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SHUT UP AND PLAY
Re: George Fryer's "Hey Mom, I'm a Rock Star" (Feedback, July 23):
As someone who has known both George Fryer and all members of Sugar Ray since at least the early 1980s, I read George's diary of his brief stint with the band with much sadness. To have a set of friends who have "made it" and a friend who wants to make it in the music business can be at the same time fun and upsetting. I am sorry George felt so let down by his, apparently, now ex-friends.
I don't think there was any one incident that set George off, but what I do know is this: George was never invited to be a member of Sugar Ray. He was a backing musician. The band could have hired some recommended studio musician, but they chose a friend instead. The band thought they were doing George a favor by putting him in a position to make contacts and perhaps to take his band, Peace Corp., to the next level. If George didn't feel so bitter about Sugar Ray's success, maybe he would have spent his time trying to make connections rather than worrying about who's on the guest list and how many beers are assigned to what bands.
I would also like to relate some experiences with Sugar Ray. A former co-worker got wind that I knew the band and asked if I could put her and her husband on the complimentary list for the MTV show at Big Bear. I told her I would try but made no guarantees because the band is constantly bombarded by requests. I called drummer Stan Frazier, and he immediately added them to the list. When they got to the show, Stan took the time to introduce them to the band and saw to it that they got all of the beer and soft drinks they could handle.
KROQ's Acoustic Christmas is a whole new ball game. I know this is just about the hardest ticket to get, so I don't even bother asking the band for a pass. And I am sure they appreciate my understanding.
I have also been able to get several friends on the list in other cities. They have all called me, usually the day after the show, to express how surprised they were that the band took the time to meet them and give them backstage passes even though they had never met before.
As far as The Tonight Show With Jay Leno is concerned, let's face it: Sugar Ray worked for years to get on that stage and earned it through countless tours, bad club gigs and the usual grind. To have George get on that stage with them and show off a sticker of his band is pretty pathetic and leaves me wondering if George knows the boundaries of proper respect.
And if George doubts Mark McGrath's dedication to the deceased singer from the band Snot, maybe he should investigate a well-placed tattoo on Mark's arm in his memory, or maybe he missed the show I saw in Washington, D.C., where Mark dedicated a song to him. I don't think he was looking for sympathy.
There are plenty more instances I could rebut in George's diatribe, but why go on? No matter what, there will be those who "make it" and those who don't.
—Paul Nordlund, Costa Mesa
Shakespeare hit it dead-on: fortune is outrageous. Does it really matter in the great scheme of things whether some characters that compose a band are (or are not) wankers that gain more recompense for their time than most? Or how much talent they have? George Fryer accepted a job doing what, we assume, he loves. He also would appear to have a supportive wife as an added bonus. Not bad. Count your blessings, George Boy: it could have been you who got mangled on the 405 last week.
—Auntie, Laguna Beach George Fryer responds:Kudos to you both for being loyal to your friends. After the overwhelmingly positive response to the story from friends and strangers alike, I was worried there wasn't anyone left in the country whose toes the band hadn't stepped on. Paul, I hope we're still friends, and Auntie, bless you for being positive. YOU'LL LAUGH, YOU'LL CRY
Thank you for the hilarious article "Virtual Pansy Road Game" by Pansy Division (Feedback, July 23). My wife and I were laughing so hard we cried. I had to pass it on to my band mates, since we're setting up our fall tour of the Southwest. As for Pansy Division's humor, I'm checking out their next show.
It seems as if the OC Weekly has the most out-of-the-loop musical editorial I have ever read. None of what Rich Kane writes about ever makes any sense. I feel the only thing he does is discredit the music and the people who keep it alive.
When Rich starts with all that they-are-just-too-rock-star stuff, he sounds like some bitter geek who was never liked in high school. The bottom line is that's what people want. Otherwise, bands like Lit would sell only 1,000 records instead of 500,000 and bands like Korn would be playing small places as opposed to the big arenas they've been selling out all year long.
Kane says bands like these and Sugar Ray and Zebrahead sound the same. That is precisely what people say when the music they don't like happens to be the popular sound. Remember, rock music is bigger and badder than arty, underground, independent, ska, swing, gender-bending music. Right now, OC has become Camp Rockstar for many platinum rock bands that deserve the OC Weekly's respect. Kane should rename Locals Only to Only Locals Who Will Always Be Only Locals.
