Is the Bank of Ann Arbor’s “non-local banker campaign” a hypocritical, pointelss mess of faux-localism?

For the past few months, those of us who live in and around Ann Arbor have been subjected to a relentlessly pervasive advertising campaign featuring a balding, sunken-chested, Clearasil-colored cartoon banker with an often furrowed brow, and standard issue “nerd” glasses. He started showing up on billboards a little over a month ago. At first, it was just his giant face, on a field of bright green, looming over our thoroughfares… a harbinger of things to come. Then, over time, text started creeping in. Above his bald head, you’d see things like, “Non-local bankers think Mani Osteria plays for the Tigers”. (Mani Osteria is a restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor, not an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers.) And, with that, the pieces started falling into place. The man who had been staring down on us, it would seem, was a hopelessly uncool corporate banker who just didn’t have a clue when it came to appreciating the peculiar charm of the Ann Arbor region, which, as we all know, is truly unique and special.

The campaign, waged on behalf of the Bank of Ann Arbor by the folks at the local ad firm Perich and Partners, evolved from a social media experiment coordinated by Perich that got off the ground about a year ago. Word was put out though Facebook, and various other channels, that prizes were to be had for those who could come up with witty ways to complete the phrase, “Non-local banks think…” (The winner of the competition, by the way, was the Mani Osteria one, which I noted above.) The bank, it would seem, liked the response, and invested in the launch of a billboard campaign. (Earlier permutations, which I apparently didn’t take notice of, just included these phrases, sans giant head, on the same field of bright green.) And, at some point, it would seem, a decision was made to up the ante and incorporate a character to personify this pathetically out-of-touch pansy of a New York banker.

Here’s an example of the final product.

I’d been thinking about writing something about the campaign for a while, but I lacked a hook… until a few days ago, when local illustrator and marketeer Dustin Krcatovich began publicly jamming the campaign by way of Facebook.

Before we go any further, I’d like to say that I would much rather that you did business with Bank of Ann Arbor than with Chase or Bank of America. (Or, even better yet, you could move your money to a credit union.) This post isn’t intended, at least from my perspective, to be an attack on Bank of Ann Arbor, which I’m sure is a great company with a demonstrated interest in making our region successful. And, actually, to be honest, it’s not even really an negative critique of this campaign, which I recognize may very well have served its purpose, even if I find it a bit annoying for it’s saccharine, self-congratulaory tone. I just wanted to open a thread where people could discuss the campaign openly.

Now, with that said, here’s one of the images that Dustin produced. This one, I think it’s pretty clear, was created in reaction to the fact that the illustration in question was produced by a non-local firm. (Perich outsourced the work to New York firm J. J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc.) The second, seen further down, I’m guessing, is in reference to that non-so-advertising-friendly chapter of Ann Arbor’s history which unfolded on the campus of U-M about 20 years ago, when GG Alin came to visit and fling his shit from the stage of the Half Ass.

Well, I caught up with Dustin last night, and asked him a few questions. Here’s our exchange.

MARK: Your primary issue with the ad, I take it, is that the illustration was created by a non-local company, which is odd at best, and hypocritical at worst, given that the whole subtext of the campaign is that one should do business locally. Is that right?

DUSTIN: To be fair, I didn’t know at first that Perich had created the initial campaign, but, yes, they hired J.J. Sedelmaier (of Saturday Night Live’s TV Funhouse and a bunch of other stuff like that) to design the character.

MARK:Before we go any further, what do you think of the campaign, putting aside the fact that the character was designed by a New York-based company?

DUSTIN: I think it’s utter pandering. It doesn’t reflect the greater Ann Arbor community’s interest, first of all, but it’s also just tacky and pointless.

MARK: Given that people… including you and me… are talking about the campaign, do you think the folks at Bank of Ann Arbor and Perich see it as a success?

DUSTIN: I think it’s a successful campaign in terms of drawing attention, but also in drawing ire, so I’m not sure how that helps them increase their market share.

MARK: Any chance you might go out and try to put up a billboard of your own, or alter one of theirs? Like the one with that you produced with the non-local banker eating human feces?

DUSTIN: I would love to, given the funding. I wouldn’t want to get into legal trouble in order to do it, though, so I probably wouldn’t go the Banksy route, but I’m all for beating the corporate drones at their own game, given the opportunity.

MARK: Is he consuming the poop in your image? He doesn’t look too happy about it. He looks kind of like he’s thinking, “Eating that poop could have been a mistake.”

DUSTIN: Well, that’s up for debate. I’ve been going back and forth on whether he was just performing exceptionally messy analingus, or actually consuming it.

MARK: Is your sense that it’s drawn ire in a broad sense, across a number of demographics? I wonder, in other words, if it’s just the hipster intelligensia that finds it offensive.

DUSTIN: To be fair, I’m insulated in a very particular milieu that includes a lot of disgruntled artists who could’ve whipped up something better in half an hour.

MARK: A better version of the character, or a better campaign?

DUSTIN: While I’m sure some of the target demographic of yuppie goons find the campaign charming, I do think most probably find it irritating and pandering. People trust bankers like they trust politicians, and with good cause. Even if they know who Mayer Hawthorne is (appropriately enough, an EX-Ann Arborite is namedropped to promote localism), where’s the one about Iggy Pop?

MARK: For those folks in the audience who aren’t aware, Dustin is referencing the BOAA billboard which says, “Non-local bankers think Mayer Hawthorne is running for re-election”… So, back to your work, do I sense a Kickstarter campaign in the future?

DUSTIN: Hmmmm… worth considering. I might want to get a posse together first.

MARK: Let’s brainstorm for a moment. What, in your mind, would have been a better direction for them to have taken? Remember, they’re trying to get through to the older business owners among us, and those of us with considerable financial holdings? Too edgy probably wouldn’t work. And something more safe… like a traditional campaign focusing on the happy faces of their clients… probably wouldn’t break through in the way that they were hoping. They were in kind of a tough spot, right?

DUSTIN: True story. I play a major role in the “social media” marketing for two local companies (Encore Records and Saagara, plus my own extracurricular work with FM DUST), so I do sympathize with that tightrope walk. My uncomfortable relationship with the capitalist system as such puts me in an awkward position to comment, and I can definitely see where BOAA and Perich were coming from in their campaign, but I retain that it has manifested itself as tacky and cloying, like a kid who’s trying to prove that he’s into cool stuff by gratuitously dropping band names into conversation.

MARK: Closing thoughts?

DUSTIN: On a certain level, it seems silly to pick on specific advertisers/advertising campaigns. Businesses pay advertising and marketing firms a lot of money to fuck with your head and lie to you. They hire psychologists to determine what color schemes are most likely to lull you into the sort of mood that might make people more sympathetic to your product. It’s a sick world, through and through. Why single anyone out?

Answer: because it’s fun, and it’s funny.

Thus, what will be a continuing string of pieces created by myself, designed to pick apart and undercut The Bank Of Ann Arbor’s grossly hypocritical, cloying, and just generally lame “non-local banker” (NLB) campaign. Sure, Nike’s more evil, Wal-Mart’s more insidious and creepy, Bongz And Thongz is more trashy, but none of these have more cluelessly tried to use viral marketing techniques and collegiate-friendly imagery (J.J. Sedelmaier was likely chosen to convey some of the perceived “hipness” that comes along with the Saturday Night Live connection) to forward their dubious agenda, all while exploiting the current trend of localism. It’s cheap, it’s tacky, and as I said earlier, it’s hypocritical.

