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 · Common Cent$
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Common Cent$

Robert Downes - July 5th, 2010
Masters of the Game: Common Cent$ rules the cover band universe
By Robert Downes
Young musicians interested in a masters’ class in how to succeed would
do well to study Common Cent$, a band of rock veterans who have local
audiences eating out of the palms of their hands.
At a recent show in Traverse City, the band packed the dance floor
with an avalanche of classic rock hits delivered with razor precision
over an impeccable sound system. Guitarists Steve Krygier and Charlie
Kalbfleisch joined bassist Kevin DeVincent in plunging into the crowd
with their wireless mics and instruments, performing a get-down show
in the heart of the dance scene while drummer Steve Larson anchored
the action on a riser well above the stage.
Even if you’re not a classic rock fan, you can’t help but admire the
band’s skill at delivering, blood-pumping, dead-on covers by Queen,
Journey, Loverboy, REO, Styx, Mellancamp and other hits that generate
a propulsive, get-up-and-boogie reaction from the audience. Toss in
the four-part harmonies and it’s clear that Common Cent$ has an
uncommon gift for drama and professionalism.
There is, in short, a lot of common sense to the performance route
taken by Common Cent$.

“I want people to walk away from our shows feeling like they were at a
multi-thousand-person event,” says Steve Krygier, 51, who handles lead
vocals along with keyboards and guitar.
Originally from Bay City and a special-ed teacher for the past 28
years, Krygier is the frontman for the group. He started out playing
drums, but his shout-it-out rock dramatics made him a natural to lead
the show. He ditched the drums, learned to play a keyboard, and moved
out front.
All of the bandmates have decades of experience under their belts and
three of them share an unusual Colorado connection. Krygier and
guitarist Charlie Kalbfleisch, 49, were in a band together in Boulder,
while drummer Steve Larson, 49, performed with a group in Colorado
Springs. “We all met when we moved back to Michigan,” Krygier says,
adding that family and raising kids were their motives for moving back
to their home state.
They’ve had their struggles, including the present hardship of getting
skeptical club owners to take a chance on an aging classic rock band.
“When we moved here from Colorado Springs, the local musicians shunned
you,” Larson says. “They didn’t want to help you get started.”
“If anything, they would lead you astray,” Kalbfleisch adds.
Larson’s day job is working with the State of Michigan’s Department of
Human Services, while Kalbfleisch is an electronics engineer who has
also served as a professional drum tech, touring with Grand Funk
Railroad’s drummer, Don Brewer. Through four years of trial and error,
Common Cent$ came together with a varying lineup of players,
eventually adding Kevin DeVincent, 54, on bass -- an Oleson’s employee
who is a veteran of many local bands.
They’ve spent years dialing in their sound and honing their show. “We
put together our first group, but it wasn’t working,” Larson notes.
“That’s when we put together a philosophy of ‘why are we doing this
song?’” Kalbflieisch says. “When we started the band, we had a lot of
discussion about what to play. At the time, Traverse City had a lot
of blues bands, so it was hard to break in.
“Today when we decide to play a song, we ask ourselves, ‘Was it a hit,
or was it a B-side that you like because you’re a musician, but makes
the audience want to hit the reset button?’” Kalbfleisch continues.
“So a song has to have had radio play for us to consider it. It also
has to be a song that we’re equipped to play and that the audience
will recognize as sounding just like the original.”
Do they have their own stash of original material that they pull out
“We’ve bantered the idea around, but the reality is that playing
original music doesn’t bring you anything in the market up here,”
Kalbfleisch says. “We did that for years in Colorado -- playing a
set of our own music -- but it never works out.”
“We work really hard to keep people at our shows and keeping club
owners happy,” Krygier adds. “And we work hard at having people want
to come back for more.”

If the band spends hours agonizing over what will please their
audience, they are even more focused on their singing.
“All of us have to sing,” Krygier says. “We don’t do it just because
we want to sing, we do it because it rings with the audience.”
Krygier’s own vocals include astounding deliveries of virtuosos such
as Queen’s Freddy Mercury. A former high school choirboy, his vocals
are so good that audience members have wondered at times if he’s
singing to tapes or through a vocal synthesizer, but other than a few
electronic effects available to any musician, the voice and passion
for singing is all Krygier’s. He recalls the days of playing at the
Big Eazy in TC when the band would convene in the restaurant’s kitchen
to go over the Crosby, Stills & Nash harmonies of “Carry On,” sounding
out the vocal parts on a guitar, to be delivered moments later fresh
Wireless mics and earbud monitors keep the vocals on track. “We’re
keenly aware at all times of what other members of the band are doing
in the monitors,” Krygier notes. “We’re a very vocal band, pulling
off harmonies that no one else can do.”
Speaking of wireless mics and monitors (which can run $300-$500 per
unit), although the band doesn’t confirm the amount, it’s easy to
imagine that Common Cent$’ sound system runs into the $20,000 range --
a jaw-dropping array of speakers and electronic gear that goes far
beyond what any other band this side of Bump would be capable of
“We have a lot of control,” Kalbfleisch says. ‘We sound the same in
any room we play. We got away from the big junk and play with small
amps, but it’s all through the p.a. so the audience hears exactly what
we hear through the monitors.”
That control extended to requiring that Larson perform on electronic
drums to avoid any ambient cymbal or drum wash. “Oddly enough, I
already had an electronic drum set when I joined the band,” Larson
notes of his $6,000 kit.
Put it all together and Common Cent$ spells p-r-o-f-e--s-s-ionalism,
with four guys who’ve been rocking out since their early-to-mid teens
and know exactly what they want to do on stage. That commitment has
paid off: they have nearly 800 fans on Facebook and their email chain,
many of whom follow the band to gigs such as Torch Lake’s Dockside,
Wilderness Crossing in Grawn, and the West Bay Holiday Inn deck in TC.
“This is serious for us -- our faces are are onstage and it’s very
important for us to put on a good show,” Krygier says.
Believe it.

Common Cent$ performs this Friday, July 9 at the West Bay Holiday Inn
deck from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Check out the band’s webside at

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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