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 · Meatloaf
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Rick Coates - July 19th, 2010
Meat Loaf on the Menu: Singer brings Northern Michigan players to Kewadin
By Rick Coates
When Meat Loaf takes the stage Saturday at the Kewadin Casino for their 25yth Anniversary Summer Celebration, he will be joined by two former Traverse City residents, keyboardist Justin Avery and sax player David Luther.
Luther joined Meat Loaf’s band in 2006 and Avery earlier this year. The two knew each other back when, with Luther part of the last Traverse City High School graduating class in 1997 and Avery graduating from TC West in 1999.
“We knew each other in high school because we were both musicians,” said Avery, son of musician and former Dill’s Old Town Saloon owner Larry Avery. “I remember David being a very serious musician for someone that was just a teenager.”
Luther also remembers those days.
“You really have to go back to 1995 when you look at how we both ended up in Meat Loaf’s band,” said Luther. “I was 16 and looking for a job and Dill’s was hiring a dishwasher and I got the job. Well, they had the Golden Garter Review and Larry heard I played the sax, so one night he had me go out in my dishwashing uniform all dirty and play the last song with the band. It became a nightly thing.”
Luther’s playing became popular and the next year others joined him and they became known as the Flying Horn Monkey’s. He met Justin that summer and the two struck up a musical friendship that landed them both in Meat Loaf’s band.

“I was really into jazz and that was what I wanted to play but my experience at Dill’s expanded my musical knowledge and appreciation,” said Luther. “My first experience with Meat Loaf’s music was there. It seemed every night we had karaoke, some drunken guy who would want to sing ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light.’ So when I got hired and started playing that song I would immediately go back to those memories and laugh.”
After high school Luther headed off to the prestigious University of Michigan School of Music.
“I wanted to be a jazz musician and do a lot of experimental music so I was fortunate going to U of M,” said Luther. “They have the best sax professors in the world there. So I knew the sky was the limit for me after graduation.”
Luther quickly found out that wasn’t the case.
“After graduation I was thinking Detroit, Chicago, or heading to Europe for the experimental scene. Well I decided to split the difference and head to New York,” said Luther. “I had $7,000 in my account and no job. I thought I was set but I found out that money didn’t last as long as I thought.”
Luther began landing gigs and eventually, he got a break with Meat Loaf.
“I was a sub for the Broadway Show ‘Movin’ Out’ that featured the music of Billy Joel,” said Luther. “I got to meet so many great musicians, from Billy’s band to others who would come out. Well, another sub was Meat Loaf’s bass player and music director. A year later he called me and said they were looking for a sax player and asked if I would audition and I agreed.”
So was Luther nervous about auditioning in front of Meat Loaf?
“Actually he wasn’t there, it was the band members,” said Luther. “They listened to me, voted and I was in.”

Enter Justin Avery.
“Well Justin had headed off to LA and we had kept in touch,” said Luther. “Then one day Meat Loaf’s longtime keyboardist announced he was leaving the band and I immediately thought of Justin, so he flew out and auditioned and the rest is history.”
For Avery, who grew up in a musical family, this was another opportunity to expand his ever-growing musical network.
“After graduating from Western where I studied piano, I moved to LA and got some session work and formed my own band, the Population Game,” said Avery. “I have had the good fortune of working with Katy Perry and Billy Ray Cyrus among others. But the opportunity to reconnect with David and tour the world with Meat Loaf sounded too good to pass up.”
Both Avery and Luther have enjoyed the experience so far.
“As the new guy in the band everyone has treated me very professionally,” said Avery. Meat Loaf treats his musicians with respect and professionalism. This is such an awesome experience performing every night with such caliber musicians. I wake up in the mornings and say ‘I can’t believe this is my job.’”
Luther echoes the experience.
“I like the fact Meat Loaf treats us as part of his band,” said Luther. “Meat Loaf’s music is epic, unique and intelligent. It is operatic rock and roll and I am honored to perform it. I also like how as a sax player I am not stuffed off to the side of the stage, I am in the spotlight and I get to do solos.”

But neither Luther nor Avery feels they have made it yet.
“When you are a touring musician your bank account goes up and down,” laughs Luther. “Your financial windfall comes and goes. One minute I am on stage with Meat Loaf and the next I am working in a metal shop to make ends meet to get through last winter. I am not complaining, it is the life I have chosen and it is a good one.”
Avery isn’t sure how long his gig with Meat Loaf will last but hopes someday his own band, Population Game, will hit the big time.
“We tour the states until the beginning of September and then there is a European leg of the tour and some dates being planned in, both places where Meat Loaf has a big following,” said Avery. “I have enjoyed this experience so far and I have learned so much especially from Meat Loaf in how he treats musicians. These experiences I will be able to take back to my own band.”
Meat Loaf’s album Bat Out of Hell ranks as the fifth top selling record in the world with 45 million copies sold to date. In al,l Meat Loaf has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide with the help of Bat Out of Hell II selling 25 million copies, including the number one smash hit “I would Do Anything For Love (But I won’t DO That).”

In addition to a successful musical career, Meat Loaf has enjoyed a career in the movie industry appearing in several films including roles in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wayne’s World and Fight Club.
Veterans to the Northern Michigan music scene may remember seeing Meat Loaf perform in the region in the late ‘60s as the lead singer of the Saginaw based Popcorn Blizzard. Meat Loaf was also the lead singer on Ted Nugent’s second album, Free–For-All.
So as Avery and Luther come through Michigan this week with shows in Detroit and the Soo, they wish they had time to hang in Traverse City .
“I usually get back once a year and that is at Christmas,” said Luther. “I would love to come back in the summer. I know both Justin and I will have family and friends at these shows so that will be nice. Who knows, maybe we will get booked in Traverse City someday.”

Meat Loaf with David Luther on sax and Justin Avery on keyboards will perform Saturday July 26 at the Kewadin Casino. For additional info or to purchase tickets go to www.kewadin.com/entertainment or call them at 800-539-2346.

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