Let’s go ahead and put aesthetic qualms aside a moment, and focus on the hypocrisy of the thing. Lip service to localism doesn’t do anyone any good without spending the money in the community to back up your firm’s claims. It makes Bank Of Ann Arbor (as well as Perich) look deceitful, bloated, and out of touch, no matter how many local names they drop. Why not hire a local artist like Jeremy Wheeler, Nate Higley, or the team at VGKids to design the non-local banker, and put your money in the same vicinity as their mouth? There are tons of local artists, animators, etc. who would be happy for the work, and it would actually give credence to BOOA’s claims of being region-centric.

Obviously, BOAA is a regional business, and it’s still probably better to put your money there than, say, Chase or Bank Of America. That said, their arrogance in exploiting the community’s interest in “keeping it local” while thinking that the community wouldn’t notice that the whole campaign is a bunch of (to take a bar from the Joe Biden songbook) “malarkey” is something that they deserve to be shamed for.

On a lighter note: the ad campaign is obnoxious, unfunny, and by now, stretched thinner than the new design for Minnie Mouse. I’d be lying if I said that any sociopolitical criticism is slightly undercut by my general impatience for how tired I am of their stupid joke.

In a closing note, I should say that Jeremy Wheeler inspired me to do these, as he’s been using the non-local banker in some recent fliers. He did it first. Or, at least, he did it before me. Credit where credit is due.

MARK: How about using the same image of the guy, only having a tag line saying, “This man will kill you in your sleep if you bank with Citibank?” Could you get behind something like that?

DUSTIN: Give me a half hour, and I’ll one-up that. That general idea, though, I could get behind.

For what it’s worth, Bank of Ann Arbor seems to be doing really well these days, as are local banks in general. The numbers I’m finding don’t quite jive, but they all seem to indicate incredible growth. According to an article published by Crain’s in May, the bank had “grown total assets to a record $792 million and grew net income in the quarter to nearly $2 million from $1.3 million in the same quarter last year.” The industry magazine American Banker, however, in an article about the non-local banker campaign, says the company has $1.4 billion in assets. Regardless of the number, the company is doing extremely well, and I think that speaks well for the future of our local business ecosystem… except, I guess, for illustrators.

UPDATE: This conversation took a very strange turn online, with Bank of Ann Arbor employee and local concert promoter Matthew Altruda exchanging increasingly pointed comments with WCBN volunteer Jason Voss over their competing visions of the local music scene. Much of the debate, which took place largely on Facebook, has since been removed, but some evidence of the exchange, including Altruda’s letter to WCBN management, asking for Voss’s immediate dismissal, can be found in the comments thread of this post.

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  1. Lumbergrl
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I thought, before the captions, that the image was Ron Paul. Then the captions showed and I thought it was a clever enough campaign. Then it went on and on, and I felt bad that they didn’t know that it had gone too far. Then their giant puppet, ala the Festifools puppets, got my kid all excited when we saw it walking around downtown, and I was insulted. Don’t jazz my kid with your bank campaign, a-holes. WTF?

  2. Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m confused.

    So the firm that put the ads up is local, but the character is from out of town?

  3. kjc
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always found Ann Arbor to be self-satisfied so I think it works.

  4. Alexis
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    “It’s cheap, it’s tacky, and as I said earlier, it’s hypocritical.” Sounds like a lot of Ann Arborites to me…. I think they hit their target audience pretty damn well with the campaign. If they were targeting folks like us that live in Ypsilanti I’d doubt they’d wage a cheeze-ball yuppie-themed campaign. “Non-local bankers think Korey’s Krispy Krunchy Chicken is a front for their secret society where they teach the techniques of defrauding blacks into risky subprime mortgages.” (ok… that was tasteless and not funny but…)

    I am pretty sure I’m going to open up an account with BofAA anyhow.

  5. Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know that they’re a bad bank. I’ve been living int he area for a few decades now, and I haven’t heard anything bad. And, over that same time, I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about Bank of America and others. So I don’t want to shit all of the company. It’s important to have local banks that actually loan money, when so many of the big, New York banks have stopped loaning to businesses. The campaign does get under my skin, though. And I think it’s worth pointing out that the character was developed out of state, which seems like a huge error, given the underlying message of the campaign.

  6. Posted October 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Pete, if you read the post, I think it will become clear… Bank of Ann Arbor hired Perich to develop the campaign. They then went out and hired J.J. Sedelmaier Productions, Inc. to create the character.

  7. Dustin Krcatovich
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I should also go on record and say that my beef isn’t with Bank Of Ann Arbor, just the ad campaign. I have heard of people taking issue with some BoAA’s fees, website navigation, and stuff like that, but nothing that seemed special (actually, it mostly seems like the braying of lazy assholes who were disappointed that the company doesn’t have a branch within a mile of their living room). I do think that, given the opportunity, people should use credit unions over banks, any day of the week, but given that that isn’t always an option and/or is notably inconvenient in some cases, I’m sure you can do much worse than BoAA. Now, if only I/we can shame them into giving up their cheesedick ad campaign… ;-)

  8. josh
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    As of 3 years ago, BofAA was having a tough go of it. They were shakey enough that the nonprofit board I was on made sure not to have more than the FDIC insured amount with them. Good to see they are doing better, though I am not sure I understand the lipstick billboard. “Non local banks think Elbow Deep is a sexual practice”?

  9. Posted October 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, Alexis, I thought that was pretty funny.

  10. cynthia olcott
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I think they’ve correctly identified a target for their adverts in the local townie cult. But credit unions are actually more in line with local values.

  11. SPARK
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Doodles of asses, and poking fun at local banks is so cool. In the real world, this just happened:

  12. asdf
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    and am noticing mark’s add for shopping at amazon, a non-wonderful anti-local business, but i guess an awesome entrepreneurial success. i get kinda lost…………………

  13. anonymous
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was good for a few weeks. When I saw the guy with the giant head walking around town, though, I knew they’de gone a bridge to far.

  14. Tammy Christian
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Non-local banks think Swipple’s a juice.

  15. Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    You might be new to the site, SADF. I’ve written about the Amazon link before. I feel conflicted about it, as you can perhaps tell from the text which accompanies the ad, which says that, if you can find a locally-owned alternative, you should give them your business instead. The truth is, though, we don’t have a lot of locally owned options for books, DVDs and electronics. But, yeah, I get your point… I have an Amazon link, so everything I say about localism should be discounted.

    And the Swipple line is funny. Thanks, Tammy.

  16. Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Here’s our Swipple.

  17. jean Henry
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    Hmmm. Do we really need to eat our own here? Not local enough? Critiquing advertising as self-congratulatory??? Really? Is there much self-loathing advertising out there beyond the MM banner? Whether or not the ad campaign is to your tastes, it has clearly been effective. You noticed it. It inspired a parody. Good for them. You all are doing them a favor of course by paying attention. I thought the ad campaign was a very clever way to advertise the bank and support local businesses and institutions at the same time. This is good for all of us, folks.

    Mark, I think it’s worth diving a little deeper into the independent local bank v big bank issue. Lot’s there. There are very big differences in how they are regulated and most importantly where their money goes. Local, independent businesses rely on local banks for loans. When you put your money in a local bank it helps support your community’s resilience. (This is inferred by the campaign as well) Weakened community banks have been gobbled up by wall street banks. In fact a lot of the bigger banks used their bailout funds to do just that. This strangles the economies where the community banks operated. We are lucky to have ours still. I can tell you the big banks don’t have much interest in investing in Michigan. There are other issues of service and accountability with big banks. The Move Your Money Project lays out the case. I banked with B of A2 for my business and switched my personal accounts there, because I liked the personal service. I used to do everything by ATM, but now going to the bank is a pleasure. In addition to supporting local businesses, Bank of Ann Arbor has done a great job of supporting local non-profits and supporting local musicians and food vendors through their free Sonic Lunch concerts. Instead of critiquing and parodying the ad campaign, maybe you should have harness your social media capital to flood their create-an-ad campaign with Ypsi business suggestions. It would be nice to see Ypsi represented in a few.

  18. Oliva
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    While we’re at it, and not to “eat our own” by any means because I am a longtime loyal member of the U of M Credit Union, which has gone way beyond the call of duty in the past and also sponsors some exceptional offerings around town, among other things (please join!) . . . but I believe strongly that we can and must pay attention and do our part to keep it, and other local institutions, honest. A few months ago in the UMCU newsletter was a brief piece by one of the credit union’s financial analysts–it was disturbing in several ways but especially in warning about the coming election by saying, in essence, that regulation would force “heinous derailments of otherwise functioning businesses”–what an awkward phrase. I was floored that such a strongly partisan and untrue statement would be in our member-owned credit union and wrote a letter to the CEO. My letter was passed along to a VP for community outreach, who tried to assure me that the author hadn’t made a partisan statement (untrue)–but he also told me that the financial analyst hadn’t actually written the piece, that the credit union subscribes to a service of prewritten material and has permission to use it in promotional materials. Blech! I did write back again to express my disappointment that this fine institution had signed up for permissible plagiarism but also repeated my original comment that the “heinous derailment” statement was truly offensive and that surely many members disagree about the role of regulation, especially given our recent banking turmoil and even more because the banks would love to see credit unions weakened and gone, so the statement lifted from the subscription service actually undermines the credit union’s own power against big banks and politicians who work for them.

    It’s worth working to keep the excellent UMCU to its high standard, when it’s so tempting to take shortcuts and turn away when a staff member with interests of his own tries to influence members to vote against their interests and those of the credit union.

  19. Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The “non-local bankers” thing has been around for a year or so, at least within the actual BOAA branches and on their website. (Where, clearly, it’s more cutely feel-good than advertising, since the only people seeing it are existing BOAA clients.) I thought the first dozen or so that I saw in the Ypsi BOAA branch were entertaining.

    I felt it jumped the shark shortly after moving to an externally focused billboard campaign, though. The bottom of the barrel was scraped pretty quickly.

  20. anonymous
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I like local banks as much as the next guy, but this whole campaign is built on the ridiculous premise that someone can’t be a good banker if he doesn’t know who Mayer Hawthorne is. The real thing that they should be getting is that local bankers are more likely to extend credit to local businesses, and give a damn about what happens here in Michigan. And with all do respect to the folks who think otherwise, it does kind of invalidate the whole thing when you say that New York bankers can’t possibly understand us, but New York illustrators can.

  21. Posted October 22, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I fail to see the controversy here.

    Though the ad agency did farm out the creation of the character to a New York company, there is nothing to suggest that the locals didn’t come up with the general idea for the character.

    Perhaps they tried to draw one up and were dissatisfied with the results. Maybe they just can’t draw.

  22. Mr. Y
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Great point, Pete. Local people can’t draw. They had no choice but to go to New York.

  23. Facebook Stalker
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know that this counts as an “official” response, but Bank of Ann Arbor’s Matthew Altruda had the following to say about this post on Facebook.

    “This Local Banker aka me, I have to admit that I found your blog hilarious and appreciate the kind words about Bank of Ann Arbor as an institution for helping Ann Arbor’s greatness. Our marketing campaign must be working because we have great writers like yourself writing about it and people giving feedback. I also loved the fact THE BANG! used our non-local banker in their posters! They know great pop art when they see it. I honestly had no idea the illustrator was from NY. I can think of at least 10 friends that could have done an amazing job. I have been an employee of the bank for about a year as the event planner for Sonic Lunch & running social media. It’s truly amazing how well they take care of their employees and non profits here in Washtenaw County. I am blown away by their donations!! As one of the largest supporters of local music it truly makes me proud that The Bank of Ann Arbor is using their money to make a stronger music scene here. My goal is to make Ann Arbor a great music city where local musicians can make livable wages and The Bank of Ann Arbor believes in my vision. Regardless.. keep up the great work and everything that you do to support the arts here in Ann Arbor. Mark Maynard is yet another reason why Washtenaw County is so great!”

  24. Rick Cronn
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Regardless of the local/not local aspect, it’s sophomoric advertising. Tries way too hard to be cute.

  25. kjc
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    i tried to get a job at Bank of Ann Arbor but couldn’t achieve the right tone of earnest passive-aggression.

  26. Posted October 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Y,

    I’m sorry to say, but this is an entirely manufactured crisis.

    Despite mark’s and Dustin’s claims that this isn’t against the bank of Ann Arbor, the apparent hostility here toward a good local bank is entirely uncalled for.

    I don’t think this conversation will encourage people to use local artists at all.

  27. kjc
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    unrelatedly, i am now dying to hear from miserable bank of ann arbor employees who have worked there more than a year and don’t put on concerts as part of their jobs. i know you’re out there people!

  28. Mr. Y
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    There are two issues, Peter.

    1. Is it a good campaign? Does it achieve its purposes? Does the humor work?

    2. Was it a miscalculation for BOAA/Perich to use non-local vendors for a project that is about the importance of using local service providers?

    Both are legitimate questions, and both have been asked without “hostility.” No one is saying that the Bank of Ann Arbor broke the law. No one is saying that people should pull their accounts. Quite the contrary, the post says, “I’m sure (BOAA) is a great company with a demonstrated interest in making our region successful.” It also says that people should move their money to BOAA (or a credit union) from BOA and Chase. This isn’t a cheap hatchet job. The fact that a New York illustrator was used for a campaign about why people shouldn’t do business with New York vendors, when good local ones exist, is worth pointing out, in my opinion. Yes, it’s not the most important subject to be addressed on this site, but it’s an interesting issue to discuss, and, contrary to what you say, I’m sure that this issue will at least be considered the next time BOAA and Perich do project.

  29. Posted October 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    First, who cares if it’s a good campaign. That seems irrelevant.

    Do you worry about how Jerusalem Garden’s new shirts look? I saw one that was done in a Metallica logo, but Metallica are from San Francisco. Maybe they should have used the logo of the MacPodz instead?

    As for hostility, the title of the post is decidedly hostile, at least to me. Maybe I’m overly sensitive though. I can imagine getting all over Meijer, but Bank of Ann Arbor? Seriously.

    As for New York, there still isn’t anything to suggest that the local company didn’t come up with the idea. Maybe they tried and didn’t like the drawings? Maybe Bank of Ann Arbor rejected them?

    More annoying to me are the stupid Grace Church ads that look like zombies, but all churches are pretty annoying to me. That’s just me, though.

