The Selection Committee:
Megan Campbell & Ander Monson
Raquel Gutiérrez & Gabriel Palacios
Raquel Gutiérrez was first introduced to the politics of space when in 5th grade got dropped off at the Music Plus in Lakewood, California to stand in line for Guns 'N' Roses tickets only to realize she was a different kind of fan. A former life involved working for a Soundscan competitor back in the pre-MP3 days and now Gutiérrez is a poet and essayist pursuing her MFA degree in poetry at the University of Arizona. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she writes about space and institutionality and publishes chapbooks by queers of color with the tiny press Econo Textual Objects, established in 2014. Her work has found homes in FENCE, Zócalo Public Square, ASAP Journal, Huizache, The Portland Review, Los Angeles Weekly, and Entropy. She received an MA in Performance Studies from New York University and a BA in Journalism and Central American Studies from California State University at Northridge.
Gabriel Palacios is a poet and musician from Tucson, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Arizona. His poems study the present-day imprints of colonial violence in the region of southern Arizona and northern Mexico known in the Spanish Colonial era as the Pimería Alta. The voyeuristic shortcomings of the work itself usually surfaces as a second subject. At ten he begged his parents to buy him a Skid Row T-shirt bearing a cartoon image of the Mona Lisa in tattoos and a nose-chain. “IT AIN’T ART IT’S ROCK ’N’ ROLL,” the shirt declared.
March Shredness 2018 is the latest edition of the baddest literary music single-elimination NCAA-style 64-essay competition around, featuring the best and worst of classic hair metal.
It is broughtto you by the team who brought you March Fadness (90s One Hit Wonders) in 2017 and March Sadness (Best/Saddest Songs of the College Rock Era) in 2016. (Here's an essay about Sadness by one of the Committee Members.)
Each year we stage a 64-team, March-Madness-style tournament of songs. Writers assess and riff on and argue for (or in some cases against) each song, and each day in March we play the games, winner determined by a popular vote here on the blog and on the March Shredness twitter. The winner advances, until we determine a winner by month's end.
In 2018 March Fadness features the best/worst hair metal songs from 1983-1991 pitted against each other in ridiculous and possibly pointless games, all in search of understanding the era and its culture as well as the uses and failures of memory. A winner will be crowned.
see also how to play
METHODOLOGY FOR 2018 under construction below:
Songs for the tourney proper are in the era of hair metal, being 1983-1992, and are selected primarily based on Hair Metalness, meaning some combination of big hair, big outfits, and ostentatious/shreddy guitar solos, and because this is a genre in some ways created by the video, they must have videos (though we make no claims as to their enduring quality).
Some of the Major Hair Bands (minimum metric = having at least two US Top 10 albums) received two bids, and those songs will play off against each other in the first round.
Songs are seeded according to highest US Billboard Rock chart position (so the top seeds hit #1, whereas the lower seeds may not even have charted.
The Committee had a hard time deciding between TNT and XYZ, so decided to institute eight play-in games, taking place in January and February 2018, to allow you, the listener/viewer/reader, to choose who should compete in March Shredness.