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Michael Stanley Responds to Scene


hollies65

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Michael Stanley reads our Raspberries story, decides it sucks
Joe Tone

 Below is an actual letter -- yes, Mike, it's unedited -- from the great Michael Stanley. And above, in case you somehow blocked Stanley from your memory, is a little reminder of who he is, in the form of a a video promoting a musical about him that ran last year.

To whom it may concern ... Obviously I'd like you folks to print this letter but, if you're going to edit it, I'd rather you just forget it entirely. Justin Farrar's recent article ["Why the hype," August 15] on how The Raspberries are overrated was certainly a bi-polar bit of writing and another in the storied tradition of our town's music writer's continuing quest to disparage anything that doesn't happen to be called Pere Ubu. Were The Raspberries a "success" Let's see... First of all, The "Berries" could (and still did on their reunion tour and album) back it up live which, unfortunately, seems to have become a lost art. Four top forty singles, two top twenty singles, one top ten single, millions of albums sold and the ability to impress both Springsteen and John Lennon? That pretty much works for me! Were the matching suits a good idea? Not exactly my cup of tea but if you had to choose between those suits and wearing red plastic flowerpots on your head which way are you going? Years on the road have convinced me that the ladies tend to gravitate more toward the suits! Any guitar player worth his salt would kill to have played Wally Bryson's intro to "Go All The Way" (and any other number of great guitar parts!).?No guitar player I know owns the first eight bars of a song like Wally! Did they make great albums? Definitely not; too much filler. But back then it was all about "singles" and, in that regard, these guys were masters. "Tonight", "Ecstasy", "Let's Pretend" and "I Wanna Be With You" are almost perfect records and "Go All The Way" and "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" are! As music lovers (and I fully realize that we're into "to each his own" terrritory here) we ought to just be proud of the fact that Cleveland gave the world such a great "power-pop" group (a term that was lovingly coined by the strangely critic-proof Pete Townsend), one of the all-time great power trios, The James Gang and, in Eddie and the late Gerald Levert, two of the greatest R&B singers of all time. I never wanted to have The Raspberries pick out my wardrobe, tell me how to end the war, or mine my soul; I just wanted to turn 'em up and make the dashboard shake! That was more than enough for me and for that I thank them! And how did your band do? Michael Stanley Cleveland

Cleveland Scene, Aug 17, 2007

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Michael's a great guy and a very talented singer/songwriter. I'm really sorry The Scene chose to belittle him for voicing his opinion, but I'm not surprised. The Cleveland print media find it very, very difficult to say anything nice about artists from their town these days. They seem to fawn all over their sports stars ( hey, sports stars ARE pretty macho, no? ) but musicians don't fare as well. I actually thought the Springsteen liner notes and the Lennon photo might finally swing 'em over to our side, but apparently even those guys aren't valid enough for the Scene. Maybe we should have gone for a testimonial from David Bowie as well. In any case, a big "thank you" to Michael for all that he said (and did, on his radio show). Someone put up the "My Town" video. It's a great song about a town that deserves better than The Cleveland Scene.

P.S. Can you believe that psychopath Vanky Panky even had to comment negatively about Michael???? What IS his problem???

ec

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Remember years back when The Scene was actually a good musicians weekly??? It was GREAT back then....before corporate America bought it out and brought in their imported writers who know NOTHING about the local landscape or it's heritage. Do they think that building sitting down on 9th St. would be there if this town was as bland as they write it to be???

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It just amazes me how a city that can support the Cleveland Browns all these years cannot support the Raspberries! If Raspberries do a new studio album, they should wear matching football helmets on the cover. To placate the Cleveland Scene, you would have to be holding crack pipes as well. That should do it, crack pipes and football helmets. There's some kind of major disconnect going on in Cleveland.

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I'd love to see what the local papers write about Bruce and Jon in New Jersey. Heck, I just read a really lovely piece about Frankie Previte (who's also a really nice guy and a talented singer/songwriter) talking about his life since "Dirty Dancing." Amazingly, they seemed to be happy for his success, and didn't feel the need to put down the movie or his songs! Wow! Local boy makes good! What a concept! Perhaps not as scintillating as "Local boy makes good, and does a whole lot better than that existential, heroin-addled band that I like, so I think I'll make fun of him, so that I can impress all the other self-loathing, glue-sniffing losers that I identify with", but charming in a sweeter, simpler kind of way.

