Birdcloud and Artist Politics

Birdcloud is a satirical country music band that plays music for the purpose of riling up crowds.  According to the reaction they’re getting from at least one hater, they’re pretty good at their job.  Knoxville artist Daniel Blaine McBride is conducting a one-man smear campaign against the duo in an attempt to have bookers pull them from dates, according to a Nashville Scene article.

Apparently McBride took offense to the Birdcloud song “Black Guys,” which you can listen to below if you are so inclined.  It’s not my bag, but it’s kind of funny.

I can see where people would enjoy the humor, and it’s apparently something that gives them a strong enough fan base to where they can pull $500 in a night at a merchandise table at the Pilot Light, which is a tough place to draw money in the Scruffy City.  If you’re an independent artist, that’s a heck of a night in a very small venue, and deserves congratulations.  McBride didn’t just think the song bad, or in bad taste. He used it as an excuse to try and have promoters shun Birdcloud from upcoming tour dates and venues.  Here’s an example of the Facebook posts he’s slung at promoters.

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The problem with this is it’s not just a false statement, it could constitute grounds for false light invasion of privacy should Birdcloud choose to pursue further action in the legal sphere.  McBride’s actions aren’t anything new to the special snowflake crowd.  It’s easy enough to denounce that which you find offensive racist, sexist, homophobic, or whatever denigratory term you wish to use.  When you make statements that cause harm to a person’s image, and that person suffers from it in a monetary capacity, that can lead to legal action.  Fortunately, it looks like that won’t be necessary for Birdcloud, as the promoters McBride continues to message seem to get Birdcloud’s antics more than McBride’s irritation.

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It looks like McBride went on a copy and paste spree with his antics, as the above is a screen shot of an exchange between McBride and a venue in Chattanooga, Tennessee called “JJ’s Bohemia.”  Apparently JJ’s caught onto the act and didn’t really care too much for what he had to say.  Just in case you can’t read their response, I repost it in full below:

Daniel, you must have mistaken us for someone who gives a shit about the opinions of a self appointed dishonest social justice warrior.  Birdcloud has been friends of ours for over 5 years and will continue to perform whenever the fuck they want at JJ’s.

Bravo to JJ’s for not falling prey to McBride’s attempts at shaming Birdcloud out of business.  As an aside, this just smacks of sheer jealousy.  McBride’s a musician as well, and he’s attempting to have another performing group lose out on business just because he doesn’t like their work.  That’s fine, but what happens when people decide they don’t like McBride’s music for whatever reason and attempt to have him shamed into silence and driven from venues?  Why not spend time creating music you care about,  building up your own work, marketing and playing your own music, and enjoying your craft instead of trying to shut others down?

As a bizarre oddity to all this, it now appears McBride’s attempts at shutting Birdcloud down only served to amplify the duo’s work.  It’s odd how that happens when someone tries to silence the voice of another with whom they disagree.  It’s also managed to tarnish McBride’s own personal work, as people won’t associate him with the quality of his music following the debacle.  They’ll remember his attempts at taking business away from another band in an attempt to look virtuous.  Something tells me that doesn’t bode well for him.

The arts (writing, music, painting, acting, etc.) are areas open for critique.  People are allowed their opinions on each. Daniel McBride is free to call Birdcloud racist as he chooses, and boycott them at his will.  Sinking to the lows of spreading false statements about their shows and their work in an attempt to drive other musicians out of business is an entirely different level of sleazy.  It’s time to cut the garbage and let Birdcloud be as foul as they please.

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