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Advice Crush: Dear Boogie

January 5, 2011
Disclaimer: the advice provided by Brendan Boogie does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Boston Band Crush management. In 2011, Brendan will make a sincere effort to keep the juvenile humor to a minimum, including but not limited to curbing the excessive use of the term ‘bitchpuppy’ in a non-medical context.

Dear Boogie,

Several months ago my band was working with a “professional” on some business related issues we needed to straighten out. It quickly became apparent that this individual was more interested in image consulting and generally screwing with the band lineup and internal dynamics than helping us get the nuts-and-bolts red tape-type stuff – i.e. the things we actually hired them to do. To their credit, some of their suggestions were helpful, but a lot of it was stuff we didn’t really feel comfortable with. We informally and amicably parted company – or so I thought…
In the months since then, it has come to me & my bandmates’ attention that this individual has been going around talking smack about us to anyone who’ll listen, telling our colleagues in other bands not to play with us, bookers not to book us, radio folks not to play us, bloggers not to blog about us – you name it – all because we didn’t agree with some of their advice and ultimately went in a direction they didn’t like on a couple issues.
How would you handle this situation and this individual, Dear Boogie? Confronting them would do no good – it would probably make the situation worse. I think we’re talking damage control here..
Undeserved Bad Reputation

Dear UBR,

First of all – you’re only sixteen, you don’t have a rep yet. Secondly – and it pains me to say this to a reader – I’m getting a sneaking suspicion you’re in the wrong on this one. I’m basing this on a criminally small amount of information, mind you. But boldly reading between the lines is sort of my thing and I’m at least half-convinced that you might be the asshole on this one. Here are a few clues that lead me to this conclusion:

Exhibit A: You wrote that you “informally” parted company. Is that kind of like breaking up with your high school girlfriend by conveniently forgetting to tell her where you’re going to college? Sounds a little suspect.

Exhibit B: From how you tell it, this person walks up to bookers, radio people, bloggers, etc., pokes them in the chest, and bellows “Don’t book/play/blog this band” and miraculously everyone in town says “Duhhhh… okay!” Unless there’s some sort of Mafia thing happening here, that scenario doesn’t add up. I’ve never had anyone say the words “Don’t play with these guys.” However, I HAVE had people tell me stories about difficult/disreputable/unethical band practices that gave me pause about doing business with those folks. Usually with juicy details that are very difficult to make up. Just saying.

Granted, I could be totally wrong about this (by my calculations, I’m wrong roughly 93% of the time), but is it at all possible that your bad reputation may not be as undeserved as you think? Just maybe? Everyone thinks that they are a good driver, good in bed, and consistently views themselves as the good guys. But obviously, there are plenty of road hazards, lousy lays, and douche galoshes running around these parts. What they lack is self-awareness to know that it is in fact THEY who are the problem. Because really, how do you know?

Here’s how you find out: make a list of everyone in town who has a problem with you for any reason. Don’t judge whether they are justified or not. Just make a master list. Then, ask around about the other party with whom you disagree – who in town has a problem with him/her? Now, multiply by the nearest negative integer and the prime directive of the hypotenuse. Then, throw out that result and have a chicken salad sandwich. After THAT, take a look at your lists. The highest number is the biggest asshole. Bada bing. One or two people hating you is a personality conflict. Four or five is a drinking problem. Anything approaching double digits is a character disorder on your part. Math doesn’t lie.

UBR, you wrote me not to have your ethics questioned, but for advice on how to handle the situation so here it is: from here on in, don’t give anyone even the slightest reason to doubt your integrity. Be clear about all business relationships and put everything (including “amicable” separations) in writing via email. Don’t be afraid to talk money up front in a clear and respectful way. If someone wants to nickel-and-dime you, let them do it without a fight (only once, of course – just don’t work with them again). Give everyone the benefit of the doubt whether they deserve it or not. Be a model citizen even to the people who’s sleaziness makes you cringe. Life is long. The survivors always manage to keep their heads above the mucky muck.

Soundtrack to your misery: Baker “My Reputation” (from the vaults!)

The new year is off to a classy start, huh bitchpuppies? Need help with ethical, moral, intellectual, or sexual quandaries? (Nothing too gross – Brendan as a weak stomach.) Unload at or fill in our anonymous bitchpuppy of a submission form below:

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