Boston Music Awards still refuse to indentify nominating team, suspicions abound

BMALogoThis Opinion piece is a follow up to the one posted last week about the Boston Music Awards. That Opinion piece inspired a lot of people connected to the BMA to harass me on Facebook. Those same people who were after me were also harassing others for simply sharing my Opinion piece.

This is a curios matter. My Opinion piece, when you boil it down to its essence, was simply asking that the BMA inform the public as to who serves on their nominating committee and how their nominating process works. Instead of releasing that list of nominators, their organizational flow chart, and a description of how that process works, they responded with personal attacks. The BMA organizers only had to release the names of their nominators and how their system works, and the whole matter would’ve went away in a day.

Their arrogance is at a level of surrealism. After informing this zine that the Boston Music Awards list of nominators would be made public, BMA organizer Chip Rives still has not released that list. This delay is becoming more suspicious each day. It seems like Mr. Rives would like to drag it out until everybody in the Boston music scene forgets that he offered to make the information public, then just hope the whole thing goes away. This refusal to let the Boston music buying public know who serves on the nominating committee continues to raise questions.

Mr. Rives raised eyebrows when he tried to invite this music journalist to participate in his Boston Music Awards event this year. As he no longer needs anybody on his nominating committee for this year, it seemed like he wanted to silence a critic by co-opting him. Mr. Rives repeatedly reminder that he runs the BMA on a volunteer basis, that he does not get paid. That is true. But, it cannot be overlooked how many contacts he can make through the BMAs, which can benefit his day job, owning and operating an entertainment PR firm. Mr. Rives, once he realized I couldn’t be co-opted, commented that I’m “delusional,” demanded I stop contacting him, then blocked me on Facebook. He sounded stressed. Many in the Boston music community were surprised I even got a response from him.

Assumptions can be drawn. The nominating committee members might be too closely tied to the acts that have been nominated. The nominating committee might be overly directed by a few organizers who control the nominating process. There may only be a few people serving on the nominating committee, as opposed to the 180 plus that Chip Rives boasted of in a private message to this zine. There may only be one or two nominators for certain categories, like blues.

In between the time I commented on BMA’s Facebook page about the blues nominations and the time I wrote my first BMA Opinion piece, I heard from a member of the blues community named Jim Carty. Mr. Carty took exception to me for commenting that this year’s blues nominees are almost the exact same names from the last few years. He also told me that some suggestions I made for blues nominees were invalid because the BMA wanted nominees with new albums. The problem with that is one of the names I suggested, Willie J. Laws Band, just released an album last July. The blues bands that were nominated for this year, Roomful Of Blues and Gracie Curran and High Falutin’ Band released their albums over a year ago, placing them, according to Carty’s criteria, in last year’s list of nominations. Another blues nominees this year, the highly regarded, well-respected guitarist-humanitarian Peter Parcek, hasn’t released a CD since 2010, his Mathematics Of Love album. I’m not certain what Mr. Carty’s agenda is. I’m not certain why he feels empowered to correct my opinions on the BMA nominating process. I only know that his information is incorrect. This year’s blues acts are so well regarded that it’s a certainty they don’t need to pull strings to boost their name recognition. But for some reason, Mr. Carty, and whoever else nominates in the blues category, probably don’t get out to see a lot of blues bands if he or they keep picking the same names over and over again each year. Mr. Carty ceased contact with me after I posted last week’s opinion piece titled Boston Music Awards corrupted by self serving nominating committee, easily documented.

In that last Opinion piece on this matter, it was revealed that many acts, over the years, have been nominated for a BMA while they were working with Ralph Jaccodine Management. Then, once those acts ceased working with Jaccodine, they fell of the BMA’s radar, never to be nominated again. Mr. Jaccodine has not responded publicly to the correlation this zine made between his former acts and their once prominent place among the BMA’s nominees.

Vanyaland's Michael Marotta

Vanyaland’s Michael Marotta

There are other peculiar thing going on with Boston Music Awards. Last October 4th, a pre-BMA event called The Sound Of The Town was held at an outdoor stage called The Lawn On D. This event was hosted and sponsored by the music blog Vanyaland, co-owned by Michael Marotta, former music editor at the now defunct Boston Phoenix. Vanyaland is now nominated for its second BMA after winning it last year. It would seem a little too cozy of an arrangement for one of the nominees to be hosting a BMA event in which the nominees were announced. Here is a description of the event copied right off of Boston Music Awards’ Facebook page: “

Sound Of Our Town is being curated by the award winning Boston online magazine, Vanyaland, and will serve as the platform to announce the 2014 Boston Music Award nominees and commence public voting for winning artists.” was never made aware of this Sound Of The Town/BMA/The Lawn On D event because the BMA only seems to inform local music press agencies that it deals with regularly.

Another odd coincidence involving the Boston Music Awards is that many of this year’s nominees participated in The Rumble competition last spring. At least one third of the Rumble bands from last April’s competition have been nominated for a Boston Music Award this fall. The Rumble, once an event that belonged to Boston’s storied radio station, WBCN, is now hosted by on air personality Anngelle Wood, a third rate announcer with a feckless voice and weak enunciation. Wood, apparently working for WZLX,WFNX, and a few other Boston radio stations, organizes The Rumble all by herself. The curious thing is, Ms. Wood does not publicize her criteria for selecting the bands who come to participate in her competition. In the past three days, Ms. Wood has not responded to multiple requests from this zine for a description of her criteria and standards for bands to enter The Rumble competition. Here is a quote from Ms. Wood copied directly from the BMA’s Facebook page: “

The Rumble's Anngelle Wood

The Rumble’s Anngelle Wood

Headed to The Lawn on D today for Boston Music Awards season kick off. Vanyaland put some cool bands on the big stage. Nominations announced. I’m hoping for some of my awesome and talented to friends to show up on that list.” It sounds suspiciously like Ms. Wood has a vested interest in seeing some of her talented friends make the list of nominees. Ms. Wood did make one comment in a recent Facebook post about the discussion generated by these questions: “What the fuck ever.”

Another disturbing aspect to all of this is how music reporters from the local music scene have designated themselves guardians of the Boston Music Awards and its key participants. Music journalists Luke O’Neil and Rob Duguay have been harassing me relentlessly on Facebook since I posted my first Opinion piece last week. At the very least, they are not being objective in their reporting. More troubling, Boston Herald’s Jed Gottlieb, a regular fixture at the Boston Music Awards, who reports on the BMA from the time the nominations are announced in October up until after the awards ceremony in December, doesn’t want to press the BMA to publish their list of nominators. Curious, you’d think a reporter from one of the city’s two major newspapers would want to enforce “the public has a right to know” motto of the press. Disturbingly, Gottlieb’s own music blog, GuestListed, is nominated this year for the Best Blog award. Ahem.

It is becoming very clear that the Boston Music Awards, The Rumble, Vanyaland, and a few others have a very closed, close knit community. The consequences of this are their own dwindling level of credibility and the fact that there are likely a lot of high caliber bands in Boston who cannot receive the same recognition that a BMA nomination would engender because they’re not apart of this insular in-crowd.