I think the key here, is you have to stop hating yourself and your own life, before that hatred poisons everything you do and everything you write. Misery does indeed love company.

ec

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I would say... Don't give this critic so much credence. He's clearly using the old (desperate) tactic of trying to rack off regional readers by p*ssing on his own. It's a ploy that unskilled writers sometimes use to attract attention to themselves. "Look, chief, I got 400 letters in response to my latest column! How 'bout that?! Can I have a raise now!"

Parts of his review gave him away: You can tell he doesn't know the music, that he didn't understand the Raspberries' impact, and that he doesn't appreciate their place in the power-pop hierarchy. And to put Big Star on the same plane as the Beatles... Well, that blew his whole argument.

As for Vanky-Panky, that guy is a scary dude. What a smarmy attitude and obnoxious persona he's got! He gives all psychopathic postal workers a bad name.

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"I should have been born in New jersey." EC

Can you imagine in 1970 a young 21 year old Eric Carmen wandering of the shore in Jersey to a little club called Stone Pony for a beer and meeting another kid, the same age by a month, named Bruce, who is need of a keyboard player tonight, to work out some new songs he has written on a cocktail napkin... oh and by the way Bruce explains to his new found friend, that intimidating guy shooting pool over there, that's not the bouncer, he's my sax player.

Wanna jam tonight..?

Meanwhile an 8 year old kid named Jon peers in the window and dreams of playing there someday.

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I've never heard of this Justin F. Farrarararr...OR the 'magazine' Cleveland Scene. What is the friggin' point of an "overrated" article??? This punk may not like The Raspberries, but needn't give the band a 'raspberry'. Facts are facts....They DID influence countless bands, and continue to. It's fairly accurate rock history and common for a band who is ground-breaking in it's sound during an era when no one else is doing it to NOT be hugely successful!!! As Eric has stated, the climate the Raspberries existed in contained bands who thrived on long guitar solos and concept albums!! So, yes, maybe they were a little 'out of place.' NOW other bands, singers and the public realizes just how great the Raspberries were, and ARE! How else can you explain the accolades from Springsteen, Kiss, and others? How can you explain the wild enthusiasm their live shows generated the past two years???? They could tour again this year to sold out houses, no sweat! What this punk needs to admit is that HE just doesn't get it! The rest of us KNOW what he have and cherish it! Eric and his mates created some of the most endearing, classic pop/rock music of the 70's. Rolling Stone voted STARTING OVER their album of the year....I guess THEY get it!! And the Michael Stanley parody at the head of his letter was childish and idiotic. It's a shame the Cleveland Scene 'magazine' can't support a great local group, like the Raspberries. But if that is the case, have no fear, there are plenty of musically savvy people around the world that are more than happy to continue our love and support for this groundbreaking, timeless band!!

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The thing is this kid is not even from Cleveland! I don't know why they can't get local talent to head up the local paper.As Eric or myself ..or anyone who is from around Cleveland can tell you Cleveland is a very provincial city...and for some reason the media is never kind to homegrown music talent.

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hollies65 said:

The thing is this kid is not even from Cleveland! I don't know why they can't get local talent to head up the local paper.As Eric or myself ..or anyone who is from around Cleveland can tell you Cleveland is a very provincial city...and for some reason the media is never kind to homegrown music talent.

I can kind-of, sort-of verify that; when I've been there, I'll gush about how great the Raspberries are, and locals will respond kind of " . . . oh, yeah, whatever . . ." I found that bizarre, because, where I'm from, the guys in Slint (and Slint member also-ran Will Oldham)are treated like the freakin' Beatles, and Slint were never as commercially successful as the 'berries.

Didn't Mike Douglas and Ghoulardi take a shine to the band?

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hollies65 said:

Mike Douglas did...Ernie Anderson [The greatest horror movie show host ever..no one is even close] was long gone to Hollywood by the time the Berries hit paydirt. I think Bruno...the guy from the Cleveland press liked em as did the great Jane Scott.

I'm sorry; I knew that about Ghoulardi-I meant to qualify his assistance as regards The Choir(3/4 of the 'berries).

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