—Mike Isley, Newport Beach Rich Kane responds: Woo! Talk about bitter geeks! Anyway, lemme flip open my Billboard here: Backstreet Boys, 5 million sold. Britney Spears, 4 million. 'N Sync, 7 million. Backstreet Boys again, 10 million. The real bottom line, Mike, is that "what people want" is a lot of crappy music that's force-fed to them through the twin demons of corporate rock radio and MTV, regardless of whether or not it's performed by people who can actually play instruments. The bands I champion in Locals Only may forever be only local, but I could honestly write an article each week about an OC or Long Beach band who've been courted by a major label, only to walk away from the deal when the label wanted to change them too much, whether it was their sound, their clothes, their name, their songs, even their members. In the long run, these local indie bands may never have the kind of money they can make at a major label (money that will only come, of course, after they finish paying back the fat advances they'll owe the label), but at least they'll get to keep their self-respect. So who has more integrity, Mike? The local bands who make music their way, without any meddling from bottom-line-watching Fortune 500 executives or compliant bands who are packaged and sold to you like so much laundry detergent? I'm not much of a Reel Big Fish fan, but I give them full props for covertly getting the truest line ever spoken on the airwaves a couple of years ago: "The radio plays what they want you to hear." And what's with this "Camp Rockstar" shit? Jeez, I hope you don't call OC that whenever you venture outside the county. We have enough of an image problem as it is without your help.
I would like to respond to your article about the Jam at the Dam (Rich Kane's Locals Only, July 16): Hey, don't get me wrong; it was a great show and everything [in a sarcastic tone]. The first band played to only 45 people, including all the Staff Pro guys. Another band played Lisa Loeb and got away with it. Give me a fuckin' break!
Hey, I can't talk shit about the bands. It's not what Cacawates or I am about. Yep, we were the band that "sounded like an HB nightmare." Hey, brotha, it's cool. We don't care if you critics like us one fuckin' bit. But I bet you didn't even know the votes were already counted during our third song. That's right: 10 minutes into our set! We got fifth [place] because no one was allowed to vote.
—Paco Preciado, CacawatesNO BLOW HERE
I'd just like to thank the OC Weekly for running the great review of my new CD ("You Live in the Best of Times!" July 30). I'd also like to say that I DID NOT BLOW Buddy Seigal in order to receive those kind words. In fact, we've never met. This may explain why he mistook camera highlights for graying temples in my photo.
Speaking of photos, I carelessly forgot to credit the multitalented Stephen Hodges for taking the shot that appeared with the story. You may remember Hodges as the drummer who has played with Tom Waits, Mike Watt, Smashing Pumpkins, Bruce Willis and the original James Harman Band. I've done many a gig with him, and he's one of the most musical people I've ever met.
I recently reviewed your publication, and I found myself deeply disturbed by the content it contained. I am—as you of a younger generation might say—of a repressed generation. I am deeply saddened at your seeming encouragement to berate one another. I noticed several responses to readers that were extremely rude. Buddy Seigal talks about a portion of his personal physique that is beyond tacky; it's repulsive. Rebecca Schoenkopf seems to have no personal concern other than to insult other people. Your readers also seem to be quite full of rancor. Do you purposely promote this type of anger and abuse?
I could continue to point out various unacceptable and crude articles (Commie Girl, etc., etc.). The point is that this magazine—with its gross articles, its flagrant "finger up" attitude—is terribly tragic. You, like the previous generation, starting with the "love children," are sowing the seeds for destruction. Someday, you will be forced to face your Creator. What will you say to him? You won't be able to tell him to "F off." You will be on your knees, pleading for mercy.
Search your heart, my friends. Don't allow the evil that surrounds this present age to destroy you.
—John Chandler, Orange
P.S. Please excuse the informal format. I am currently living in a shelter with my family until we can become re-established in Orange County.
Here's one more reason for ending the drug war: the participants in the original Woodstock were too stoned to riot. Then again, suppose Sheryl Crow had shown up at the original instead of Janis Joplin? Some outrages are so great that no medicinal herb—no matter how powerful—can quell them.
And will this mean no Euro-Woodstock?
—Tom Hartley, via e-mail PLEASE HOLD Editor's note: In our July 16 issue, our anonymous "Hey, You" contributor pointed out his difficulties with the cell-phone-capable world. We received millions of supportive letters, including the following:
Perhaps a perfect follow-up or inclusion to your article would be to check out www.nocarphone.com. It's a great idea, but then, of course, it is mine.
—John Dakins, Webmaster@nocarphone.com
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