Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Internet Runs Out of News, Posts Girl's Blog Post (OR) Elizabeth Fey's Response to the Foxygen Shit Storm


A few years ago I lived the hardest six months of my life (so far) in Olympia, Washington and Elizabeth Fey was my only friend. I had moved from New York to Olympia to work as the head of publicity for K Records, and shortly after settling in Elizabeth came on as an intern. She and I became friendly right away, primarily because she was funny, warm, creative, and intelligent - but also because she wasn't an asshole, and the entire rest of the town was populated with big stinky ones. During our brief, but memorable time together at K Records, Elizabeth and I would exchange our war stories about the various ways we were being horrified and shit upon by the town's folk. I remember her telling me a story about going to a dance party at some hole in the wall bar there that Calvin Johnson was DJing, and how she spent her night trying to dance and have fun while a click of girls circled around her like wild dogs, making fun of her appearance, and of her dance moves. There are more stories. Stories about how she got up really early one morning to drive my best friend, who had come to visit me from California, to the airport, how she always stuck up for me, even when the entire town turned against me and was threatening to beat me up for not eating organic or recycling, and how she has tried to stay in touch, to this day, even though I'm basically just another asshole in her life who hasn't done much to deserve her kindness. 

A week or so ago Elizabeth shared a blog post with me that has now been hacked up and re-posted by Stereogum, Pigeons & Planes, Pitchfork, NME, Clash Music, Spin, Brooklyn Vegan, Paste, and I'm sure many more. I can't speak for what these other writers got out of her post, other than traffic hits and content that they didn't need to fart out of the fart factory that day, but what I got from her post is that it's hard to go from being a small town girl making music in her bedroom because she's good at it and it's what she loves doing, to being in a well known band with her boyfriend and having the other people involved in the band treat her like shit. That seems like a pretty normal thing to feel. That seems like a pretty normal thing to write about in a blog post. What isn't "normal" is reading someone's public thoughts on a private matter and thinking "well this girl is an attention seeking whore who is clearly trying to break up this brilliant band that no one gave a shit about a year ago." Don't get me wrong, Foxygen is a good band, but when the internet is freaking out about another new band, and no one is tip tapping away on their laptops about them anymore, or having Twitter fights about who in the band is fucking who, and why, Elizabeth Fey will be out there doing something okay and being okay. She was okay then when people were dicks to her, and she's okay now. What Elizabeth has taken away from this, and what we can all see as the moral of the story, is that the world will allow you to be a girl, a girl who makes music, a girl who makes music in a famous band, a girl who makes music in a famous band that her boyfriend is also in, or a girl who makes music in a famous band that her boyfriend is also in - resulting in problems sometimes, but you can't have it all. You can't be all of those things. Band or no band, what the internet (world) has been telling Elizabeth these past few weeks, and what it's been telling creative women since the beginning of time, is something along the lines of "shut up and look pretty." But Elizabeth isn't going to shut up, because like Yoko Ono, who she's been compared to recently, her big mouth is her biggest asset, and if it upsets you, that's your problem, not hers. 


I asked Elizabeth to write a response to the recent Foxygen shitstorm, and this is what she had to say:

"Last time I checked, writing about one’s personal experience on tour was an acceptable thing to do. I’ve had a Tumblr for three years that I update every other day documenting my life. It just so happens that this year my life became a little more public. I don't consider it "airing my dirty laundry." It's what writers do, they write about their life.  I felt the need to express myself and how I was treated in Foxygen because there was no accountability for anything and it annoyed me. It annoyed me to read everywhere that the lead singer Sam France is “crazy” a “drug addict” and an “asshole” when in reality none of those things are true. Illusion is the favorite tool of the media when it comes to painting a picture of something and how they would like it to look. My intentions were never to have my blog post on Pitchfork or Spin, I just wrote it on my Tumblr and I honestly thought those websites had other things to worry about. What bothers me the most is how my words were spun way out of context. Never once did I say that Foxygen was breaking up, I just confirmed what other people had already been writing, that there was tension on stage. I didn’t go straight to my keyboard after the shit hit the fan, after I found out all the mean things Rado had said about me, instead I sat around for four months and thought about it. I said goodbye to Sam as he left on the first tour without me in months and continued playing with my own band. Sam was upset that Rado still wouldn’t talk to me and asked him just one favor, to please, give me a call. Sam and I are musical partners too who live together so I felt like Rado was putting Sam in a really uncomfortable position by alienating his girlfriend.  I’m not perfect by any means. I can be loud and restless in my own band Meowtain but I really turned all of that off in Foxygen and played the part of the background vocalist/tambourine player/keyboard player.   

