Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Music · Ryan Whyte Maloney Indulges...
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Ryan Whyte Maloney Indulges Listeners with Songs of Emotional Power

Robert Downes - October 10th, 2002
Ryan Whyte Maloney has a modest goal: “I want to sell more music than Michael Jackson‘s ‘Thriller‘ album,“ he says with a broad, confident smile.
And though outgunning the world‘s top-selling CD with 100 million in sales may seem a bit of a stretch, it‘s also true that Whyte seems to have that mystical blend of charisma, romantic lyrics, intense vocals and wrenching songs that have marked great artists from the get-go. Think of the unknown Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village, 1961, or the unsigned Nirvana in 1990; raw newcomers who had a stunning, siren-song quality, with their tunes haunting listeners long after the show.
Whyte, with his enigmatic innocent face, dyed hair, leather pants, multiple piercings and tattoos has that same kind of mojo behind his alt-rock and goth-flavored songs. His vocals have a smokey soul edge, and when his band Indulge plays an acoustic set at Border‘s Books, you can hear the audience hold its breath as it hangs on every word. The same is true when the band rocks out on electric guitars at clubs such as the Loading Dock. Just below the cohesion of melody and verse in his songs, you get the feeling that there‘s a primal wail building to a shattering climax.
“When we do originals, people really watch us close and focus because it‘s really serious music we‘re playing, and you don‘t hear those kinds of songs on the radio,“ he says.

Whyte, 21, is part of a new generation of songwriters shaking Northern Michigan‘s aging music scene to its arthritic roots. His first band, Bachanalia, featured Brian Schram on guitar, who is now playing with Uncle Kracker. Other young musicians challenging their older Gen-X counterparts include Jupiter Avenue from Cheboygan, Fourth House In from Traverse City, and Leif Kolt from Petoskey.
Most share one thing in common: they‘re virtual unknowns, playing on “off“ nights at clubs around the region or at summer street fairs. Like Whyte, they may work at get-by jobs at Subway or Hot Topic during the day. Yet they also share a determination to overthrow the established order with dynamic new songwriting directions in Whyte‘s case, or the use of rap idioms and turntable technology from Leif Kolt.
Whyte even manages to be controversial in his own age group (a feat that‘s unachieved by the vast majority of musicians in the region) because he‘s chosen to write intensely personal love songs along the lines of such influences as The Cure, Depeche Mode, Hours, and Tori Amos.
“They all write music from their situations and their souls,“ he notes. “It takes a lot of guts to put yourself and your emotions on the line. You never know how people are going to react to that.
“Some people laugh at me,“ Whyte continues. “A lot of males my age are all testosteroned up and say my music is wussy and not ‘metal‘ enough. And I just say that‘s why we have metal, for those who need that macho music. My music is more serious than that.“

Whyte takes his inspiration from a deeper source than what‘s popular with his peers. His songs come from his heart in a literal sort of way.
“When I write a song, it‘s not my intention to write a song,“ he says. “Every song is a timeline in my life. In every song I‘m crying about something in my past. Every song means a lot to me; it is me, it‘s part of my soul, it‘s honesty.“
Whyte describes his songs as being “sad,“ but they don‘t come across that way. They‘re sad in the way that the blues are sad, or the music of Jeff Buckley.
But a sadness inspires Whyte‘s music because he had a rough ride as a teenager that was often self-inflicted, leading to a state of homelessness that prompted a great deal of soul searching.
Growing up, he was an “MTV kid“ in the ‘80s, enthralled by Billy Idol, The Cure and Ratt. His mother, Robyn, was a singer in a band called White Heaven, and had performed at CBGB‘s in the East Village and at the Whiskey on Sunset Strip.
As a child, Whyte taught himself how to play guitar by observing where the guitarist in his mother‘s band placed his fingers on the fretboard. His mother bought him a guitar at Meijer‘s and a Guns ‘N Roses tape. “I just stayed in my room for months, playing the Guns ‘N Roses and Michael Jackson albums. I could play anything by the age of 12 and got my first electric guitar when I was 13. after that, all I wanted to do was music.“

But life wasn‘t all music. “My parents and I really never got along from age 13 to 19,“ he recalls. “I had some really hard times.“
Whyte has had three different fathers in his life, including his natural dad for whom he wrote the song, “Self Written Letter,“ which deals with feelings of loss.
“It‘s a song to my real father, telling him I know what he‘s done to me, and that I‘m going to carry on,“ he says. “Basically, I‘m talking to myself in the song about how the world works and trying to prepare the kids that will listen. I wasn‘t prepared for the real world when I turned 17. So the song says to prepare yourself, because you‘re going to face the world alone.“
The song also warns kids about the hazards of drugs and the need to stay strong and self-reliant. When Whyte was 16, his family moved to Washington state, where Whyte was kicked out of school and the 10th grade on a drug-related incident. He moved to Las Vegas to live with an uncle for awhile, and then back to Michigan to live with friends, sleeping on sofas and living in his car while working at Bob Evans. Whyte got down as far as you can go on Northern Michigan‘s homeless rung, coping with winter nights and freezing temperatures while living in his car. He suffered from depression at the time, and realized he had to start “building myself back from zero.“
“My bassist (Jason Sannis) saved my life,“ he says. “I was living in my car and he snuck me into the college dorms. I stayed there for months, sleeping on a bunk bed. He really boosted my confidence a lot and things got better gradually.“
Friends noticed Whyte‘s musical talent and a band began to take shape. Extremely shy, he was encouraged to sing, summoning up insistent, compelling vocals. It‘s impossible to draw comparisons with his voice, which ranges from a masculine husk to a pleading James Brown keen. His competent alt-rock band Indulge includes Sannis, Shawn McGhee on guitar and Sean Divincent on drums.

Today, he‘s patched things up with his parents and two brothers. “I love my parents now; I just had to find myself. I did a lot of soul searching.“
His band has recorded a 17-song CD entitled “Indulge,“ and is looking for funding to get it produced. They‘ve developed a local following, have a song, “I Am Only Me“ on WKLT and KHQ, and are cracking the creative gridlock on the music scene.
“I‘m not impressed with what‘s on the radio,“ Whyte says. “It‘s all the same, with the same chord structures. Music is so predictable now; everyone‘s trying to make a buck with these one-hit-wonder songs. Even people like Alanis Morissette change one little thing in their music and put out the same song over and over again.“
Not so with Whyte, however, who can summon songs by the score from inner reserves of experience and feelings of loss and abandonment.
“Artists aren‘t letting their songs come naturally; they‘re just writing bad songs that don‘t mean anything so the labels don‘t hassle them. When I do get a record deal, I want to make sure they give me artistic freedom. I let the song come to me and I do it the natural way.“
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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