Mind Your Manners

Educating jackasses: I loved this article ("Hey, You. Yeah, YOU!" by Sarah Hepola, January 8). Thank you so much for making me smile. I've stopped going to shows in Dallas unless it's someone I really love and would cry if I didn't see them--all because of the things you pointed out in your article. And I work in corporate hell, too, so the few shows I do go see that are at midnight really have to be worth it. Which is stupid. I'm tired of not being able to go out and do stuff at 9 p.m. Bastards. And on the ass-grabbing thing? My God, what is up with that?! I've stopped going to Clearview because that's happened one too many times. Plus, people are so rude. So anyway, just wanted to say thanks for your thoughts. Maybe some of those jackasses will learn a lesson from it.


Unseen scene: As I started to read this week's story about how to improve the Dallas music scene, I got the impression that you might be a little princess grinding a little ax (a pink one, with bows on it). You make a good point or two, but you don't really mention anything that will make the music scene here better. In fact, you need to write another piece actually stating what you think is wrong with things the way they are now.

Nobody likes dirty bathrooms, lines at the bar or inconsiderate people. Well, I take that back. Two people do like lines at the bar: the club owner and the booking agent. My advice: You don't need to overstate the obvious. The "short girl at the bar" story isn't going to solve any problems.

Also, I don't know who Damien Rice is (was he in a boy band?) or why his "fans" were talking so much at the show, but let me tell you something: It has nothing to do with any music scene. Your piece is supposed to be about rock music ("Rock music is rude. You don't have to be."), but if you're at a rock show where fans talking can actually stop the show...guess what? That isn't rock.

As for weeknight shows, they're always difficult for everyone involved. Touring bands have to play weeknight shows to fill in dates on the calendar, and clubs oblige when they think it's worth the trouble. If you're a club, you stay open late because the whole game is about bar sales. If there is one lesson for bands and their fans to learn, it's that the health of any local music scene boils down to whether the music sells alcohol. If you point out something about how clubs operate and how bands succeed, chances are it has something to do with the fact that everyone wants to make money.

I'm with you on one thing: the water cooler. I've seen free water in clubs in Austin, and I saw them in various places while on tour this summer, and I think it's a great idea. Patio heaters in winter, water coolers in summer.

My advice to bands? Sad to admit it, but the music doesn't matter until you're successful on a local level. You can play horrible, derivative music, but if your band packs the house and makes the local club lots of money, they'll keep booking you. Get to that level, then you can save your money to record a good-sounding album.

I enjoyed reading your article, Sarah. But if you want to write something about the music scene, next time write about the scene, not about the scenery.

Doug McGrath
Via e-mail


Criminals, not cops: I'm writing in response to the article ("Across the Bar," by Sarah Hepola, January 8) regarding the unwarranted attack unleashed by the Dallas police against the Spoonfed Tribe, their fans and anyone else who happened to be breathing in the vicinity of Crowdus and Elm on New Year's Eve. As a witness to the actual events that took place that night, I am appalled by the comments of police Lieutenant Vince Golbeck, who admitted that he was not in the vicinity of where the violence actually took place and did not witness the events that occurred on that tension-filled night.

I will admit that it probably wasn't a great idea to take the show to the streets, but it happened, and it seemed like a good way to clear the club out so the dedicated employees of the Curtain Club could get the night wrapped up and go home for the evening. The Tribe and the accompanying high school marching band (yes, high school students who were very sober thanks to the large "X's" on their hands provided by the Curtain Club staff) marched out into the streets and into a hornet's nest occupied by the Dallas police, who seemed to enjoy unleashing a cloud of pepper spray into the crowd with absolutely no warning. The officers smiled and even giggled as I stood and watched the events in horror. I have not witnessed such ganglike behavior on the streets of Deep Ellum since the days of the Confederate Hammer Skins in the late 1980s. It seems as though the Hammers grew up and got "real" jobs in the Dallas Police Department.

After the pepper spray was dispersed into the crowd and directly into the faces of several of the sober high school students, several individuals, including a freelance videographer who was recording the incident and two members of Spoonfed Tribe's management, were then taken into custody. The detained individuals were then zip-tied and ordered to wait on their knees at the intersection of Crowdus and Main for more than an hour. During this hour, I witnessed one of the restrained victims request water to wash the pepper spray from his eyes. That individual was then pushed onto his belly and further restrained with a police officer's knee on his back and then pepper-sprayed again.

I saw no warnings, I saw no police officers being "attacked," and the crowd was not chanting, "Fuck the police!" I was there, and Lieutenant Vince Golbeck was not.

If this is the Dallas police and Laura Miller's idea of cleansing the Dallas streets of crime by attacking artists and high school students for playing music and briefly blocking traffic, I'd much rather take my chances with the real criminals.

Steven Dvorak