In a recent First Punch [April 16], you wrote about a band manager who complained to the musicians' union about getting stiffed at a gig and thinks she should get something for nothing. To get the support of the musicians' union, you first need to be a member. Second, you need to file contracts. Third, you have to have the support of your fellow musicians. This has not happened in Cleveland, or across the country, in a long time.
Having been a longtime musician and agent in Cleveland, I would like to offer a better explanation: Deadbeat club owners and managers get away with screwing bands because musicians let it happen.
The fact that musicians keep playing at deadbeat clubs shows no support for the music community. There is no union involvement because, over the years, musicians have worked for shot money, not joined, and not turned in gigs. But when there's a problem, they want the union to go to bat for them. It doesn't work that way.
And speaking of shit money, if you're not good enough to get paid a decent wage, stay in the basement until you are. You are only screwing it up for everyone else. Someday, when you're good enough to play for real money, you won't be able to, because some other basement band is playing for shit money and taking all the club time.
If you agree upon a decent wage for a night's work, remember that the most important half of the term "music business" is "business." Research clubs, be professional and on time, and always use contracts. (If you're afraid of lawyers, remember that most local contracts are small enough to take to small claims court.)
And anyone who really thinks that the musicians' union was run by the Mob in the '60s has their head in the wrong place. The union worked in the '60s because musicians joined, the clubs respected, and everyone was giving the club patrons their money's worth.
Looking for more 454:
I agree with the review of Rambler 454 [Playback, April 9]. I have seen them perform on many occasions, and the live show involves everyone from the crowd to the bartender to the cook. I hope that bigger and better things await this trio of hardworking, gasoline-pumping, oil-drinking musicians.
They're mature now, really:
I can see how Riot Act may not stack up to what Pearl Jam used to be [Nightwatch, April 22]. But you're missing a few key things. First, this band still rocks ("Save You," "Green Disease," and "Get Right").
Second, Pearl Jam fans have grown up. Like the guys in the band, we're not 20-somethings looking for direction. We're now 30-somethings who know where we're going. The fan base is not "pondering the limits of hero worship," but rather enjoying a band that has evolved. That's evolution, baby.
Out of tune with Time: I have no problem with Christopher O'Connor picking at the lyrics of Pearl Jam's newer songs, even if I think Riot Act is their best album since No Code. But calling them "a band once so fiery they landed on the cover of Time"? Is there something particularly cutting-edge about Time that I'm missing?
That's telling him:
I have a few things to say to Christopher O'Connor. One, suck a dick. Don't be jealous of Pearl Jam because they made it and you didn't. Pearl Jam impacted a generation. They are still selling out arenas. They have a strong following.
Two, go fuck yourself. When you get some talent and become anything like PJ, then you can talk. Bottom line: Fuck you.
St. Louis, MO
Go cover the kids:
Did I just read an article where Christopher O'Connor called Pearl Jam boring? Have you ever seen them in concert? They put on a two-hour-plus show that features a different set list every night. What do you expect, Eddie Vedder to climb the scaffolding like back in the day? Leave that up to the younger wannabes who need the attention.
You mixed up Pearl Jam with bands like Creed and Nickelback, who are making a living being Pearl Jam tribute bands. I think you need to stick to covering 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.
Root, root, root for the home team:
I must express my disappointment with Tom Francis's article "Money Pit Park" [April 30]. It is unfortunate that you chose to take such a negative attitude toward a very positive story.
Your assertion that the Captains' inaugural season has been anything but a success is humorous. The idea that we have witnessed "sparse crowds" is completely incorrect. As of our last home game, the Captains have seen an average attendance of 4,386 per game. The Captains attendance currently ranks third in the South Atlantic League. We have over 2,000 season ticketholders and already have sold nearly 300,000 tickets for this season.
It amazes me that you could take such a downbeat approach toward an organization, from ownership to the front office staff to the 120 game-day employees, whose only goal is to provide affordable, high-quality family entertainment in a fun environment.
We and the more than 60,000 fans who have already experienced the joy of minor league baseball here in Eastlake have little doubt that the Lake County Captains will be a rousing success for years to come.
Michael B. Edwards
Vice President, Baseball Operations/General Manager
Lake County Captains
No vote for a done deal:
Thank goodness there is a reporter whom Eastlake Mayor Dan DiLiberto does not take out to dinner. Dan is no more than a little Hitler who has stacked the City Council. A few years ago, he wanted to build a civic center, but it got voted down after he had already bought the land. That is why he would not let his stadium go to a vote. Thank you so much for your article.
Not everyone is cheering:
Scene writer Tom Francis pulled no punches with his investigative piece "Money Pit Park." He revealed facts that others wished to suppress. While the mayor kept telling everyone this stadium wouldn't raise taxes or cut city services, he knew all along that he was lying. Councilman Razou, who now claims to know nothing about the deal, is just par for the course.
In the 40 years I've lived here, I can think of no other issue that's been so divisive, mean-spirited, and financially stupid.
Along with Sarah Fenske's gripping exposés, Scene has raised the bar on journalism excellence.
A draft of sour whine:
I was born in Cleveland, so I'm genetically predisposed to a certain amount of whining negativity. God help me, I may even be a little fond of it, like a Brit with a soft spot for rotten teeth.
Even so, your "Money Pit Park" was so gloomy, so negative in its approach to the Captains that I couldn't make myself click on to page two. What World Capital of Sourness is Mr. Francis from, Bosnia?
Hissy fits, witch hunts, and wars -- oh my:
As much as I dislike the Dixie Chicks -- and I'm from Texas -- I have yet to find anyone who supports the war or Bush in my microcosm ["Chick Hunt," April 23]. Whether the comment by Natalie Maines was off-the-cuff or heartfelt, it is supposedly the God-given right of any American to have freedom of speech.
This war will not put an end to terrorism, and quite simply, unless one is a sheep, Bush's jingoistic tactics amount to a totalitarian regime. He has ignored the will of the people, because he's had a hissy fit about being the President.
I was taught by a military father to respect the office/uniform -- and that does not translate to the person. When the country finds out (as it did with Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor) how much Bush knew about 9-11, what will we do to him? Before 9-11, most people did not know what country they resided in and took it for granted. Suddenly, if you don't support the war, you are unpatriotic? Bullshit. Bush will receive his comeuppance. When Bush practices something akin to the Inquisition and Salem witch hunts, I, too, am ashamed to be an American.
It is we the people who are the voice and the power, not some Napoleonic little Texan who has a chip on his shoulder because his daddy couldn't do the job in the first place. I am Native American, I am Texan, and I am ashamed of this bastard.
Sunk in the cesspool:
"Chick Hunt" was an especially chilling example of how far this country has sunk into a cesspool of fascism. Every decent American should be ashamed of this drunken, dim-witted, draft-dodging, warmongering redneck, who usurped his way into the Oval Office with the help of his daddy's Supreme Court. For Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks to be criticized for telling the God's honest truth is a sickening travesty.
Every day we are barraged by a non-stop flood of fascist hate speech. Whether it's done by bloated Nazi gasbags like Rush Limbaugh or spewed by Bush's mouthpiece (Fox News), one thing remains the same: The average American is faced with a torrential barrage of right-wing propaganda.
Sadly, the average American today is too lazy or truly stupid to look for other sources of information to counter this crap. This is compounded by the monopolization of the main source of public information by an evil entity called Clear Channel Communication.
God bless the Dixie Chicks and everyone else who spoke out against this illegal and immoral rape of Iraq by that little monster in the Oval Office.
Anyone who wants to punish the Dixie Chicks for exercising their right of free speech has no clue as to what being a true American really is.