‘Free Times’ Music Awards not for everyone

Douglas Hite

A record label from Akron has proclaimed that the Free Times Music Awards is a joke. Ironically, their ensuing boycott of the Free Times is, too.

In a press release issued last week, Audio Eagle Records representative and chief operating officer Theodore Mallison called the staff of the Free Times everything from “bourgeois sociopaths” to “rampaging fat cats.” He even made a reference to their inability to recognize the difference between their ass and a hole in the ground.

The Free Times could not be reached for comment.

All inane name-calling aside, the Free Times Music Awards has nominated 105 bands and artists for their awards this year. Of those nominated, 93 were from Cleveland, while only one was from Akron. Four were from Kent.

“The selection process is really random. And really silly,” said Mallison, who has been part of the Akron scene via his band, Houseguest, as well as his work with Audio Eagle Records — founded by the Black Keys’ Pat Carney.

None of the bands on Audio Eagle Records or its compilation album were named as nominees by the Free Times this year.

“It’s not about the label,” says Mallison. “It’s about the town. It’s also about the fact that there aren’t a lot of bands from Cleveland that come to Akron.”

According to Mallison, it’s not about the Free Times either.

“Neither the Free Times or the Scene have a good grasp of what is going on in Akron,” he said. “They’ve got a great music staff that’s really good, their stuff. But the Free Times Awards and the Scene Awards have always been this goofy thing that didn’t make sense.”

While Mallison has been staunch in his skepticism of the awards, he stresses that he has nothing against any of the Free Times’ staff, and that the comments he has made were intended to be humorous.

“I don’t think (my comments) are probably going to help anything. I was just busting their balls because they know how goofy some of this stuff is. It was mainly a joke. This stuff is just silly.

“I know a lot of those guys (at the Free Times). They’re really good at writing about music. I’m not angry at them. I just think that some stuff can change.

“I hope that next year, they look at Akron. Maybe even include a category for Akron. Kent should have a category, too.”

Contact all reporter Douglas Hite at [email protected].