« Baltimore Music Conference update | Main | I couldn't agree more. »

February 2, 2008

City Paper vs. Steve Hefter

I'm not taking sides with this one.

But I think it's a pretty interesting little saga.

In late December, local indie rocker Steve Hefter posted an open correspondence with City Paper music editor Michael Byrne on his MySpace site.

Hefter felt he had been ignored by CP, despite multiple attempts to contact them about his new(ish) album. 

Byrne (a frequent Midnight Sun poster) said there are tons of bands vying for coverage in CP, and Hefter should send him a CD with a letter explaining why they should write about Hefter.

Then in yesterday's CP, Byrne slipped a little poke into the Shortlist:

"At the Ottobar, local pop-folk duo Judd and Maggie celebrates the release of their new album with City Paper fave Steve Hefter and Friends of Friends ..."


I don't see this ending anytime soon. 

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:00 PM | | Comments (22)
Categories: Local music


If he wasn't so preoccupied with knocking us, he might have remembered Judd and Maggie are no longer local. They, in fact, have lived in Nashville for well over a year.

Either way, ouch.

I think the more important issue is Sam's snubbing of The Hot Magic.

PS: send Steve our way and Gutter would be happy to take up the CP slack!

This ranks up there with Nixon vs. Kennedy, Jefferson vs. Adams, Rocky vs. Apollo...

Heavy duty stuff, here.

Local Indie Rocker sounds cool

Nice publicity stunt Mr. Hefter. Don't see though why this blog should be mentioning it. Demonstrates aptly how interesting the stuff going on in Baltimore is. CityPaper is a bore, though.

Posting an open letter on your band website isn't really a publicity stunt. I realize we're a local act and it's not exactly exciting news to the average night-life reader, but I would argue its relevance to the local music scene. If you've read our blog and disagree, that's cool. If not, take a look.

The City Paper's the most well-circulated, effective way a Baltimore band can get their name around in print, and they've spent nearly as much time writing about obscure, out-of-town acts as they do the locals during the past few months.

I feel the relevance of it here is this: Before a band can hit the pages of The Sun there generally has to be some track record of objective, and at least reasonably respected, praise in print- some buzz that's a bit more solid than street cred. The City Paper used to be that local stepping stone for worthy acts, and it should be again. Of course I'd love people to dig our music, but that wasn't the point of me posting the blog.

Wah! The local music rag won't write about my band! I'm so EMO about it that I'll rant on my own MySpace page about how lame the writers are...

Hefter, you sound like a [twit]. Learn to play/sing and maybe you won't have to beg local music rags to review your music.


"The City Paper used to be that local stepping stone for WORTHY acts, and it should be again."

As painful as it may be for any musician to hear, maybe the CP just doesn't find you to be so. Perhaps your energies would be better focused elsewhere. Besides, so often an artist is ignored & unknown at home. Make your name playing other areas as well if possible. Good luck.

...stepping stone for worthy acts...

I think you hit the nail on the head right there.

Actually got some hateful personal email today. That's uncalled for. I had a gripe and wrote about it on myspace.

Someone else wrote about it on here. If anything, I hoped the attention would prompt the City Paper to write more CD reviews for locals. I realize they're not going to write anything about me at this point. If you don't like my music, cool but don't call me names through personal email- that's creepy.

I'm sorry if the hate mail is coming from anyone I may have told about your blog (I'm the middle aged taper dude), I'm not hateful because of what you wrote and I don't think anyone else should be.

Thanks Jeff. Certainly no hatin' intended by my original blog, for the record. In hindsight, I realize I could've made my point without being snide, or minimizing your contributions to the local scene. You weren't the intended target and hence, didn't deserve get hit with any of my admittedly, bitter shrapnel.

I think you're omnipresence on the scene is a boon; whether you like us or not, I'm glad there are fans of local music like you out there.

For the record, just because Steve aired a gripe about City Paper doesn't mean there's some sort of institutional grudge that precludes his music being covered in our pages.

Also, I hadn't mentioned this before because it's a little insider baseball, but most of our local band profiles appear on the No Cover page of the music section. "The Librarian" was actually moved from that page into the general arts section, leaving room for an article on For The People Ent., a local non-profit hip-hop label.

I for one will now be boycotting both the City Paper and this Hefter's music until this all gets sorted out!

JTK, you love to lay that sarcasm on pretty thick. Any substance or all sauce? You seem to love to hear the sound of your own snarky typing- anything to actually say? While your thinking about it, keep insulting this blog that you seem to read as much as anyone else.

Are you kidding? I love this blog! It's really the only source of entertainment I have in my otherwise lifeless day.

I do love the sound of snarky typing, though. I don't have much to inject into a conversation about the City Paper or the music of Steve Hefter save for Simpsons quotes and acerbic sarcasm - I listen to 1970s rock and rapcore. Plus any forum that allows me to make an Adams/Jefferson reference is top shelf!

That said, do the complaints of an aspiring musician who doesn't get his due in the City Paper really prompt much more than snarky commentary? I'd maintain that the artist either man up and move on or start tailoring his music to suit the tastes of the City Paper or start wooing them with more than gripes if he wants to get their kind of exposure.

Now to go think up some hipster jokes or, in lieu of that, remember what the Simpsons said about it...

Yeah come on JTK - get serious here for a minute. I've been boycotting CityPaper for ignoring my all PogoStick and washboard band. I have sent them demo tapes and do they respond?

This is just more of the "media establishment" wielding their power over struggling musicians and artists like myself. I even added a cowbell track - what more do these guys want?

Your response would make sense if that was what his blog really drove at, in essence, in the first place. If you don't care enough to check it out for yourself, why comment? Sounds like you have time to research your targets a little more effectively. Not to say I don't dig on Simpsons or sarcasm- I just prefer slightly more informed smarm.

Darko, you lost me at what I am supposed to check out...this cat's music or the City Paper?

bryanintimonium, you had me at washboard!

I just saw this band in Monterey, now I understand why Steve said he has a knack for saying just the right things. I personally though they rocked hard and put on a nice live performance ( they were sandwiched between two other acts.)

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "o" in the field below:
About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected