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ClayManiacs.com  |  Archive  |  Media & Appearance Archive  |  12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
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Author Topic: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?  (Read 3720 times)

Marilyn

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12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« on: May 22, 2010, 10:59:53 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« on: December 11, 2003, 03:37:30 PM »   

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Supporting the American Idols: So What Do We Do Now?
by Bruce Barker -- 12/11/2003

Recently, Bruce wrote about how the music industry was snubbing American Idol participants. Now he responds to the hundreds of e-mails that have asked: So now what do we do? With a list of dos and don’ts, Bruce provides the answers in a blunt fashion that every fan should read.

My most recent article concerning the negative attitude shown by much of the music business toward American Idol singers and their fans resulted in a literal flood of e-mails. After reading several hundred responses I realized that it would be impossible for me to personally respond to each of them, so I would like to begin by apologizing to all who took the time to send me their thoughts and opinions. Because of the sheer volume of comments I received, this “group” reply will have to suffice.
With the exception of one notable dissenting voice, every one of the e-mails I received joined in a loud chorus of frustration about the treatment shown thus far to the Idol singers. I heard from dozens of Clay Aiken and Justin Guarini fans relating the often sarcastic and seldom warm welcome they’ve received from radio stations and even music stores as they attempted to support their favorite singers. In the entire batch I heard from only one reader who had a completely positive experience in attempting to request Idol music.
The one question that I was asked more than any other was, “So what are we supposed to do now?” To put it another way, “How do we break down these barriers and make radio give us what we want?”
I’m going to give you some answers, but I warn you right now that you may not like some of what I have to say. The first article pointed out what was happening and what was wrong. This one is a message to the fans on what to do to change things and also to any music industry people who read this column (and I did hear from several) with some suggestions on how to get back in touch with your consumers.
Let’s start off with the American Idol Fanatic. You know who you are. You are the Clay Nation. You are the Ruben Nation. You are the hundreds of Justin fans who have contacted me over the past six months. One of the more common comments I received from fans was praise because I “tell it like it is.” That hasn’t changed, but I fear this time you may not be praising me in e-mails as much as you will be burning me in effigy. Someone has to say it and I guess I’ll give it a shot.
You need to step back a bit. Some of you need to step back a lot.
I don’t pretend to speak for all media, but I will go out on a small limb here and speak based on my own opinions, the opinions of those within the music business that have contacted me, and the opinions of the fine people that have honored me by including me in their group of writers here at Foxes on Idol and RealityNewsOnline. We love to hear from you. You are one of our crucial lines of contact that keeps us abreast of what the various performers have scheduled in coming weeks. Without you, the Idol winners would have no careers and the writers here would have no audience. But no amount of gilding the lily will change the reason why I say you need to step back.
As I said, I have heard from several people who work in radio and the music industry. I gave as much weight to what they had to say as I did to every other letter I received and it led me to make some calls, ask some additional questions, and do some more digging for the answers. This is what I learned:
There are a lot of things that have led to the resistance to giving airtime to Idol alumni. Some programmers don’t like the show, some feel the Idols haven’t “paid their dues” and got it all handed to them on a plate, and as I mentioned in the last article, in some cases the promotional people at the label simply dropped the ball. Unfortunately the dedication of the fans is also one of the biggest problems right now. I’m going to use the more zealous fans of Clay Aiken as an example simply because they have been the least “Invisible” in recent weeks, but I could just as easily present examples from the ranks of the supporters of each and every one of the American Idol singers.
Every time someone on the radio cracks a joke at Clay’s expense, the phone lines light up. Every time someone in the Clay newsgroups or fansites comes up with an idea to get Clay’s name and music out there, the radio stations get buried in calls, faxes, e-mails, carrier pigeons, or whatever other mode of communication can be found. For several days when the video for “Invisible” didn’t make it to the Number 1 spot on MTV’s Total Request Live, there were e-mails flying speaking of a conspiracy to keep Clay out of the top slot. I myself received several that said things like, “I’m part of a group of 20 people who have been voting as many times as we can. I also know of a lot of other groups around the country. No matter how many votes he gets, for some reason Clay doesn’t hit #1. Why is MTV holding Clay down?”
Again, this isn’t directed only at the Clay Aiken lovers. Justin’s fans hand-delivered copies of his album to radio stations after his label failed to get the single for “Sorry” out on time. I heard from one harried deejay that received 23 copies of the record in one single day! If anyone at Foxes On Idol praises one singer or writes a review about an album, he or she immediately starts getting e-mails from fans of the other singers demanding equal time. A simple statement like, “I’ve really enjoyed listening to Measure of a Man” will get any number of “Why do you hate Ruben so much?” letters and so forth. If one of us actually says something negative, the outcry is prompt and massive.
One thing is abundantly clear. You love your Idols. So do we. That’s why we write about them. But remember The Aunt that everyone seems to have? The one who would come over on the holidays and couldn’t resist pinching your cheeks and crushing you in a big bear hug until you realized that breathing was a truly wonderful thing that you would no longer take for granted? Sometimes love smothers.

