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GEICO offers to give Baltimore an identity by promoting shitty D.C. band

October 2, 2013
By

dumb“Baltimore, beautiful city, little bit of a lack of an identity though, especially when it is so close to Washington, D.C.. It has a bit of a tendency to get overshadowed. And bands from [Baltimore] have a tendency to move [to D.C.]. Because there is kind of a scene in D.C. which Baltimore has tended to lack.”

This is Dave Holmes, the host of GEICO’s Indie Across America, sounding like an idiot. When we first saw that GEICO was promoting indie music–and touting Shark Week, a D.C. band, as representative of Baltimore–we knew it was going to be bad. But we didn’t know it was going to be this bad.

First, Holmes is simply wrong. There hasn’t been a cohesive music scene in D.C. since the height of the Dischord days and with skyrocketing rents in the district, musicians are moving here, not to D.C.  Sure, we lose some bands to Brooklyn, but not to fucking Washington.

But the first close-up on Holmes’ eyes lets you know that nothing he says should be taken seriously. Watching Holmes – who got his start finishing second to Jesse Camp on MTV’s “I Wanna Be a VJ” contest – speak is like watching porn where you wonder if the person with the dildo up his ass has some devastating drug problem or emotional issues that brought him to this low, low point.

But it gets worse.

“Here’s the thing, I looked into Baltimore and I couldn’t find out a whole lot about its music scene,” Holmes says, as if his first name were Sherlock. He evidently did not look to our own Big Baltimore Playlist or talk to any of the many local labels. And he acts as if he has never even heard that Rolling Stone named Baltimore the best music scene in the country in 2008, pretending that bands like Beach House, Wye Oak, and Dan Deacon don’t exist.

But, have no fear because Holmes promises that “We’re going to give this place an identity. We’re putting Baltimore on the map.”

He is stupider than a caveman and a gecko combined. What could possibly be behind such idiocy?

We suspect that no real Baltimore band was willing to shill for GEICO, so the whole segment was an attempt to justify picking a D.C. band willing to sell out to some awful insurance commercial to represent Baltimore. “Shark Week is a punk band. They’re kind of splitting their time between Baltimore and D.C.”  says Holmes, which means, apparently, that one of their members lives in Baltimore.

“Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Baltimore’s own Shark Week . . . presented by Geico,” Holmes says to a nearly empty 8×10, which the crew tried to make look more crowded by giving everyone glow sticks as if it were a ’90s rave.

Finally, when the roughly 5-minute video ends (it feels like it lasts 5 hours), Holmes fesses up:  “Shark Week: Baltimore, D.C., wherever they are from, they are keeping that place weird . . . And I like it.”

We’re glad somebody does.

  • sirlordford

    Reeks of laziness.

  • Athena

    Shark Week is a good band. I’m the singer of a seasoned Baltimore band and this article, while true about this guy NOT know about Baltimore’s scene, would have been better if the title didn’t diss the DC band. Baltimore’s scene is about supporting other bands, whether they are from here or not. Calling a neighboring scene’s band shitty is just unnecessary.

    This guy clearly has NO idea what Baltimore’s scene is about.

  • Ashsafrass43

    Hilarious. Agreed.
    (1) Shark Week is a joke, especially in DC (2) Baltimore has one of the best music scenes around. (3) DC’s scene is terrible.

  • Grumpy Gills

    The band shouldn’t have been caught in the crossfire that’s for sure….

    but they also should’ve fessed up that they hail from DC. http://www.facebook.com/SharkWeekDC

  • http://freeformradiotheband.com/ Nikki Smith

    DC doesn’t have a “terrible” music scene, nor is Shark Week a “shitty” band. Geez! I second the comment above about supporting other bands. While I have noticed DC’s blogs and alt weekly only seem to cover a handful of bands, there are a ton of cool acts coming up — and not just my band ;)

  • Ian

    I agree as well… While the headline is funny, it’s not cool to diss the DC band caught in the crossfire. It’s an expensive city and these people need to have day jobs, which leaves less time to be creative!

  • CK

    u madd doggie.

  • http://freeformradiotheband.com/ Nikki Smith

    I know several musicians with day jobs around the District who still find time to be creative. My friend is documenting the DC music scene in photos here: http://www.roxplosion.com/

  • Ian

    i was totally kidding!

  • Boosh

    This man needs to have several seats because he does not know wtf he is talking about.

