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stew review of jon c’s review of making it

Hey Jon,

Despite the fact that you work for the nytimes
your review was full of shit.
Not sure if you are too
but it’s not a question worth losing any sleep over.

Because yeah, we knew we were due for a hatchet job from the nyt given the long string of praise we’ve received from the paper of record going all the way back to our 1957 debut free jazz concept album
“Journalist Found at Bottom of East River.” But the glee with which you took up your ax-signment was showing a little too much: I mean when you start reviewing program notes and technical malfunctions as if they were part of the show, it’s clear you were out to get us and get us good. Well, now I’m out to get you. See below and listen up girlfriend.

“Stew and his band had just finished “Leave/Believe,” a terse, mopey number that stops cold in the middle”

The above moment you chose to open your silly review with was in fact a huge technical glitch which left both audience and artists confused. It wasn’t until after the entire show was over that we all realized what had happened. So nice of you to write about that technical malfunction as if that’s how it was intended, jerk.

”Somewhere in that hurricane Stew and Ms. Rodewald, who’d also been involved romantically, stopped dating.”

“Stopped dating?” Do you write for Tiger Beat in your spare time? I don’t think a 9 year old could listen to this show and describe our situation as having “stopped dating.” How does “going steady” sound to you?

“Their new collaboration, “Making It” — a concert, not a play — is the story of the end of their romance, though its very existence reflects their mutual professional reliance.”

Good one Jon! That was a really good sentence!
But this next one…

“That might explain the half-heartedness of this show”

Sugar-pumpkin, the show is all heart. Maybe you wanted us on the floor wailing the blues and really “meaning it” and sweating the way dem old school soul singers used to do in order to prove to you that the shit was painful? Well, we don’t roll like dat. Negro artist be sho nuff detached these days, Jonny. We don’t sweat it out fo’ y’all like we used to.

And did you ever think we might even be a lil bit ironic about the whole thing? Nah…

“staged more like a one-act Off Off Broadway play than a concert”

It wasn’t staged, Jon. We just set up in a circle. Just like we’re gonna do in your living room next week.

“isn’t quite a full exposition on curdling love.”

How the fuck would you know? Huh? How-the-fuck-would-you-know? I don’t remember any threesomes with me you and Heidi. Unless you do and that’s the cause of the bad review.

“its numbers less songs than sets of strung-together aphorisms…”

This is one of those disses that I can only take as a compliment. So aphorisms can’t be songs? God damn Jon, what else am I not allowed to do? Be fat and wear an orange jumpsuit?

“verging on trite.”

Oh Jon, you review AMERICAN IDOL shit for a living (???) and yer calling OUR SHIT verging on trite? Give me a fucking break. Reviewing pop music for a living is like being a professional pooper scooper. You have praised far shittier bands than us and we all know it.

“It’s a weak compromise between a musical experience and a theatrical one.”

You are a weak compromise between an american idol correspondent and journalist on a hatchet mission who reviews technical glitches and program notes.

What else didn’t you like about the music, Jon?

“The minimal staging — felt disproportionately constraining.”

I said the music jon…

“In the show’s program — another playlike touch —“

Jon, that wasn’t a “playlike touch.” St Anns is a theater, honey chile, and theaters make programs and then the artists write things in them that are NOT intended to be reviewed, fool. The fact that you went out of your way to review the program notes –fercrissakes- shows you were just hunting for blood. What next: my jumpsuit?

So again, back to the music…

“Coupled with the show’s shrunken size”

Shrunken from what? Heidi and I have been doing shows from before you were born on stages of all shapes and sizes.

“it all smacks of a sublimated repudiation of “Passing Strange” and its success.”

Good lord are you full of shit now. I am so proud and thankful for PS I cant even describe how its changed my life in countless beautiful ways. Making It is partly about how much it sucked to reach such heights while not being able to enjoy it fully because your relationship, which built that success, was falling apart. The most fucked up part about PS was that I really didn’t get to enjoy it. And I don’t blame PS nor its success for that.

What you don’t understand about us is that we got to do PS because of doing smaller more experimental shows like Making It. We’d been honing our craft in dive bars, art spaces, listening rooms and opening for big bands in huge places for quite a long time. St Anns is just another exceptionally amazing room we are fortunate enough to be working in.

“staid arrangements.”

The arrangements were there to serve the songs as we saw fit and not to please your ass.

I mean, honestly: what the fuck do you know about how we’re supposed to present our music?

“Alone, the words were often whimsical but only rarely incisive.”

And you give examples of neither so what the fuck are you talking about?

“The songs were at their best not on the crumbling relationship but on secondhand concerns: the intimacies and detachments of touring life (“Tomorrow Gone”), drugs (“Speed”) and alcohol (“Kingdom of Drink”).”

Oh lord: yer calling Touring, Drugs and Alcohol “SECONDHAND CONCERNS OF MUSICIANS?????”!!!

How could you be so ignorant of the world you get paid to write about?

You have just disqualified yourself with that pearl. Listen Jon, touring, drugs and alcohol are an integral part of …uh, actually just ask a cab driver…doesn’t the nyt have a manual for guys like you to read up on rock musicians and their strange ways? “Second-hand concerns?” Jesus.

“The encore began with “Treat-Right,” a blithe meta-song about failing to write satisfying break-up songs: revealing, but still distant.”

“Revealing, but still distant.” Just like those damn peep show dancers…if they’d just come a little closer to the window maybe I could…”

“So went the rage-filled and semiotically thick “Black Men Ski””

Rage-filled? You mean like BLACK RAGE? You sound like an early sixties news commentator talking about the Nation of Islam. Were we in the same room, Jon? Geez, I guess the big black man in the ski mask scared you. Raged filled? That song is FUNNY Jon and people laughed. White people laughed. Did I really scare you Jon? Or were you just describing me as rage filled in order to de-humanize me and put me in my inarticulate, wild, primitive place? Cuz I swear Jon, White people laughed.

“Indulgently speaking truth to power, gratuitously ignoring his failed relationship: boy, did he look comfortable.”

Jeez, we’re getting a little personal here, Jon. Which is exactly why I chose to get personal. “boy did he look comfortable.” You sound like yer on the phone gossiping to a girlfriend about her ex-asshole boyfriend you observed in a bar last night. Just say it Jon. You don’t like me. It’s ok. I’ll be hurt for 5 seconds but I can handle it.

To end Jon, I sincerely believe you walked in there to hate on us without an ounce of objectivity. That’s why your review got reviewed.

And as far as “Indulgently” speaking truth to power is concerned, the only power I’m speaking truth to is you, Jon. And you don’t have very much power at all. Because Making It will last far longer than your pointless review.

You don’t get the last word.
We do.