continued

 
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2010, 11:03:02 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2003, 03:39:41 PM »   

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PART 2

Here is what is happening, again using Clay because his single “Invisible” is the most recent example. A radio station gets flooded daily with requests for the song. Any faxes from out of state or outside the general listening area get immediately tossed out as junk requests from “the Clay freaks.” Multiple requests from the same person get the same treatment. A sudden cluster of requests or a sudden spike in the number of daily requests is written off as well. If the deejay has the remotest bit of a stubborn streak it kicks into high gear and thoughts like, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let these people pester me into playing that song,” start floating around. People who may have heard the song once or twice but aren’t big Clay fans may call in requests as well simply because they like the tune, but they wind up lost in the shuffle.
So what do we do to change this?
The amount of organization amongst fans of Clay, Justin, Ruben, and each of the other recording Idols is not only impressive, it’s downright amazing. I’m not suggesting you stop supporting your favorite Idol, far from it. What I am saying is that your organizational skills are needed more than ever, but they need to be focused. What follows is a list of dos and don’ts that may help.

DON’T

•   Send faxes, e-mails, or other requests to a radio station that isn’t in your listening area. Your heart is in the right place, but I’ve learned you are doing more harm than good.
•   Call more than once per deejay work shift to request the current song.
•   Call and ask why the deejay hasn’t played the song yet. Many stations have a set rotation of songs and it simply may not be that particular song’s “turn” yet.
•   Announce yourself as part of a “group” of fans or as part of a big fan club. They know you’re out there. They’ve also looked at the fansites and newsgroups.

DO

•   If you happen to be near a phone when you hear the song played on the radio, give the station a quick call and say, “I just wanted to thank you for playing [name of song]. I really like that one.”
•   Get organized with other fans online to the point where the fans in Detroit are working the Detroit area, the fans in Boston are working the Beantown area, etc.
•   Be fair to fans of other singers. It’s okay if some stations are playing “Sorry 2004” more than “Invisible” and vice versa. Radio stations stay within their own formats and musical styles and one might fit better than the other.
•   Be brief rather than giving too much information when you call to request a song. “Could you play that song “Sorry 2004?” works. “I know you got Ruben Studdard’s single “Sorry 2004” last Tuesday but you’ve only played it twice. When are you going to start playing it more often? I’m part of a 2,000 member club of Ruben’s fans and if you don’t start playing it soon we’re going to add your name to our poopie-head list!” doesn’t.
•   Choose one person to represent the group when it comes to other media – magazines and such – and then have that person mention they are one voice speaking for many. That person should be able to be polite and diplomatic. If a mistake is made, correct it and thank the publication or the editor for giving space to the performer. “Hello, my name is Warren Peece, President of the Nikki fan club and I’d like to comment on your recent article about Nikki. I wanted to mention that in fact Nikki is a young and female singer and not a 43-year-old man as you originally reported. Thanks for an otherwise fascinating article.”
•   Lastly, if you must set your personal favorite singer in competition with the other Idol singers, do it with your wallet. I’ve spoken to radio people who were absolutely dreading the release of Ruben’s album because to them it means that there will be two large groups of people calling the station instead of just one. I can promise you that if stations start getting peppered with calls requesting “Sorry 2004” each time they play “Invisible,” very quickly they will cease playing both. The quickest way to kill airplay for Clay or Ruben is for fans in the respective camps to complain or push too hard for one over the other.
When it comes to the music business, a little noise can go a long way. Back in the mid-seventies there was a band that had been struggling to find a large American audience for several years. Sales of their music were solid, but they just couldn’t catch that first really big hit single. They recorded their fourth album and there was what everyone agreed was an absolute gem of a song on there. The label, A&M records, rushed it out as the lead single and it bombed. It got barely any airplay whatsoever and left only the slightest scratch on the singles chart. As it began to drop into oblivion, the label took out a full-page ad in Billboard Magazine – the music bible. Loosely paraphrased it said, “Dear Program Director and Radio Personality… You recently received the single ‘Give a Little Bit’ by the band Supertramp. We feel this song has all the makings of a smash hit and is one of the best pieces of music we’ve released in recent years. This is an open letter asking you to give the song a second listen and perhaps play it on the air just once to gauge the public’s reaction. Thank you for your consideration.”
Four weeks later the song was in the Top 5. Supertramp went on to become one of the best known and loved bands of their time.