  • http://freeformradiotheband.com/ Nikki Smith

    All good! Just thought some folks on this thread might be interested in the pics. :)

  • ian

    dc music scene is fuckin awful

  • DCguitarist

    I am a longtime DC musician and will be the first to concede that 1.) Baltimore’s current music scene kicks the shit out of DC 2.) Shark Week is a forgettable band that DC would happily disown and 3.) insurance companies don’t know shit about “indie music”

  • Neil Bergenstein

    The term “Tool” now has an official face. What solidifies Baltimore’s identity is that we couldn’t care less what DC, Forbes, or this tool think about us, or our music scene.

  • Derek Evry

    I front a D.C. band. Absolutely, this was complete garbage. But Shark Week is a great band, and they shouldn’t be chastised for appearing on this shit-show. I love how there is NO mention of the MASSIVE Rockabilly scene in Baltimore. Yes, Dave Holmes sucks. BUT he’s just a puppet. This was thrown together poorly, and whoever green lit this program needs to reevaluate their life. Seriously.

    But it will be ok. The D.C. Scene had an identity in the 80′s, and that identity has morphed quite a bit over the last 34 years. Same with Baltimore.

    If this offends you, do something about it. Become a voice in your local music community. No trolling. No bullshit name calling. Just be a voice. Promote your town and the music that fills it. Then, rock on.

  • usedtorockthenihadkids

    I am unqualified to compare the two scenes today (I could have done so in the 80s or 90s, but I moved), but just from reading and watching here, two things are clear: 1. Sure, Holmes is a tool I wouldn’t take anything he had to say about music very seriously. 2. Woods writes like a high school freshman who thinks he’s cooler than everyone else.

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  • Zach Kowalchek

    shark week AND the baltimore “music scene” are equally as shitty. let’s not split hairs here people.

  • jane carlton

    why do you have to rely on shame-ing sex workers to make a point? not all porn actors are at a “low, low point”

  • Ryan

    Hey, I’m in shark week. just read this. fair enough. To be honest though I had no idea we were from Baltimore until I saw that video. There’s some pretty dipshit stuff in it but also, is anyone really relying on geico for music?

  • Baynard Woods

    Hi Jane, You are entirely correct. I apologize to all the porn actors whose work–and happiness doing it–may have been belittled by my insensitive comparison. Thanks.

  • Bill Crandall

    No no, you’re right Ian. The work-life-art balance in DC tends to be out of whack. I do photography and music (former guitarist of Dot Dash) on top of a day job, so I know it’s doable but also pretty hard.

  • B. Moore

    On behalf of the Baltimore scene, sorry if you’re getting caught up in the backlash. You guys described us well and seem like cool people playing good surf/garage rock. Just know that we have declared jihad against Dave Holmes and whoever put this together. Until recently we had been using our auto insurance companies as one-stop shops for affordable collision coverage, new music, and raw dairy products. Never again.

  • josher71

    Baltimore has a massive rockabilly scene?

  • brian

    Dude should have stuck to Say What Karaoke.

    Also, it was shitty to throw Shark Week under the bus. Great people, great musicians. A lot of the reaction to this illustrates how many are caught up in some stupid tribalistic bullshit that’s best left to (former) jocks screaming at football players. The comparisons and pissing contests between DC and Baltimore is completely absurd. Cool, one city has more bands within its limits than the other, but what benefit is there to use it as leverage against others? Do you expect someone on the other side of a monitor to start applauding you, or to concede to your higher status? Get over it. It’s fucking awesome we got these two cities so close to each other, and others in easy reach.

    And the whole DC ISN’T THE SAME AS IT WAS that some are echoing and I’ve been hearing for years is a no-fucking-duh statement, as of course a city is going to change in 20-30 years time. Demographics change, for better or worse. The sooner you stop try to dig up skeletons to join the land of the living and help make something happen instead of shitting (maybe inadvertently) all over people who are trying, you might end up feeling a bit more fulfilled about it all.

  • emmyclairebear

    “MASSIVE” even! I was surprised as a lifelong Baltimore resident as well!

  • http://www.pulsewidthmod.com/ Maeghan Skala

    comments like these show the writers ignorance and complete lack of taste

  • i forgot who i am

    DC’s Scene: Roxplosion

    hahaha

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  • drummerfromdc

    sad that this happened, as Baltimore has an amazing music scene and absolutely has a very unique identity despite what this guy says. We all know Baltimore’s scene is strong – indie pop bands, electronic music, amazing hip hop – all of which have a flavor that is distinctly baltimore.

