdain for the safe and expected; albums that sound like fan service on the one extreme and a producer’s chattel mortgage solution on the other must be called out. They must have the PR savvy to know a soundbite when they hear one: “Kahit isa lang ang matuwa sa kanta namin, masaya na kami” should be a cue to disclaim an entire interview. Lastly, applicants must hold the following truths to be self-evident: that rock’s roots are working class, its production and consumption a communal rather than heirarchical dynamic, its very nature disruptive. Naivety is thus a must.

Validity of tender

Validity shall be effective from date of tender, renewed on a roll-over basis, until such time as the live gig coverage emerges as the

primary mode of rock reportage. Not the album review, since a botched note can be punched in, inside the studio. Not the interview, as there are only so many ways to say “We were out of control, man!” Not the think piece, because how many times must we hear about contractual wrangling and its music industry implications? A band can’t fake a vibe, and a reporter can’t feign a detail.

Anti-collusion clause

The following shall be terms for the immediate termination of tender:

1. The deployment of the following ideas:

1.1. “Rock Stars”, unless as ironic sobriquet reserved for the kind of band who will insist on playing their own record in the bar they are getting drunk at.
1.2. “Rock Journalists”, unless refering simply to a person involved in the labor of collecting, articulating, and distributing news about a rock      band.
1.3. “Rock fan”, outside the context of ritual co-production.

2. Receipt of complimentary tickets, albums, merchandise. Tender applicants are expected to pay for the gate, just like any other listener.
3. Use of press credentials to skip the show queue, access the VIP area, and watch the show from the stage: the reportorial equivalent of skipping the murder scene for the burial.
4. Joining the party like some third rate Hunter S. Thompson.
5. Skulking on the fringes like some third rate Lester Bangs.

Submission of tender

A decade ago.