Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Liz Phair Week continues...

The Early Years/The Early Tapes

Liz Phair first came to prominence when a graphic designer named Tae Won Yu discovered her during a vacation in Chicago. At the time she was working long hours at a menial job, struggling to make ends meet, and pouring her heart into song after song during her precious spare moments late at night. Tae decided to review her demo cassette in a small but influential magazine called Chemical Imbalance. Unfortunately, right around this time Liz had a misunderstanding with a friend of Tae's who also didn't know about "writing in character" (see yesterday's post for an explanation of what that is). Miffed, Tae retaliated with a savage review in which he called Liz's tape only the thirteenth best thing he'd heard that year (13 being an unlucky number, the implication was obvious). For a while, Liz thought that this might be the end of her chances to be a big star.

There were two saving graces. Tae had printed Liz Phair's address in the article so that readers could write to her and tell her what a lousy musician she was. Liz turned the tables on him by personally duplicating and mailing out tapes of her music to each and every person who wrote, so they could judge for themselves. The hundreds who received tapes from her quickly began to spread the word that the Chemical Imbalance review was way off-base, and Liz Phair's fame began to grow.

Secondly, though Liz was upset by Tae's savage review, she kept her cool and sent a very polite letter to the editor of Chemical Imbalance in order to explain that his reviewer might have been biased. She wrote it in the form of a fable, ostensibly about several small pigs and a wolf who wanted to eat them. Reading between the lines, the editor of Chemical Imbalance realized that his reviewer had been biased against Liz Phair and he fired Tae Won Yu on the spot.

Satellite by Kicking Giant
Ruby Red by Kicking Giant
Throw by Kicking Giant

Don't miss a single edition of Liz Phair Week! Tomorrow: "Judas!"

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