    Shark Week IS a good band, and is a representative member of the DC music scene which is truly vibrant and gaining momentum. I think it’s too bad that this video didn’t honestly portray the city that could really benefit from exposure to its arts/music/DIY scenes – DC.

  • el guesto

    Slightly bitter bmore scene person here – when will this vibrancy extend to booking out of town acts? There are some great bands that do really well in Baltimore and can’t get so much as an email reply from DC club owners. I’ve personally helped set up several shows for touring acts coming through the area and hooked them up in Baltimore because they couldn’t establish communication with any DC venues. I know there are several issues involved including the cost of living and property in DC, but its “scene” is seriously fragmented and it seems like it could benefit from some artist-run venue. It manages to somehow be both fragmented and insular. I’ve seen some great DC acts but many like Hume give up and move to Baltimore. DC crowds also seem more likely to treat the bands as background music.

  • Brian Setzer

    By which he means four people each weighing 250+ lbs.

  • http://freeformradiotheband.com/ Nikki Smith

    Very cute. You also forgot to post a link to your band’s music page. ;)

  • Best Mark Miller

    Baltimore does have a great music scene, but lets be honest, most of it is underground… deep underground. I mean, I like to think that I’m connected enough to know about good bands and shows (even though I never go to them anymore), but they are always happening at small obscure clubs with no website, and the flyer will just have a venue name AND NO ADDRESS. I think we secretly, (or maybe not so secretly) don’t want just anyone coming to our shows… I swear the pertinent info for some of these awesome shows that happen may as well be buried within a Klingon Language Sudoku Puzzle.

    Don’t get me wrong, once you run into the right person willing to give you directions to the warehouse, karaoke bar or gas station bathroom that is the hotspot of the night, you will soon be connected to a cornucopia of amazing tunes (if you can get int), but up until that point, you’re probably just going to watch the Wire and wonder why anyone would ever want to live here.

  • Punk Wonk Mike

    The only thing less accurate than calling Shark Week a Baltimore band is calling them a punk band. They’re OK (perhaps even pretty good) at what they do, and the actually manage to get DC show-goers dancing, which is a rare accomplishment for a band that doesn’t play Go-Go. But they’re about as punk as Huey Lewis and the News.

  • andyshankman

    I can’t hate on Al but I can, and will, and we all should hate on Dave Holmes. Join me.

  • http://ChipShirley.Com/ ChipShirley

    Video magazine for the Athens scene circa 1999-

    I shot and edited this
    as a ‘would be’ monthly TV show for a local Athens channel that went out
    of business just as I had it finished. For years I thought the files
    were corrupted and useless. I just discovered that it was my equipment
    for playback that was malfunctioning. For all the great Athens artists
    who let me record them I have this brief offering and great thanks. Hope
    you enjoy!
    Chip Shirley

    Athens GA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaJFkn8A_aE&feature=c4-overview&list=UUg02Y0byB7tj-ifyB-S7hNw
    INTRO-
    2:16- Jucifer ‘Superman’
    6:00- 8 Track Gorilla ‘Mental Illness’
    6:54- Pearce Williams ‘Sugarlump’
    9:24- Street Girls
    10:10- Harry Carry backstage at High Hat and DJ Darcy at GA Theater
    10:45- Empire State at Team Clermont Prom
    12:37- Widespread ‘Panic in the Streets’
    15:45 -ORT ‘I’m too fat!’
    17:23- Leguano ‘My Garage’
    20:23- Brian ‘On the Street’
    20:43 Melted Men and Olivia Tremor Control ‘Italian Seaside Ice Jester’ a capella’
    OUTRO.

  • ccow

    It is totally funny how butt-hurt people in Baltimore were about this stupid piece by a fucking INSURANCE company…who cares!? Maybe go back to 2008 and suck off a writer for Rolling Stone(who the fuck reads Rolling Stone?). Further proof that the shitty paper covers the important news…not…oh, and it’s nice that you appologized to the porn actors…don’t wanna offend the sex workers…sheesh…grumble, mumble

  • Best Mark Miller

    Case in point:

    https://www.facebook.com/events/168123266722369/?notif_t=plan_user_invited

    How the hell is anyone supposed to know where this show is?

    The location is “the Bahamas” and the only translation is
    “Bahamas = CC B403″

  • Best Mark Miller

    unrelated to my other rant, my friends hip hop group called “Hand Job Academy” has a song called “Shark Week,” Check out this video they did for it and the interview about it:

    http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/10/handjob-academy-shark-week.html?mid=twitter_thecutblog

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