A Traditionalist Writes ...
I note that whenever someone zaps you a letter on the Internet, you state "via Internet" after their name in the Letters column. The remaining letters are not distinguished as to mode of arrival -- whether they be by post, cable, fax, hand delivery, overnight express, semaphore, brick through window or carrier pigeon.
Am I to give greater weight and credibility to people who communicate by computer? Has their easy access to pornography made them learned and wise? Should I, in monk-like fealty, repetitiously copy their observations?
Warren C. Brown
via the mail
Let Them Eat Shampoo Bowls
Perhaps Mr. Unexpected was a little harsh on Mrs. Lanier [Expect the Unexpected, June 26]. Houston's first lady has always shown great enthusiasm and concern for Houston and its people. We just have to remember the old saying: "The rich are different from you and me." I'm sure that diamond bracelets and in-home hair salons are a part of everyday life in some circles. I am sure that there are millions of people -- could they afford it -- who would love to have someone come in and "fluff" them every day. I know I would.
I just hope that none of these discontented ever decide to cause an unsightly and unruly scene outside of Tony's while Ms. Elyse is eating a delicious piece of cake!
I found the House & Garden article, and it's worse than I thought. Of the only two men mentioned, one is having his hair fluffed and the other is having his nails done. Forget the expense, I think the Houston Image Group needs to get to work -- soon!
Editor's note: Yes, Mr. Unexpected was a bit churlish in assessing Mrs. Lanier's comments in House & Garden. At the time, he was unaware that the daily fluffing was part of the mayor's new "Hair to Standard" program.
I guess the word "shame" or the phrase "I am sorry" does not exist in the vocabulary of former assistant district attorney Kristen Pain ["Pain for the Prosecution," by Steve McVicker, June 26].
We, the taxpayers of Harris County, paid the salary of this immature woman.
We did not receive value for our investment.
John L. Anders Jr.
Bubba is alive and well, and he has moved uptown ["The Great Decolorizer," by Tim Fleck, June 19].
William Russell Simmons Jr.
The Potentially High Cost of Coprolalia
Damn, that Randall Patterson sure is one fine writer. But must he use that language ["Sherwood's Rules," May 15]? It offends the sensibility of us gentle Southern folk. I'd give him a huge raise, but with a fine for any "non-mentionables" included.
Drop Kick the "Readers" Poll
Although not a fan of Ezra Charles, and I would not cast my vote for him as Best Keyboardist, he does have a valid point in his annual lament letter [Letters, "Ezra's (Annual) Lament," June 26]. Where is the readers' input, until after the fact? Your showcase lineup is announced prior to the outcome of the Music Awards readers' poll. The Austin Chronicle allows the readers and people who support live music to make the choice.
I have no complaint about the bands and musicians nominated -- they all deserve recognition -- but where are some of the most enjoyable and crowd-drawing bands in Houston, like the Drop Kick Chihuahuas, Teddy Boys and Romeo Dogz? The Drop Kick Chihuahuas are headlining no less than three of the most popular club anniversaries in Houston (Satellite, Blue Iguana and Mary Jane's). What other band in Houston plays three-hour sets (no breaks), 40 to 50 tunes in one evening and holds the crowd until 2 a.m.? I am a big supporter of the live music scene here in Houston, and would like to see a readers' poll that is truly geared toward the readers. To Ezra I say, "Better luck next time." And to the category of Best R&B or Just Plain Blues, I say, "Bring on the Drop Kick Chihuahuas!"
"Double Poop" to You, Tommy
We were very distressed, disgusted and utterly flabbergasted by your recent "Spunk Rock" article on the Muffs [Music, by Steve Appleford, June 12]. We are Spunk, and we dictate who is and isn't Spunk rock. The Muffs suck.
You guys have all of our recent stuff, including the Japanese fingerbang import. Find some other band with a Japanese import in Houston. It's time for you guys to get off the N.Y., L.A. major label kick. I'm sure the neglected stacks of other local bands feel the same way.
Sure, locals don't have millions of dollars in backing or hot glossy promo, but let's see music reviews of bands at all levels. So if your writers are going to use our name in a title, mention the great band that influenced you. You, sirs, are part of the problem with the local music scene. You have the power to change and strengthen the scene, and all you've done is spend another full page on the big guys.
Poop to you.
Spunk rock chairman
Poor Peter Rainer. Man can't get a break. I was just browsing the letters in Feedback, and people are crucifying this guy right and left for his reviews! Don't get me wrong -- I agree with most of them. However, I think Peter is a necessary and integral part of the Press. He elicits response from his readers. Be it good or bad, a lot of writers never achieve that. And besides, now Andy Klein has a companion in his movie-critics-who-suck club. Personally, I think they both should be tied down in seats right next to each other at River Oaks Theatre and made to watch replays of Rocky Horror until they start slurring their speech.