After receiving dozens of nasty anonymous messages via Tumblr and message boards I thought to myself, was what I said really that bad? I thought I had written how I felt in a respectful way and tried not to use words that really cut people to shreds. I reread what I posted and felt that it wasn’t as dramatic as the media had played it out to be. NOTHING I said was hateful. Most of it was about how I met Sam France, my experience going on tour to Europe and across the country for the first time and losing my best friend simultaneously. It’s easy for media sites to cut out one part of my blog post “We are starting a new band” and turn it into a story about how Foxygen is breaking up. I mean isn’t Rado starting a new band? His solo album is coming out in a few months. How about you focus on that when you say that Foxygen is breaking up. Foxygen was dysfunctional way before I joined the group.

 Comments I’ve received have been from I am a nasty cunt, a groupie, and desperate for attention. The bassist from Unknown Mortal Orchestra even chimed in his with thoughts telling me: “I’m gross and just want to tag along, that it’s a long ride to the top when your songs suck.” I never said I wanted to be at the top, I write music for myself, I don’t care if people think my songs are good. I was just expressing how I felt disrespected in Foxygen. I have played music with enough people to know when someone is disrespecting me or not and yes it did feel like sexism when Rado refused to let me play guitar on ONE song but has let Joe Hein play guitar on most songs on this current tour despite that he barely knows the songs and is just noodling.  Other people have said I am hiding behind “feminism” and using that to justify my “immature” behavior. I am not hiding behind anything, I am just putting my side out for people to read because everyone’s side of the story matters and most of the time people don’t know what really goes on behind closed doors. I’m not looking for attention, I’m speaking out for myself and for other people who have been ignored, walked over, and thrown to the side like a piece of trash. I don’t appreciate people telling me I must not love Sam France because of my blog post when Sam France doesn’t care about my blog post, he cares more about how badly I was treated. Maybe if they had been a little bit nicer or respectful to me I wouldn’t have had to write my feelings on the internet.  My blog post said nothing bad about Sam France, just about my feelings on Rado and Shaun, who I spent several months with in a van for countless hours. It was about how grueling it was to be in a band with so much hype and not much support from the members when I was going through a traumatic time. It’s not everyday your best friend drops dead at 23 from an asthma attack.

 Who is anyone to judge my character? They didn't walk in my body in my shoes and tour with a bunch of guys they barely knew. What is so wrong with posting ones feelings on the internet? It is actually a privilege that we live in a day and age where an average person can be heard because they can write something online. It was not for self promotion, it was for myself. it was because I FELT FUCKED OVER AND WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT IT. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT WAS SUCH A CRIME. What is childish AND selfish is Rado blaming one person for everything and never being able to talk to me about so his called problems with me like a man. Instead, bandmates threw it all on Sam France and expected him to deal with it. I was a part of the band for seven months and Rado never once could talk to me or have a back bone to tell me his own problems. That is childish. What is selfish is to expect the lead singer and the song writer of the band, Sam France, to be okay with Rados immature actions. Misogyny does have something to do with this because the backlash I am getting for expressing my annoyance with Rado has yielded people calling me a tag along desperate for attention groupie CUNT. Let me say, I was asked by Sam France to join the band and didn’t even know what it was before I met him. I am getting blamed for the so called problems in the band that were around before I even joined. Even if Foxygen does break up, it really shouldn’t have anything to do with me, I was just the tambourine player/back ground vocalist/sometimes keyboard player who was just there to add to the sound and support Sam. When I was on tour with them Sam was never climbing the rafters or hurting himself. Maybe Rado thought he never had to talk to me about anything because to him I was “nothing, no one special” someone he could just ignore and pretend didn’t exist. But I do exist. I met my boyfriend Sam France because I agreed to do the San Francisco video. If Rado used a little more tact, he could have tried to preserve whatever relationship we had for the sake of Sam France who is sadly in the middle of all this. I support him regardless but find it unfair how he has treated both of us. Is this the fear that society wants to generate? That if a woman writes about her experience about someone somewhat famous in a not completely positive light that she will just be called an attention-craving groupie? Just a dumb girl Sam sleeps with? If I really was that I would have been trying to social climb the whole time I was touring, but my mind would never work that way, I was there for the music. It’s always about the music."