  30. Elf
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Peter, can you post a list of what you deem to be revevant topics somewhere, so that we can all refer to it? Thanks.

  31. Meg
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    This campaign appealed to me because I’ve had experience with BoAA’s ability to asses local situations. My husband and I have our mortgage because BoAA was willing to consider a house in Ypsilanti, even when appraisers had conflicting opinions. Our lender understood the area, and took the time to understand us in the context of the area. I doubt a national bank would have made a similar effort, especially since we bought right after the financial crisis. If it makes locals think twice about going with a national bank when looking to apply for a mortgage, and means a house which may otherwise have gone unsold, is sold, then I’m all for this campaign.

  32. Posted October 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


    I’ll get right on it.

  33. kjc
    Posted October 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I just thought it was good old making fun. I do agree with Meg. I think others do too even if they think the campaign is for cheesedicks.

  34. Posted October 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really understand it, but this was also posted to Facebook today. It comes from someone named Patrick Hayden:

    Y’all should be proud for walking a really fine line that could’ve led lesser minds into anarcho-blah or Johnny Too-Cool parochialism. You skidded past those nets while exercising a brand of hyper-self-critical banter that used to get kids beat up in high school and that rarely resonates in any kind of public forum. Amen and hallelujah. To make clear the distinction between hometown financiers and state-backed monoliths while at the same time saving space for those of us who rate localism alongside Civil War re-enactment on our list of timely political to-dos…well that’s damn awesome, chaps. Only shit-art can do that.

    As for your criticism, Pete, I’m not sure what to say that I haven’t already. After driving by the billboard for months, I wanted to write about the campaign, and, when I heard from Dustin that the character had been created out of state, it gave me the hook that I needed to make it interesting. As I said in the post, I don’t think Bank of Ann Arbor is a bad bank. In all my years of living here, I’ve never heard anything bad about them. I just found the Ann Arbor boosterism of the campaign a bit much. And I do think that, given the subject matter, it was a miscalculation on their part to farm the illustration out to a non-local firm. As I work in marketing I find these things of interest. Clearly, you don’t. That’s OK. The internet is vast and deep. There’s plenty for everyone. I’ll write something tomorrow that you’ll like better. I promise.

  35. dragon
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Of course BoAA could save a lot of face by just offering $500 to a local artist for the best caricature of a Very-Vocal-Wanker.*

    *No self-portraits allowed.

  36. Posted October 23, 2012 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I could really get behind this, Dragon, assuming, of course, that I’m the Very Vocal Wanker.

  37. Facebook Stalker
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Patrick Elkins has now stepped into the ring, responding to Matthew Altruda.

    “So … the bank gives you a paycheck to curate a music festival; you take the paycheck, and then book almost all? every single one? of the acts you manage – from as far away as New York – to play at it (thereby earning yourself a manager’s fee as well, I assume) & this is how the bank supports the ability for local musicians to make a liveable wage? That makes about as much sense as outsourcing the design job for a marketing campaign extolling the virtues of local business in Ann Arbor to a firm in New York or telling bands that they have to get 500 likes on Facebook to play on your “local” radio show on a Clear Channel station. I have no issue with your desire to make money, but be honest about your intentions. From my observations, Mark’s advocacy for local art & business comes from a genuine passion for advancing creative expression and business in this area, not exploiting it for corporate and/or self-interests.”


  38. Forest
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Hey Facebook Stalker, where’s this Pat Elkins quote come from? I’m searching around but no dice.

  39. Mr. X
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The exchange can be found here, Forest:

  40. Forest
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink


  41. Oy Vey
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    If there’s a villain — and I don’t think there is one — in this, it’s the advertising agency. BoAA should be commended for hiring a local agency for their campaign, but they wouldn’t likely have any input into whom the agency subcontracts with for various creative elements. Many agencies big and small have relationships with vendors far and wide for all sorts of services.

    This seems to me to be a very self-conscious attempt by hipsters to find fault where there isn’t any. There are better targets.

    Besides, the biggest sin is the misspelling of Jimmy Buffett’s name on the billboard on Michigan Ave just west of downtown Ypsi.

  42. Forest
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    What the fuck are you talking about, Oy Vey? Banks are fine targets. Billboards are fine targets. They’re GREAT targets, actually, and taking them down any which way is the bee’s knees.

  43. pot stirrer
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    How about a Non-Likeable Music Promoter character? Could someone in the area draw him, or would we need to go out of state to find an illustrator? What would the slogan be? “Thinks Pat Elkins is the stylist who blows out his hair”? “Thinks Voss is a brand of upscale water”?

  44. kjc
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    “How about a Non-Likeable Music Promoter character?”

    haha. part of his non-likeability will be outrage at not being liked by all.

  45. 734
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Voss is a brand of upscale water, but I suspect you already knew that.

    It’s imported from Norway.

  46. Erik Wright-Olsen
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Have you ever seen their billboard on 94 near Dearborn? Suffice to say, Bank of Ann Arbor is much less bellicose about non-local banks when they are one.

  47. ypsijav
    Posted October 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    First of all, fuck banks. I would much rather have my money in a member-owned credit union whose mission is to provide services to members than a bank whose purpose is to generate profit off of me. That being said, there is a world of difference between BoAA and the big corporate multinational banks. The capital at BoAA is going directly back into the community and as far as I know they do a very good job providing vital credit to local small businesses. I feel that the local distinction is really important in distinguishing them from Chase and BOA etc. and probably this campaign is pretty successful at pointing that out, but I agree with Dustin that’s annoying and hypocritical. Personally, they would win me over much more successfully by pointing out that they are actually involved in providing credit for local businesses than that they know about Mayer Hawthorne (who came up in AA but never used that as a stage name until becoming a national act).

  48. Posted October 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I was pretty depressed the day I was forced to open an account at Chase.

  49. ypsijav
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I was planning to open a business account at the BoAA Ypsi branch, but I’m starting to have doubts about them.

    From: Matthew Altruda
    Date: Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM
    Subject: Formal Complaint about Jason Voss.
    To: “”

    Hello WCBN,

    I hate saying this but I will never support WCBN again with Jason Voss on its airwaves. No donations or support from anything and everything I am associated with. Truly makes me sad because I really do enjoy the station. I honestly can’t believe that “Jason Voss” has been attacking me in public forums and from what I have gathered this isn’t an isolated incident.

    Representing WCBN and preaching HATE!

    Telling people my radio show sucks and I am destroying the local music scene here in Ann Arbor. ( )

    That I steal from bands and trying to make the music scene corporate. I read his comments and didn’t realize that he hosts the local show on WCBN. I have never met him but for the life of me can’t understand why we just can’t all work together. There is plenty of room in this community for different opinions but zero room for hate and bashing people you don’t know or understand.

    His attitude towards our community is a cancer.


    Matthew Altruda | Multi-Media & Marketing Event Coordinator
    Bank of Ann Arbor, 125 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    Phone: 734.761.9338 | Fax: 734.669.7160
    Bank of Ann Arbor | Twitter | Facebook |
    Non-local banks think Tuna is a medium-sized, steak-like, mercury-filled, delicious fish creature.

  50. Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I could see if the guy was individually pissed off, but I don’t get why he has to make himself appear that he has the endorsement of BoAA.

    He’s a really poor writer.

  51. Ypsijav
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Non-local banks think it’s inappropriate to threaten boycott of volunteer-run college radio stations because someone on Facebook said your corporate radio show sucks?

  52. CAR
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Back to the heart of this conversation, and I don’t wan’t to get super involved with this because honestly I find the whole thing kind of annoying and I like a lot of the people involved with this conversation, but to all these unemployed local illustrators and designers let me ask you this – would you even want to be involved with a campaign like that? It doesn’t really sound like it to me but if you actually do, maybe you should consider having an online portfolio on a professional portfolio site somewhere and then send your work to local agencies and studios. People at agencies don’t magically know about all the local illustrators. I googled Dustin’s name and the only thing I could find was one Shadow Art poster he designed, and while it is a nice poster, it doesn’t scream “I should hire this guy for this shitty local banker campaign I am working on!”

    This is the same thing as when people in the Detroit advertising community got pissed the W+K (an Portland ad agency) came up with Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” campaign, albiet this is on a much smaller level. Nobody is stopping you as a local artist from getting work from out of town if you want it. Advertising is about commerce. It is stupid, and it is a way for freelancers to make money. Once you do an illustration or design for a campaign like this, it is no longer art. It is marketing and you really begin to lose control of a final product.

    What if a local artist that you knew actually did do the illustration of the banker? What that make this campaign any better? Would you actually want your name attached to this?

  53. Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The only reason why I felt the need to email WCBN is because I love college radio and the station. I was a college radio DJ and truly love everything it represents. I felt it was in my personal best interests to address WCBN because I can’t understand why someone who is in the position of supporting community is trying to do the opposite. I did however use poor judgement sending that email from my work email and not my personal email.

  54. Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    It may be a surprise to you, but even volunteer DJ’s at college radio stations have opinions.

  55. 734
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    The thing that pissed me off Matthew wasn’t that you were a douche, and sent the letter on Bank of America letterhead, hoping to get someone fired for a stupid little online spat, but that you lied. You said in the letter that Jason accused you of “stealing from bands.” He did no such thing. What’s worse, you then deleted the entire thread, so that no one could disprove your claim.

  56. Frosty
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone written to Matthew’s bosses at BOA2 and told them about this? I’m sure they’d find it as interesting, if not more so, than Mr. Voss’s superiors.

  57. Alan Goldsmith
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    “The only reason why I felt the need to email WCBN is because I love college radio and the station. I was a college radio DJ and truly love everything it represents. I felt it was in my personal best interests to address WCBN because I can’t understand why someone who is in the position of supporting community is trying to do the opposite. I did however use poor judgement sending that email from my work email and not my personal email.”

    Yeah, not surprised a Cumulus Radio employee (you know the company that tried to lynch the Dixie Chicks for exercising their free speech) would try to slit the throat of a local non-profit radio station for having a volunteer who worked there expressing his opinions? Read this chumps words CLOSELY:

    “I hate saying this but I will never support WCBN again with Jason Voss on its airwaves. No donations or support from anything and everything I am associated with.”

    What the fuck is ‘everything I’m associated with?’ Bank of Ann Arbor? Lame ass Cumulus robot radio 107.1? It was a clear threat against free speech and trying to get someone to shut up. He can backpedal about ‘oh I should have sent it from my home email account’. But the quote above says what his intentions clearly were. To use his positions at both organizations to shut someone up. If his local radio show wasn’t a piece of shit and lame as the rest of commercial radio, it wouldn’t be so laughable. Five hundred likes on Facebook huh? What a chump. For a Cumulus person to be morally outraged is like…oh never mind.

  58. josh
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Are there any credit unions in walking distance of downtown? I have been unable to find one.

  59. Alan Goldsmith
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I emailed the BOAA and posted on their Facebook page and they responded:

    “Alan, thanks for your support of Bank of Ann Arbor. The comments made by Matthew Altruda do not reflect the opinions of Bank of Ann Arbor toward WCBN or Mr. Voss. Mr. Altruda has been in communication with WCBN to clarify any confusion. We appreciate your concern and thank you for contacting us.”

    We’ll see how the ‘confusion’ is resolved.

  60. ypsijav
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I think that part of Matthew’s job is running the BoAA Facebook site. I spoke with a very nice and helpful person from the bank on Friday and was expecting to hear back today. The proper contact is:
    Rhonda Foxworth
    Vice President & Marketing Manager
    Office: 734-327-1413

  61. kjc
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, it’s pretty clear MA responds on FB for BOAA. not that he will tell you that.

  62. ypsijav
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    What really offends me is the accusation of “preaching hate” based on material that he is suppressing and in which I wasn’t even personally attacking him, just expressing my opinion about his radio show, his attitude about the “local ann arbor music scene” (whose definition actively excludes 90% of the active musicians in the area) and corporate radio ownership consolidation. He deleted the post immediately after I posted examples of bands trying to get 500 facebook likes so he would let them play the show, which he had denied early in the thread.

    I think it’s troubling that Bank of Ann Arbor, which as far as I know is pretty legit in terms of everything that should matter about a local bank is marketing itself in a way that doesn’t live up to their actual performance. A minor example of this is hiring a New York illustrator for its dumb ad campaign. More significantly, the “Bank of Ann Arbor HELPS” marketing money is going toward a day of radio programs on a Cumulus radio station and then their employee who is also an on-air personality on one of those shows threatening WCBN, a community volunteer-run college radio station that “No donations or support from anything and everything I am associated with” will be given to the station until they force me to stop volunteering at the station. So now the volunteer management at WCBN has to waste time discussing this “formal complaint” without any access to what was actually said. Not that WCBN, which by the way has just had its main funding from the UM cut, is currently getting much or any support from BoAA or the rest of “anything and everything I am associated with.” Maybe that would be a better investment in helping the local music community.

  63. Eel
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    He was hired by BOAA because he has his finger on the pulse of youth culture, which he clearly demonstrates by threatening to shut down WCBN, and then using the “but I used to be a DJ” defense. When this thread started I thought that it was trivial. It’s amazing what you can find when you dig, though. My impression of BOAA is dropping by the minute.

  64. Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    This is some really sad shit. It would seem that the only person sowing divisions in the Washtenaw County music scene is Mr. Altruda himself.

  65. Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I’m old enough to have seen dozens of these self important local promoters. No matter where they exist, they are always exactly the same.

  66. Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Jason and Tuna have both helped us out. This fight is bullshit.

    Girls, you’re both pretty. Say you’re sorry and stop trying to get each other fired.

