By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Wrong about Ray: Let me get this straight. On September 12, 1996, the Dallas Observer reported that Ray Nasher will screw the city of Dallas, do a slow dance and not hand over anything to the public anytime soon. Yeah, that's what happened.
You people are as stupid as the woman that wrote that article (Laura Miller).
Rabid follower: Well, what to say about a "news" article like "Widespread Yawning" (by Darryl Smyers, March 22)? Thankfully, it is up to the individual to determine what bands or music they like to listen to, and in no instance has someone else's opinion made anyone that I know suddenly change their mind. (Much like religion or politics...but don't get me started.) As I read the article, I kept waiting for the point to come across, but it turned out there really was no point. It was not a review of a concert that was in town or a new album...hell, I'd have settled for some gossip. The only thing I can take away from this article is that Darryl Smyers hates "jam band" music. I'll admit that I'm not that fond of most jam music myself. It is usually repetitive and lackluster, and the songs are generally pretty weak. But I will go on record saying that I find Widespread to be the exception. Of course there are some songs of theirs that I cannot stand, so apparently I'm an enigma. I'm a "rabid follower" and I can take criticism. Actually, I'm the guy in the parking lot pointing out all the things about the band that I don't like even though I like them enough to pay to go inside.
What riles me up is when someone lumps bands into very broad categories like "jam band." For the record, the only similarity between the Grateful Dead, Phish and Panic is the fact that they played different sets each night and worked very hard touring for most of the year. I respect any band that earns its money by consistently playing live for an audience much more than one that engineers a hit single and then goes on the road for two months and hits 12 cities for millions of dollars. Not only does Panic get out there and play, but they actually write some really good songs if our buddy Smyers would ever bother to listen.
I hate Phish: So you just don't like bands that improvise?
I love some of the guys you've reviewed favorably in the past (Richard Thompson, Gram Parsons, Centromatic, Sparklehorse). And I like Widespread too. And I hate Phish. Go figure.
I generally dislike jam bands, but what I've always enjoyed about Widespread is that they actually do have well-written songs. Many of their songs don't even have instrumental jams beyond a standard rock solo.
So you don't like the Dead or the Allmans...just curious, do you also dislike My Morning Jacket, Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, Spiritualized, the Roots, Pink Floyd, the Black Angels or other bands that stretch their songs past the four-minute mark? Miles, Coltrane, Mingus?
The Death of Cool
Ghastly Ghostbar: In response to Andrea Grimes' "What a VIP Off" (March 22), I must say I am delighted with her point of view. I laughed throughout the article and then cried thinking about the city of Dallas and then wondered if we are soul mates. Thank you for ripping Ghostbar.
Dallas as a city has reached new heights in trying to become the mecca for trendiness. I loved the article because it proves that there are "real" people left in Dallas. Andrea makes the case that she is somewhat normal and her friends are too. And that makes me happy. More and more bars are becoming VIP, and lucky for me, I don't ever have to bother with that. Not because of the parentals' money or my own, but because I choose not to attend such places. (I wouldn't get in anyway, but...) People now think Dallas is cool because we have these places. And that is what is wrong!
I'm not very old, but I remember when Deep Ellum made Dallas cool. Dallas had a thriving music scene, and people wanted to be around it. Some people don't want to be around live music, and that's fine, too, but does that make it better to dress like a cheese dick and think you're cool because you bought a table at Ghostbar and your striped shirt is custom-tailored? I think that makes you an idiot. Back then it wasn't about how big your fake boobs are or how many times you do Botox a month or how many lines of coke you did last weekend or even how "phat" your rims are on your Escalade. That's just dumb.
I have never been to Ghostbar and quite frankly have no intention of going. I have best friends that frequent Ghostbar several times a month, and I laugh at them every time they go. I understand that there are "different strokes for different folks." But it's not about that. I don't even mind the trendiness all that much or the fancy bar or the drunk strippers in the bathroom. I mind because if Dallas ever wanted to be unique again, it has lost that flavor. Forever. And that is depressing.
Thank you, Andrea, for seeing what is real and what is not. After reading "What a VIP Off," I smiled and will sleep better tonight knowing that we hate the Ghostbar together. Cheers to you.
P.S. Will you marry me?