Take care, loser. Want some salt and pepper to have with the words you'll be eating soon?

Shawn McCoy
via the Internet

I read with amusement Michael Roberts's comments regarding Howard Stern's foray into Denver radio. As an avid Stern fan, ordinarily I would have sent avid hate mail berating him for his failure to understand what it is that Howard is trying to accomplish. However, his comments seemed honest and genuine, so I thought I would send a civil e-mail.

I live in Memphis and started listening to Howard over a year ago. Like Roberts, I "just didn't get it" when I first tuned in. Over time, however, I began to see what it is Howard attempts to achieve. When Howard berates those who are perceived as weaker than he, he is not doing it out of spite. Instead, he is doing it to exhibit freedom of speech over the radio. Besides, any guest who comes on the Stern show knows what he is getting into. Howard is not the "dirty little secret" he once was.

Keep in mind that there are times when even I turn Howard off because the content can be pretty tough to handle. But that's the way I want it--I want it to embarrass, annoy, anger or disgust me.

It lets me know I'm still human.
Gene Gill
via the Internet

Man From Alanis
I read Michael Roberts's well-written and unintentionally hilarious review of Alanis Morrisette's latest CD ("The Major and the Minor," December 3).

I think he missed it. The CD is original without being "so out there" that it couldn't be called pop music. I am amazed at how she almost went out of her way to not rhyme, yet the songs have such a rhythm because of her clever and unsurpassed use of phrasing techniques. Didn't Roberts see that? I am of the opinion that he, as a critic, can't agree that it is a good CD because it just wouldn't be controversial enough. It was okay to like the first CD, since she was the underdog. When will critics like a CD because it is good, enjoyable? It has become almost predictable how they will rate a good CD as bad and a weird or underdog CD as great.

It was hilarious how Roberts dug so hard to find bad things about the songs. He is very talented at that; keep up the good work. But such a trait isn't that helpful with relationships and marriages. Fortunately, he is a critic, so it is a big advantage to have that gift.

Well. Thanks for sharing Roberts's opinion on Alanis. (It is okay if secretly he loves the songs "Front Row," "Thank You," "I Was Hoping" and "Would Not Come." Those are my favorites.)

Carl A. Fischer, president
Scout Records

Creative Accounting
Thomas Peake's December 10 "Getting Bolder," on the Boulder Creative Music Ensemble, featured his usual great job. When Fred Hess says, "Jazz is dead," I agree 100 percent, but in fact I believe all Western music is dead--innovation and creativity are non-existent anymore, in any genre, and things don't look to improve anytime soon. We're turning Charlie Parker and Coltrane into fossils; we're copying what they did years ago, when the real message of their genius is to be like them, which means to come up with our own thing. Seems like that's a real tough assignment these days, and of course, part of the reason is our mule-like dependence on the twelve-tone, equal-tempered scale. I say there will be no more great music in this system; it's a bit stinky, and it's all used up. That's why nothing new is happening--because nothing new can happen in this system anymore. I listen to a lot of different styles consistently, and all I hear is recycled riffs and ideas from the past. I say try playing jazz (or anything else) in other tuning systems, and then the delight and challenge of new discoveries will be close at hand. As it is, things are mighty boring on the musical front.

Neil Haverstick
via the Internet

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