  67. ypsijav
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I had this exchange on FB, so I guess everything’s settled:

    Jason Voss You are formally accusing me of “preaching hate” in material you have suppressed and threatening to boycott a volunteer-run college radio station on behalf of a bank and Cumulus Media. I don’t think that’s very good for the local music community.
    2 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1

    Tree Town Sound hosted by Matthew Altruda 6PM Sundays 107one FM I love WCBN! One of my favorite radio stations ever. This whole situation is over. I made some poor choices because I was upset and now moving on. I can be the bigger person.
    48 minutes ago via mobile · Like

    Jason Voss Have you withdrawn the formal complaint?
    46 minutes ago via mobile · Like

    Jason Voss So you are walking away the bigger person while I am facing libelous formal allegations of hate speech? You are instigating the situation. I was just expressing my opinion on Facebook, which I think unlike corporate radio still allows free speech.
    34 minutes ago via mobile · Like

    Tree Town Sound hosted by Matthew Altruda 6PM Sundays 107one FM I buried it with WCBN. In my life no one has ever gotten under my skin more then you. I kill myself for this local scene and donate countless hours with the Neutral Zone and community events. However our definitions of community is different and I respect that. I should have never sent that to WCBN… I should know better then to stoop to others level. Lesson learned. Now back to being a good person and father.
    23 minutes ago via mobile · Like

    Jason Voss You probably need to be challenged a lot more in your life if that’s the case. You also need to learn about levels. I criticized your show. You called me ignorant for that. That’s dropping a few levels. Then you sent a threatening formal complaint demanding WCBN fire me. That’s about four levels dropped. Stop saying that you represent the “local scene” if you are going to continue to ignore 90% of it.

  68. Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    I think you two need a time out.

  69. kjc
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I would comment further but I have to pick up my daughter from ballet. Hate on haters.

  70. Thom Elliott
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    “No one in my life has ever gotten under my skin more then you”. Could you imagine, with the inexplicable horror of the modern world, with all of its attendant ignorent racist brutality, its environmental destruction, the hopelessness of its dire poverty, its cynical polity, its undulating sea of crass absurdity, its meaninglessness that chokes the life out of hope, that this has gotten under his skin more then anything? What a human veal this Altruda must be. “Now back to being a good person”. I wonder how he defines being a “good person”, does it involve attempting to silence dissent from his capitalist social climbing by throwing his weight around, threatening local institutions fiscally? Does it involve being a Janus-faced opportunist? Does it involve assigning value solely on a materialistic basis? What does it mean to be a good person? Who are good people?

  71. Alan Goldsmith
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    As someone who is a BOAA long time customer AND a long time supporter of WCBN-FM, Matthew Altruda sounds like a dick-head. Guys like him are a dime a dozen, little thugs with a little bit of power thinking they are important or something. Give it a rest. He tried to use his fifteen minutes of fame to stomp out someone who was questioning him, he used his position with Cumulus Radio and at the bank in a not-very-subtle threat there would be financial consequences for questioning him, and this ‘apology’ rings false and hollow. If this is Bank of Ann Arbor’s idea of how they want to spend their promotional/advertising bucks, so be it. Sorry I missed this guy MC-ing the Arlo Guthrie gig at The Ark last night–I’m sure Woody is rolling over in his grave. Lol.

  72. Alan Goldsmith
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Let us now talk about Cumulus Radio. Maybe Matthew Altruda has some thoughts on working for a punk ass corporation filled with haters and billionaires and thugs who want to stomp out free speech using the ‘public’ airwaves?

  73. Alan Goldsmith
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Michael Savage Signs Deal With Cumulus Media

    Michael Savage, the popular conservative radio host, has found a new home for his show, “The Savage Nation,” which went off the air last month after he won a legal battle to leave his former employer.

  74. Alan Goldsmith
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    New Huckabee Radio Show Could Vie With Limbaugh
    Published: February 8, 2012

    Rush Limbaugh will soon have a new radio rival: Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who ran for the Republican presidential nomination four years ago and thought about running again this year. Instead, he will be running a radio show weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. for Cumulus Media Networks. The company will announce “The Mike Huckabee Show” on Thursday and begin selling it to radio stations ahead of an April 2 start date.

  75. ypsijav
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I hope Arlo played this one:

  76. ypsijav
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I spoke on the phone with Mr. Altruda’s boss at BoAA who informed me that they had a copy of the thread on Mark’s FB wall, but would not release it to me or make any comment on the allegations. She also said that by “No donations or support from anything and everything I am associated with” he was not referring to BoAA, BoAA Sonic Lunch Presents or Treetown Sound sponsored by BoAA and that he ACCIDENTALLY used his work email instead of his personal email.

    So according to the story, he copied the thread on Thursday around 6pm before deleting it. Then, he sent the “formal complaint” on Friday at 1pm but was so upset in the heat of the moment that he accidentally sent it from BoAA email with severely incorrect claims.

  77. kjc
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    he’s just trying to feed his family.

  78. Alan Goldsmith
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:17 am | Permalink


    This isn’t exactly what I was emailed by his BOAA boss but I think all of us have made our point and will be on the watch for any repeat of this kind of threatening nonsense in the future and be well prepared to respond as needed. But I still need to send a message to the corporate office of Cumulus Media and that will go out today.

  79. ypsijav
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    The “formal complaint” (which is really a thuggish threat) to WCBN has not been retracted. Matthew and the BoAA are suppressing the deleted post from Mark’s Facebook, which clearly does not contain any “preaching hate” or any accusations about “stealing from bands” or even any attack on him other than expressing my opinion that his corporate radio show sucks and that it is bad for the local music community to present a small segment of music as THE ANN ARBOR/YPSI SCENE while actively ignoring bands that rock too hard or don’t have enough Facebook likes or don’t have a product to sell.

  80. Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    My band only has 90 likes. Am I to assume that we will never be able to play again in the area?

    Perhaps I should start 410 fake Facebook profiles.

    Wat a stupid way to run a radio show.

    I like WCBN. Even if everyone in the world thinks your band sucks, they might play it once just to find out why it’s so universally hated.

  81. Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Via facebook:

    Jef Porkins: Yeah, as one if the bands that “needed 500 likes to play tree town sound” I can attest to the fact that it wasn’t a requirement from Matt for us to get 500 likes to play the show. It was an agreed upon way to get people interested in both of our endeavors: his show and my band. For some reason it’s painted as Matt withholding something until we were jumped through needless hoops and that’s just not the case.

  82. Anonymous Mike
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I mean no disrespect to Mr. Voss when I say this, but my guess is that MA did tell him he couldn’t play without 500 fans. But I think he probably just said it because he didn’t like the band. People play what they like.

  83. Anonymous Mike
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Also I don’t know that it proves anything that MA didn’t mention a “500 likes” rule to you, Jake. All he’d have to do is check your Facebook page to know you’ve got more than that.

  84. Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I was quoting Jef Porkins from Suicide by Cop.

  85. kjc
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The 500 likes thing was the least offensive aspect of that whole discussion.

  86. ypsijav
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I would never want any of my musical projects to be played on Cumulus or ClearChannel radio. The most commercial band that I have been in was 10 years ago, and it wasn’t very commercial. This is the official submission requirements from the show’s web site:

    “All submissions will be judged by my opinion alone.

    Was your album recorded within a professional environment?
    Honestly- Please don’t waste my time if the music doesn’t sound professional. ”

    But he is the number 1 supporter of the “ANN ARBOR/YPSI LOCAL MUSIC SCENE”

  87. Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    So what?

  88. ypsijav
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    So knock the bullshit about “everything I do for local music” and how that makes him impervious to criticism of any kind. I’ve played your band on WCBN a lot, as have a lot of other DJs and this is the case down to the band for what Altruda plays, aside from some of the most bland commercial artists. That was my whole point in the first place, and his response is a premeditated libelous threat against WCBN to demand that they can me, withholding what I actually said, which included no hate, no personal attacks, no accusations of stealing, etc.

  89. Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    You started a turf war over who’s the most legit working class local music radio hero?

  90. kjc
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    obviously someone didn’t read the FB thread. i can’t believe how many people suck up to that guy.