15 comments:

  1. Here is one fact that remains largely unnoticed by all and cleverly unregarded by you, Elizabeth, to the extent that you feel no responsibility to include it in any response to this mess you've created:

    After the July 19 post on Fey's tumblr, Drew Miller, Assistant Editor at NOISEY MUSIC, published a review of Foxygen at Pitchfork 2013. After several reactions to that review, Miller, under his Twitter name TRYHARD MILLER, tweeted the link to Fey's tumblr story on July 24, saying this:

    "Sent to me by lead singer's GF/sometimes touring member of Foxy"

    That's a quote for anyone who might stumble across this site today and cares to verify it. Following that, all other sites like Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, etc. picked up the story from Assistant Editor Miller's tweet because that's how the music industry works.

    This is documented fact. This is how Fey's "memories" went from a post on her personal blog to become a story on all these national sites. Fey CHOSE to send the link to Drew Miller at NOISEY MUSIC. Anyone actually believe Miller was surfing the web and just stumbled across Fey's tumblr? She CHOSE to launch a rant on her personal blog into the stratosphere of national media attention. So when she posts (as is on her blog), "I just wrote about my experiences on tour... I don't know how pitchfork, etc. found it (7/25)," or here, "My intentions were never to have my blog post on Pitchfork or Spin, I just wrote it on my Tumblr and I honestly thought those websites had other things to worry about," that is bullshit. She crossed the line from what could be argued as bad judgement on a personal blog to an INTENTIONAL act of, yes, "airing her dirty laundry," because that is the very definition of that phrase.

    "NOTHING I said was hateful." That's also arguable and very slyly limited to this single tumblr post, but those who follow Foxygen know of Fey's incessant hatred, criticism and envy, calling Rado and Shaun "assholes" (7/21), calling Rado's girlfriend Jackie a "dumb bitch" (7/17 tweet), criticizing Rado's single from his upcoming LP ("Godd Rado.and.Jackie.sound so bad on his new track" (7/15), "lol. No wonder Jackie didn't sing on San Francisco" (7/14). And there's this: "I HATE YOU, FUCK YOU, HEX YOU, I HATE YOU, DISLIKE, NO (7/15)."

    And by the way this hasn't nothing to do with gender, much less feminism. This is about maturity. It's about discretion. It's about seeing a bigger picture than that on your laptop screen. You want to complain on your own blog, fine. Leave it there. This is also about thoughtfulness. Despite Fey's claim here that Sam France "doesn't care about my blog post," I happen to know this is also bullshit, since I know Sam and have heard his feelings about the matter. Meanwhile, in the wake of this mess, he has had to mop up, awkwardly carrying on with his understandably offended bandmates, as Fey sits at home and carries on her crusade of selfish bitterness and "poor me" defensiveness through diatribes like these.

    The fifteen minutes are running out. In a week this story has gone from national music sites to something entitled "TOTAL BOZO MAGAZINE."

    Fitting.

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  2. It's also a documented fact that Drew's last name is Millard, not Miller.

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  3. Is it possible that the person who posted this first anonymous post is Rado's girlfriend Jackie? It seems rather directed towards her, seeing as no one in the public knows who she is.

    I'm sorry you are not in the spot light and that Rado and Shaun's ridiculous and immature actions have come to surface. I also feel sorry that you think you know Sam, because he really does not like you or Rado, and you have made his life a living hell.

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  4. Jackie, it really is sad to see how worked up you are about something that really has nothing to do with you. Don't you have anything better to do with your time than sit around and search for articles about Elizabeth Fey so you can throw in your 2 cents that nobody really cares about? I know for a fact that Sam France actually hates you.

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  5. To the first commenter, I'd like to note that the "I HATE YOU, FUCK YOU, HEX YOU, I HATE YOU, DISLIKE, NO" quote is most likely rom a song by Meowtain which can most certainly be confirmed as having been written way before Fey had any part in Foxygen/ definitely not about anyone.

    Second, are we all forgetting that during the tour Fey was GRIEVING and whether or not you like someone, if you are in a PROFESSIONAL setting (where they would have to be together) you should, by most standards of good humans, at least express some form of sympathy. Like, really? Her best friend dies (also can be confirmed) and she is in Europe and no one is considering that maybe that may have given her some insight into what mattered (maybe not the reactions of the internet...?) and also allowed her to view people differently, especially when she perceives them to treat her in a way inappropriate to her grieving situation? Because, ultimately, if I am the boyfriend/girlfriend to a person I probably perceive them differently than others might. Or, if I am the ex-girlfriend to someone; if I am the bandmate to someone; or if I am the boyfriend to someone else who was once in the band. I am probably going to perceive people differently in all situations and my perceptions will, then, determine how I treat them. So if Fey perceived one of her bandmates to be treating her with a lack of professional respect pr sympathy, maybe we should just believe her instead of believing the perceptions of other people?

    But ultimately: "That if a woman writes about her experience about someone somewhat famous in a not completely positive light that she will just be called an attention-craving groupie?"

    A woman can't just have an emotional opinion or experience. It must be challenged. Now, I'm sure if Sam France decided to comment on all of this and confirmed what Fey had said, we'd all sit back and feel content, right?

    "It is actually a privilege that we live in a day and age where an average person can be heard because they can write something online. It was not for self promotion, it was for myself."

    I do hope this "fame" for Fey only lasts 15 minutes, because it's not the kind of "fame" she deserves and it's the same kind of disrespect she had the right to bitch about. Stay strong, girl. We need more strong women like you that don't fold into submission when treated badly in the working world.

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  6. To Kelly McClure: You're right, the Assistant Editor at NOISEY to whom Fey sent the link to her blog is in fact Drew Millard, not Miller. Thank you for pointing out that error. All else is accurate and true.

    To Elizabeth Fey, represented here in other comments (I mean, who else is going to point out that "I HATE YOU, FUCK YOU, HEX YOU, etc." is from a Meowtain song, lyrics which reveal a great deal right there): I could understand how you might attribute my comments to Jaclyn Cohen. She is opinionated, articulate in her writing, and is very likely offended as a result of your actions of the past months including this stunt. But we both know that when she speaks out she generally does so under her own name.

    What's sad is that you think I am her. That this matter is some sort of ongoing drama between you her or anyone in Foxygen. While anyone would have just cause to speak up as she has against someone who has been so ruthlessly unkind to so many as you have, Foxygen is no longer a part of your world, nor are you part of it. As I said, the fifteen minutes are running out. Though I know you would like to have Sam France portrayed publicly as on your side to the extent that he "actually hates" Cohen or Rado, and while France has had very divisive times with them, you and I both know this isn't true.

    What's more sad is that you have no reply, argument or remorse regarding your intentional act of sabotage in sending your blog post to Millard (thanks again, Kelly). Do you? But then, there is nothing to say in your defense. Everything here is true for anyone to find (until you delete it). So it's just more offense-- anger, jealousy, and desperation. --A#1

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  7. This is Elizabeth Fey and I sent Millard my blog post because he wrote a rude article about Foxygen saying that Foxygen was "the Olive Garden and Taco Bell of music". I sent him an email telling him that Sam France was none of those things and that he was a radical artist who got thrown into this whole whirlwind. I told him I didn't appreciate what he said about Foxygen but said his observations seemed to be right about tension on stage and provided him my blog link so maybe he could understand where the tension was coming from. I had no idea he would send it to every other news site (my mistake I guess).

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  8. Oh and also A#1 I didn't leave that Hex comment, one of my friends did. I'm not the only one who knows Meowtain songs and I'm not deluded enough to quote my lyrics on this comment board.

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  9. Jackie isn't that articulate. She is a pretentious writer and everything she writes sounds contrived. Give her a few years and maybe all the pieces will fall into place for her. Also who saved the dates of Feys tweets or whatever? Sounds like someone is obsessed with her or stalking her. To the other anonymous commenter, you make a point that everyone seems to by pass. That Fey was grieving and no one seemed to care or reach out to her. I don't know her that well but I know her enough to know how much her friend meant to her. What i'm confused about is why is everyone so mad at her and not mad at what a creep Shaun Fleming is for hitting on teenage girls all over the internet? This isn't the first time this has been said, just do a few google searches. I think these people are scared because the truth about their friends is out for everyone to read.

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  10. thats the biggest crock of shit i ever heard for sending her post to Millard! she just wants publicity for herself and if she didn't know that sending it could get it published, she's either lying or stupid.

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  11. This all began from a misconstrued entry by a journalist who is not involved with Foxygen. It seems to be more about opinion of character than fact. Who is to judge anybody but themselves? Bands are not anything more than friends who either get along, bicker, or end up going separate directions. Unless Foxygen stops producing music or having concerts they are not separating, clearly they are not because they are still performing. Lizzie is not anymore separate from the band than when she began. Lizzie began working with Foxygen as a brave opportunist with an invite. Given her experience, Lizzie is naturally a qualified player to travel. For Jackie and Lizzie both, playing in a band is a great opportunity so It's awesome you both where able to join, even if it was a small amount of time. To bad there is an emphasis on how you are different from each other rather than alike. Boys will be boys and will invite ladies to the club when they feel so inclined.

    It could have been Rado that left the first anonymous comment for all we know. Assumptions are not a healthy way to form friendships, and stereotypes only create unrealistic, overly simplified descriptions of people. It doesn't seem like friendships are always possible because of the preference to be separate, but that is a lonely road to travel anyhow. Blame creates separation and is a natural thing for us all to do from time to time, but it is good to be aware of our projections. Projections make for good protection, so I can't blame anyone for protecting themselves by redirecting attention. Who wouldn't pay attention to Lizzie? She is beautiful and a great asset to any band. Beauty can be blinding, so there is no blame for hating, but I am thankful to be able to see Lizzie's talent, hard work and bright burning fire of passion for music. Bottom line I can say that at least we all have music in common.

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  12. Lindsy- what mention is there of them being different other than the writer of this article saying that Jackie tweeted sour things towards Fey? From what I know Fey was invited into the band because she was a musician that Sam respected, Jackie was in the band because she was Rado's girlfriend and could play tambourine. a little different i think.

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    1. It seems that you have confirmed the differences yourself. Good job.

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  13. Can everyone please just stop fighting?

    Everyone has had their say, so lets put this to bed once and for all.

    Let the journalists say what they want to say, they don't know shit and don't care, they just like good stories to get readers hooked up.

    They ride off the back of your drama.

    So to everyone personally involved and to everyone else, please stop this madness and get on with your lives, because I love each and everyone of you.

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  14. As a female musician, I can relate all too well to Elizebeth's story in spite of the fact that I see this from both sides.

    Reading the part about Lizzie not being permitted to play guitar on a song when someone less inclined to the guitar is playing the parts...that really sprinkled salt in an old wound of mine. I imagine that Rado preferred that Lizzie not play guitar lest she be in danger of being taken seriously as an actual musician in the band...in any case, it is a small portrait of a bigger picture that could easily foster resentment, and for good reason.

    I'm sure that both sides have their reasonable arguments in how blame should be distributed for all of the drama in Foxygen. However, this very much so IS about feminism whether you love Lizzie or hate her. Given the information that we, as onlookers from the outside, have access to, the reaction to Lizzie's publicity and side of the story is completely sexist and it would be totally different if she were male.

    Even if she sent the blog post to someone that wrote music criticism etc, I highly doubt that she imagined the blog itself would spread around like a bad smell on a light breeze. It seems more likely she was trying to influence someone's perspective rather than distribute her personal blog as though it were a flyer for a show.

    Just because someone wants to be heard doesn't make them in the wrong. Feeling the impulse to respond when someone insults you, or insults your boyfriend, or puts you in a position where you are cast off like yesterday's papers and you have no say and aren't even given respectful resolution or acknowledgement...I think any of us would want to chime in! And the way Lizzie was regarded after the fact was sexist through and through.

    I think Foxygen are a fun band, but they should take a fucking break already and sort out their priorities if they hope to keep going. I believe in the good intentions of every person involved, but y'all need to open a window and let the hate and vitriol air out a bit! If Rado and Sam can still feel the connection that brought them together in the first place, they should both think about whether there's something they can contribute to make each other's lives just a little bit easier...20% more effort goes a really long fucking way. The relief that comes with being the first person to try and make peace and give your heart when it is least expected will be worth it.

    I was in a band that broke up badly and I regret not trying harder to be a better person when it would have made a bigger difference in my life.

    Lizzie, I hope you and Sam start a new band together because he has excellent songwriting chops and when I saw your band, your charisma and stage presence were through the roof. I hope you can let go of some of your anger so there's room for talk soon.

    I also truly wish Rado the best as he develops his solo thing and hope that only more music comes out of all this. You guys are all great and it is a true shame that it's come to this!

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