Letters

Letters 07-27-2015

Next For Brownfields In regard to your recent piece on brownfield redevelopment in TC, the Randolph Street project appears to be proceeding without receiving its requested $600k in brownfield funding from the county. In response to this, the mayor is quoted as saying that the developer bought the property prior to performing an environmental assessment and had little choice but to now build it...

Defending Our Freedom This is in response to Sally MacFarlane Neal’s recent letter, “War Machines for Family Entertainment.” Wake Up! Make no mistake about it, we are at war! Even though the idiot we have for a president won’t accept the fact because he believes we can negotiate with Iran, etc., ISIS and their like make it very clear they intend to destroy the free world as we know it. If you take notice of the way are constantly destroying their own people, is that living...

What Is Far Left? Columnist Steve Tuttle, who so many lambaste as a liberal, considers Sen. Sanders a far out liberal “nearly invisible from the middle.” Has the middle really shifted that far right? Sanders has opposed endless war and the Patriot Act. Does Mr. Tuttle believe most of our citizens praise our wars and the positive results we have achieved from them? Is supporting endless war or giving up our civil liberties middle of the road...

Parking Corrected Stephen Tuttle commented on parking in the July 13 Northern Express. As Director of the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority, I feel compelled to address a couple key issues. But first, I acknowledge that  there is some consternation about parking downtown. As more people come downtown served by less parking, the pressure on what parking we have increases. Downtown serves a county with a population of 90,000 and plays host to over three million visitors annually...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Ramblings of a full-time...
. . . .

Ramblings of a full-time musician

John Ivan Greilick - August 2nd, 2007
I’ve often wondered what it might be like to fly for a living. Over the years, I’ve allowed myself to look upon the captains and first officers of these amazing aircraft buzzing around the sky as heroes. I mean, they cram 170 people into an aluminium tube, fill the wings with kerosene that dumps into a burning can that blasts hot air into the colder, dense atmosphere, propelling us 35,000 feet into the air at 500 mph, just so we can make L.A. in under five hours. That seems to be quite an amazing accomplishment.
Yet, when I talk to the men and women who actually do this every day, I end up with a slightly less romantic image of what it might be like. Sure, they love their gig. But the hours are tough, the money isn’t close to what it used to be or should be... But hey, they are flying! Things are good, right? Well, as with any other business, it’s not for everyone.
Take the music business for instance.
The music business is not a place for thin-skinned wanna-be’s with a bad attitude. The hours are long enough and the characters colorful enough as it is. We don’t need to add narcissistic, “it’s all about me” personalities to the mix. Sure, there’s something about people who play music for a living that screams “Look at me, Mom!” -- but over time we tend to think better of displaying this as outwardly as we did when we were, oh I don’t know, 16 years old. Let there be no doubt about it, this music thing can be a very rough and tumble road. Hunter S. Thompson offered the following:
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.“
After reading what Don Swan had to say in the Letters page of Northern Express (7/26) regarding his perception of the local music scene, I thought I might share some of my observations so that those who are on the outside of the local music business or enjoy our efforts as loyal customers don’t come away from his article with the wrong idea.
First of all, I’ve been very, very fortunate in that I’ve made some kind of living playing music from the beginning. My first job was playing rock and roll in a bar at 15 years old. While I don’t recommend teenagers run out the door to join a rock band, I can say that I have no regrets. Why? Well, the people I get to work with is really the biggest reason. I know almost everyone who plays music for a living in Northern Michigan, at least in passing. I have more than a passing relationship with a great number of them, and let me tell you, they are great people. Smart, funny, hard-working, talented, sexy, hot, groovy people. Something I hear from fine players who come from out of town is “Man, there must be something in the water up here. Where does all this talent come from?”
As I blast across the United States every season, I get to see some really nice players. What really takes the cake for me, however, is that northwest lower Michigan can hang with any music scene in the country, player-wise. There are bigger scenes, but from a quality standpoint, we have world- class musicians playing this scene.
Another observation I’d like to make is that the venues in Northern Michigan are problem-free for the most part. The only “problem rooms” I’ve encountered over the years are now, interestingly enough, closed. Perhaps this is simply another example of folks who couldn’t quite make it happen on a personal level. All they did was bitch and whine about the business they were in. I have no doubt they were well-intentioned in the beginning, and I’ll bet they are happier people now that they are out of the business that made them so miserable. For those who continue to provide places for music to be made and heard, we say thank you.
The bottom line is this, Don Swan. I don’t know who you’re referring to when you say “Back-stabbing Backwoods idea of musical politics,” but I assure you that you are not talking about the music scene I work in. From folk and bluegrass, metal, blues, soul, straight old school R&B, country, big band, bop, classical music and everything in between, we actually have to work here. We pay our rent, make our car payments and pay for our blue M&M’s, our big boats, our private jets (alright, well, whatever), all with the money we make playing music. Please, spare me the theatrics. I’ve heard all this nonsense before. If I had a dollar for every gig I wanted but didn’t get, I could retire.
We work on our craft and can really play. We can play our instruments and sing in a huge variety of styles. We do this for a living. The pop band that warmed up The Flask show at the Cherry Festival is an example of great players who have dedicated their whole lives to music. They were not a jazz trio in that setting. They can play jazz though.
Conspiracy theories and armchair psychology claiming “This is Art, it isn’t about the money” aside, and even though what I really want is to fly airplanes for a living, I’m personally thrilled to be living here and making music in Northern Michigan, warts and all. I’ll take it.
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close