  91. 734
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink


    You just need to up your game, get a nice haircut, buy some new threads, have some sexy band photos taken and go into a quality studio with someone that can give you a “professional” sound. As I know all of these are foreign concepts to you, I’ve got a piece of video to share.

  92. ypsijav
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t start any turf war. I expressed my opinions about Treetown Sound as representative of the “ANN ARBOR/YPSI MUSIC SCENE,” corporate media consolidation and his vision for the local music scene (which I learned about at a horrifying summit held at Woodruff’s about a year ago). Tuna’s ego was bruised so bad that he willfully planned to take me down by boycotting support of WCBN (which is a volunteer-run college radio station that depends on listener donations in order to exist and has a funding crisis due to cuts from the UM) on behalf of “everyone and everything he is associated with.” So far none of his associates with whom I have spoken were on board with this in any way. Even the most gun-loving libertarians militia types should be able to construe how fucked up this is, illustrative of his attitude that he is free to vindictively take people down using his powerful position in the local music industry. Anyway. he withdrew his formal complaint yesterday, but no one notified me until less than an hour ago. So I won’t complain about these libelous accusations any more.

    I really don’t care what anyone thinks about my position in local music. I show up on Wednesdays and engineer bands playing live on the college radio station. Bands seem to appreciate it. Lots of great live music happens on the radio and there’s a giant archive of full live performances by local bands over the last 10 years, which is satisfying. I was hosting the show most of the time between 2002 and 2010, except 2005 when I did a different show that had frequent live in-studio improvised music performances. I think it’s a valuable outlet for a wide variety of local music. The basic requirement to play is “Are you able to perform a live set of music?” back when I was booking it and I don’t think Shelley’s approach is much different. I think it’s cool for bands starting out to have a nice live studio recording of their material before they have a polished finished recording ready to sell. I have gotten tons of shit from various people over the years that was much worse than my criticisms of Tuna’s approach. I don’t really care. I was never very comfortable having my name attached to the show and I don’t have any big ego about my volunteer efforts to support the local music community. I just do it because I think its worth doing, often contrary to all evidence at hand.

  93. Posted October 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Glad that’s settled.

  94. Eel
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know that Matthew “I have a great ear” Altruda’s dad was the President of Borders.

    You can occasionally learn stuff at

  95. kjc
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    omg that article. haha. i hope he doesn’t make shakespeare suck.

  96. kjc
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    on the optimistic side, i do trust Altruda’s ability to take the weird and turn it into the conventional, sort of like spinning gold into shit. but he’s one of my least favorite people after his embarrassing WCBN meltdown, where his sense of entitlement was so out of hand that he became completely irrational in his outrage at not being worshipped as a local visionary. (there are plenty of local people who DO kiss his ass constantly apparently, so i see why he expected more of the same. and no i am no surprised his dad was president of Borders!) . of course, i disagreed with him and told him so, getting me defriended me mid-thread so i would stop talking. he doesn’t like to be told he did a bad thing.

    anyway, i don’t support his events anymore now that i know he’s a douche. artists he promotes i try to see at events that he’s not promoting. i just can’t support someone who’s all about himself, even when he’s helping others.

  97. Dennis
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    God bless you, Matt Altruda for promoting the area’s bluegrass scene. If there’s one thing this area needs more of in 2013, it’s banjo!

  98. X
    Posted January 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    If our local music scene becomes something it won’t be because of Matthew Altruda but in spite of him.

    He’ll still take credit, though.

  99. facebook stalker
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Can someone explain this to me?

  100. anon
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    i don’t know what it means. but it’s a better film than django unchained.

  101. Elf
    Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Be on the lookout, Mr. Voss. Altruda is coming for you, and he wants a hug!

  102. taco farts
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Done in 3.

    101 comments?!! Get a chatroom, guys.

  103. Posted March 9, 2013 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    I live in the western Wayne suburbs. While I frequent the Ypsilanti Ann Arbor area weekly for cultural offerings, I am just reminded how each community had its own aspects of exhausting -ness. It’s been a good show.

  104. hahahaha
    Posted March 10, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    It is so nice to see people calling out matt altruda for what he is. A talentless hack whos ego is as big as this city. Hittilng on other peoples girlfriends while he is dating a lovely person is one thing I continually hear about him. When he was a flyer pusher for the macpodz, he would send bands emails who happened to be playing the same night locally, telling them to cancel the show and they should quit music does not seem like someone who supports local music. He knows nothing about music and performance. The only performing he has ever done is on martin bandyke to get the local show. Has anyone heard that? What a trainwreck. Epic! Soooo bad.

    Wow sending an email from boaa’s business email? Who in the fuck does he think he is?
    Grounds for firing. Sonic lunch used to be cool when it was about local bands. Not so much anymore. Calling and booking bands, exploiting 20 bands for their hard work, sstamping a clever name on an event and under paying the bands who are doing all the work is not difficult. Try doing something original, planning a full event for the community and then we can consider you a promoter. Any props that he has gotten have come by stepping on people and being a terrible person. Voted as someone to watch in ann arbor by Hilarity. The only reason why anyone should watch MA is to watch their own back!

    So matt, keep posing. Hopefully now people can see you for what you are. For being a local music guy, you sure talk a lot shit about other bands. Anyone who would send an email like that from a business account is an idiot. Trying to pull weight by using a local business as leverage that you happen to work a couple of hours for is ridiculous. To a local, volunteer station????? And although mr voss is also a shit starter everyone deserves the right to free speech. Sorry he posted something you didnt like on you facebook page. Social media is great and terrible at the same time. Bet you wish you could delete some of these comments, huh matt? Now, i have only met him a couple times but plenty of my friends know him and have told me nothing but shady, bad things. The truth will rise. I love free speech and!

  105. ypsijav
    Posted March 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    You might think that it would be grounds for dismissal at any reputable business, but the BANK OF ANN ARBOR doubled down, supporting their Tuna fish in his libelous attack against me while suppressing the actual stupid conversation from Mark’s FB post (which had nothing especially colorful in it other than making Tuna look like even more of an ass than he does from these comments.

    There is a really bizarre attitude about “professionalism” among these assholes. For example Andrew Clock, organizer of the failed “Michigan Roots Jamboree” and the not-yet failed Ypsilanti Heritage festival considers Matt’s behavior as acting with professionalism. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

  106. Posted March 28, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Perich is an independent ad agency in Ann Arbor. Get your facts straight, bro. Their office is just north of downtown AA.