continued

LINK TO PART 2
 
 
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2010, 11:05:59 PM »
Pamela
Assistant Webmaster
SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2003, 03:42:02 PM »   

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PART 3

As of this writing “Invisible” has made it about halfway up the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart based almost entirely on radio airplay and requests. The song is about to break big – especially when the CD single is finally released. I ended my last article by saying that we are in control. It’s true and you have done your job well. In some cases, almost too well. You’ve gotten the ball rolling and it now has its own momentum. Clay is a smash sensation. Ruben is about to storm the charts. Kimberley Locke is taking a more cautious but nonetheless steady and intelligent path to the same level of success. Radio no longer needs daily reminders that our Idol stars are out there. The charts, the sales totals, the magazine covers, the awards and nominations, and the promoters at 19 and RCA give them all the reminders they need. It doesn’t matter whether they like the music or not, soon it will be everywhere.
In the earlier article I also mentioned that music downloads were not solely responsible for the massive drop in music sales in recent years. Recent statistics show that the lawsuits, negative publicity, the drop in CD prices, and the comments of many recording artists themselves have all contributed to a drastic reduction in the amount of file swapping and downloading. Yet music sales continue to decline at a close to double-digit rate. Why? Back in the caveman days when I was a teenager, we would regularly tape songs off the radio or copy cassettes for friends, yet record sales were at the biggest point in history. Why? The biggest reason is that the music industry has lost touch with its biggest consumer base. The largest generation in American history is the famous Baby Boomer generation. When the Boomers were teens, the record buying public was massive and passing around copies of songs and albums didn’t have the impact it has today. Well, the Boomers aged and the music didn’t. The average 45-year-old isn’t going to like a lot of the music the average 15-year-old is enjoying. The argument has always been that middle-aged people don’t buy music for themselves and until about 20 years ago that was true. But things have changed. If you look at the charts you will find that some of the truly massive sellers of the past couple of years are compilations by artists that the Boomers fell in love with years ago. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, even Elvis Presley have all had multi-platinum albums in the past two years. In fact, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – an act that first hit it big three decades ago – was awarded the very rare “Diamond Album” for sales of more than 10 million copies of their greatest hits collection.
One other thing that each of these various albums has in common apart from the fact that they all contain hits that are decades old is that virtually every song in each collection has been available for downloading since the very first days of Napster. There’s a lot to be learned from this. Apparently older people do buy music, and in vast quantities. A look at the biggest grossing concerts of the year shows that they will also pay a lot of money to see music as well. The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, and the Stones have all made enough money on recent tours to keep them in Depends and Grecian Formula 16 for the rest of their respective lives. The logical conclusion is, if you make music that will appeal to the 16-year-old fans and their parents you will sell to two market groups and increase profits immensely!
Why is Clay Aiken so popular? Anyone taking a few minutes to look in the fansites or look into a music store to see who is buying Measure of a Man knows the answer. His music appeals to 14-year-olds, and that’s critically important in the record business. But even more importantly, a huge segment of his fans are Baby Boomers. Some of the most tenacious e-mailers out there beating the bushes in support of Clay Nation are 50-something-year-old women who are finally hearing something again that suits their taste. In a lot of cases, Measure of a Man is the first CD they’ve purchased for themselves in years. I have the e-mailed testimonials of three dozen such people sitting on my hard drive. Many of them ask about Kimberly and Ruben as well, talking about being mesmerized by Kim Locke’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or Ruben’s “Let’s Just Kiss and Say Goodbye.” They talk about riding in the car with their kids and grandkids singing along to Clay’s album. What a novel concept – an entire family of fans! The American Idol Christmas CD is selling very well and will continue to sell every year when the holidays arrive. These people sing beautifully together and fans of all ages are buying it.
I’m not saying that the American Idol singers are the salvation of the crippled music industry, but I am saying they are a gigantic neon sign pointing directly to that salvation. It is time for the business to realize that there is a lot of money to be made by finding and nurturing artists who have a cross-generational appeal. If 10 million people will snap up copies of 30-year-old Tom Petty tunes, imagine how hungry the public is for some new music that they can get exited about!
Don’t make us beg. We don’t like it. Don’t ignore us any longer, because we won’t put up with it. American Idol has reminded us that we like good songs from talented people. It’s been our wakeup call and we want more. Almost a half a century ago there were riots in the streets when a reluctant media machine tried to suppress the music of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, and the other pioneers of rock & roll. Things got ugly. Today it’s all much more civilized. Give us what we want and get rich again. Ignore us and you might as well call Kinko’s for some “Going out of Business” signs. Kelly Clarkson has taken the first of what is likely to be many rides atop the charts. Clay Aiken’s debut single is the number one seller of the year. Ruben Studdard is next and is now available for purchase by the hungry public. All things considered, not a bad year for the RCA family of labels. We want more. We want Kimberley Locke and Tamyra, and a chance to hear some of the hundreds of bands and singers out there that will never be American Idols but still deserve a shot. Oh, and while you’re at it, we wouldn’t mind it at all if some label were to pick up a certain curly-haired runner-up and give him the decent backing and support that was so badly missing the first time he had one of the Top 20 selling albums in the country. We’ll make it all worth your while. We promise.

