Business as Usual
Regarding Stuart Steers's "Incident on 17th Street," in the April 30 issue:
I am absolutely amazed at the whining of the ex-Hanifen Imhoff corporate executives. These people were all on the topmost bloodthirsty rungs of an American business. They prate about loyalty and ethics. Didn't their years of experience teach them anything? Hadn't they figured out before this that loyalty and ethics are irrelevant when it comes time to maximize profit? Remember--there's no such thing as too much profit. They left themselves vulnerable (as anybody is) and they got clobbered. Now the poor clowns won't be able to buy that fourth home in the Bahamas. If I were them, I think I'd be very quiet about this loss because of what it would say about my business competence.
Poor Walt Imhoff: He was only doing what any American CEO routinely does, and now he's getting smeared in court--and in your paper--for it. He had the power and he used it. It's his company and his rules.
As long as we all condone this sort of "business as usual," that's what we'll get.
Just because Walt Imhoff is being sued does not in anyway diminish his principled concern for the "least among us" in helping to build the Honor House Veteran's Village at 17th and Benton Court in Lakewood. Otherwise, our poor veterans will continue to be sent to veterans' nursing homes in rural Colorado, far away from their families in the metro area. Walt Imhoff's financial gift was the first we received; he goes to the top of the list of veterans and their families.
I just read Tony Perez-Giese's "The Bum's Rush" in the May 7 issue, and I can't believe the hypocrisy of the judicial system in Denver. Just because someone can't afford an apartment, that doesn't deprive him of the God-given right to get plastered. If that was the criteria for getting thrown in jail, I would be incarcerated right now instead of leading one of the most successful Internet companies in America. Everyone goes through some bad times, but in America you should always be able to rebound from them.
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While reading "The Bum's Rush," I felt my own rush of perspective that should not go unchecked. Brian Brainerd observed that the two homeless men drinking in the alley were not doing anything useful for society when they were free. I, however, feel their behavior is the invaluable conduit that those do-gooder busybodies seek out and thrive on. And while I could pursue this line of thinking at length, I feel a better course here is to offer a solution (and example) to Mr. Brainerd.
Instead of wasting your film and energy hassling these fellows, there is a solution that is win-win all around. Putting your truck to optimum use, round up as many homeless folks as you can and bring them down to Highlands Ranch! Think about it: You can temporarily rid your domain of their presence, as it will take them longer to work their way back to LoDo than to post bail from jail. You also will have exposed these folks to our greener pastures. This expansive frontier has dozens of alleys just begging for broken glass and urine!
And while you're out in Highlands Ranch, Mr. Brainerd, you could rub elbows with the righteous at the homeowners' association. You think you got an ax to grind? Why, there are folks out here taking a stand because they think their neighbor's house is too beige. Just think of the possibilities! Well, I gotta run--I hope this has been as valuable a lesson to you as it has been to me.
Regarding the self-appointed moral policeman who shoos undesirables (such as the homeless) from his comfy neighborhood: Apparently Christ has returned, and his name is Brian. Who else would have the gall to judge his fellow man? And to deem another's life as "useless"?
However, Christ is perfect, whereas Brian Brainerd, his delusions of holiness aside, is an idiot.
The issue comes down to a very simple question: Do a couple of guys have a right to casually bum around and get plastered in a Larimer Street alley? Yes, they have that right--as long as they do so out of your face and mine. The bottom line is that individuals have the right to get blotto if they so wish, but not in my face. Let them get a legitimate job and pay their own rent or mortgage for their own place, where they can get shitfaced and do their own thing in privacy--not in public.
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They have the wrong people in jail. Do-gooder Brian "Braindead" should quit his job and join the police force if he wants to play vigilante. If he had called the police before using his vigilante tactics, his little truck would not be damaged and the bums would not be in jail. Instead, he played God and got his lily-white wings damaged.
What a jerk! Maybe Brian Brainerd should move to the 'burbs. Is there a way to contribute to a bail fund for the two guys in the slammer?
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The White Stuff
Bravo to Bill Gallo for his May 7 "Road Kill." Next thing you know, the Bolder Boulder organizers will demand to see a runner's tax return and family tree to make sure he's worthy of touching Boulder's pure-white pavement.
I was reading Alan Prendergast's article on Joe C'de Baca a few weeks ago ("Zero for Conduct," April 23), and I really began to realize why I didn't stay in Denver to teach. My greatest fears have been confirmed by your article. The Denver Public Schools are still a mess seven years later! They'd better get their act together or no teacher will want to go there!
I talk with a lot of future teachers here, and they ask me about Denver a lot. I tell them to forget about Denver and to go somewhere where they will be appreciated. In other words, stay in Iowa!
Strike Up the Band
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Breaking Up Is Easy to Do," in the April 30 issue:
I personally am getting tired of only reading about the "biggest" bands in Denver--who are also generally the worst bands in Denver--at the expense of missing out on continuous information regarding Denver's truly great bands such as Phantasmorgasm, Vivid Imagination, the LaDonnas, Tribhanga, etc. (as opposed to Lord of Word, Chaos Theory and countless other bands that "rule" the Denver music scene by simply being cheap knockoffs of national bands and trends). Denver is thriving with great, original music that truly sounds like no other music being produced anywhere in the United States; with the proper media backing, Denver could easily become the national trendsetter in music rather than a haven for cheap imitators and train-jumpers.
