Rock 'n' roll is
at its best when it is a spirited dialogue between people who
passionately care about the music. To that end, this column will
occasionally run feedback from its readers, as well as answers to
musical queries in the style of Roger Ebert's Movie Answer Man.
Comments and questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You singled out Kanye West and Jamie Foxx's performance of "Gold
Digger" as one of the Grammy highlights, but also asked, "What was
with the drum major outfits? Don't ask me."
The entire performance, including using the acronyms of "KWS" (Kanye
West State) and "JFU" (Jamie Foxx University) was a tribute to
historically black colleges and universities, which are famous for
their high-stepping marching bands. The "Battle of the Bands" is the
main attraction for the nationally televised Bayou Classic between
Grambling State and Southern University, and black fraternities and
sororities have step competitions throughout the school year. Just
wanted to share this quick explanation, but I'm glad you agreed it
was a very exciting performance!
Thank you for resurrecting the "Great Albums" feature in the
Sun-Times (Feb. 5). As a child of the '90s, your columns help me
appreciate the music I was already listening to on a grander scale
(Nirvana, the Velvet Underground, etc.) while introducing me to
artists whom otherwise I would have never given a chance (Patti
Smith, Common). I was ecstatic last week when I opened my Sunday
paper and saw you choosing "Like Water for Chocolate" as a Great
Album over more well-established "classics" such as "Tommy." It's
good to see that someone else on this planet shares a liking for
subversive pieces rather than cliched rehashings of what a "great
album" is supposed to be.
Now, how about a feature on "Parklife" by Blur or "Transmissions
From the Satellite Heart" by the Flaming Lips?
Matt Miller, Oak Lawn
I have been a fan of Common's since I first heard "Can I Borrow a
Dollar?" I am thrilled to see him getting the accolades and respect
that he deserves -- he is truly a gifted musician and lyricist, and
I do believe that your article on Sunday did an excellent job of
tracing his career and pointing out the strong points of the man and
his music, as well as telling the story of the journey that both
Excellent article on Ray Davies (Feb. 19). I have been a lifelong
Kinks fan, and I thought literally the same thing you stated when I
saw the Storyteller tour. ("It was an entertaining evening to be
sure, but I was sad that Davies, like so many legendary musicians
from the '60s, seemed content to revel in sweet nostalgia.") I can't
wait to hear the new CD and see him at the Vic on April 2.
Normally I do not agree with some of your assessments, but this
year I agree with you about the Grammys (Feb. 9). The Sly Stone
tribute was poorly executed and sad. Sly could not sing and was out
of it. And with Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys and others of that ilk on
the show, they chose Ciara and Maroon 5 to pay tribute to Sly?
The crowd at the Jeff Tweedy benefit for Gary Schepers (Jan. 25)
was everything an audience should not be. Two songs into the
acoustic set, Tweedy was beset with requests, the audience singing
over him (poorly, with the wrong lyrics, I might add) and people
generally yelling to be heard. The singer had to ask at one point if
the crowd had been tailgating before the show, and it was a fair
I've been to Slayer shows where the crowd was more well-mannered.
Imagine a Jimmy Buffett/Dave Matthews crowd with even more beer and
testosterone, and you get a sense of what it was like. When did the
price of a ticket give one the right to be a participant instead of
an engaged listener? I felt embarrassed to be a part of the whole
U2, Mariah and Kanye at the Grammys. Man, today's music sucks. I
am going to buy myself a John Fahey record.
Peter Gilbertson, Mount Prospect
Just a quick thank you for writing such a nice article about
Marty Casey and his band Lovehammers (Feb. 3). As a huge fan of the
band, it is great to see an article supporting these guys and their
music. The music is great, and they are kick-ass performers!
I thought your Lovehammers article was pretty mean-spirited: Is
that any way to say "Welcome to Chicago" to INXS, the band that gave
Marty his break? Where on earth to do you think the Lovehammers
would be playing had it not been for INXS? But who am I? Just a lady
with tickets to the Chicago show, airline and hotel reservations,
meeting a group of folks from all over the country converging to see
INXS and their new lead singer, J.D. Fortune -- not Marty Casey.
Joyce Andersen, Columbus, Ohio
The blues, jazz and gospel fests are free, but the rock fest is
going to charge for tickets? ("Lollapalooza adds third day,
stretches out," Feb. 14) Unfair! When will City Hall "get it" and
make this one free, as well?
Nina D. Gaspich, Chicago
Thank you for sharing the extremely bogus news on the Radiohead
show that the city passed up ("Radiohead out of Millennium Park,"
Jan. 9). I'm so sad to hear that, since Radiohead is by far my
favorite band, and I can say that the show they did at Hutchinson
Field was probably the greatest outdoor live show I have ever seen.
I did go to the Tori Amos show last year in Millennium Park, and
there was no doubt after that show that it would be a phenomenal
place for the city to hold some one-of-a-kind rock shows throughout
the summer. They are blowing a great opportunity to have one of the
greatest bands in the world play at one of the most beautiful music
venues in the world.