Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What's the Drum on Murray going M.I.A.?

Life's tough in the Byzantine world of the Sydney street press where rival publications are scrambling for the same, limited revenue base.

On the one hand you have The Brag, the free weekly that's as much dance music and social scene picture parade as gig guide, a sort of "all things to all comers". On the other hand, you have Drum Media, the venerable giveaway that was a breakaway from the (defunct) On The Street, with more of a focus on rock and roll.

The Brag's a brash newcomer but making leaps and strides. The Drum's been more Sydney-centric, more consistent and focussed - as you might expect of a paper that's been around longer. You presume it knows its market. In return, it's had a loyal audience that's stuck.

Shock news of this and most other weeks is that Drum Media and 18-year-contributor Murray Engleheart, whose Remedy column was the best-read section by the paper's rock and roll market, have parted ways.

Remedy had been straddling the bases of punk, garage, hard rock and metal for more time than most can remember, seeing out all manner of passing fads and dutifully reporting on the music that the mainstream press ignores. It was "old school" in much of its content, in as much as the bands it often covered were superannuants like Radio Birdman, the Stooges, AC/DC. the MC5 and so on, but there was always room for the latest names in hard rock.

Believe it or not, it might take something special to push mortgage belt wage slaves off their comfy chairs and inspire them to drag their sad and sorry, chiropractic-maintained bones to a live gig, but it does happen. They still buy albums and go to shows, the later subject to babysitter availability . The one place they (we) could always go to keep the hearing aids to the ground was Remedy.

Remedy was a Real Rock and Roll oasis against the increasingly vacuous, Paris and Brittney-dominated world of prefab, Aussie Idol icons, et al.

Seems to me that in a competitive market you play to your strengths and if one of them is a guy with nearly three decades experience in these things, you're silly not to hold onto him.

Remedy (the name's from a Rose Tattoo tune, if you have to ask) limps on, albeit as a pure heavy metal column. Voice your feelings to letters@drummedia.com.au

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Murray is great and passionate (even if he did make a big deal about the Screaming fucking Jets) and he can actually write (an almost unheard-of ability for a streetrag guy).