By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Breaking the Spell
I'd like to know what it is with this band Spell. Is somebody at Westword sleeping with somebody in the band or related to them? All you guys do is write about them and write about them, and now they're on the May 4 cover. C'mon already--enough of your ridiculous juvenile favoritism. I don't know who these clowns are, but let them get famous before you give them all this exposure. It's not your job to make them famous. How about a little variety in your reporting? Cast a spell on somebody else, will ya?
Thanks for the article on Spell: It was good to catch up with what Chanin Floyd's been doing lately. I knew her from her Twice Wilted days, and I played drums with a band that lived underneath the Wilted's upper Larimer loft. Maybe she'll remember--I played with Chris and James.
Anyway, I wish her and hers the best of luck. She's a great bass player, and I admire her persistence to do what she really enjoys. Many Denver musicians should take a lesson from her on this. Also, my last haircut (four years ago) was by her. And I'd like it to be stated that I think she's the hippest and best hair person in town. And yeah, she'll have no problem in the biz. I've thought she is a "foxy babe" for years.
It was great seeing Spell on the cover of Westword, but it raised a question on which I have a lunch riding. A friend of mine says this was the first rock band you've had on the cover. I told him you had Wanker on the cover in the late Eighties. Who is right?
Editor's note: Neither, really. Westword has featured several bands on our front page since Wanker appeared on December 23, 1987--and that was hardly a first. Westword's original musical cover boy was Jim Ransom, October 13, 1977.
Better Read Than Dead
I was shocked to see the letter in the May 4 issue complaining that Westword has written too much about Rocky Flats. Without Westword, we might never have known about what the grand jury really found at the bomb factory! And apparently there is still more that the Department of Energy isn't telling us. In the same issue, Richard Fleming's story, "Minding the Store," did a good job of showing that Rocky Flats is still dangerous--both to the people who work there and the people who live in the metro area. As far as I'm concerned, Westword can't write enough about this topic. Thanks for all your work.
Winsome, Lose Some
Robin Chotzinoff's story on the Aguirre family ("Writes of Passage," April 27) should be on everyone's must-read list! With so many negative stories out there about minorities (and especially minority kids), I found the article very moving and inspirational. To the Aguirre family, I say: Good luck, and God be with you!
Robin Chotzinoff asserts that General Lazaro Cardenas was president of Mexico in the early Fifties and that in a midnight meeting Cardenas gave Beto Aguirre three choices: leave, conform or die. It is a colorful anecdote, but it cannot be accurate since Cardenas was president from 1934 to 1940.
When Beto founded his Michoacan newspaper in 1947, Miguel Aleman was president (from 1946 to 1952). He was succeeded by Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, who served until 1958. Neither of these presidents was considered particularly oppressive, neither was a military man, and Aleman is chiefly remembered for his successful real estate investments and for having reduced the influence of the military and the police.
Confusing Cardenas with Aleman or Ruiz Cortines is tantamount to confusing George Washington with John Tyler or Calvin Coolidge. Although recent Mexican history is far removed from our daily lives here in Colorado, the facts are easy to check, and you should have verified one that bore so prominently on the story.
Time and Punishment
Regarding Steve Jackson's "Jail Break" in the April 20 issue:
It seems to me that although it is common to think of the issue as one of punishment vs. rehabilitation, it is equally possible to perceive the issue as one of problem solving. There are certainly violent and/or incorrigible criminals who are in need of punishment, and we have more than adequate prison facilities to deal with them.
However, for nonviolent offenders, doesn't it make more sense to hold them responsible for their behavior in a way that contributes to society and promotes the offender's investment in society? Our current approach is clearly not working. It is unfortunate that Roger Lauen has become so discouraged. We are in great need of creative, problem-solving approaches to social problems. Thank you for bringing attention to this important matter.
X Marks the Spot
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Suicide Is Brainless" in the April 13 issue, and the letters that followed:
Michael Roberts and his detractors have all missed the point of Kurt Cobain's suicide. Mr. Cobain is nothing less than the first martyr of Generation X, America's first generation to have less financially and spiritually than the one before. In addition, Cobain's suicide is a scream in anger and anguish of Generation X at their parents of the Woodstock Generation, who raised them without values and without hope.
The Baby Boomers started a revolution when they threw off the oppressive values of the Sixties. They started a revolution, but never finished it. Although the accomplishments of this generation in ecology and civil rights improved the world for many, the Boomers were never able to follow that up with any kind of philosophy or value system to replace the Judeo-Christian, capitalist value system that they tore down. Along comes Generation X and its spokesman, Kurt Cobain. Living in a world trashed by the nonvalue values of hippie-yuppie parents who ignored their children while trying to "find themselves" with drugs, free love, and later, mindless materialism. Parents who left them little chance for more than temporary or part-time McJobs and a bill for Baby Boomer-created social programs and S&L ripoffs.
Left without values or coping mechanisms that his Baby Boomer parents didn't have time to teach, feeling guilty for being financially successful in a generation fighting for financial solvency, Cobain screams out in pain. Searching for something to soothe that pain, he reaches for the one thing that his Woodstock parents taught him was the cure for emptiness: mind-altering drugs. Not finding the solution even there, he follows the example of his artistic forebears, Morrison, Joplin and Hendrix. He puts the shotgun to his head and finds nirvana in self-destruction. As much as the Baby Boomers want to deny it, the children of Generation X are the ones they ignored. Every Generation X suicide is an indictment against the mush-mindedness of the Boomers, and the self-destruction of Kurt Cobain is an indictment against the failed philosophies of the Boomer Generation.
The Adventure's Over
Michael Roberts's April 13 Feedback comments about KTCL playing Murray Head's "One Night in Bangkok" prompted me to write. Count me among the legions of ex-KTCL fans who have, in just a few short years, seen the station go from being a really well-rounded independent station to what it is today--a pretentious, overhyped mouthpiece for the new corporate rock, i.e., the major record companies' version of alternative artists and even radio formats. How ironic that "The Adventure," an allegedly alternative station, is dominated by music firmly rooted in the mainstream.
Ten years ago artists like the B-52s and REM might have fit the alternative bill, but today they are anything but. Alternative has become just another marketing term abused by corporate America, and stations like KTCL have swallowed the ploy hook, line and sinker. The result is standardized, repetitive radio in which most artists sound like clones of each other while the really cool music doesn't get any airplay. Suffice it to say that the only thing that matters today at KTCL is the almighty buck.
So, to the stuffed shirts who program the music at KTCL, I say: How about showing a little independence from your corporate underwriters and playing some real alternative music? Perhaps a good start would be anything that's not on a major label and doesn't sound like Pearl Jam or New Order. And do us a favor and can the "Adventure" crap. Calling KTCL adventurous is like calling George Burns a young man.