  107. Posted March 30, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Ten bucks to the person who can set up the Bank of Ypsilanti:

    In 1919, the Non-Partisan League, a vibrant populist organization, won a majority in the legislature and voted the bank into existence. The goal was to free North Dakota farmers from impoverishing debt dependence on the big banks in the Twin Cities, Chicago and New York. More than 90 years later, this state-owned bank is thriving as it helps the state’s community banks, businesses, consumers and students obtain loans at reasonable rates. It also delivers a handsome profit to its owners — the 700,000 residents of North Dakota. In 2011, the BND provided more than $70 million to the state’s coffers. Extrapolate that profit-per-person to a big state like California and you’re looking at an extra $3.8 billion a year in state revenues that could be used to fund education and infrastructure.
    One of America’s Best Kept Secrets

    Les Leopold
    Each time we pay our state and local taxes — and all manner of fees — the state deposits those revenues in a bank. If you’re in any state but North Dakota, nearly all of these deposits end up in Wall Street’s too-big to-fail banks, because those banks are the only entities large enough to handle the load. The vast majority of the nation’s 7,000 community banks are too small to provide the array of cash management services that state and local governments require. We’re talking big bucks; at least $1 trillion of our local tax dollars find their way to Wall Street banks, according to Marc Armstrong, executive director of the Public Banking Institute. […]
    Banks are supposed to serve as intermediaries that turn our savings and checking deposits into productive loans to businesses and consumers. That’s how jobs are supported and created. But the BND, a state agency, goes one step further. Through its Partnership in Assisting Community Expansion, for example, it provides loans at below-market interest rates to businesses if and only if those businesses create at least one job for every $100,000 loaned. If the $1 trillion that now flows to Wall Street instead were deposited in public state banks in all 50 states using this same approach, up to 10 million new jobs could be created. That would effectively end our destructive unemployment crisis. […]

    As state government employees, BND executives have no incentive to gamble their way toward enormous pay packages. As you can see, the top six BND officers earn a good living […]

    Eric Hardmeyer, President and CEO: $232,500
    Bob Humann, Chief Lending Officer: $135,133
    Tim Porter, Chief Administrative Officer: $122,533
    Joe Herslip, Chief Business Officer: $105,000
    Lori Leingang, Chief Administrative Officer: $105,000
    Wally Erhardt, Director of Student Loans of North Dakota: $91,725

    The very existence of a successful BND undermines Wall Street’s claim that in order to attract the best talent big banks need to offer enormous pay packages. Yet somehow, North Dakota is able to find the talent to run one of the soundest banks in the country? The BND is living proof that Wall Street’s rationale for sky-high executive pay is a self-serving fabrication.

  108. Andrew Jason Clock
    Posted March 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Ypsijav, what amazes me is that so few people have caught on to the whole “mock and insult people until they react poorly and then use that reaction to paint them as a bad guy” game you play. See, nobody would be saying/doing these things to you if you didn’t spend so much time egging them on. If your initiation of the trash talk went away, so would the reactions you spend so much time complaining about.

    But I suspect you know that already.

    And yes, I still find Matt more professional than you, even though he made a huge error in the way he carried out his argument against you. Why? Because if you hadn’t started the trash talk, his reaction would never have occurred. No matter what the end result, your insults were the root cause of the problem.

    But please, spend more time and energy telling me why it’s ok for you to insult people but not for them to get fed up with you insulting them. Please tell me more about my past/future failures, and how you could do what I’ve done so much better.

  109. facebook stalker
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    For context, this is what Andrew Clock had to say on Mark’s facebook on the issue:

    And I said in my experience. I’ve worked with you both. Only one of you has stolen a mascot and spent the next year poking fun at something I worked really hard at because you didn’t like that you were made to stop performing at the time you were told we were required by city ordinance to stop all performances.

    And I’m sorry, but the whole “No, I’m better for local music” argument is hilarious. I’ve said this to you dozens of times, and like everyone else in Ypsilanti, you just don’t seem to get it, but here it is again: Stop fucking worrying about what everyone else is doing. Seriously. If you put half the time and effort into doing something you think is cool instead of demanding that other people, who put a a lot of time and effort into their own project, change what they’re doing so it conforms to your standard of hipness, everyone would wind up with all kinds of cool shit and nobody would have to listen to you bitch. And as someone who has been at the receiving end of your taunts, it’s pretty hard not to be offended by them and come out thinking you’re kind of a dick.

    So that’s the deal. I stand by my comment. Tuna made one epic error is his argument with you, but has otherwise been pretty much professional, and has helped dozens if not hundreds of artist, even if its in kind of a yuppie, self promoting, Ann Arbor way. You have a history of telling other people how much what they’re doing sucks issuing demands before you’ll stop taunting them, then making a federal case when they get pissed and react badly.

    Andrew Jason Clock The thing is man, we’ve seen enough posts by you to know your game. You get off on mocking people, and all the more so when we’re dumb enough to get pissed off by it. I don’t agree with everything Matt’s ever done, but I know for a fact that you get off talking shit about people on the internet, hiding your shit talking behind nonsense, and calling it art. So, for me, I’m going to side with the guy who is, as a general rule, less of a jerk. You can twist my words anyway you like, because read in context they stand up just fine.

    If you really had a point, that would be one thing. But the whole argument between Matt and you started because you felt the need to talk shit about how he promotes local music because you didn’t like it. Yup, he sure did react badly, but you went out of your way to provide him something to react to, instead of just taking that time and effort it took to mock Matt to make more of your own art and music. So, please, call me bitter and self absorbed, or any other name you want. But dude, the first step to supporting all things local, is to stop bitching about how everybody else is doing it.

  110. V. Yanos
    Posted April 12, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Matt Tuna isn’t a music advocate. Quite the opposite. He’s a hanger-on, a cheerleader for his buddies’ bands, a “public figure” of the Kim Kardashian variety. As a musician who tried to reach out to him several times over the course of a few years and got no reply (quite the local music advocate, eh?), I judge him and his closed-door, cliquey attitude based on my own personal experience. Funnily enough, my experience aligns with that of other musicians I’ve talked to and with comments on this here page. He’s got the ego of a “local rock star” — which is lame enough — but with the added bonus of having zippo musical ability or cred!

    Musicians will always be cooler than cheerleaders. Alwayas thought those BoAA billboards sucked, too. ;)

  111. A Kanuri
    Posted May 2, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    A guy from Bank of Ann Arbor was at the event last night. I thought that he was there to kill you.

  112. Tea
    Posted August 13, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Non local banker needs to be retired.

  113. Posted July 31, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    This whole article and comment thread was weird. As far as advertising goes, that was a stellar campaign. If someone takes issue with advertising in general, how are we supposed to take his or her critique of it seriously?

  114. Iron lung
    Posted June 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    This site used to be fairly interesting and engaging. Now it is just a place for stoned morons to spread propaganda about would be dictators, spineless right wingers to stick up for racists, and religious nuts to talk about the flavor of the week on fox news.

  115. Jean Henry
    Posted June 14, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    A reminder too that I used to leave one post and let it go…
    Need to remember that.
    May have something to do with all the misinformation in the comments section lately. I remember being delighted back when by the diversity of well informed and often amusing opinion here. Not sure how to re-establish that. But I can start by holding my tongue.

4 Trackbacks

  1. By Ypsi/Arbor Exit Interview: Dustin Krcatovich on March 9, 2013 at 11:30 am

    […] Did this awakening have anything to do with the epic dust-up between you and our mutual friend The Non-Local Banker?DUSTIN: Yeah, I’ve got to get outta town before I make any other enemies.MARK: I was just […]

  2. […] off by talking with Bee Roll, the owner of Beezy’s Cafe. We talked about food safety, the false sincerity of banks that claim in their advertising materials to support local businesses, and the storefront […]

  3. […] spite of the billboards around town by local banks claiming to support homegrown businesses, the truth is, when our small “mom and pop” stores need capital, it’s almost impossible to […]

  4. […] Six Pack, approached the Bank of Ann Arbor in 2013, at the height of their pervasive ‘we really care about local business‘ ad campaign and asked them for a loan of just $6,000. As she’d run her business […]

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