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 · The seasoned pros of Leo Creek...
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The seasoned pros of Leo Creek revive that old time rock & roll

Rick Coates - April 21st, 2005
“Just take those old records off the shelf…today’s music ain’t got the same soul... call me a relic, call me what you will, say I’m old-fashioned, say I’m over the hill -- I like that old time rock-n-roll.” Prophetic words by Bob Seger when he released that song 27 years ago this May. The song was written during the disco invasion and Seger had no idea that the lyrics would be as relevant today for some as it was for others back then. So if you are looking for that “old time rock and roll,” look no further.
Check out Leo Creek. They are making regular stops at Union Street Station on the last Sunday of the month. The next show is April 24 and the 7 p.m. start is a requirement as they tour in support of bringing back the classics in their Men on Meds and Boys with Bed Times tour.
Now, Leo Creek isn’t some group of old hacks offering up another rendition of “Mustang Sally.” They are made up of four talented professional musicians. Sure they have a few years and a lot of mileage on them, but if you drive a Ford pick-up truck you know it ain’t even broken in until it has 75,000 miles on it. These guys are just getting broken in and are in the prime of their musical lives.

Oh yeah, the band includes Jack Dryden on bass. Now, Dryden lives in Traverse City but is a sought after player in jazz circles and is constantly in demand. On drums is Roger Tarczon. A few years back Tarczon shared the stage with Kid Rock. After the show Rock told Tarczon, “Damn you’re good -- best drummer I have jammed with. Too bad you’re not 20 years younger.” Then there is Tim Sparling, the man on the keys. Sparling has been a long time player on both the local and Detroit scenes. Rounding out the band is a former Traverse City 8th Street resident, Drew Abbott, on lead guitar. Abbott has been around the scene and played on a few stages.
Okay, that might be a little bit of an understatement regarding Abbott; being the former lead guitar player for Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band constitutes a little more than just playing a few stages. When Seger decided to slow things down in the 1980s, Abbott had no such interest in taking it easy. He moved to Traverse City in 1983 and continued jamming. He formed a band, Burning Circle, with Tim Sparling and former Savage Grace vocalist Al Jacquez. The group developed quite the following and played regularly at Union Street Station.
“We produced an album but never released it,” said Abbott. “I guess by the time we got out of the studio, it seemed music was headed in a different direction.”
Sparling felt it was a shame the album was never released.
“We even recorded a song Seger wrote and gave us to record, titled ‘More of You.’ We spent a lot of time and money on the album,” said Sparling. “The album and the song were never released to the public.”

In 2000 Abbott moved from the area to be closer to his son who was at U-M in Ann Arbor. His son will graduate this May and will be interning at Hagerty Insurance this summer, so Abbott figures he will spend more time up north jamming with his friends and having fun with the music.
“The great thing is none of us are doing this for the money -- we are doing it for the music,” said Abbott.
That is evident. For those lucky enough to have caught Leo Creek in their debut performances at Union Street, you saw a band passionate about the music and performing.
“We are a jam band,” said Sparling. “We are not trying to score wedding gigs. We are four guys that realize life is short and we like to perform music. We said if we are going to do this band thing again we were going to take some songs that might have been forgotten about and pull them out and take them somewhere. Give them new life.”
Abbott has seen the highs and lows of the music industry. He came onto the emerging Detroit music scene in 1967 with his band Third Power. The group released one album, “Believe,” in 1969 on the Vanguard Label. But label executives thought the album was too heavy, never gave it any promotional support and dropped the band literally days after the album was released.
In the early ‘70s Abbott performed as an opener with various Motown session bands. Having been managed by Punch Andrews, Abbott knew Seger; in fact, Third Power had often opened for Seger. In 1972 when Seger decided he wanted to give up guitar playing responsibilities, Abbott was asked to join Seger’s band. When Punch and Seger decided to create a new image for Seger by starting the Silver Bullet Band in 1974, Abbott was the only member asked to stay on (a year later saxophonist Alto Reed was brought back as well).

“Having started out playing guitar I was looking to focus my energies elsewhere, primarily my vocals. So Drew was probably the most influential member back in those transition days,” said Seger.
Until this point Seger had a regional following, but when the Silver Bullet Band started backing Seger, his national career took off.
Abbott remembers those days of non-stop touring.
“I was the one guy that wanted to keep going,” said Abbott. “I loved being on the road and playing every night. I never wanted it to stop. But the others did, so when we would come off the road I would go into Detroit and find players to jam with.”
One of those players was Sparling. Sparling was originally from Plymouth and moved to Northern Michigan as a child. While a student at Northwestern Michigan College, he formed Wheeling Bliss with David Fox and Mike Marois before becoming an original member of Newt Cole and The Salamanders. Sparling saw a greater opportunity in Detroit for his music career so he moved to Detroit’s Indian Village in the early seventies. He took an engineering job with the auto industry while forming the popular band Shadowfax and playing regular gigs at Alvin’s along the Cass Corridor.
“I remember that night Drew came in. He had just come off of months on a Seger tour and he was looking for more,” said Sparling. “He got up and jammed with us and we became friends.”

During the mid-’70s Sparling began writing jingles for the major Detroit ad agencies. He became so successful that he left his engineering job and started his own jingle agency with an office at the Renaissance Center, and often hired Drew to perform on tracks.
Sparling ended up moving back to Northern Michigan and started an automotive parts supply company in Suttons Bay. His company manufactures parts for the “Big Three” auto companies.
For Abbott the early ‘80s spelled the end of the Seger run. Seger was on top of his game but he was interested in settling down and starting a family.
“So that’s what I did. I started a family,” said Abbott.
Abbott invested in real estate in the Detroit area and continues to stay busy managing his properties. He also rides motorcycles and flies airplanes in his spare time. But his real passion remains with music. Abbott was delighted when Bob Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. Seger called on Abbott to join him on stage at the induction ceremonies at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
“The best part of the whole event was sound check,” said Abbott. “Everyone always plays better at sound check. It was great to see Prince and Stevie Winwood perform at sound check when no one else was around.”

As for tunes they play, Abbott and his bandmates are focusing on songs they like and are putting their own signature on them.
“I wouldn’t say they are obscure songs, rather we are picking songs that haven’t been overplayed,” said Abbott.
Songs like Buddy Holly’s “Well, All Right,” and Georgie Fame’s “(I Say) Yeh Yeh,” along with tunes from Booker T and a rousing rendition of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” make this a must-see show.
“I know we joke about this boys with bed times,” said Abbott. “But there is some truth to that. We are getting older and we can’t stay out all night like we use to. Plus we have to get up and go to work in the morning and so does our audience.”
As for the name Leo Creek, Sparling chuckles:
“I think our first gig was for a Christmas party and we were known as Drew Abbott Formerly of Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band,” said Abbott. “When Kate at Union Street booked us in February, she said “What’s the band’s name? I need it for the poster.” Well, I was looking outside my office window in Suttons Bay at the creek that runs by. Its name is Leo Creek so I just blurted out that name. It seems to fit.”
To catch a great classic rock show and still make your bedtime get out and see Leo Creek. The band takes the Union Street Stage at 7 p.m. sharp this Sunday, April 24. Look for Leo Creek on May 13 opening for Jackie Greene at the Bay Theater in Suttons Bay. If you caught Taj Mahal last year, Greene was that amazing opening act.
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