When is the last time film reviewer Michael Sragow had a movie date? I am assuming that it was the '80s and he hasn't seen a movie since, because his review of Men in Black [Film, "Galactic Mediocrity," July 3] compared the chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith to that of Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in the '80s movie 48HRS. Maybe it's just me, but I do not see the connection. Each movie has a black man/white man combo in the lead roles, but other than that, the films have little in common. Surely he is not basing the comparison of chemistry between the two sets of men on the actors' races. If so, Mr. Sragow needs a refresher course in film reviewing, or perhaps should consider getting a clue and leave the analysis to the professionals. Or maybe, in keeping with Sragow's out-of-date references, I am just out to lunch -- like Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Galvani Goes One for Two
I would like to comment on two recent restaurant reviews that appeared in the Press. The first was on Kactus Cafe in Bellaire [Cafe, "Mixed Thrill," by Paul Galvani, June 5]. After reading the review, I insisted to my wife that we try it for dinner, since it got such a positive comment. To say we were disappointed would be a serious understatement. The waitress we had couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. The food took forever to get to the table, and when it did arrive, it was greasy and cold. That is one place we will never return to.
However, the next night I got back into my wife's good graces by dining at the Capital Grille [Cafe, "Capital Idea," by Paul Galvani, June 19]. Your review was indeed right on point. Our meal was outstanding, and there was plenty left to take home. The only area I found to be overly pricey was in mixed drinks and wine. We felt the soups, salads, side dishes and desserts were quite reasonable for the type of restaurant it is.
I wish your reviewer would do an article with regards to people who feel they own a table for the evening when they have a reservation and will linger at the table long after they have finished eating and even paid their bill. I know this is a serious problem with the restaurant managers, and it's also very annoying to the people who have reservations and have to wait long past the reservation time.
But His Greatest Feat Was Writing "Francine"
I enjoyed Hobart Rowland's June 5 article on Herschel Berry ["Never Too Old to Rock and Roll"]. It was worthwhile to remember that Herschel really was a driving force in the club music scene during the eighties.
However, I would not have believed it possible that anyone who was there in those days would forget the great Kenny Cordray. In fact, to write an article about Herschel without any mention of Kenny would be at best incomplete. There were many musicians who played with Herschel during his career, but only Cordray is a genius virtuoso. Kenny lives in the Dallas area now, but is thought by many to be the greatest guitarist who ever emerged from the Houston music scene. I believe that the other guitarists who were mentioned in the article would agree with that bold statement. Indeed, anyone who was in the club music scene in Texas during the seventies and eighties will tell you that it was generally agreed upon by all that Kenny Cordray was the most incredible guitarist in the business.
I remember the first time I was present at a Natives gig. I was at a private party in the top of the Transco Tower. When I arrived at the party, the first thing I noticed was the huge crowd packed in around the band. There were so many people that I could not actually see the band. However, I was immediately sobered by the unbelievable sound of some guitar player who at ear-mangling volume was energizing the whole room with this wailing, slashing, maniacal guitar performance. I have a very educated ear, and I immediately recognized a lot of very hip references in his playing to Hendrix, Beck and even DiMeola. He also had a lot of truly original phrases like nothing I had ever heard before. I started working my way through the crowd in an attempt to find out the identity of this madman. When I got close enough to see the stage, I asked someone who the guitarist was, and they screamed in my ear, Cordray! So that is Kenny Cordray?
I had heard his name a great deal over the years with much reverence, but had never actually seen him perform. I was mesmerized. I never missed another Herschel Berry and the Natives gig until Cordray left the band in 1988. Kenny is still out there somewhere playing everything but your grandma's panties, I am sure. I recently heard that he made an appearance at Instant Karma for a benefit with the TKoh! boys. Unfortunately, I missed it, but I am told that he gave another overwhelming guitar performance.
Ain't Dead Yet
The article on Herschel Berry was a quick trip back in time to when the King ruled the flat and otherwise dead music scene. The only rock and roll you could hear in the clubs when the Natives started out were hair bands and/or cover bands. Herschel gave Houston a full course of great music -- an interactive experience for those who were there. There wasn't anything better.
His life, like many other musicians', has been a long, hard struggle. It's nice to hear that he is still around, and still considering his role and responsibility to music.
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I hope someone in Houston will have the sense to remaster Herschel's recordings and get them on disc so more people can hear what all the talk is about. I can remember a time in Houston when people stepped up to the plate on someone else's behalf. Herschel is singularly responsible for his own fate, but we all could use a little help from time to time. Give Herschel a Web page (there's bound to be a few takers out there) so people can order a disc or two, and let them decide for themselves. I myself never got the chance to hear Live with It or Mr. Madness. Hopefully, someday I will.
Kip Millwee (old Native)
San Jose, California
Sweet 'n' Dead
After seeing his show at Numbers on June 23 [Critic's Choice, June 19], if Matthew Sweet is any indication, rock is dead.