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Reader—and conservative Christian activist—Jim Bieber says Matt Coker is a hypocrite. In his Dec. 15 column “A Clockwork Orange,” Coker complained that the Trinity Broadcast Network was burning too many Christmas lights at its garish Costa Mesa HQ. Bieber just happened to be out walking his dog when he found himself—imagine the coincidence!—outside the Coker home, a home bedecked with a few measly lights and a plastic Santa. Bieber signed off by encouraging us to look into Richard Nixon's drinking habits and calling us “pathetic fuckers.”


G. Edward of Huntington Beach says Chris Ziegler's review of The Hostage Situation CD reveals that Ziegler doesn't know his OC punk history, and David Hartman of neoplanet.com agrees—he calls Ziegler “a dumb ass” for suggesting that local punks drove up to Hollywood to punch Darby Crash in the face. The scene was great down here, they say. Both suggest that Ziegler is evening up the score with bands who mistreated him back then; neither appears to know that Ziegler was 2 years old when Darby died.


Many readers wrote in to say that Jim Washburn is “an asshole” and a “Democrat,” by which they apparently meant the same thing. Washburn's sin? Decrying Bush's coronation in “Bedtime for Democracy” (Dec. 15). Steve Riggens said he had “read his last copy of the Weekly” because it is full of “the same liberal democratic [sic] crap that I frankly don't understand.” Riggens pointed out that we don't live in a pure democracy, but a republic—and he sure seemed glad of that fact. He suggested that Washburn should go live in San Francisco. But the Bay Area isn't far enough for Travis Baron of Irvine, who would like Washburn to move to France—and “take a few of your commie friends from Hollywood who pledged to leave if Bush took office—like Rosie O'Donnell and Barbra Streisand.”


Robbie Fields wrote from Phuket, Thailand, where he owns Covina High Music, to say he was “naive” to take Agent Orangeman Mike Palm's side in the musician's 1994 legal battle with the Offspring. Palm alleged in a 1990s lawsuit that bits of the Offspring's hit “Come Out and Play (Keep 'em Separated)” were lifted from Agent Orange's “Bloodstains” (Rich Kane's “It's All a Blur,” Sept. 1). Fields also countered Palm's claim that the many recordings of the Agent Orange song “Bloodstains” don't “help me personally.” Fields called the statement bullshit. “For some years now, Mike Palm has received thousands of dollars annually in royalties from 'Bloodstains,'” Fields says. “The song has appeared on numerous compilations, and in various TV and major motion pictures, from all of which he's seen income. Now for year 2000, owing to the extreme magnanimity of the Offspring's Dexter Holland, Mike's share of royalties from 'Bloodstains' will be in five figures, mainly for a soundtrack that went nowhere.”


Jan Akkerman founded the Vandals in 1979 and so enjoyed Rich Kane's profile of the band (“Vandals Incorporated,” Dec. 22). He said he was “happy to find out that the Vandals and Joe Escalante are enjoying a modicum of success in the music world as musicians and producers.” It sure didn't look promising at the start. Akkerman formed the band “with three other guys who, like me, could barely play their instruments. We were not much better or worse than all the other punk bands in OC at the time. We played decent punk music and had a goofball singer named Stevo who made coming to a Vandals gig an exciting exercise in anticipating his onstage antics. You'd get treated to a chorus line of formaldehyde frogs hung on a stick like marionettes or 'Squeak-O' the formaldehyde Rat who danced in a blender (the ON switch was how Squeak-O was made to dance). I myself was often surprised by Stevo's props, tricks and costumes—sort of like Iggy Pop meets Alice Cooper meets Johnny Rotten meets the Tubes all in one.” We were delighted with Akkerman's memoir. But we really liked his rage against the music machine—his assertion that the band has one remaining barrier they'll never overcome: age. “The important difference between bands like the Vandals, Agent Orange, the Adolescents and the Crowd, on one hand, and bands like Blink 182, Lit, the Offspring and Green Day on the other is not their sound but their age,” he wrote. “No major record label today wants to sign a band they cannot market as NEW. If your band is into its third indie album by the time you're pitched to a major label, it's already too late. If you're not packageable to the 15- to 24-year-old MTV demographic, forget it. There are 10 other bands waiting in the lobby of that record company who they think sound just like you, just better looking, better dressed and with cooler tattoos—and they're NEW.” Akkerman quit the Vandals 11 years ago and has “never regretted that decision. Your article makes that decision seem wiser than it was at the time. I reached a fork in the road, and I took it.” That fork did not lead Akkerman to a gig with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency as Kane's article reported, however, but to “a private company which had a large contract to develop and deploy software for several agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice; the DEA was one of them. That is how the rumor started and continues to this day.”


It was the holiday season, and because most of the Weeklings were out of the office, the paper was put together in a Guangdong sweatshop by street urchins and their mothers, and, frankly, we blame them for the error in Rebecca Schoenkopf's review of Crusty Demons (“Eat Extreme Shit,” Dec. 22). The film was directed and produced by Dana Nicholson, Jon Freeman and Cami Freeman. Our regret is no match for the terror now confronting 16 former Weekly employees.

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