War Is Heck
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "War of the Words," in the July 19 issue:
Color me confused.
I've reread your column about Jay Ambrose twice...what are we supposed to conclude from the various passages you reprinted? There don't seem to be misspellings or grammar goofs.
I never considered the Ambrose box on page two to be anything more than a promotion for what was inside the paper, and I was never offended that it didn't contain great prose or pontification--that didn't seem to be its purpose.
I realize it's your nature, as editor of the "alternative" paper, to disdain the "mainstream" media. But if this is the best stuff you've got on Ambrose, you probably should have turned over your own blank hole on page three this week to the advertising department.
With Jay Ambrose's departure, Denver has lost the Gomer Pyle of the newspaper war. No wonder the Denver Post signed up so many Colorado newcomers--one look at page two of the Rocky Mountain News and they probably thought they'd moved to Hooterville.
ADX Marks the Spot
Regarding Alan Prendergast's "End of the Line," in the July 12 issue:
Thankfully we have places like ADX! When people prove to society, by their actions, that they cannot live within the laws, they go to prison. When they further prove that they cannot follow the rules of that particular prison, they go to ADX. At that point they give up any "rights" they had.
In reference to John Jesitus's "No Alternative," in the July 19 issue, I pose this question: Just what the hell do you expect the radio stations in the area to play? Quite frankly, the new "alternative" music that is being released lately sucks, and sucks badly. I can't even listen to KTCL for more than an hour at a time anymore.
Acts like PJ Harvey, Green Day (Dookie was just too obvious), Elastica, some preadolescent whiner telling me to "watch (the) daisies come up," Pearl Jam (Vedder has gotten completely out of control), and too many others to bitch about right now just don't cut it for me. Most of the music listed in your article are what those of us who dared to be different before it was cool had to listen to. However, you're correct in that what was once "alternative" is now "adult contemporary."
I did notice that you didn't list overplayed bands like Live, Green Day, Pearl Jam, U2, Elastica, Melissa Etheridge and Weezer.
With so many good bands to choose from, I'm at a total loss as to why the local radio stations insist on playing crap and repetitive crap. I've never been so unhappy with the music I hear--ever.
My suggestion: Call the radio stations and let them know that we don't appreciate being force-fed the same thing over and over, on every station, every day. How about a show that focuses on (I really despise labels, but so that the masses can follow along...) "industrial rock," "folk," "local bands" and the plethora of other categories of music they don't play much of on the air?
Overplayed modern-rock suggestions:
1. Any stupid redo of a Led Zep song, by anyone.
2. Anything by those yawn kings Hootie & the Blowfish or the Dave Matthews Band.
3. That Alanis Morissette tune. Whoever the guy is she wrote that about, I just hope he's running far away and not looking back. Maybe my ex actually wrote the lyrics...
4. Oh, and this is just a given--toooo much Pearl Jam!
5. Okay, thought of one more: The Peak does seem to be playing that Spell tune a lot. Don't get me wrong--I love to hear Chanin Floyd and her great band on the airways, but there are other great songs on that CD. Hello! Give 'em a try!
Found your article on overplayed alternative songs amusing. I was working in radio during the late Seventies to mid-Eighties; I thought it an exciting time. Listening to Denver radio now is quite boring--some stations I pass right by, but those I do listen to (i.e., The Peak) have to be taken in somewhat short doses. Yeah, they do tend to play the same stuff. It amazes me that they determine a particular song no longer merits airplay; I can't recall the last time I heard the Kingbees' "My Mistake," Peter Godwin's "Images of Heaven" or Jo Boxer's "Just Got Lucky," and so on.
Perhaps playing a certain song may elicit groans from a few listeners, but others, including myself, may say "Wow, most impressive" to a song not heard on the radio in years.
So many options, so who needs to hear the same music over and over?
More overplayed modern rock:
1. "Every Day Is Like Sunday," by Morrissey. It sure is! Every time I hear this, I would rather be watching golf or fishing shows.
2. "Blue Monday," by New Order. It sure is a blue Monday.
3. "How Soon Is Now?" by the Smiths. Not soon enough, because it is being played again!
4. "I Melt With You," by Modern English. Enough said.
5. "If You Leave," by OMD. Please do.
Hurts So Bad
In the May 31 Feedback, Michael Roberts made a comment about one of R.E.M.'s songs, "Everybody Hurts." He summarized it as "self-indulgent." That bothered me, but I blew it off until I heard the song again tonight. It should be fairly evident to anyone who listens to and thinks about song lyrics that this is an impassioned plea against (teen) suicide. How can Stipe's emotional pleading to "hold on" be construed as self-indulgent by anyone but the most cursory/apathetic listener? Often Mr. Roberts strives to distance himself from his subject or to flippantly provoke his readers, rather than connect in a constructive or insightful way--a "witticism as criticism" approach to art. It's not even a question of "rave" or "pan." It's a question of style and, seemingly in much of Mr. Roberts's writing, of caring.
Thank you for the article about the sale of the Gothic Theater (Michael Roberts's May 24 Feedback). I had heard all kinds of rumors and was wondering about the fate of the building. There is something about that old building that I like, and I feared that it would get torn down.
I am glad Doug Kauffman was able to sell the building and that it will be busy once more. As a resident of Englewood, I was hoping something new and exciting would come out of this.
Let's face it, the Gothic is the only claim to fame Englewood has. There is really nothing to do here; it's even worse if you are a teenager. No mall, no movies, just a rec center, and that's about it. Kids hang out at a strip mall on Mansfield and Broadway--wow, how exciting. So I was hoping that the Gothic would be turned into a place that might have all-ages events. Besides concerts, maybe they would bring in local bands and have dances.
But they want to turn my beloved Gothic Theater into an "adult entertainment center." Oh, and bring in the Righteous Brothers. I thought they were really lame when they came out in the Sixties. Just what I don't want to see--dinosaur music and dinosaur bands. (Any old musical group that goes back and plays the same old thing--if you want to see that, go to Red Rocks. They have plenty of bands like that every summer.)
I am sooooooooooo disappointed. Please keep all of the Westword readers posted on what is going on there. We all miss the building and the concerts that were held there.
Oh, well. In the meantime, I guess I will just spend my money in Denver on Lords of Acid( Mammoth Events Center), Catherine Wheel (Bluebird) and Dogstar (Ogden). So maybe my musical tastes aren't those of the average forty-year-old, but maybe some people need to open their ears to all of the great new music being created today.
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All That Jazz
I've read your article on Cassandra Wilson (Michael Roberts's "The Cassandra Crossover," June 21), and I disagree with some of it. Hardcore jazz pack? Sorry, but that is, and will always be, mainstream jazz followers. Kenny G? Sorry, but let's not forget Hank Crawford, Grover, Gerald, Najee, Kirk and Ernie, and the Crusaders. That is called commercial jazz, which is repetitious, rhythmical and improvisational.
But there is one statement by Cassandra Wilson I agree with: Jazz music has to be innovative and inventive.