Letters

I'm glad Frank kept performing. He gave a lot of people, young and old, a chance to personally witness one of life's greats. Myself, I regret passing up the chances I had to see him, and sadly now I will never have another shot.

Wilonsky, I'd have gladly traded places with you back in '94!
R. J. Walters
Via e-mail

Hashing it out...again
Hey Jimmy, did some mean ol' bluesman piss in your cereal? I don't think Hash Brown deserves your criticism just because some "female blues aficionado" didn't get nominated by the experts (chosen by the Dallas Observer) in charge of such things disgusting ("1998 Dallas Observer Music Awards issue," April 30). After all, Maylee Thomas does very little blues in her sets that I've seen. You could argue that she hires Bruce Springsteen's horn player, but on the other hand Hash Brown has been known to hire Muddy Water's drummer: S.P. Leary (who started here in the late '40s playing behind T-Bone Walker.) Not to mention, I know of no other blues musician working in this town that plays as much traditional style stuff as Hash Brown. He certainly wasn't "ushered directly into the temple and allowed to tend the blooze flame with raunchy, uncommercial purism." Your words, not mine... because I know better!

Hash has been playing mostly traditional style blues for at least the last 25 years. He could have chosen the "chorus-heavy rock-blues" path that the object of your wonderment, Maylee Thomas did. If he had done that, he would have ended next to Maylee, singing Janis Joplin tunes, not recording records with Willie Willis and two days later Mr. Al Dupree! I can't understand your position on Hash Brown--to be honest with you, it seems full of contradictions.

Chuck Nevitt
Via e-mail

Rip off or ripped off
Thank you for the exposure that Gary Numan doesn't usually enjoy in this country [Music listings, May 21]. But I must take issue with a statement made by Zac Crain. In every single article these days, Gary is referred to as the Godfather of Electronica.

How is it possible for someone with that noble title to "rip off" a "young lion's electronica," as Zac accused him of in his article?

Gary will be the first to tell you he has borrowed an idea or two from other bands. However, Thomas Edison, the Godfather of Light Bulbs, would never be accused of stealing the idea from Nicola Tesla or anyone else. Edison invented the light bulb, like Gary Numan sowed the seeds for modern day electronica.

Jim Napier, president
Gary Numan North American Fan Club
Via e-mail

Point of order: Gary Numan had never listened to Kraftwerk until after his first several albums, so it would have been impossible for him to have "ripped off" Kraftwerk. Indeed, Kraftwerk admits to having stolen some ideas from Gary.

As to your general point of "ripping off"--let's just say that every act steals something from many other acts. Gary Numan is no different in this respect, except in one important way: He freely admits it.

Although I was glad to see your newspaper print something about the man, I feel you did him more of a disservice than anything else. He may never again crack the Top 10 on the charts, but I strongly doubt that his return will be "as short lived" as the first time around. The man is a class act and inspires tremendous, tremendous loyalty in his fans.

And that loyalty is two-way. Ask any of the fans at any of the gigs on this tour, particularly those who stood around outside after the show waiting for the man to emerge. Everyone got every autograph they asked for, every photo they asked for, and as much time chatting with Gary and his band as they could stand.

For Gary, talking to his fans is more important than getting on the tour bus and getting a good night's sleep. This inspires people. I've been a fan for 18 years and drove down from Canada to see the shows in Seattle and San Francisco. With every show Gary performs on U.S. soil, he gains more fans, and Numan fans are unlike any other--they're die-hard, never-give-up fans who'll support him through thick and thin.

Gary Numan is back, and this time he's here to stay. He may never appear on David Letterman or Jay Leno, but every time he tours he'll sell out all the shows. And that's good enough for me.

Joey Lindstrom
Via e-mail

How can Gary Numan rip off anyone who has admitted to his work being their influence to fame and fortune? These '90s acts willingly give credit to Mr. Numan for the path he created musically. Once again, his latest two releases paved the way for other musicians, and the sound captured by Gary has never been done. No one act uses guitars mixed with synth the way that Gary Numan does. A true first musically that has never been attempted will probably be criticized because it is not the mainstream or follow-the-leader way. You can't rip off something that has never been done. Oh, well--he will probably be given credit in 10 years or so.

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