LINK TO PART 3
 
 
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2010, 11:08:41 PM »
outthereforclay
Guest
  Are you "Avid" or "Rabid"?
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2003, 04:21:38 PM »   

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THANK YOU, PAMELA, FOR CALLING OUR ATTENTION TO THIS ARTICLE!

He has some EXCELLENT advice for us as Clayfans to be

AVID CLayfans, not RABID Clayfans! 8)
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Marilyn

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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2010, 11:09:05 PM »
Leveland
Great Minds Think Alike
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2003, 04:39:29 PM »   

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Pamela I got your back.. I was just coming back to post this article.  Of course you are so good you beat me to it.  Thanks a must read for all Idol Fans.  Love Terry
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2010, 11:09:27 PM »
Misha
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  Wow
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2003, 06:05:45 PM »   

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Wow Pamela... thank you for that article... we need the others here to read this... and read it again... and again...  I agree with everything and I mean EVERYTHING in that article.
 
 
 
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2010, 11:09:42 PM »
Nina
Guest
  What do we do now?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2003, 09:09:36 PM »   

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Pamela, this was a terrific article.  You might want to consider putting notices in the other sections of the forum directing them to this article so everyone has a chance to read it.  Thanks for posting it for us!
Nina
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2010, 11:10:02 PM »
caramel131
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  SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2003, 09:26:07 PM »   

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I agree.  This is an awesome and insightful article.  We should take our lead from it.
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Marilyn

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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2010, 11:10:47 PM »
wisconsinmaniac
wisconsinmaniac
    SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2003, 12:13:15 AM »   

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I am in total agreement with this article and thanks to Pamela for getting it to us.  The list of dos and don'ts should serve as a guideline for every true Clay fan.  It would be so ironic and very sad that, if in our honest efforts to try to show our loyalty to Clay, instead we would cause harm in the way he is perceived in the industry.   The article states we have done our job well and have gotten the ball rolling.    Now we have to resist overdoing it. 

Pamela, you have always encouraged fans to avoid bashing or comparing other artists when requesting fair treatment for Clay.   This article also emphasizes that.   I hope all fellow Claymaniacs will read this article and stay on course so that Clay gets only positive results from all of our honest efforts.   The "bonus" is that we will have many years to enjoy the treasure that is Clay and he, hopefully, will gain all of the respect that he deserves throughout the music industry.
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2010, 11:12:33 PM »
mackncsu
SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2003, 03:33:27 AM »   

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this is a good article. Thanks once again!
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2010, 11:13:01 PM »
Misha
Guest
  Bumps
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2003, 10:17:05 AM »   

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Bumps this message up to the top, cause I think it really needs to be read by everyone.
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2010, 11:13:28 PM »
jj
Guest
  SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2003, 11:28:49 AM »   

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This is a great article and he tells it like it is. He really knows us. I am one of those 50 something Grandmas who has really enjoyed Clay's music. Clay's cds as well as the AI cds are the first cds have bought for myself in years. It is the first time I actually wanted to hear the same songs again and again in a long time. I don't listen to the radio anymore, I play my cds. I hope everyone who really cares about Clay will read this article and take its message to heart.
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2010, 11:14:08 PM »
Leveland
SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2003, 12:18:37 PM »   

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Pamela I think we should make this required reading.  We should maybe Sticky this one.. What cha think?  Terry
 
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2010, 11:14:28 PM »
clayadmirer
Guest
  SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2003, 12:53:53 PM »   

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A Must Read Article!

Although our intentions are good, the perceptions by others are easy to understand after you've read this article. Us Clay fans need to remember to reflect Clay in our dealings with the music industry and others who have any control in playing Clay's music in the public arena. Thanks Pamela for posting this article!
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Re: 12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2010, 11:14:47 PM »
claymore
Guest
  SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2003, 06:33:35 PM »   

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thanks so much for bringing this article to our attention, pamela.
this is a very good advice for all of us.
we are so dedicated to him that we are ready to attack anybody who is negative or ignoring him.
and i admit i am guilty on some of the "don'ts"
i'll keep these thing in mind  and try to step back a bit.
anything for clay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ALWAYS AND FOREVER-UNCONDITIONALLY!!!

ClayManiacs.com  |  Archive  |  Media & Appearance Archive  |  12/11/03 SUPPORTING THE IDOLS: SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
 

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