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 · News · Free if not FAMOUS GUITAR
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None - August 19th, 2011  

Micki Free might be the best guitarist no one has ever heard of -- well the general public that is. Mention his name to people in the business, such as Joe Perry of Aerosmith, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones fame and they will all sing his praises. In fact, all three legends are currently working on projects with Micki Free.

Ask KISS frontman Gene Simmons his thoughts on Micki Free and a smile will come over him.

“I discovered Micki over 30 years ago when he was a 17-year-old guitarist playing in a regional rock band from Illinois,” said Simmons. “His band opened for us and I watched him (Simmons was big on discovering new musicians in those days, Eddie Van Halen was one of his discoveries) and I told him after the show that he was going to be a star and if he ever came to L.A. to give me a call.”

Micki Free will bring his blistering blues guitar and high energy rock and roll show with him this Friday, August 19, to Leelanau Sands Showroom.

Free decided to become a rock guitarist when at a young age he got to see the person many consider to be the greatest of all time.

“I was just eight or so and my father was in the military stationed in Germany and he was given tickets to see Jimi Hendrix; and he gave them to my oldest sister who took me to the show,” said Free. “We were in the third row and Hendrix came out in pink bell bottoms and said ‘this song is for the lady in the front row with the pink panties.’ He busted out into ‘Foxy Lady,’ and at that moment I thought to myself, hell yeah, I gotta be a guitar player.”


His family eventually moved home near Chicago. In high school, Free honed his blues and rock guitar chops, eventually forming his own band Smokehouse, playing shows with Ted Nugent, Rush, REO Speedwagon,and local favorites Cheap Trick. Free developed a reputation of being a rock and roll guitar prodigy.

“Meeting Gene Simmons was my big break,” said Free. “I took him up on his offer and after high school headed out to L.A. and to my surprise Gene remembered me. We started writing songs together -- it was wild.”

Simmons introduced Free to his then girlfriend Diana Ross.

“Diana liked what she saw and agreed to manage me. I started playing gigs around L.A. and was developing a following. Diana and Gene arranged for me to play guitar on Janet Jackson’s first album. Everything seemed to be coming together for me,” said Free. “Then one day Gene gets a call from the band Shalamar and they want me to join their band as their guitarist. My initial thought was to turn them down, they were R&B and I was rock and blues.”

But Gene Simmons gave Free something else to think about.

“I had never heard of them but they were playing big venues and were climbing the R&B charts. Gene thought it would be a good move for me,” said Free. “He put it to me this way: joining Shalamar would be like getting into a limo every night versus getting into a cab. He was right, it was the right decision at the time.”

For the next eight years Free toured the world with Shalamar selling out 20,000 seat venues, staying in first class hotels and eating at the best restaurants. He even won a Grammy. When the group called it quits in 1991, Free decided to pursue more of his blues and rock aspirations.

In 2002 he released “Black Moon... Black Sun” the first of his two solo rock albums. His second album released later that year, “Gypsy Cowboy,” was nominated for seven Native American Awards (Nammys), which named him “Best Male Artist of the Year” in 2002.


Part Cherokee, Free decided to take a break from his career in 2003 and explore his heritage. He moved to Arizona and began learning about his culture. He mastered the Native American flute and returned to music in 2004.

“Well, the Seminole tribe of Florida had purchased the Hard Rock Cafe and they called me about being a performer for their opening night ceremonies. I just assumed they wanted me to play the flute,” said Free. “I was shocked when they said ‘forget the flute. We want some of that Micki Free rock and roll,’ I guess I haven’t looked back since.”

While Free’s hard-driving blues rock didn’t hit home right away in the states, it did over in Europe where he had been in constant demand including being asked to play on the main stage of one the largest music festivals in England.

“I was asked to perform four years in a row at the Hard Rock Calling Festival with close to 100,000 people. I shared the main stage with Aerosmyth my first year and since then with Paul McCartney, The Police, Eric Claption, Bruce Springsteen among others,” said Free. “It was an awesome experience but what was really cool I brought over some Native American dancers and brought them on stage and the crowd went nuts. I think for most of them it was the first time they had seen a Native American in full headdress dancing on the stage.”

Last year he had another musical highlight happen while at the Hard Rock Calling.

“Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones asked if he could join me on stage,” said Free. “We hit it off and a lot of the media said we were the hit of the festival. Bill also said he wanted to perform on my next project so he will be on my new DVD and CD project coming out this fall.”

Free has a full tour already booked for this fall in Europe and he hopes that will be the case for him next year in the U.S.

“They are starving for my style of music in Europe. I am getting a feeling that is starting to be the case here as well.”

Free has surrounded himself with not only talented musicians but the legendary manager Henry “The Horse” Smith, who was with The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmyth. Free’s bandmates include former Cheap Trick bassist Jon Brant, and drummer Cindy Blackman formerly of the Lenny Kravitz band and wife of guitar great Eric Clapton.

While most people may not be familiar with Micki Free, he guarantees one thing if you attend his show at the Leelanau Sands on Friday, August 19, at 9 p.m., he promises when you leave you will remember him forever.

For details and to purchase tickets go to www.casinos2win.com and to check out Micki Free visit www.mickifree.com.

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