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Review of Stephen Roderick’s New York mag preview article on Making It

I really got a kick out of Stephen Roderick’s article about Heidi and me in the current issue of New York mag (sorry I don’t know how to create links so sue me), despite the inaccuracies, which I’m here to anally address. You may remember when I reviewed Stephen Holden’s review of us in the NYTimes (what is it with us and new york journalists named “Stephen.”???). So I’m continuing the practice here. The internet affords me this freakish luxury so…

they’ve got a new show … about breaking up.

ok, the show is not “about” us breaking up. Who the fuck would wanna see that? The show is about many things: our experience of Broadway, the joys and concerns of being a sub-cult band on the road, the challenging reality of being an aging hipster, the work/life/love balance and countless other stuff. The show is also a concert and a return to something Heidi and I did before we stumbled into theater. That’s why we called the show “Making It”: to reflect the multiple meanings of the phrase, all of which apply to our lives and which our show, unlike this cool article, fully addresses.

He’s a troubadour playing songs he calls “Blackarach.”

Oh lawd! A critic once called my music that and I found it cute and flattering. However, I have NEVER called my music that.

Alas, the band is called the Negro Problem and has larger marketing troubles. So they start recording under the name Stew. Critics fall in love with the couple’s California-as-Weimar songs

This strongly implies if not outright states that we changed the name of the band because of “marketing troubles.” It also implies that the Stew thing was better received than TNP. Both are wrong. TNP put us on the map, not Stew. And there was no name change. We just added a band because we wanted to explore a different kind of music than we were making with TNP. White boy indie rockers form multiple band personas all the time and nobody accuses them of looking for a more marketable name. The Negro Problem will be on tour this Fall.

By now, Stew and Heidi are in their forties. This is 340 in L.A. rock years.

this is TOTALLY TRUE and a great quote and I just wanted to point that out. Good one Stephen!

They call the show Making It, after their old sense that if they just do one thing—win a Tony, sell a screenplay—they will be Officially Successful, their problems solved.

Uh, no. The reason Heidi and I are still a creative team, despite the drama, is that she is the only person I’ve ever met that understands that OFFICIALLY SUCCESSFUL is a total fucking illusion. And that’s one of the main things that “Making It” is about. We’ve never been after The Dangling Carrot of Success.

The carrot we were after was the same one every couple is after: a balance between love and work. We both had differing ideas of how to achieve that balance. But neither of us thought official success would be the thing that would bring it all back home. And so some of the show is about our differing views of how to achieve that balance.

I understand that New York mag thought nobody would wanna read a detailed article about two little known artist’s struggles to balance their relationship and their career so it was easier to reduce it to such a sound-bite as quoted above. I get it. But if yer interested in the full scoop and there are no Merv Griffin re-runs that week, come to our concert and we’ll flesh it all out for you.

(Who in their right mind would name their band “The Negro Problem” if they were looking for official success?).

To almost end, I realize many of you might be thinking why whine about good press. Well I say “why not?” I don’t think that just because we are low-level public figures that it means we should to allow inaccuracies about our personal lives to go unanswered. Fuck that. You try it sometime and then we’ll talk.

And to Stephen, thanks for a fun article (and some good hanging). It reads like a water-slide. And that’s a good thing. I wish it coulda been as detailed as our conversations. But maybe you can do a deeper article about us after we’ve really made it.

/stew and heidi