I'm not talking about the money, the fame or the fact that he can eat sweet, syrupy Belgian waffles off Beyonce's fun bags whenever he feels like it. No, he is a lucky bastard because he has 99 problems -- but a bitch ain't one.
Conversely, many a Kansas City musician will readily inform you that he or she has 99 problems, and the Pitch is one. In fact, this paper might be the source of all area musicians' problems. Impotent? Our fault. Dyslexic? Yep. The newspaper fails to shower an average white band with accolades, even though the lead singer's mom, buddies and boss at QuikTrip insist that it's fucking brilliant? Our bad.
And since the nominees for the 2004 Pitch Music Awards have been announced, we've heard a little grumbling, folks. A little unsportsmanlike grousing. After all, only 98 slots were available.
Let me explain.
There is no spiteful wizard twisting knobs and pulling levers behind the curtain of this Oz fest. The nomination process has nothing to do with blindfolds and a dartboard. There is no secret room where West Indian spider monkeys flail wildly on typewriters until one of them arbitrarily pounds out "Silver Shore" as a nominee for Best New Act.
There is no magic 8-ball. No names in a hat. No secret cabal of sweaty cynics sitting in a dimly lighted basement, wringing their hands with sadistic glee and cackling as they try mightily to nudge the Earth from its axis by nominating the Buddy Lush Phenomenon in the Best Country/Roots/Bluegrass category.
There is no conspiracy. In fact, the Pitch Music Awards are the region's most extensive and exhaustive recognition of talented area musicians.
The nominees weren't written on the back of a crumpled cocktail napkin last night. The wheels began turning for the 2004 Pitch Music Awards Showcase (August 5 in Westport) and the Pitch Music Awards Show (August 13 at the Uptown Theater) back in January.
Nearly 100 panelists -- area journalists, radio personalities, record store impresarios, producers, promoters and venue owners -- were polled for their nominations. These are people immersed in local music, yet they have enough perspective to offer as impartial an appraisal as possible.
Well over 300 artists received nominations in 18 categories -- nearly 50 bands received at least one vote in the Best Rock category alone -- and the votes were tallied multiple times by a crack team of West Indian spider monkeys to determine the official nominees on the 2004 ballot.
The top five or six vote getters in each category qualified for the honor of being an official nominee. Ties were settled only after consulting with panelists and considering a range of factors, from frequency of local shows to significant recent accomplishments. Two new categories were created, and 54 of the 91 artists nominated are new to the ballot since the 2003 awards. This is the most inclusive Pitch Music Awards yet.
Naturally, the process has its flaws. But every "election" is imperfect. G-Dub didn't even win the last presidential vote, but we've nonetheless allowed him to drag America to the edge of the yawning crevice of sociopolitical apocalypse.
We would love to give every person performing in every corner of every bar and in every garage in every corner of every neighborhood in this metropolis one of those shiny participant ribbons that elementary schools give to kids in competitions.
But we can't. And it wouldn't matter if we could. Inevitably, some conscientious objector would opine, "How fucking dare you give the Baloney Poneyz a turquoise ribbon. And what kind of shit-for-brains would give the Black Rabbits a chartreuse ribbon when their sound is clearly more suited to burgundy? And my fourth solo project, the Phenomenal And Unappreciated Genius of Me, didn't even get a ribbon? You are so out of touch. Fuck you."
But you can't please all of the people all of the time. Sometimes you can't even please some of the people some of the time. Luckily, this isn't about pleasing anybody. It's about recognizing the talent and hard work of some of the region's top musicians.
A Pitch Music Award nomination is an honor bestowed on a select few. They deserve sincere congratulations. But this isn't a dictatorship or a puppet government. It is a democracy. Which is why Pitch readers ultimately decide who takes home an award.