It is your responsibility as our local media to facilitate this transition by consistently plugging the best that our fair city has to offer, bringing these bands to the attention of our citizens, and starting something special and unique. Help bands that don't have the resources and capital to compete by informing the public, hyping the public--whatever it takes to get people to see and hear these great bands that we've got! As the press, you can even the playing field and stop the corporate music parade from turning the corner!
It's hard enough these days for a band to get a break, and Michael Roberts, your Billboard magazine wannabe, doesn't help matters by talking about the same five bands every issue. There are a lot of great bands in Denver, but you wouldn't know it by reading Westword.
Do your job, Michael. There's more to the Denver music scene than the Hate Fuck Trio. If you're so angry, why don't you write for someone who appreciates your weekly diatribe?
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About time someone looked at Denver's great but tragically unsuccessful bands. How is it possible, though, that the article failed to mention names like the Fluid or the Warlock Pinchers? Not mentioning these bands is doing a disservice to us all. I am ashamed that a "band" like Chaos Theory got the coverage that it did. Five or ten years from now, no one is going to say, "Gosh, I sure wish Chaos Theory was still playing." People do, however, say that about some awesome groups that were ignored by Roberts's incomplete work. Go back to the drawing board and start over. And this time, include some bands that people still think about and miss. Don't forget the bands that shaped rock and roll for us and for the future of this scene.
I could not agree more with Michael Roberts. I am from San Francisco and came out here with a partner to start a band; I have never had so much trouble in my life trying to find good musicians in this area. We came here in 1988 and experienced the same phenomenon; I don't believe it has changed much since then.
It is no surprise that Michael Roberts either hasn't researched this topic or really doesn't have a clue as to what goes on in the Denver music scene. As a local musician for the last fifteen years, I have seen many come and go, and I have even been on the other side, booking bands at various establishments. One thing that was always my goal was to give respect to the local musicians by offering decent money--decent being $350 a night on weeknights and $500 on weekends. As a player, I have come to a point where I will not play for less than a respectable price.
Had Roberts researched this as his job description calls for, he would have found that clubs pay low figures because there are weekend warriors who will play for nothing. With the infusion of baseball into LoDo, we were all told that there would be gigs aplenty, not only for musicians but for artists as well. Let me tell you, the majority of LoDo clubs are all owned by out-of-town corporations or proxy owners who don't give a shit about local music. In fact, there are some clubs that are packed no matter who is playing--so why pay decent money?
Yes, Denver will get new blood--but when will the city show respect for bands like Chris Daniels or Freddi-Henchi or Billy Tolles or Freddie Rodriguez or Creighton Holley? Yes, Denver is probably the best place in the country to live--but forget about making a full-time living as a musician here. If you have any passion about music, how can you play a ski resort and get requests for Stevie Ray?
Yes, I have a bad taste after performing here, but I have an even worse taste for imbecile writers like Roberts who don't research the topic.
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As a band manager (Turnsol), it was great to see Michael Roberts doing a cover story on the music scene in Denver. Having committed myself to learning and promoting Colorado music the last four years, I found it a good history and overview. I want to add a few points:
Live music clubs do have to compete with dance clubs, which people who want to "fraternize with the opposite sex," as David Fox stated, often frequent in greater numbers. This is not a musical issue; it's about selling drinks. That's simply an economic reality.
Touring is a problem for all of us because we are isolated here compared to the coasts. Denver is an oasis in the middle of many national tours that stop here, and this makes for a lot of competition that other local scenes are not up against. If promoters will give more local acts a chance to open for national acts, this will make an immediate impact.
Support from media--both print and electronic--is a key issue. When I was in Austin (not even while SXSW was happening), it amazed me how the media and the radio publicized the local club scene and bands.
Bands must work hard and sacrifice. I have gained new appreciation for the passion it takes to persevere. We have had our share of reasons to quit, but we continue and will release our second full-length CD in two years this June. We have chosen to work in Colorado and strive to make the best recordings we can.
If you have not been to a local show where you can buy a very inexpensive ticket, see great live music and actually meet the band afterward, check it out. Remember, even the Beatles were a local band once.
Maybe if I were a regular reader of Westword, I would have known immediately that the cover tag on the April 30 issue, "What's Killing the Great Bands of Denver?," probably referred to the rock-band genre. But there are a lot of us out here who have something else in mind when we read "big band"--a term commonly applied to larger groups (nine to twenty players) that play mostly music from the swing era. I'll name four such bands, good ones (there are more) in Denver that have been active for many years and continue to play regularly in concert or for dancing: Joel Kaye's Neophonic Big Band Orchestra, Dean Bushnell, Hot Tomatoes Dance Orchestra, Denver Kicks Band. These bands are not "vanishing" and in fact have been buoyed by a growing following of younger swing dancers. Add to these the high-school and college big jazz bands, and we're talking about a lot of musicians and a sizable audience.
My point is simply that your article headings might be misleading for many readers.
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