Two weeks ago, in a round-up of "inessential" press releases, I discussed Batter Blaster, a spray-on-pancake-batter company that had delved into the world of rock by offering free, hip, indie songs to fans of high-tech breakfast products. Perhaps unfairly, I questioned Batter Blaster's motives: "Is this a sincere marriage of art and commerce, as the Batter Blaster fat cats would have you believe, or just another disheartening example of indie bands selling their souls to hop in bed with Big Aerosol Pancake?"
But a day later, as I smugly returned to the Phoenix website to survey my work, I found a withering comment from someone calling himself "Chef Batter Blaster":
As one of the guys behind the "disheartening" Batter Blaster music campaign, I wonder if you'd bothered to make a call to find out that the "fat cats at Big Aerosol Pancake" are actually just 12 people who used to work at bars, indie-record labels, and restaurants. . . . I also wonder if you have any other ideas how to market a small food product in an incredibly competitive business, in an industry older than any other, with zero marketing budget.
Clearly, by your article, you possess such wisdom, so please, spell it out for us. Don't bother with Powerpoint or anything complicated, I'm sure you don't have time for that, as you clearly don't have time to follow up on press releases, fact-check, or any of the other basics of "journalism."
Sincerely, one of the dumbshits at Batter Blaster.
I could have dismissed this with the classic stereotype that the pancake-batter-spray industry has no sense of humor about itself, but when a credible member of the public takes my journalistic ethics to task, I must regard that seriously.
The truth of Chef Batter Blaster's words cuts deep: I'm a lazy journalist, I falsely accused bitchin' indie renegades of being pancake fat cats, and I have little idea how to market pancake spray other than by subtly suggesting that kids could get high from the propellants. (Feel free to use that, Batter Blaster guys.) I invited Chef Batter Blaster to email me with his side of the story; he did, and I humbly present it to you now.
Chef Batter Blaster is one Nick Tangborn, chief operating officer of Batter Blaster. Although I made light of BB's ties to the music industry, he's quite a player; he used to run the Jackpine Social Club label in San Francisco, which "put out Kelley Stoltz's Antique Glow, one of the first Sonny Smith records long before he was Sonny and the Sunsets, Oranger, a bunch of other bands too." Furthermore, Batter Blaster CEO Sean O'Connor used to run Thee Parkside, a hep SF indie/punk dive. I haven't heard any of those bands or been to that venue, but as a San Francisco native, I can confirm that they sound like cool things that probably exist.
In addition to spelling out Batter Blaster's cred, Tangborn once again took my journalism to task. Although it's painful, I'm obliged to reprint his comments: