Having conducted an exclusive interview with Willie Nelson’s braids not long ago, Sam Gazdziak is back with his second Country California contribution. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of receiving a Sam guest contribution email, it goes like this: first he apologetically explains why he’s bothering you (“I had insomnia last week and came up with this crazy thing”), then he mentions that you’re welcome to publish the attached Word file if you think it’s funny, but it could very well not be… and if it isn’t, he is, again, very sorry to have bugged you.
Then you open the file and it’s always funny. And you wonder if he wasn’t just messing with you.
Take it away, Sam…
Country Singer Questionnaire: Will my new album suck?
So you’re hard at work on your new country album. Naturally, you think it’s going to be the greatest thing ever, and every single song is going to be a #1 hit. Your manager and your A&R people are saying the same thing, but let’s face it, they’re not exactly unbiased. How can you tell if the album is going to be any good or not? You could wait until the album release to read the reviews, but there’s an easier way. Simply answer the following 10 questions, add up the points for each answer, and you’ll know right now if your album is going to suck or not.
1. Why did you become a country singer in the first place?
A. Country music flows through my veins, it’s what I’ve always loved, and I can’t imagine ever singing anything else. (+5 points)
B. There’s a great deal of synergy between country music’s fanbase and my ideal demographic. Country music’s fans are statistically the most loyal music listeners, ensuring me the best chance of a long career. (0 points)
C. My pop music career crapped out, so here I am. (-5 points)
2. In order to be a good country singer, you have to have some credibility. Complete the following sentence: “I’m so country…”
A. “… I lost two fingers in a farming equipment accident.” (+5 points)
B. “… I’ve ridden a big green tractor that my baby thinks is sexy.” (0 points)
C. “… I’m level 47 in Farmville.” (-5 points)
3. Who are your biggest influences?
A. The legends: Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash. (+5 points)
B. The legends: Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Lee Greenwood. (0 points)
C. The legends: Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood. (-5 points)
4. How did you pay your dues?
A. I played dingy honky-tonks for years. (+5 points)
B. I played coffee shops for months. (0 points)
C. I was on American Idol for a season. (-5 points)
5. What are the primary themes on your new record?
A. Heartbreak, drinking, loneliness, death (+5 points)
B. Marriage, love, happiness, sippy cups (0 points)
C. Steampunk (-5 points)
6. Many great country singers write their own material. What’s the writing process like for you?
A. I bring up my deepest, most gut-wrenching experiences and emotions, and I write based on what I’ve lived through and how I felt. (+5 points)
B. I bring up my deepest, most gut-wrenching experiences and emotions, then I listen to the radio and write about what everybody else is singing about. (0 points)
C. I wait until my cowriters tell me it’s done, and then I add my name to it so I can get the royalties. (-5 points)
7. Time to go into the studio and record the album. What are your thoughts on using Auto-Tune?
A. I hate it, and I refuse to use it. (+5 points)
B. I don’t like it, but sometimes you’ve got to smooth out the rough spots. (0 points)
C. I’m Taylor Swift. (-5 points)
8. Compare the style of your lead guitarist to one of the following:
A. Don Rich (+5 points)
B. Brad Paisley (0 points)
C. Eddie Van Halen (-5 points)
9. What do you think about steel guitar?
A. Can’t make a country record without it. (+5 points)
B. It’s in the background, but we’ll take it out in the pop remix. (0 points)
C. Is steel guitar anything like metal guitar? Because I love metal guitar. Van Halen rules!!! (-5 points)
10. Which of the following best describes your record label?
A. It’s a small, indie label that’s known for quality. They’re releasing my album on limited-edition vinyl. (+5 points)
B. It’s a large, multi-national corporation with numerous imprints and offices in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. They’re releasing a mega-platinum deluxe edition on iTunes. (0 points)
C. It’s run by Toby Keith. (-5 points)
Time for results! Add up your points and see how many you have.
50 to 20 points: Congratulations, your album will not suck! It probably won’t sell, and it’ll never get played on country radio, but it won’t suck. I’m sure all the rave reviews from blogs will be a comfort to you while you’re selling plasma to keep a roof over your head.
19 to -19 points: Congratulations, your record is thoroughly middle-of-the-road in every way, shape and form. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s not the least bit remarkable. You’ll have three Top 10 hits, and your fans may power-vote you an Entertainer of the Year Award at the ACMs.
-20 to -50 points: You’re a member of Rascal Flatts. Your album will suck, but your fans will still buy 2 million copies of it and proclaim it to be your best work yet. The rustle of money pouring into your bank account will drown out the sound of Marty Stuart weeping about the state of country music. Congratulations!