Before I begin this little reflection I should make clear that it is NOT the celebration of a PiercingMetal anniversary at all that I am speaking of and is instead more of a personal one because believe it or not, I have been a music journalist for ten years effective today. I can hardly believe that it’s been that long already but let’s get down to the story which begins on September 7th in 2003 when the band Nightwish was making their very first NYC appearance at L’Amour’s in Brooklyn.
Now I had been listening to Nightwish for a little over a year when this was happening and I was finding great appeal in the music that was coming from this part of the world. I grabbed tickets and headed to the show with some friends that I had convinced to join in and take a chance on something that was relatively new in these parts and I kid you not when I expected to find a bare sampling of fans in place upon arrival. I could not have been more wrong as there was a throng of attendees and people dying for tickets to get in. I’m not going into much about the show here but will stress that it blew me away and impressed me at the openness to stuff that was not from around here in any sense of the word. After the show I wrote to the Bravewords.com site, as I read them almost daily and enjoyed their reports about Metal that I never envisioned heading our way back in 2003 and since there was an email address to reach them on I figured letting them know about the show would be cool to do. This was a fan note and since I was still new to the band and their music to our scene I had a lot of mistakes in some of the details. It happens and let’s face it, researching bands of this kind was not as simple as it is nowadays. A day or two passed after Bravewords posted my little paragraph and I booted up the PC after work and found the following (slightly appended for brevity) email message.
9/10/2003: Hi Ken, Sergi from www.themetalcircus.com webzine here. We’re located in Barcelona (Spain) and I’ve just seen your short review about the NIGHTWISH show in New York, so I was thinking if it’s possible for you to do a longer review for us to publish. Also, I’m pretty interested in having somebody in that area covering several concerts (when and if he has the time to do it); the press credentials are something we would arrange from Spain so a good coverage can be done. Tell me what you think and take a look at the site if you feel like doing it!
The idea instantly appealed to me because it would be a fun pursuit and obviously something that would not take too much time out of my day in order to get him something after an assigned concert. Also, what better way is there to learn about more cool new bands than by being able to go for free as someone who is there to discuss the proceedings with a large Metal fan base around the world. I replied to his note and didn’t hear right back but when I did the ball was already rolling with some speed as you will see in “Reply 2” (also appended lightly).
9/17/2003: Hi Ken, I’m sorry for not getting back to you earlier. I have a couple of jobs and so I’m quite busy and I tend to answer emails every couple of days more/less. NIGHTWISH is ok if you can send it, and also TYPE O’ NEGATIVE. But the cream of the crop would be the KISS/AEROSMITH and IRON MAIDEN/DIO/MOTORHEAD reviews, long ones (do you have pictures?). That would be awesome. They’re bands that the typical visitors of our website care a lot about, so there would be a lot of visits to that feature. Let me know the promoters or organizers of the SLAYER and HELLOWEEN shows if you have them so a pass can be arranged for you and also do a review of the KISS Symphony movie thing, it would also be great. Everything will be published and obviously rightfully credited to Ken Pierce.
The Nightwish show was more recent as I have already mentioned but the Maiden and KISS concerts were from a couple of months ago and would require a little extra memory refresher. As a bonus he offered up a number of promotional items for me to continue the process with if I was interested and while we discussed a few things that I liked, the end result was decided that it was better if I began to respond to mailers that I was cc’d on in order to establish a presence here in the States for their European brand. I also thought it would be cool to get the occasional free CD in the mail and not have it come from some sketchy “music of the month club”. If I only knew then ? I should mention that my review copy while being sent to Sergi in English was translated into Spanish and then posted for his readers. The entire site was in his native language but in order to help my efforts along, I asked if he would mind leaving the English copy below the Spanish. He did and this let my friends and potentially others enjoy what I was now bringing to the table. As I look back on notes that I kept in terms of PR relationships, the first folks that I interacted with were Nuclear Blast Records, Chipster PR, and even some members of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. More would follow in the coming months but these were the very first. I submitted the articles about all of his topics of interest about three days after that second message which makes 9/20/2003 my official tenth year of doing the whole music scribe thing. It’s without question that this has been a blast and continues to be so with new musical discoveries being found and discussed each and every chance that I get. There have been no breaks in the ten years either. It has been continuous since that time.
The photo below is of the actual ticket that I used for that Nightwish show and I am very glad that I still have it considering that it is now very important to my own music scribe history. If you want to see the review that was done just click on the ticket and you will be taken to the article on my core PiercingMetal site. This report and other legacy writing has since been integrated into the main content database of PiercingMetal.com with slight notations as to where they were originally submitted. With that being said, Nightwish was the first piece of professional Metal review that I ever did and is one of the main reasons the band holds such a special place in my Metal heart.
Since that fateful first email exchange I have professionally reviewed over 700 Metal and Hard Rock concerts along with a little over 2,500 CD and DVD releases. That’s effective as of right now and our ardent readers know that I am always writing or shooting and that there is always something going online with this site. PiercingMetal’s own 9th Anniversary comes in April 2014 which is just short of two years after I decided to pursue this adventure in the first place. Now if any of you are asking if I have any sage advice for you about the process my answer is yes and no as so many things have changed across the media geography since I began. The best thing I can say is that you should do this with zeal and honesty no matter what. Take pride in doing this properly and for the best positive sake of your medium and the networking that should never ever stop being done. We now live in a world where everyone is a writer, everyone is a photographer and everyone is a video or radio host thanks to the wonders of the Internet. At the same time the myriad of the social mediums are letting millions of people tell you what they are doing at every single minute so you need to work harder at finding out who is listening to what you might be saying and run for the scoring point from there. I hope that is a little helpful.
Closing up I say thanks to my old friend in Metal media Sergi at The Metal Circus and hope that he is well these days. Also many, many worlds of thanks to any and all those who enjoy my work in this field and have supported the endeavors without hesitation. I appreciate it more than you can ever realize.